We spent a few memorable days on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, with odd encounters and over-the-top glorious warm, sunny weather. We stayed at a private RV park on the waterway, where each site is individually owned and decorated. You cannot reserve sites in advance, but we knew that we might be able to snag a waterfront site because we were arriving on a Sunday morning, when many people were leaving. We arrived fairly early for check-in and found limited available waterfront sites due to dock construction. But, fortunately, one lovely site right on the water had just opened up and we grabbed it. Yesssss!!!
After we went through the routine of backing in (a bit difficult because of the large truck parked across the street) and unhooking the trailer, George went to hook up the sewer hose and discovered a charming surprise—a spill from the previous occupant’s black tank. It was a two-foot wide puddle of sodden disintegrating clumps of toilet paper and crap (literally). Nooooo!!!
What kind of people leave a dump of sewage behind? Did they think no one would notice? It’s bad enough having to act as a roto-rooter for your own sewage in an RV, but having to come face-to-face with someone else’s is downright puke-worthy. After an initial non-reaction from the woman manning the park’s office, apparently a light dawned—uh-oh raw sewage—and she came running over, immensely apologetic. Fortunately, another waterfront site had been vacated while we were trying to figure out what to do. So, we were able to move. Management also kindly offered us a free night. Things were looking up.
Shortly after unhitching for a second time at the new site, we were approached by a middle-aged brother and sister, who stopped to ask questions about our trailer. The woman cornered me by the picnic table with a non-stop, one-sided talk fest. She pulled up her shirt to show me a rainbow of blue and yellow bruises from broken ribs she sustained in a ping-pong game with her brother (“we’re very competitive, you know”) and then went into graphic detail about the effect the painkillers she received had on her bowels. I will spare you the details.
All this happened within an hour of arriving at Hilton Head. Ouch.
The new site, however, was exquisite, with its own dock and a view of the harbor. We spent most of our time just sitting outside, soaking up the warmth and sun, and looking out over the water.
The RV park had—let’s say an unusual culture, with lots of people in huge Class As and Fifth Wheels who stay there for the whole winter. They seemed to think it was beneath them to acknowledge short-timers and were some of the unfriendliest people we have encountered on the trip. You would think we were sporting buboes.
It’s fascinating how people enjoy a little snobbery even when they are living in what is, in essence, a trailer park.
Surprisingly, there was a very good restaurant in the park, over the laundry, looking out on the water. The food was delicious and inventive—much too good for many of its clientele.
We went for dinner at sunset one evening and sat next to a table with three grim, moneyed, older couples. They insisted on having the blinds drawn, “too bright,” complained that the gumbo was “too seasoned,” and loudly pointed out that “some people think it’s ok to wear baseball caps in restaurants, but not us.” George, two other men, and a woman (all over 50, but the youngest in the restaurant) apparently were causing great irritation to this man by wearing baseball caps and he felt it was his duty to inform them of their rudeness. I thought he was rude on several counts, but politely refrained from saying anything. Perhaps I should have informed Mr. Complainer that his liver-spotted, combed-over head would have been greatly improved by a hat and his vein-popping, crusty ankles by a pair of socks.
Many people adore Hilton Head. It has gorgeous beaches, top-notch golf courses, lots of shopping, and good restaurants. But, it was not our style–too much traffic, too many people, too many stores. I rode my bike all around the island’s bike paths one day and had to continually dodge broken beer bottles, fast-food bags, styrofoam food containers, a dead cat, two dead raccoons, a dead squirrel, and aggressive traffic.
I was thrilled to get back to our serene little spot on the water and didn’t venture out again.
After four days, we left for Edisto Beach State Park. The weather turned cold, cloudy, and very windy—too cold to really spend any time at the beach. We stayed at the inland part of the campground, which gave us some protection from the wind, so we enjoyed its trails in a dense, gloomy, Tolkein-like woods, where the trees seemed to have faces. One trail led to the remains of a Native shell-mound.
There were lots of families at the Edisto campground over the weekend. In fact, it was full. One afternoon, we were puzzled by what sounded like a loud, annoying cell phone ring that didn’t stop. It turned out to be an ice cream truck weaving through the park. The seven children at the site next to us were eager customers. The summer weekend campground season has already begun.