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Georgia Coasting (Day 101)

October 27th, 2009 3 comments

You asked me once, what was on Day 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is on Day 101 is the worst thing in the world.

In this case, coastlines and forts. It’s the combination of the two that’s so frightening.

(Alternately, I could have made a Fallout 3 reference — but I was guessing that would be even more obscure to the present audience.)

So I went to Georgia’s oldest fort. Imagine that, the oldest fort in *all* of Georgia! There was some intrigue about building it in Spanish territory and on and on. 1755. It’s so important it doesn’t have its own Wikipedia entry.

ft-st-george_tree-pondThe fort — yet another location that warned me about disturbing American alligators, but then failed to provide said alligators.

ft-st-george_swamp-viewThe swamp at the fort: also alligator-free.

ft-st-george_interiorThe (entirely re-constructed based on … ?!) fort. Nice Union Jack, though.

ft-st-george_moss-treeSpanish moss festoons the… yeah.

At which point I went back in time and had breakfast.

waffle-house-reflectionPoetry of the road.

I’m starting to share the Freitai fascination with Waffle House. Just have to remember the two key truths:

  1. Their eggs are terrible.
  2. Their bacon is terrible.

Once you focus on waffles and sausage patties, everything (and I mean *everything*) becomes a-okay (outside of the eggs and the bacon, which remain awful).

From there headed to Jekyll Island, which was originally some sort of haven for rich capitalists who wore stovepipe hats. Now it’s this place that charges $5 for entry/parking and has an island-encircling bike path that inspired me to extract my bike from the ol’ king cab (and bike shoes, helmet, gloves, water bottles, and pump).

Ride on:

jekyll-island_croquetThe most serious croquet match ever.

jekyll-island_me-ridingYou can tell I’m going fast by how blurry the grass is.

jekyll-island_bike-pathBike path.

jekyll-island_trees-beachBeach with trees.

jekyll-island_shell-pathThe bike path is made out of crushed shells.

The biking photos were taken with my cell phone and mostly while moving. And when I was done, I just threw the bike in the bed of the truck because I was too lazy to disassemble it and re-arrange the… uh. I’m too lazy to describe the problem as well.

Does anyone actually read all these words?

Anyway: Georgia Coast.

bkd

Categories: south Tags: , , , ,

Another State, Another Lighthouse (Day 100, Part 2)

October 27th, 2009 4 comments

Another *two* lighthouses actually. Drove into Savannah, saw confusing-looking streets, decided it was probably the same idea as Charleston, and instead headed out to Tybee Island where there was at least a fort. And lighthouses of course. Of course.

The fort was Ft. Pulaski, mostly famous for being the Civil War fort that guarded the Savannah River. It was taken by the North early on and then used as a prison. Also known as being the site of the earliest known photograph of men playing baseball. They know it’s the earliest photograph because someone claimed it was and so far no one has refuted the claim.

pulaski_grave-moat-wallExecuted for overthrowing his cut-off.

pulaski_cannon-circleI always think fort photos are going to be interesting.

pulaski_interior-wallAnd then they turn out to be not all that exciting.

pulaski_exterior-moatAnd yet I persevere.

cockspur-island-lighthouseCockspur Island Lighthouse, right next to the fort.

pulaski_frogMy animal spirit guide assumes tangible form.

cockspur_lighthouse-pathPurportedly, over 5,000 shells passed over this lighthouse during the battle.

cockspur-lighthouse_meEvidence that I may have been there.

tybee-island-lighthouseThe Tybee Island Lighthouse — way too well-kept.

fort-pulaski_dumpsterCaution indeed.

Another big day of looking at old stuff! The fort also had a rifle demonstration. I always wonder why it’s more interest to watch someone else shoot a rifle than it is for me to shoot one myself. Wait — maybe it *isn’t*. Hafta think about that one.

bkd

South Carolina’s Last Stand (Day 100)

October 26th, 2009 1 comment

I liked South Carolina, I’m going to miss it. Folks were polite, the tourist attractions and beaches wholly uncrowded, the swamps were quiet, weather was perfect, great barbecue restaurants. Yeah. Anyway, there was this bombed out church just maybe a half-mile from where I camped. It was called the “Church of Ease”. Cool and sort of romantic-spooky looking, IIDSSM. Like it should be the setting for some Southern Gothic novel or movie (if it hasn’t been already).

OTOH, if you’d like to pass your own judgements…

chapel-of-ease_interiorThe church’s interior with spanish moss Beilage.

chapel-of-ease_spooky-treeA tree! Also a crypt at lower-left. And some tombstones if you zoomed in real close.

chapel-of-ease_drivewayThe church driveway.

