The very next day after we landed in Rock Hill, Steve and Deb came to visit!! They had rerouted themselves to spend time with us, which was so sweet, and a wonderful way to start our adventure. We made chili for them and once they got situated we went over and spent some time eating and getting caught up. Steve works from his rig and we spent some time talking about how he makes that work for both of them. It was a great conversation and it’s interesting to talk about the similarities and differences between what we are experiencing.
I promised some pictures of Ebenezer State Park in my last blog so here we are. Our “back yard” looks out on the water and it is a very short walk down to the water’s edge. They have sites that can be reserved for two weeks as well as “drop in” sites that are day to day. The campground is broken into two sections; a wooded area and an open area with lake views and the rangers are very nice. The price is right at $28 a day for full hookups, including city water, and fantastic water pressure. They have free wifi which is on the weak side but we had no trouble getting cell signal here.
I was dying to try out my new camera a Canon Rebel T5 so I walked down to the water and took some pictures. My one big splurge before going on the road was this camera. I have been using a point and shoot for many years, but I couldn’t stand the thought of missing out on a great shot because I didn’t have the right lens. It was pretty darn intimidating at first, but Lee hooked me up and set the settings at a simple point and shoot mode. I will get more fancy later, but for right now I loved how simple it was to use. Plus I felt like a professional with my fancy camera and strap!!
The next night Steve and Deb cooked. They made chicken breasts wrapped with bacon, new potatoes, and salad, and it was amazing. Here’s the thing about swapping meals…what’s normal to the people cooking is super good to the invitees. We all tend to make the same meals over and over so it’s a great opportunity to eat something new and get some fresh ideas. Deb’s potatoes in particular were awesome. She medium boiled them in salt water to fork tender then drained them and added butter and a sprinkle of parsley. So good. The skins were super soft and it was easy. I added the recipe below
Oh, and the funniest thing happened. We have two pretty brazen squirrels hanging out at our site (Rocky and Adrian). Lee put some birdseed on the ground and now they are our best friends. Well Rocky did the craziest thing. He jumped on our chair and then climbed up on the metal hand rail next to our door. Then he sat there and swiped at the door with his paws as if he was trying to get in. Crazy. Couldn’t get a pic when he was on the rail, but he stayed there for a really long time before he jumped down and wandered away. Never seen anything like that.
The next night I made my Grandma Betty’s Meatloaf. She passed not that long ago and throughout this process I really have felt she was watching out for me, so it was nice to make her signature dish and get to share it with our friends. Steve and Debbie really liked it (I gave Steve the leftovers for a meatloaf sandwich the next day) and I have posted the recipe below. Then we played Cards against Humanity and Steve crushed it even though they have never played before. I do want to warn you: the game is definitely for adults and can stray into the raunchy. (That’s not true at all. It starts in the raunchy and quickly devolves into the downright offensive. I love it. – Lee) Luckily they definitely got it and there was a ton of laughter. Who knew Deb had such a wicked sense of humor 🙂 Deb also showed us how she routes them. She is the planning master and is an expert at finding campgrounds and routes. She uses a website called Road Tripper (they also have an app) and Lee really liked it.
The next morning we went to this little hole in the wall breakfast place my sister recommended called Anna J’s. I love the mom and pop places and luckily it’s what our new budget can afford. I got silver dollar pancakes, bacon, and coffee for $5. Can’t beat that. Deb got the catfish and eggs because she had never seen it before. I love her adventurous spirit. The catfish was unbelievably good and the portion was so large we all had a piece.
So what do you do after going to a diner for breakfast in South Carolina? Well, you go to a gun range of course!! Let me start by saying I am a huge fan of all of our amendments including the right to bear arms so I have no problem with gun ownership at all. We never had guns (although Lee grew up with them) because of the kids, and for us personally the potential risk was not worth it. However now that it is just the two of us we have been rethinking that strategy and since Steve and Deb have a gun in their rig we decided to go to a range and shoot it. If you are a gun owner, I think it is incredibly important that both members of the couple are comfortable enough shooting it to use it in a dangerous situation. That means being able to load, cock, and fire the weapon with some level of certainty. In order to make that work for me (who has very limited experience) it would be important to find a handgun that I felt I could grow comfortable with over time. Steve’s was not too bad but had a bit of a kick for me, so I rented (for $7) a Smith & Wesson 9MM. I liked shooting it and found it reasonably easy to cock and load, but I am not ready to “pull the trigger” and buy one. Sorry couldn’t help myself 🙂 It was fun though and only cost $18 for Deb and Steve who had their own gun and bullets and $57 for Lee and I who rented one and bought 100 rounds. Kind of pricey for an hour’s entertainment but it’s also research so I didn’t feel too bad about it. Plus of course we got some great pictures and had a really good time. Although Deb has been shooting since age four, she has never been to a gun range so it was a new experience for her.
