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To Walt Disney World in a Motor Home - Part 2

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Yesterday I shared with you the first 2 days of our travels to Walt Disney World in a motor home. Today I'll finish the report!

The third day we follow our well established routine, up just before 7:00 a.m., unhooked and back on the highway by 8:00. Our destination is Walterboro South Carolina about 322 miles away.

This is the day we leave the mountains behind, but not before we drive off the edge of the world! Within minutes of pulling out of the campground we leave I-81 behind and turn south on I-77. The road rolls up and down as we steadily climb for about 30 miles to the peak of the Blue Ridge chain. Once you hit the top you start down the other side and begin a six mile plunge out of Virginia and into North Carolina. Carol does not like this hill! She bites her lip as we hurtle down and down . . . past several runaway truck ramps. The engine roars as the cruise control tries in vain to check our speed. I pump the brakes regularly, but not often enough for Carol! It takes several days for the white-knuckle marks to fade from the dash after our descent. But on a clear day it is very pretty! It can be an awesome view, but more often than not it's raining or foggy as we pass so the scenery takes a back seat to the terror!

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When we hit the bottom in North Carolina and I have once again saved my precious bride from certain death she starts breathing again and leans back to enjoy the rolling hills and the pretty rivers and lakes of the area. We will be in the “lowlands” for the rest of our journey.

No matter what time of year we travel we enjoy watching the season change as we head south. Whether its spring, autumn or winter things always get greener and greener as we head further south and the change becomes much more pronounced once we make the drop down that huge hill at Fancy Gap and Mount Airy.

On this morning we travel through the heart of NASCAR as we pass Mooresville, Lake Norman and Statesville North Carolina. We zip through Charlotte and cross the state line into South Carolina. We skirt around Columbia on I-77 and then turn south-east on I-26 for only 53 miles before we reach I-95 and head south again. Green rolling hills, lush forests and prosperous looking farms everywhere!

This is palm tree day! Carol has her eyes open all afternoon, darting left and right, and is always thrilled when she spots that first palm tree. It has to be posted on Facebook! Hooray, it's official " we're in the south! The dogs don't get too excited about palm trees; after three days they just want to get off that couch! Grrr!

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When we reach I-95 we are only about 35 miles from our stop for the day at Walterboro South Carolina. The campground there, New Green Acres, is just off the highway and is canopied with tall pine trees. The campsites are huge pull-thrus; there is no need to disconnect the tow-car. It's a very pretty spot and there is always plenty of space to let the dogs run and romp for a while.

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Of course, we do disconnect the car and head off for dinner before we settle in for the evening.

This is normally the first stop along the route where we hook up the sewer hose and drain the holding tanks before we pull out. The grey water tank and the black water tank each hold about 50 gallons so we can travel several days and both shower each day without dumping the tanks. We carry 60 gallons of fresh water and 96 pounds (23 gallons) of propane. The propane fuels the 35,000 BTU furnace and when we are not plugged in to 120V power it also operates the refrigerator and the 10 gallon water heater. The onboard generator provides up to 5,500 watts of 120V power when we cannot plug in to “shore-power” so we can operate the two roof-top air conditioners, the microwave and the central vacuum no matter where we stop along the way! It sure is a great way to travel!

Our fourth day it's a shorter drive, only 244 miles to St. Augustine Florida. Interstate 81 runs parallel to the Atlantic coastline and we are seldom more than 10 miles from the ocean. In this gently rolling lowland area we cross many tidal rivers and endless salt marshes as we enjoy the warm salty breeze from the Atlantic. Within an hour we cross the state line into Georgia.

Carol continually scans the banks of the rivers and marshes we cross looking for any sign of alligators along the shore or manatees in the rivers. She has had a few gator sightings but no manatees so far!

Soon we skirt past Savannah and make another fuel stop at Brunswick Georgia before crossing into Florida at about 11:30. We always stop at the Florida Welcome Centre on I-95. It just wouldn't be right if we didn't pull in for that free sample of fresh Florida orange juice!

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We pass through downtown Jacksonville at noon and in all of our trips through this city (Touch wood!) traffic on the interstate has not been too congested in the middle of the city.

Shortly after 1:00 p.m. we pull into North Beach Camp Resort at Vilano Beach, just a few miles north of St. Augustine. It's nice to have a short day on the road and we're usually all set up by 2:00 p.m.

We really enjoy St. Augustine and we stop there almost every trip. The dogs always enjoy a romp on the beach in the afternoon and we just love to poke around the historic old town area of St. Augustine. There are a couple of stores we almost always visit too, Carol has to drop into the Disney Character Outlet Store and I have to snoop around the nearby Camping World store.

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Just a few trips back we discovered a wonderful local restaurant, O'Steens, where we usually have a feast of fried shrimp! Yum! Then on our way back to the camp we drive around the historic area which is magnificently lit at night. It's truly beautiful!

From St. Augustine it's only 129 Miles to Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. We don't usually get away at our normal time, we relax a bit the last morning. We want to arrive well before the 1:00 p.m. check-in time so we're on the road by 9:00. After another hour on I-95 we turn west on I-4 for an hour then Orlando looms into sight. Hallelujah . . . soon the Disney signs appear.

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We pull off I-4 onto Disney Property and arrive at the best campground we have ever seen.