Actually, I think it just burned down rather than having been bombed.

Also, at Steve’s suggestion (he was the guy who owned the campground), I checked out this beach that no one knows about but him. Well, and some other locals, I imagine. Pretty and uncrowded, though, although if you’d like to pass your own judgements, again:

beaufort_triangle-beachOr you could’ve just taken my word for it.

And with that, South Carolina was done. OTOH, if I were to move to any of the southern states I’ve seen in this trip so far… yeah, or Virginia. Although Virginia mostly just because I imagine they have more/better jobs there.

Meh,

bkd

South Carolina Puts Its Lighthouses Next to the *Water* for Some Reason (Day 99)

October 26th, 2009 No comments

Ever wake up in the morning and you can’t remember what state you’re in? Yeah.

Left Charleston and headed south to Folly Beach. Meant to go swimming, but there weren’t showers and I didn’t want to spend the rest of the day encrusted with salt. And hopefully you tuned in for lighthouses today, because you’re getting lighthouses. Oh — and this:

folly-island_graffitiEven South Carolina’s fools are deserving of pity.

Then lighthouses.

folly-island_lighthouseYou had to be a good swimmer to work at this one.

folly-island_blusterThe sky shows off its dual nature.

folly-island_lighthouse-beachThe Folly Island Lighthouse in its full glory.

This was probably my favorite lighthouse so far, mostly because (a) it’s still where it’s always been and (b) it hasn’t been restored. I love ruins and relics and the fact that the top of this lighthouse is rusting visibly just — man. It’s perfect. I think there’s some sort of “save our lighthouse” thing going on amongst the locals. I hope by “save” they just mean to keep it standing rather than wanting to go all North Carolina and move it three miles inland. Lighthouses should be weathered, not freshly painted. IMHO.

From there, headed south, mostly along the coast, until I got to the Beaufort area. For some reason this is pronounced “Buford”. There’s a MCAS there and it adjoins Parris Island, whose gate I, well, looked at. They have a state park there that’s got the thickest palm tree jungle this side of Guadalcanal. Also has a campground that was utterly full and charmless as well as, of course, a lighthouse.

hunting-island_lighthouse-palmJust because you can’t see the water in the photo doesn’t mean it isn’t close (enough?) to it.

hunting-island_lighthouse-doorThe door to the lighthouse: *way* to freshly painted…

hunting-island_lighthouseSame lighthouse, different photo.

Ended up going to a private campground to sleep (“Tuck in the Woods” was the name of it). It was very nice and mostly unlike any other private campground I’ve driven by. The spaces actually had trees around them, for instance. Its owner also recommended a place in town that had very good hamburgers — better than the majority I’ve had this trip even.

And then I got bit by a bunch of mosquitoes.

bkd

The Graveyard of the Atlantic and Me (Day 88, Part 2)

October 14th, 2009 1 comment

Rest assured, I didn’t not wreck at Cape Hatteras. Just about melted down when it turned out that the Parks Service, in their infinite wisdom, closes down all their campgrounds on the cape (four or five of them) on October 12th though. Real handy. Y’know, a lot of Parks sites keep their campgrounds open during the off-season. Bring in a couple port-a-potties, turn the water off, and lower the price by $5, but otherwise: open. And these are sites that, like, get snow and crap. Or you could just allow beach camping.

And thus started my hate affair with North Carolina.

But hey, how ’bout these lighthouses! They weren’t closed, no sir! Not till the next day, at which point, yes, they were to have been closed (or so the rangers said).

hatteras_seagullsYou’re right: these are not lighthouses.

hatteras_bodie-lighthouseBodie Island lighthouse. It’s only a mile from the water (the *ocean* water). Maybe it was built to protect the ships that were working their ways up the swamps.

hatteras_hatteras-lighthouseThe Hatteras Lighthouse. They have signs that point you to where this one *used* to be. You can still see its old foundation. It’s next to the water.

hatteras_lighthouse-glassTop of the lighthouse.

hatteras_lighthouse-stairsInside the lighthouse. How trite.

I think moving a lighthouse away from the water is worse than de-clawing a feral cat. I mean, it’s still a house with a light in it, but it’s not a lighthouse any more. My only remaining hope is that global warming kicks in for real so that poor suffering lighthouses like Hatteras and Bodie can glimpse the water again.

BTW, Hatteras is the tallest lighthouse in the US (if you can call it a lighthouse) and the “tallest brick lighthouse” in the world. The black-and-white is cool, IMHO.

