Posts Tagged ‘south carolina’

How I Celebrated 100 Days on the Road

October 27th, 2009 Comments off

Fortunately, geography was on my side and enabled me to celebrate the exact way I’d always planned.

fireworks-exterior1. With Fireworks!

pigs-feet2. And a banquet of pigs’ feet!

I was happy to have found the pigs’ feet at a Piggly Wiggly somewhere on the outskirts of Savannah. The fireworks were just barely on the South Carolina side of the border. I would’ve actually *bought* fireworks, but the guy who ran the place kept trying to talk to me and then, after we eventually talked for fifteen minutes, he stood up, thanked me for coming in, and wished me a nice day. (I think he’d been trying to watch TV.)

fireworks-interiorI imagine it looks *just like* a Cajun pageant.

And then I kept going.


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.



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

October 26th, 2009 Comments off

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.


Charleston Walk-Around (Day 98)

October 24th, 2009 1 comment

Spent about five hours on Thursday just walking around Charleston. I downloaded a walking tour guide and, from what I overheard of the other tour guides passing me, I think the downloaded one was at least as good. Less self-important anyway. Here are some photos, shown gallery-style because it’s so much easier to do that way and I didn’t have snarky comments about these anyway:

It’s a nice town. I now know more about Charleston than any other city in the world, I think. Or at least I did on Thursday. “Genteel poverty” seems like a cool term — I think I might like to have seen that era. The spikes on the top of the wall were put there in case of slave revolt. I can’t really see those spikes helping too much, though. Didn’t those people know they needed barbed wire and glass shards up there instead?

Also, I still felt too burned by Biltmore to spend $x on any of the mansions-for-viewing on my route. There were probably 15 or 20 of the 100 tour entries that had an entry fee if you wanted to go inside.



Yorktown IV: Revenge of the Essex Class (Day 97)

October 22nd, 2009 6 comments

I guess it’s never a bad thing to go hang out on an aircraft carrier-museum for a few hours. Well — probably the second consecutive day of it might get old. Never done it that way, though, so I wouldn’t know.

I’m starting to realize that Charleston’s attractions are merely okay. OTOH, it’s been a great, comfortable, *polite* place to hole up for a few days.

That said, here are a few pictures of the same thing each time. (The aircraft carrier is the Yorktown, it was built in 1943 and therefore involved in WWII. Decommissioned in 1970. It smelled like an aircraft carrier.)

Oh, and I forgot to re-charge my DSLR battery, so these were taken with my cell phone, so they’re kind of crappy-looking.

yorktown_ship-flag-bridgeCarrier, flag, Ravenel Bridge (connects Charleston with Mt. Pleasant)

yorktown_tailhookTailhook, but no scandal.

yorktown_hornetHornet is go.

yorktown_thru-windowBridge and Phantom viewed from flight control.

Y’know, I’m not sure I learned anything from this ship. The guy there didn’t know if there were any actual F4F Wildcats left anywhere (theirs was another FM-2). Um. They have a Medal of Honor museum on-board, but it was pretty dull. You do (re-)learn that aircraft carriers are big, complex systems there. Got to see the on-board dentist area. There’s also a submarine that you can walk through (torpedo room, engine room, officers’ rooms, bridge, galley, mess, torpedo room — IIRC).

Beautiful day, though.


(PS, I *did* learn that Charleston lost their navy base in, like, ’98 or so. Still got the AFB, though.)

Random Cell Phone Photos (Day 96)

October 22nd, 2009 Comments off

Spent most of Day 96 doing grad school app stuff, as well as sitting in the room trying to avoid having to do grad school app stuff. It eventually works out — at least at always has so far in my life. Heck, every day’s a roll of the dice, right? Here’s me hard at work on Day 96:

charleston_hotelSadly, my face appears to be slipping off the side of my skull.

