One of the challenges of being retired is keeping track of time. We knew we couldn’t stay the weekend at Skidaway State Park but we forgot that the reason was Memorial Day Weekend. For those of you who don’t camp, Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial season opening. I suspect ninety-nine percent of people who camp will do so somewhere on Memorial Day Weekend. Having forgotten that, we blithely set off as usual this morning without any reservations for Friday night or any other night. Oops!
Just in case we had forgotten we couldn’t stay where we were, the park ranger at Skidaway came and took our camping permit off the post at our campsite this morning. I had called the park office to see if there was any possibility we could stay but they had no cancellations so they had 57 reservations for their 57 campsites. They will fill the sites on a first arrived gets first choice basis but even the handicapped sites will be filled whether or not the people in them are handicapped. Oh, well.
I had been having an email discussion with Oak Plantation Campground near Charleston, South Carolina, about coming there this weekend since that is where our next set of sightseeing stops are. I had been assured they had room for us. But when I called them this morning to confirm, I got voice mail and no one returned my call. So we set off with no place to stop for the night. But we had options according to my list of potential places.
The next option down the road was a private RV park in Hardeeville, South Carolina, so we drove there. At least, we drove to where is was supposed to be. We found lots of sales lots for new, upscale subdivisions instead.
So when Dave stopped to buy fuel, I called the nearest state park, Hunting Island State Park. The woman who answered the phone there said they had one spot left for Friday but none for Saturday. I said we’d take Friday. She put me on hold a couple of times while she did what she did then gave me a confirmation number and a campsite number.
We were only about 30 minutes from the park but it was too early to check in so we drove back into Georgia and crossed into South Carolina again this time using I-95 instead of US 17 so we could get a South Carolina state map at the Welcome Center. If you come this way, don’t take US 17 even if you already have a map. The bridge is high and so are the winds across it; I-95 is MUCH better. Then we headed to Hunting Island State Park.
Dave thinks I am a GPS system. He counts on me to tell him when and where to turn. But he occasionally decides to turn somewhere else because it feels right to him. It often is a good decision. However, he then expects me to know what he should do next. When you are using a real GPS and you make an unscheduled turn it says, “Recalculating,” then a moment later tells you what to do now that you are in a different place than the original plan. I don’t recalculate so quickly. Sometimes, by the time I figure out the implications of what he did I want to say, “Turn right at the corner you passed Ľ mile back.” Which means I now need to recalculate again. It helps if I can persuade him to stop somewhere while I recalculate.
But we did get to Hunting Island State Park at a reasonable time of day and got in line to check in. They didn’t have us on their list. We didn’t have a reservation. But, we had a reservation number. So they put that into their computer and told us our reservation is at Table Rock State Park. We’d never heard of that park. It turns out to be about as far from here as you can get and still be in South Carolina. Wrong! So, they found us a spot here for one night and we all set out to figure out what happened.
Fortunately, I had made the original call from Dave’s cell phone so it had records of what happened. It seems every time the clerk put me on hold then came back his phone registered it as a new call. So his records showed I called Hunting Island State Park. Seconds later, the first time she put me on hold then came back, it registered as another call to Hunting Island State Park. The second time she put me on hold and came back it registered as a call to Table Rock State Park which is where she made our reservation. But, I never hung up. I never called Table Rock at all, let alone made all three calls within two minutes.
So Ranger Kyle made arrangement for us to get a refund from Table Rock State Park. He was very apologetic for the glitch and said if the refund didn’t come through be sure and call him so he can follow up on it. He wished the payment I made to the wrong park could just be transferred to the right park but Reserve America’s system, the people who do all the reservations for most state parks in this country, don’t seem to be able to do that either. Plus, it may take up to ten days for it to show up as a credit on our account. Have you ever noticed how much longer refunds take than charges do?
And we still don’t know where we are sleeping Saturday or Sunday nights.