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The guard at the security gate says, “Welcome home!” and directs us to the drive-thru check in gate.

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We like to check in early in the day, we think it gives us a better chance of getting one of our favourite campsites. All of the sites are great of course, but we do have a handful of favourites.

Typically the sites are not cleaned and ready for us when we arrive so we drive a few hundred yards to the “overflow parking lot” where Carol walks the dogs while I unhook the tow car. Then we load the dogs back in the RV, start up the onboard generator and turn on the air conditioners to keep the dogs comfortable while we drive to Downtown Disney for lunch at the Earl of Sandwich " it's a tradition!

Soon the cell phone buzzes with a text message " our site is ready. Carol drops me at the RV and she heads for the campsite as I follow behind her. She directs me as I back it into position.

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This time our set-up routine is a little more involved; in addition to the normal utility connections we have palm trees, Mickey lamps, rope lights and several big totes full of seasonal decorations to put up. First we unpack all the hatches under the RV.

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Set up takes a few hours this time, but of course it's a labor of love and we enjoy it!

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By 3:00 p.m. or so we are finished. Aaah! Home again, it sure feels good to be back in out Happy Place!

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So that's a summary of a typical trip in our motor home. I hope you enjoyed riding with us. If you would like to see more details and pictures from a specific trip or two, take a look at our blog site at www.carol-anne.ca Follow the link to “The Disney Room” and browse through our trip reports. Don't forget to sign the guest book!

The previous post in this blog was To Walt Disney World in a Motor Home - Part 1.

The next post in this blog is Magical makeovers at Disney World's Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique create princesses.

Comments (11)

Rebecca:

what a neat blog. I wish I was retired now and enjoying a nice trip!

Vicki V:

Thanks for the RV trip info! We purchased a used Class A RV last summer for our family of 4 and are looking forward to hopefully soon making our next trip to Disney be via RV rather than plane. We've taken numerous weekend trips in it (had to get our feet wet before taking a long trip!) as well as a week-long trip to visit friends down south. Next up, an American West grand adventure! Then we'll be planning for Disney. Reading your blogs on RVing and on Fort Wilderness have been very informative & helpful! Thanks!

MIKE PENNINGTON:

I enjoyed reading your trip blog. I live in Ky and we travel the same route from Wytheville to Orlando so I was familiar with your locations. Next trip have your lovely wife look up Pilot Mountain and see if the sky is clear enough to see it as you descend the mountain from Virginia into North Carolina. Hope you have many safe and magical trips to Fort Wilderness Campground and WDW.

Lilu:

This is such a nice alternative way to get down to Disney. We're quite a long way out from there too, so I've been trying to weigh between renting an RV, simply driving out or flying. The RV seems like a very comfortable way to go.. though I am a little leary of the transmission problems I know some of them can have. If the dogs could come with us and we could simply let them have daycare time at Best Friends, or something, while we were at the parks it would probably be worth it.

Either way, it looks awfully nice. Any tips for someone looking into an RV rental?

christine:

Great report! Thanks for all the info.(And your dogs are beautiful!) Just seeing all those Disney signs made me smile without me even being there! It made me even more excited for our trip in June!!

Kerrie:

Thanks for the great two part Blog. I really enjoyed reading it. I still can't believe how much it costs to drive down ith the gas. That is insane!

Paige Heilig:

Gary,
I just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed reading your trip report :)I have stayed at the Wilderness Lodge and so love the environment as well.

Vickie:

That grand western trip is on our bucket list. I'm thinking about a six to eight month trip which will include Mt. Rushmore, Canadian badlands and hoodoos at Drumheller, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Bryce Canyon, Zion NP, Pacific Coast Highway, all the west and southwest has to offer. San Antonio, New Orleans and then across the gulf to Florida and Fort Wilderness. It's years away . . . but we're going to do it!

Mike:

We'll watch for Pilot Mountain and we'll wave. Watch our blog site to see when we'll be passing through and look for Mickey and Minnie in the back window of the RV.

Kerrie:

The gas isn't really that bad. It's three times the cost of driving an economy car - and look at the luxury we enjoy! Plus, when we dont take the RV and we fly, it takes weeks for the dogs to forgive us when we leave them home!

Gary

Jennifer:

Love this article as it answers a few questions I have had! We are Northern NYers, and have considered trying this route next trip (this fall). We usually go to Staunton, take I-64 to Richmond, and then I-95, but a neighbor swears by the route you take; he says the lack of traffic and the Appalachian beauty makes up for the extra miles.

We are very excited as well because we are purchasing a larger camper this year (waiting for late fall though to get a deal on the year-end models) and are excited to try Fort Wilderness, finally! It's nice to know the ins and outs of camping enroute, because that was a concern of mine. Thanks for the info! I wonder if we crossed paths - we drove down to WDW around Halloween, too!

dusty cheatham:

wow glad you found o'steens how was the wait :)

Rachel:

This was a great article! I live in Northern Indiana which is the center of RV manufacturing. Your RV may have even originated here!. It's neat to see how you are able to enjoy RVing and this article, combined with Jack Spence's Fort Wilderness blog, has been a good insight into alternate forms of travel and lodging at Disney.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 26, 2012 8:00 AM.

The previous post in this blog was To Walt Disney World in a Motor Home - Part 1.

The next post in this blog is Magical makeovers at Disney World's Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique create princesses.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.