Otherwise, Cape Hatteras National Seashore is just another shoreline. Not nearly as dramatic as Big Sur or Oregon Coast — and I was a little underwhelmed by *those*. There are a few touristy towns there — I’m not sure why a tourist would hang out in Avon, North Carolina, though. Maybe the beaches are nice in summer. There were guys who were surf fishing, which looked like it could be cool, although they didn’t look like tourists. And I didn’t see any ships get wrecked while I was there — but at least it didn’t cost me $55 to get in.

Without NPS campgrounds, I ended up paying $50 to stay at a motel run by a gas station. There were private campgrounds available, but they all looked like they were ruled by feral cats. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. As it turned out, the gas station was also ruled by feral cats.

bkd

Pemaquid Lighthouse (Day 76)

October 1st, 2009 No comments

Big drivin’ day yesterday (like eight hours total), but I checked out some more Maine before high-tailin’ it out of there. Have I used “high-tailin'” recently? Seems too familiar somehow.

Oh, stayed the night in the Seven Mountains Motel in Rockport, Maine. It was like a classic 1960’s motel (park in front of your room, single-story, 15 or so units), but the couple that ran it sort of did it like it was a bed and breakfast. Jean and Norman were their names. Norman had an outstanding Maine accent. It was awesome, recommended.

Anyway, went to this lighthouse and took these two photos.

pemaquid_birdsBirds near the lighthouse.

pemaquid_lighthouseLighthouse near the birds.

I was kind of expecting a grander lighthouse, but as it *does* sit near the water, I’m guessing this one’s effective at least.

bkd

Acadia National Park and the Mt. Sargent Loop (Day 75)

October 1st, 2009 1 comment

One thing’s sort of for-sure: I don’t get very excited about shorelines. I’m glad they exist, they don’t cause much harm, but, you know: meh. Shoreline. I took a picture of this one, though, in Maine, somewhere in Acadia National Park, which is located on Mt. Desert Island about half-way up the coast. Go:

acadia_shorelineIt’s not like it’s an eye-sore, just that I’m not sure what you do with it besides look.

Anyway. Lady ranger at the visitor center also suggested, when prompted, I go on this hike to Mt. Sargent, which she described as the second-best hike in the park (I didn’t ask, I figured she knew what she was doing). In my short time in the region, I’ve developed a sort of love-hate thing with New England hikes an there was a lot of both on this one — but for a hike that had me swearing at the trail engineers for the entirety of a certain 30-minute stretch, this was a lot of fun and one I’d rank toward the top of the list. And I sort-of forgive it for being a 4.5-mile, 3.25-hour hike (that’s slow).

And the photos won’t show the fun parts so much, because it’s hard to take pictures of yourself while dangling off railings, climbing up wet granite on your hands and knees, or taking the downhill granite like a park whore parkour course (who knew?). Oh well.

For the information-hungry and per the ranger’s instructions, I took the Spring Trail to the Jordan Cliff Trail (the part with the ladders and rungs) to the East Cliff Trail (the part with the hands and knees) to the Mt. Sargent Summit to the South Ridge Trail to the Penobscot Mountain Summit to the Penobscot Trail (the parkour course) back to the Spring Trail. This was probably as dangerous a hike as I’ve done (largely because of the rain the night before — I imagine the footing’s pretty sure when the rocks are dry). It also wasn’t much of a tree prison. Excelsior.

acadia_cascade-on-trailWater trickling onto the trail.

acadia_trees-on-trailTrees, holding on tight(ly).

acadia_jordan-pondThe view of Jordan Pond from Jordan Cliff. The rung at bottom-right helps hikers not fall.

acadia_trail-ladderThis is a ladder you must climb.

acadia_stream-crossingA stream crossing! And me without my poles.

acadia_caterpillarCaterpillar: go!

acadia_sidehill-viewLooking over the side of Mt. Sargent toward a bunch of little Maine islands in the Atlantic.

acadia_cairnAnd they have cairns that look like this there.

acadia_sargent-viewView from the top.

acadia_sargent-signsSigns on Mt. Sargent.

acadia_top-of-penobscotThe top of Mt. Penobscot.

acadia_me-at-penobscotMe, there.

acadia_granite-and-railingGranite wall on the way back down.

Fun trail.

Part of what I don’t like about sea coasts is that, at least the ones I’ve been to on this trip, they’re crowded. The drive around the Acadia coast is silly with tour buses (that stop in the middle of one-lane roads) and even on a weekday at the end of September, there’s nowhere on the coast you’re going to be able to stand without having company. Big Sur and Oregon coasts felt the same way to me.

Pictured Rocks Lakeshore, though, I liked a lot. Maybe it’s just the crowds.

There’s also a lighthouse near Acadia (at the tip of the Mt. Desert Island peninsula), but it’s lame.

Dunn out.