We went over to see my sister briefly after the gun range. Needed to pick up our new heated fresh water hose. (Even though the daytime weather is quite nice, sometimes the nights can get down below freezing, and there’s no protection from the cold for the fresh water hose that goes from the campground’s water supply hydrant to the camper. It’s a pain to go out and turn it off every night, and then drain it, so it doesn’t freeze up. This hose has a built in heating element that runs the length of the hose, and a thermostat, and keeps the water above freezing, down to well below zero. One of the nicest features is that it is female on both ends, so you can use it whether the power source that you are plugging in to is at the supply end, or the demand end. It comes with a male-male adaptor to use that feature. – Lee) It’s nice to be able to send things to my sister while we are here and we are taking full advantage to get our last minute items from Amazon. Then we took some relax time in the afternoon and just hung out in the beautiful sun. The weather has been beautiful all week…clear blue skies and temperatures in the mid 60’s. As I watched my friends in Buffalo and other parts east deal with nasty weather, I felt so very grateful to be in a place where I could walk outside with just a light jacket. One thing we hadn’t done yet was have a campfire, so we took advantage of our last night with Steve and Deb and made one. It was great, and just what we needed to take off the night chill and the first campfire of our new life together. So glad we had friends there to share it with us.
Deb made stew and biscuits and we sat around the fire and talked until pretty late. Even though we are going through similar things today, we took advantage of the time to learn a little about each others pasts and since Deb has 4 kids and I have 3 shared our childbirth stories…hey, it’s what parents do. (No pictures, because….ewwww. – Lee) The best story of the night though goes to Debbie when she told us how Steve passed out in their Lamaze class. He says it was the heat, but they were playing the C-section video at the time so you be the judge!!! Steve is a big guy, and he passed out cold in the hallway and they had to carry him into one of the doctors’ offices and use smelling salts to revive him. The picture of that is still making me smile and it was so nice to get to know each other better.
We had a great time this week and feel really blessed that Deb and Steve changed their travel plans to meet up with us. They are headed to Charleston, Savannah, and all parts of Forida, but we hope to meet up with them again before they head out west. I know I keep saying it but it bears repeating…you meet the nicest people in this lifestyle and we are truly grateful for it.
- 3 packages of chili seasoning (I like McCormick but any brand will do)
- 3 lbs hamburger
- 1 – (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans (drained)
- 2 – (15 oz) cans dark red kidney beans (drained)
- 3 – (14oz) cans petite diced tomatoes (no flavoring and do not drain)
- Brown hamburger
- Add tomatoes, kidney beans, and seasoning packets to large pot
- Add cooked and drained hamburger
- Cook over medium heat until comes to a light boil
- Simmer (stir frequently so it does not burn)
- Let sit several hours on no heat or overnight
- Eat one or two meals then freeze the rest
Deb’s Tiny Potatoes
- Small bag of white or red new potatoes
- 1 stick of Butter
- Boil potatoes in salt water until fork tender
- Add 1/2 to 1 stick of butter (use generously)
- Season with parsley
Grandma Betty’s Meatloaf
- 2 pounds hamburger
- 1 package Lipton’s onion soup mix
- 1 egg
- 1 cup crumbled Saltine Crackers
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
- Aluminum Foil
- Glass or metal baking dish
- Place hamburger in a large mixing bowl and add soup mix, crackers, milk, and egg
- In a separate small bowl mix ketchup and BBQ sauce
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Mix hamburger and ingredients VERY well using your hands (yes it’s messy but it’s the best way!!)
- Shape meatloaf into a loaf in a baking pan (I try to not make it too thick or the middle does not get done)
- Cover top and sides of meatloaf with sauce mixture (saving 1/2 for second basting)
- Cover pan with aluminum foil
- Cook 1/2 hour at 350 degrees then remove from oven
- Drain grease, baste with remaining sauce, cover with foil, place in oven
- Cook an additional 1/2 hour
- Remove from oven and check the middle to make sure it’s down
- Place in oven for an additional 10 minutes uncovered to lightly brown the sauce on top
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