Bob Bestler

Bye-bye boat, hello RV


We sold our boat a few months ago.

It was, as the joke goes, one of the two happiest days of our life. The other was the day we bought it.

The other joke was not so funny: A boat is a hole in the water into which you sink money. We sank a lot, most every time we took it out.

So we are now one of the few households in McClellanville that 1) does not own a boat and 2) does not have a pickup in the driveway.

We are, however, among a growing number of households here with some type of camper or RV.

Ours is a 17-foot pop-up A-frame, just a puppy compared to some of the bus-like behemoths with which we often share a campground.

It takes less than a minute to set up and, while driving, I can see the traffic out the rear-view mirror. That’s a big deal.

We bought it after watching our neighbor, who had a similar pop-up, take off for weeks at a time, traveling across Canada and the U.S., visiting parks and monuments along the way, collecting state stickers. Now that, we decided, is the way to retire.

Plus, campgrounds -- especially in state and national parks -- are cheaper than the cheapest Econolodge.

The best part: pets are always welcome. And Wasabi has become an eager camper; our cat Bohicket is trying hard to catch on.

We haven’t taken any weeks-long treks, but we’ve become familiar with state parks from northern Georgia to southern Florida and several points in between.

We’ve taken only one long trip, to Missouri to celebrate my late sister’s 80th birthday, stopping at a Tennessee state park along the way.

In Florida, Anastasia State Park outside St. Augustine is a favorite. My grandson Jacob and I have stayed there twice while attending The Players Championship in nearby Ponte Vedra; we’ll be making the same trip next month.

A couple months ago, my wife and I spent four nights at St. Andrews State Park outside Panama Beach, Fla., a place we might never have visited otherwise. We even spent a night at Stephen Foster State Park and visited the museum of the guy who dreamed of Jeanie with the light brown hair.

In South Carolina, we’ve discovered Edisto State Park south of Charleston, Hunting Island State Park near Beaufort, Santee State Park near Santee and Wateree State Park north of Columbia.

Closer to home, we’ve stayed at Huntington Beach State Park several times. It is another favorite, for the wildlife as well as the beach.

Despite the jokes, it was hard giving up our boat after 20 years on the water.

But the camper has more than made up for it. And so far we haven’t had to sink one extra penny into it.

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