Lake Marion, South Carolina

Day 837

     We are camping on Lake Marion in Summerton, South Carolina. Lake Marion was created by the construction of the Santee Dam by damming, guess what river? Your right, the Santee River, there is no getting pass you guys. The dam was constructed in November, 1941 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal during the Great Depression. 

     The lake is named after Francis Marion, a General in the American Revolutionary War. Supposedly, more places are named for Marion than any other Revolutionary War hero, other than George. 

     Directly next to us on Lake Marion is Santee National Wildlife Refuge, which we hiked. We heard neither birds, nor saw any any animals during our hike. Probably because of the Government Shutdown. 

     In this area, we expected to see wood ducks (named because they inhibit this woodland area, not because they are made of wood), but they must have been furloughed. 

Technical Stuff: 

Roanoke Rapids, NC to Lake Marion, South Carolina: 269.1 miles

4 hours 54 minutes

10.5 MPG

Diesel: $2.56

Rock Hill, South Carolina

Day 832

     On our way home for my father’s 98th birthday, we took a slight detour to Rock Hill, South Carolina to visit friends we made on our Alaska Trip. He has a more warped sense of humor than I. In response to my question of what to see and do in Rock Hill, he jokily said, “The most notable thing here is the tank at the National Guard Armory”. So, here’s to you, Charles:

     In 1851 the railroad was looking to build tracks and a station between Charlotte, North Carolina and Columbia, South Carolina. The closest towns did not want a railroad in their town because they considered it dirty and noisy. However, nearby landowners agreed to let the railway have a right-of-way through their lands. A spot was chosen for a rail station and the engineers noted the spot on the map as a “rocky hill”.

     Tidbit of Information: Robert Moorman Sims, a resident of Rock Hill, born December 25, 1837, was a Captain in the Confederate Army. He was ordered by Robert E. Lee on April 9, 1865, to carry the white flag of truce which led to the surrender of Lee’s forces at Appomatox Courthouse.

     Most of my information about Rock Hill came from our tour of the Rock Hill Telephone Company Museum, and this gentlemen. 

     He grew up here and worked for the telephone company, now retired. He pointed out old pictures of Rock Hill, and told us what use to be there and what was there now. Most of the old buildings have been torn down, or refurbished for new businesses. 

     The Museum of York County was an interesting museum in downtown Rock Hill. 

     Do you know what this is?

     That’s right, a pigeon. Did you know Pigeons are one of only a small number of species to pass the “mirror test” – a test of self-recognition? They can also recognize each letter of the human alphabet, differentiate between photographs, and even distinguish different humans within a photograph. 

     Of course you know pigeons use to carry mail (carrier pigeons). I wonder if they read that mail?

     Well, Barbara says we have to go, she’s famished. 

Technical Stuff:

Atlanta Georgia to Rock Hill, South Carolina: 249.9 miles

5 hours 3 minutes

10.9 MPG

Diesel: $3.00

Walterboro, South Carolina

Day 556

    This should be the last night of cold weather, as tomorrow we will be in sunny Florida. We are not doing any sightseeing, as the object is to get out of the cold weather. We are spending our days organizing the Sphinx, as we just threw everything in when we left Maryland since the temperatures were in the single digits. 

Technical Stuff:

Raleigh, NC to Walterboro, SC: 236.5 miles

4 hours 58 minutes

10.5 MPG

Diesel: $2.74

Fort Mill, South Carlolina

Day 543

     Although the town of Fort Mill was not incorporated until 1873, after the Civil War, it has a rich history, including the site of the last Cabinet Meeting of the Confederate States of America.

     The town of Fort Mill, originally called Little York, takes its name from a colonial-era fort built by the British. Thomas Spratt was the first European to settle here around 1750.

     Jefferson Davis and the Confederate Cabinet passed through the area during their flight from Richmond. The last meeting of the full Confederate Cabinet was held in Fort Mill on April 29, 1865.

     Fort Mill’s Confederate Park, a tribute to the Southern Cause, contains the nation’s only monument to slaves fighting on the Confederate side of the War of Northern Aggression. 


     The park is funded by private citizens, and therefore the Government cannot take down the monuments, like in New Orleans.

     Although, to my dismay, there were no confederate flags flying, they still have a street called Confederate St.

     Tidbit of Information: In the 1980s, Fort Mill was the home to TV evangelist Jim Bakker’s now defunct Heritage USA.

Technical Stuff:

Atlanta, Georgia to Fort Mill, South Carolina: 237.9 miles

5 hours and 4 minutes

10.9 MPG

Diesel: $2.70

Cooper River, South Carolina

Day 367

     We hiked along the Cooper River in Berkeley County, South Carolina. This is the area were Francis Marion was born in 1732. He joined the military and took part in the French and Indian War. He became known for his brutal campaign against the Cherokee Indians, this carried over to the Revolutionary War. He was not liked by the ranking military officers and was given his own command in defending South Carolina from the British to get him out of their hair. Marion committed atrocities during the war, including not honoring flags of surrender, brutality, and killing unarmed prisoners.

     An example would be after the Battle of Eutaw Springs on September 8, 1781. The retreating British fled to a plantation were they set up a hospital to treat their wounded. Marion ordered the hospital, and it’s inhabitants, burned to the ground. This incident resulted in much controversy about the proper rules of warfare. The senior Continental Officer of South Carolina responded saying military supplies were stored in the building, which made it a legitimate target. The victors write the history.

     Marion was made a romantic hero by books and shows like Walt Disney’s Swamp Fox.




Summerton, South Carolina

Day 365

     It has now been one year of traveling in the Sphinx. Do we like it? Was it worth the investment? What were the highlights? What problems did we have? With all of the above, did we make the right decision?

     Never being more than 40 feet apart was a major concern when we started this adventure. As it turns out we get along great, which is probably the reason we’ve been married for 35 years, we both love me.

     Taking into consideration the cost of the Sphinx, campground fees, attraction and admission costs, restaurants, and diesel fuel, it is costing us less on a per day basis than staying in our home. (We figure groceries equal out.)

     Seeing the Country, learning (or re-learning) history, seeing wonderful sights, tasting local cuisine (today we had shrimp that we bought right off the shrimp boat), and meeting a wide range of people, has made this a fantastic journey.

     Taking your house, with all your possessions, and shaking them up like a cocktail has given us challenges (my wife’s term), that we did not anticipate. At lot has to do with the poor quality control in the RV industry (and we have what is considered a high-end RV with good quality control). We have overcome these challenges (from the hydraulics not working to a shattered window caused by the roughness of I-55 in Louisiana). It is all part of the adventure.

    There is no doubt in our minds that we made the right decision. We are having the time of our lives. 

     Therefore, we will be continuing our 5 year journey. We chose five years as our initial target to justify the cost of a new RV over a used one. There is nothing to prevent us going longer, as long as our health holds out. 

     I will continue writing this blog so you may follow our travels. I hope you find them entertaining. Please leave comments in that section at the end of each blog, making sure you check the box that says notify you when I respond to your comment. 

Technical Stuff:

Townsend, Georgia to Summerton, South Carolina 158.1 miles

3 hours 12 minutes

11.9 MPG

Diesel: $2.69