And while I’m sure you’d be happier hearing more about *that* adventure, instead I’m throwing out a bunch of photos that have accumulated on my cell phone throughout the trip. Some of them seem more honest and/or representative than the others I end up posting here. Enjoy anyway. If you want.

sam-at-breakfastNephew Sam at breakfast. Not sure why there’s french toast cooling on the window sill.

safeco-scoreboardSafeco scoreboard, before things went wrong. The girl sitting by herself was just there to see Ichiro!, but she kept falling asleep. Ichiro!, on the other hand, remained alert and lively throughout the proceedings.

helicopter-and-chutesArmy helicopter drops its load over American Lake.

at-the-wheelI miss this haircut. Next time without the goat, probably.

spanish-creek-campgroundMy campground at Spanish Creek in Montana.

winchester-januaryHow every Winchester rifle owner spends his January.

germfaskA favorite town name, Michigan.

cars-at-ohio-hotelFancy cars at an un-fancy hotel in Ohio.

waffle-houseWaffle House, breakfast staple of the flyover state world.

aldi-interiorA European grocery store right in the middle of the Adirondacks.

squid-or-lampI chose the lamp. It was as flavorful as it was incandescent.

cab-truck-rain-nhHiding out from a rainy night in New Hampshire.

felice-in-nycFelice, who did not, in fact, take a photo.

fly-marinesAlmost Tolkien-esque, those Marine aviators.

statesville-laundromatLaundry day in Statesville (for me, not for anyone else).

statesville-barbecueI’ve become very fond of southern barbecue. (Although the coleslaw was weird.)

I also spent the morning of Day 96 trying to figure out whether I needed to buy some grown-up clothes for when I drive through Utah and potentially meet up with my grad school app adviser. And now you know everything.



Categories: south Tags: , ,

Toolin’ Around in the Ol’ Congaree Swamp (Day 95)

October 21st, 2009 4 comments

Crap — Day 100 is coming up. I better do something momentous.

Day 95 I went to Congaree National Park (south of Columbia, S.C.) and paddled around in the swamp. It was about as chill, relaxing an activity as I’ve done this trip. Apart from havin’ to wrench my kayak out of the cab of my truck, dig underneath my cot to find the keel and my PFD, extract my foot pump out of the nether-corner of the truck bed, and then inflate and assemble the whole thing. But, really, you know, once that was done, it was pretty dang relaxin’. Check it out:

I should probably take more photos of stuff like diggin’ under the cot to find my keel. Posterity might appreciate that kind of thing. Next trip. (Although, in my defense, it’s not always easy to take photos of yourself doin’ things like that.)

Sorry for all that paddlin’ noise on the video. Kind of kills the moment(s).

Trip lasted about three hours. By “the swamp”, I mean “Cedar Creek”. Technically, yes, the water is flowin’. Just very slowly. Made for easy paddlin’ upstream and still waters that yielded really good reflections. Photos are kind of off though — too dark to use normal ISO and a small aperture, which blew out the details. Plus there were too many snags to stop paddlin’ long enough to really compose anything. Oh well. Here’s what I ended up with.

congaree_swamp-1Mmm: swampy!

congaree_me-consternationMy apparent consternation is unfounded.


congaree_kayak-pointAnother photo.

congaree_y-in-creekA fork in the creek.

congaree_spiderSomewhat spider-like, imho.


congaree_tree-canopyFall color *and* spanish moss festooning the trees of Congaree.

Other notes:

  • I saw no alligators.
  • I saw no pythons.
  • I saw no alligator-python fights.

For that matter, I didn’t see many animals at all — a few ducks and that was it. Still, a beautiful, easy-goin’ day.


Smiling Faces, Beautiful Places: Welcome to South Carolina, (Signed) [Political Has-Been], Governor (State #33)

October 21st, 2009 Comments off

Thirty-three, the tres-tres. Landmark.

I got kind of excited about Mark Sanford when he refused to take the government’s bad-idea, forced loans, but then:

  1. I found out he’s not much of a public speaker.
  2. He ran off to Argentina with his mistress.
  3. I found out he put his name on his state’s welcome signs.

Obviously the third one is the real killer.

welcome_south-carolinaInterstate 26 — it’s big in SoCar.

I also learned that a palmetto is sort of like a small palm tree, which usually doesn’t ever get over nine feet in height. I think South Carolina is the first state I’ve been to on this trip where people really seem to get excited about their state flag. It’s a cool flag for one thing, but you kind of see it everywhere. Maybe I just notice it more because it’s so eye-poppingly cool. And it’s on (almost) all the license plates whether folks like it or not, which might also be why it seems to be everywhere…


Categories: south Tags: ,
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