If you didn’t already notice, my husband and I are on a four-month long journey through the US, towing our R-Pod. You can read about what prompted our adventure here. This is a summary of the first leg of our journey.
When planning our journey, we knew one thing: we needed to head south. But where could we start and safely experience no snow or very cold temperatures? Though there are many things we wanted to see and do in Virginia/Maryland/DC, and even Tennessee and Kentucky, but we felt that heading to the coast and traveling down would be our best bet for decent weather, and who doesn’t like the beach?
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
When we left Michigan on January 20, it was single digits and snow. Our first night was spent in a Holiday Inn Express in Mineral Springs, West Virginia simply because it was TOO cold (negative digits) to spend in it in the pod without electricity. When we finally reached Myrtle Beach, which we decided would be our first stop because it was south enough to be somewhat warm and not TOO far away from home, we were just happy to not be driving anymore.
We were warned upon registering at the campground that it would be “a cold one” with lows in the upper 30s. This did not deter us at all since we were leaving behind the impending polar vortex. Instead, we de-winterized the trailer and enjoyed a quiet stay at a campground right on the beach.
Myrtle Beach itself wasn’t our style. It was touristy and reminiscent of the Jersey Shore or Atlantic City in a lot of ways. We walked along the beach and found that it was too cold to spent much time outside. Nora was happy to run along the beach without a care in the world. We did get to visit a winery for a wine tasting. My goodness, was the wine SUPER SWEET. But we enjoyed the experience.
Adjusting to life in 100 square feet, we used our nights at Myrtle Beach to re-coop from a stressful bout of driving and decisions of go or no-go.
Charleston, South Carolina
I will admit that I am not a person that believes the south is bursting with charm. I say this because there are many problematic ideologies and groups in the south, as well as a tarnished proud “history” that is upheld. However, I have read and seen so much about Charleston that I wanted to see if it was truly as charming as others have said.
What trip would be complete without a history lesson? Coinciding with our visit to the south was the reading of White Trash: The Untold 400-Year History of Class in America. Highly recommend to anyone interested in systemic class warfare. As this book points out, Charleston was THE slave port of the south. The city was built on this dark history, and no doubt the fancy houses we came to admire were owned by slaveowners. Also, you can’t forget that the civil war started at Fort Sumter, which you can see right from the edge of the city.
Charleston, in all honesty, did not disappoint in terms of food, scenery, or really anything. The beautiful spanish moss, the beach colored buildings, the biscuits, the walkable streets, the proximity to the beach. Everything was as all the travel guides said, down to the delicious beef brisket we ate at Lewis Barbecue, a homage to Anthony Bourdain’s Charleston visit and the best beef brisket we’ve both ever experienced (and we did go to Texas’s barbecue capitol later in the trip).
We found the city to be incredibly dog friendly (though to be honest we are NOT shoppers), but we were able to dine with Nora and walk her all around the city. She even had a quick trip to Folly Beach to run. We’re finding we have a sand-loving dog rather than a water dog, which is fine with us.
I think my favorite part of our time in the city was the plantation we visited, Magnolia Plantation. We were skeptical at first, but it was an activity where Nora was allowed EVERYWHERE, including on the tram tour of the property and the slave quarters we visited. We found the slavery quarters tour to be excellent, as the guide acknowledged the darker history of the plantation, where we were expecting to be disappointed with the treatment of the topic; we’re both usually disappointed with the conversations about slavery and segregation in the south, so it was enlightening to see a very well-versed guide who knew his history. Not to mention, the property was gorgeous.
We continued our tour of the south by heading to Savannah. I was expecting a lot of the same “southern” things that we saw and experienced in Charleston, and I felt overall that Savannah was even more southern and honestly, more magical. We walked 8 miles through every single square in Savannah – all 22 of them. To me, walking is always the best way to see a town, so if you can walk it, walk it! Nora LOVED every single minute we walked and we honestly couldn’t get far before someone stopped us to pet or greet her.
The squares reminded me a little of the four squares in Philadelphia, but smaller and more charming. All were a little different, but the oaks and moss were still there. It was truly picturesque. But honestly, the best thing about the city was that it wasn’t full of skyscrapers, but it felt more residential. Maybe it was just the downtown, but either way, all three of us enjoyed it.
We also visited the Wormsloe Estate, which had the longest driveway of live oaks and spanish moss. It looked like a movie! The estate is one of the first in Savannah. If you know anything about how Georgia was colonized, it was originally supposed to be a “classless” society, where colonists were brought from Britain and given land to farm. The original owner of this estate was one of those that survived.
In addition, we visited a cemetery, which apparently at one time was a nice place for a picnic? Apparently people would drive up there and picnic at the cemetery. This is unheard of where we are from, but it was quite pretty.
Are We Moving?
After every spot we visit, somehow we always end up asking each other, “would we want to live here?” The answer has been “no” for every single location we’ve been. Despite the cold temperatures and snow we have somewhat escaped (yes it’s snowed recently — more on that later), we still love Michigan. Everywhere is nice to visit, but we know that we’d be melting in the summer, whereas at home, we have seasons. Maybe one day we’ll change our minds.
What Does the R-Pod Look Like Inside?
Since we’ve gotten a lot of questions about what the interior of the pod looks like, here’s a taste! We have been cooking a lot, sleeping, working, and entertaining ourselves on rainy days in this little space. We still love it, even after a few recent hiccups (more on that later)!