Miner’s Castle Is Major Awesome (Day 57, Part 2)

September 16th, 2009 4 comments

Drove across the U.P. to Christmas, Mich., where I got a campsite for the night, then headed out to Munising (a town!) and then Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore to see what was there, half-way intending on finding it to be lame and then leaving first thing in the morning.

I found out Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore existed by going through a list of all National Parks Service properties on Wikipedia and seeing that this one looked kind of pretty in the pictures, plus somewhere in my mind I thought I remembered someone telling me that the “claw part” of Michigan had something worthwhile about it. Turns out that real life is prettier than the pictures, most especially *my* pictures (in this case). IMHO.

munising-fallsSee that there? And if you squint hard enough, you can almost see a waterfall!

So Munising Falls wasn’t the good part. It was close to town, though, and thus got visited. The next site down the line was Miner’s Castle, which was recommended by RS’s Reader’s Digest book.

miners-castle_kayaksThe Miner’s Castle; the miner himself may be in one of the ‘yaks. But probably not.

miners-castle_pictured-rocksSans paddlers.

Was mostly struck by how pretty the water was. Looked like something you’d expect to find in the South Pacific, but it was on Lake Superior. Pretty cool. I figured I hadn’t seen enough of it and then found what looked like a good 10-miler I could try the next day.

Meanwhile, my writeups get continually lamer. This one’s almost *sincere* [shudders]. Only another 68 days of blogging to go (give or take)! Maybe my second (writing) wind is waiting for me in, oh, let’s say the Adirondacks. Seems likely enough.

bkd

PS, The campground was an NFS site, so you know it had to be good. It was a pretty big NFS campground (40 or so sites) and privately managed, which meant it was a little on the expensive site for NFS ($16). But: potable water, plenty of trees, and I could do laundry without my neighbors having to watch. NFS campgrounds über alles.

They Turn the Split Rock Lighthouse on Twice a Year (Day 56)

September 14th, 2009 No comments

Once on the anniversary of its construction and once to commemorate the date of the sinking of the Ella Fitzgerald. Fine, Edmund Fitzgerald, what do I care?. “Starlit Hour” is my favorite song of hers. The boat never did much for me.

The lighthouse is a good one, located in Minnesota, north of Duluth, along the shores of Lake Superior.

split-rock-lighthouse-exterior (1)And by “good lighthouse”, I mean it’s reasonably polite and a generous tipper.

split-rock-foghorn (1)The foghorn gets used more than twice a year.

split-rock-interiorClichéed shot of spiral lighthouse staircase. Ah well.

split-rock-exteriorAnd it even seems to be situated usefully.

Yep, lighthouse. Apparently it was featured on a stamp as one of the “Great Lighthouses of the Great Lakes” some time in the 90s. And Lake Superior is really, really big.

bkd

The Oregon Coast Would Be Better with a Date (Day 17)

July 29th, 2009 4 comments

At least, that’s what I’m figuring. I’m realizing there’s a certain class of activity on this trip that is not ideally suited for individual travel and the Oregon Coast seems to be in that class. So were Monterey and Carmel.

Also, seeing all these sights in such close succession leads me to, well, compare them. Oregon Coast seems similar to Big Sur, thus I compare. And I think Big Sur wins. Way more drama, at least so far. Nothing much to *do* at either of them (I guess I could go collect sand dollars), but still — I like my Big Sur photos better.

‘Course, today I’m probably going to a flight museum. That oughtta speed things up. And I’m thinking I’ll be at REI in PDX tonight getting my broken down brand new shoes replaced (less than 50 miles and the soles are coming off). So things are looking up! And maybe the coast gets more drama once you’re north of Lincoln City. Ah well.

It’s still way better than working and the coast is very beautiful, even if I’m forced to recognize that it’s not my favorite part of the Pacific Coast. (Plus all these little towns are very tourist-trappy, until you hit the Wal-Mart, at which point they also lose some of their charm. Meh!)

umpqua lighthouseThe Umpqua Lighthouse, bravely keeping Coast Guard family housing safe from errant U-Haul trucks.

sea lions on rockIt costs $11 to look at these sea lions. And then all they can do is just writhe there.

heceta lighthouseThe Heceta Lighthouse, which — credit where due — is at least near the ocean.

beach with guy and dogIt’s not that it’s not pretty — just: (a) better with a date and (b) not as pretty as Big Sur.

cape perpetua shoreVaguely reminiscent of the Na Pali coast, what with the fog in the distant cliffs and all.

And I’m still wondering if I’m just getting jaded from seeing too many great places. Ah well. Maybe I just need to get into another more-kinetic part of the trip. Maybe I should’ve just hiked the PCT instead. Maybe next year. No, really.

bkd

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