Little did we know when we decided in January 2020 to get off the road and buy a home that the world would be afflicted by a global pandemic. We were happy to be off the road at that time.
Now after a year off the road we are ready to explore again at a different pace. We purchased a 2016 Forest River Forester motorhome. She’s (we already know she’s a female) 25 feet 9 inches long with a full body slide on the drivers side. Built on a Ford chassis it has a Triton V-10 gas engine, automatic leveling, a gas/electric fridge, queen bed and nice entertainment system. Very easy to drive so we can share those duties.
Our intention is to use the RV for shorter trips while maintaining the home base. We already know Florida has the best weather for us during the winter months and this will enable us to escape some of the hot humid Florida summer.
We picked up the RV in Wilmington NC so thats where our first trip started. After one night at the Wilmington KOA we stayed at the Buck Hall National Forest campground in SC. It is right on the Intracoastal Waterway and afforded nice views and hiking trails. We loved how easy it was to park our little beauty. The sites were all paved, level and well spaced but lacked much privacy due to few trees between sites. Its a small campground so we were glad we reserved.
On our way to our next stop we found one of those little gem stories that travelers love. Crossing into GA from SC we stopped at a visitors center. After we showed some interest the young man there informed us that this was the first travelers welcome center in the country. Built in 1962 before the Interstate Highway System, Its on a highway route known as the Woodpecker Trail. This was touted as the fastest most direct route to the Florida west coast. It runs along GA 121 and other roads from Augusta GA to St. Petersburg FL. Today much of it is 2 lane highway with old forgotten motels and sleepy towns. The young man also gave us samples Georgia peanuts, pecans and Coca-Cola.
Magnolia Springs State Park near Millen GA was our next stop. Its history and spring are the attractions of this place. In August 1864 the Confederacy built its largest prisoner of war camp here because of the spring providing abundant water. The camp was over 40 acres and intended to relieve overcrowding at Andersonville. While it was designed to hold 40,000 prisoners only 10,000 were transferred before Sherman’s approach led to the camps abandonment. Today some breastworks remain and the park does a nice job interpreting the history. The spring remains an attraction and we hiked some trails.
Whenever we’re close we usually stop in Folkston GA to visit the train watching platform. It was right along the Woodpecker Trail so we stayed at Jenny Ridge RV Park. As luck would have it The next day was Folkston’s Annual RailWatch Festival. There was a T-Trak model train display, food trucks. a DJ and a car show. Railfans from far and wide came to mingle and watch up to 70 trains per day transit the Folkston Funnel where multiple CSX rail routes merge to enter Florida.
Our shakedown trip was a good one. The RV drives small compared to our 3 previous motorhomes, but lives large due to the deep full body slide. We traveled with no towed car and surprisingly found that to be a pleasant experience. Back up, no problem. Turn around, no problem. Grocery store, gas station, no problem. Easy setup and departure makes life a breeze.
Its also nice to have a home to come back to. We look forward to many adventures in the new motorhome practicing photography, chasing trains and tracing history.