-Wednesday morning we got up and broke camp. There was bad weather heading in and we wanted to get out of there before it arrived. Bus on mountain roads in rain= bad news. We checked out around 11am. Jared mapped the day's destination which was Columbia, SC -the halfway point to tomorrow's destination of Brunswick, GA where we planned to spend a week or so exploring the Golden Isles of Georgia
We decided our oldest son Coleson would drive the van separately that day until we got past the mountain driving because that was easier on the bus engine. We drove about 15 minutes and came to a T in the road. The CoPilot app Jared was using for truckers said to go right, although the sign said the interstate was left. So we went right, trusting that the app especially for RVs to maneuver without conflict was going to lead us in the right direction. The road got a little winding, but Jared was ok so we continued on. Then the road got a little narrower, but Jared was ok so we continued on. Then the road started to go up in elevation, but we figured since it was in the mountains you get that anywhere you go. We thought it was just luck that the road was so lightly traversed that we had no conflicting oncoming traffic as Jared needed both lanes to make some of the curves, which turned into switchbacks, which soon turned into scary switchbacks with steep drop offs down the side of the mountain.
After 7 miles of this and some real white-knuckle driving and one kid in particular who was pretty close to hyperventilating (Katie), we were quite relieved to be approaching the end of the winding mountain pass and finally reaching the road that our map said we were approaching to lead us to the interstate.
Katie found it better to burry her head rather than look out the window at the road. If you could get past the fear, it really was a beautiful view.
Needless to say, we were quite surprised when the mountain pass ended in a dirt road transition and an entrance to the APPALACHIAN TRAIL!!!!! Oh. My. Goodness!!!
Note how the pavement ends abruptly in dirt! Also note the perplexed look on the face of the poor hiker who was just having a snack on a rock on the Appalachian Trail when out of nowhere a bus showed up!
Seriously, I took this picture from INSIDE the bus.
We might be one of the only RVs to ever touch the Appalachian Trail!!! Turns out the lack of traffic should've been a sign. No one goes that way. Especially not a big rig like ours.
Jared & Coleson trying to figure out where to go next.
Jared and Coleson took the van down the dirt path in dear hopes that it was only like 1/4 mile of dirt and then the road we were hoping to find was right on the other side. Unfortunately they found a sheer drop off instead. So they returned to me and the kids waiting in the bus with the news that we were going to have to back up along this mountain road until we could find a turn around spot. Then we were going to have to do the entire trip AGAIN, in rewind. That about did Katie in. And if I'm being honest, me too. Adrenaline got us through the first trip. And sheer disbelief that we were making the trip we were making. But with time to prepare I was none too happy about it. This time Coleson drove ahead of us in the van with a walkie talkie to let us know well in advance if a car was coming so we could get back over in our lane since we spent most of the 7 miles in the opposite lane- hugging the mountain, rather than the right lane looking down at the drop offs. Our 40 foot bus has such a turning radius that we had to swing wide just to make the turns, and some of the switch backs almost had us straddling both turns. As we got back to the part of the mountain where people actually lived (maybe that should've been another sign!) we actually drove by a guy checking his mail who laughed out loud at the sight of us!! By the end of the 7 mile return we were all exhausted, or motion sick, or both. After the near 1.5 hour detour and return trip we stopped to get gas and regain our composure. Some of us were a little shaky. It was a drive that we will always remember, I'm sure. While we stopped I made up some sandwiches while we all rested. THEN we finally started out on our actual trip for the day. Our family dearly loves the movie RV with Robin Williams, but that drive was just a touch too close to reality for us. It was MUCH funnier in the movie. Katie has requested to leave some slightly negative feedback to the CoPilot app :)
-Wednesday night we reached our stop for the night at Lexington, SC at the Barnyard RV Park- a total dive. It was fine for a one night stop (glad to get electric and some wifi so I could work for a little while), but definitely not anything like the Greenbrier Campground we had just left. It was basically just a parking lot with plugs. The cars drove too fast through the park so we didn't let the kids ride bikes for too long before deciding they needed to stay inside for the night. I made some tacos and we watched a family movie in the bus instead. We tried to make the best of a not so great situation.