This is a catch-up blog post. We visited the 3 places listed above in November 2019. After these cities (plus one day in Myrtle Beach, SC) we drove to Durham, NC where Mark attended a conference, and Lori flew home for Thanksgiving. Mark then drove to Orlando and after staying with an old friend, he left Wandah at an RV dealer and also flew home to join Lori in the Boston area. We had extended stays with both family and friends, and we’re very grateful to those who hosted us, and so glad for the time we got to spend with everyone, even though it didn’t feel like enough. Leaving was difficult, despite being excited to resume the journey.
We’re now back on the road, in Florida, currently on the gulf coast north of Clearwater. The next post should pick up with our post holiday travels.
Of the 3 cities only Charleston was entirely new to us, but we found new things to do in both Chattanooga (where we attended a wedding 20 years ago) and Savannah (where we stayed for 10 days in February 2016). They are all fun cities! New experiences included
- Chattanooga, TN: Aquarium, Cloudland Canyons, Rock City
- Savannah, GA: Botanical Gardens, Mighty Eighth museum, Skidaway Island State Park
- Charleston, SC: City Market, King St.. Waterfront Park
The Chattanooga, TN Aquarium is excellent. It has two separate parts – saltwater and freshwater. The freshwater side was especially interesting.
Our campground near Chattanooga was Cloudland Canyons State Park (just over the border into Georgia). Near our site was this cliff-side trail with beautiful scenic views of the canyon.
Also nearby is a commercial venture called Rock City. It’s a nice way to spend an afternoon. Fresh air, interesting paths and trails, great views – including a spot where you can see 7 states, a “fairy village”, and more. Lookout Mountain is a small national park commemorating an important civil war battle. The mountain was strategic high ground held by the south; Its capture by the north was a turning point in the war.
With a nasty cold front headed our way, we made a dash for the southeast where temperatures would remain a toasty 1 degree above freezing on our first, coldest night in Georgia. This visit would be a return to one of our favorite previous places. We’d visited Savannah just a few years ago, so we didn’t need to take the city tour or revisit the art museums, cemetery, churches, etc. We mostly wandered around, eating, drinking, and enjoying places we knew. This time however, we added a stay at the excellent Skidaway Island State Park, where we really enjoyed several days of long walks and trail rides through lush foliage and beautiful views.
Charleston, South Carolina
Mark had been wanting to visit Charleston for years, having heard about its charming architecture, elegant homes, parks, waterfront, galleries, good food, and more. We walked many miles on each of 2 days in the city, and since downtown is fairly compact we covered a good portion of it. Some highlights were walks along the harbor, drinks at a rooftop bar with panoramic views, King Street shopping, the city market, and good restaurants, including those featuring BBQ, Seafood, and indulgent comfort food.
We also enjoyed a long visit to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens to the north. Quite a place.
One thing that really endeared Charleston to us immediately as RVers, is that their visitor center parking garage features an RV parking area! First and only time we’ve encountered that. So nice!
Bonus Feature: Camper’s Coldbrew
Mark’s “Camper’s Coldbrew” is simply coldbrew on the road with less equipement. Lori vetoed Mark’s original name for it, “Hillbilly Coldbrew” since that’s “not nice”. Teamwork wins again!
The main difference from his home process is that he don’t use a special coldbrew pitcher. He buys a $1 jug of spring water, drinks some of it, and pours in the ground coffee. It doesn’t have to be fresh ground, but since it’s hard to find the optimal coarse grind in pre-ground coffee, he recommens buying whole beans in the grocery store and using their ginder set to the coarsest grind setting.
An important step with the jug method is to let the mixture settle well before you start to filter it, so that most of the settled coffee grounds stay in bottom of the jug. Otherwise the filter cone will fill up filtering will come to a grinding halt. (ha ha). You may want to use a second filter if the first one starts to drain too slowly.
The final result is as good as any made with fancy equipment. No surprise really. Here’s an overall “recipe” and recommendations:
- Start with good beans (fresher the better, Mark prefers a medium roast)
- Coarse grind the beans. (coarsest setting on a supermarket grinder works well)
- Use good water (spring water is nice. Charcoal-filtered tap water is also fine)
- Mix and agitate occasionally (every couple hours if you can, but at least 3 times during the brew)
- Brew at room temperature, 10 to 14 hours. (longer = stronger. It’s not very fussy but if you brew too long, the coffee will start break down, making it hard to filter out the small particles)
- Filter well with a paper filter. (optionally pre-filter with a nylon or metal filter. I’ve also tried a 2nd paper filter pass, but it doesn’t seem to improve the end result)
- Chill, serve, and enjoy!
Whew! Lots of video editing. Glad to have this done finally. We hope to blog more often in future so we don’t get so far behind. We’ll see!