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Thursday, October 25, 2001 to Sunday, October 28, 2001 - Taking I-95 to Florida

Thursday was supposed to be an early start to avoid Atlanta traffic so I'd get to my speaking engagement that evening with plenty of time to spare. By the time we began to drive, I was already worrying about hitting the infamous, brutal Atlanta rush hour which begins around 3pm. After sitting in traffic on I-95 South and then taking a detour trying to avoid it, instructions courtesy of the truck drivers on the CB radio, I finally got to the supermarket parking lot across from the restaurant where the meeting was being held.

The last time I had spoken in Atlanta, it was at a nearby restaurant and the day had been rainy and gray. I parked the RV in the same supermarket lot and a security guard drove up and told me I had to move. I ended up parking blocks away in a hotel parking lot and on my way in, I broke off the electronic arm that didn't raise high enough to let me into the lot. I ended up having to pay $20 which was a lot less than I thought, and then I had to run through a torrential downpour, without an umbrella, to the restaurant, arriving soaked to the skin. gloria

This day was sunny and cool and there was no security guard in sight. So I grabbed a box of my books, told the Berts to behave and headed across the street to the restaurant. The event was organized by Gloria who was the Webgrrls chapter leader in Atlanta and also the queen networker for all professional women's events. This event was called "Girls Night Out" and was deliciously catered. I held a Town Hall meeting and the women told their stories freely. No men in the room.

By the time the event ended, it was dark outside and I had to scrap my plan to drive to Savannah that night. As I headed out of Atlanta, I soon realized that it would be safer to get to a campground, so I ended up pulling into the KOA Atlanta South. Usually I stay at KOA Atlanta North and had never been in the vicinity of KOA Atlanta South, but it was a welcome relief to see the sign from the highway.

Pulling up to the office, I looked for the Late Registration box, but couldn't see it. I could, however, see yellow plastic tape across the front of the office. Was it closed for the winter? There were RVs throughout the campground, but it was nighttime, and there were no lights on, so I couldn't tell if people were in them or if they were in storage.

I began to get a creepy feeling, but shook it off, telling myself that this was KOA and it was safe. I got out of the RV with my flashlight and stepped under the yellow plastic tape, making sure it didn't say "Crime Scene" on it. I finally found the Late Registration box, opened it, and it was empty. Where was the paperwork? What was going on?

Tired, confused and disoriented, I finally decided to find a campsite and pull into it. The campground was quiet, all the lights in the RVs were off so I still wasn't sure if anyone was really here. I parked the RV and got into bed without plugging in electric or hooking up water. I wanted to make sure I could make a clean getaway if someone discovered I had stayed there overnight without checking in. Suddenly, I was a vagabond RVer. But I did sleep soundly.

On Friday morning, we headed to Savannah and stayed at the same KOA we stayed at the other times we passed through.

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