Wednesday, September 24, 2014

North Carolina and on to South Carolina

We left home Friday about 10:00 headed for the annual North Carolina State University H Square reunion.  First stop was in Mount Airy where we thought we might have lunch at Snappy’s.  Too many people had the same idea so we ate at an old time lunch counter down the street.  We ate a fairly good hamburger and were soon back on the road. 

We arrived in Durham just as Daniel got home from school so we had a good visit and got caught up on all the recent Pokemon and Cub Scout doings.  We ate a very good dinner at a BBQ joint which was a family run business.  BBQ pork, brisket, pork chops, ribs, catfish and all the southern sides you can think of…we all ate too much. In fact we put half of our meats in the refrigerator in the Sprinter for another night.

Saturday -After a good night’s sleep we visited a bit, packed Jeff and Daniel off for the cub scout camping trip and headed to Raleigh and Ben’s college friends reunion.

A great lunch and visit was had by all.  There were a few sad moments as the group discussed the members who had died this past year.

About 2:30 we loaded ourselves back into the Sprinter and headed south towards Charleston where we planned to spend a night and then visit Fort Sumpter before heading on towards Hunting Island. We continued listening to our book on CD and arrived in North Charleston about 7 PM.  Since  we had eaten a late lunch and we had a microwave in our room; we ate our leftovers and a few items from our camping food.  We were both too tired to think about hunting a good restaurant.

Sunday - Sleep and we were up for breakfast at the Waffle House next door to the hotel.  The Pecan Waffle was very good as were Ben’s eggs, bacon and hash browns,  We had not been to a Waffle House in years…it was a good quick breakfast.

The boat to Fort Sumpter left from Patriot’s Point in Mt. Pleasant to the north of Charleston.  It was an easy 10 miles there and we looked around a bit before time to load the boat.  It was a beautiful day and the ride over (30 minutes) was smooth.  We had visited Fort Sumpter when we lived in Charleston – 50 years ago – since this was our first home after we were married. The only memory of the visit was the metal cannon we bought there – we still have it!  Jane wanted to get a passport stamp for our book so we needed to visit again.

Tour Boat to Ft. Sumpter
Inside the Fort

Looking Back to Charleston
We have visited several if not all of the costal forts along the southeast coast.  Most are much better preserved than Fort Sumpter – the others probably did not have the constant bombardment that Fort Sumpter received during the Civil War.  We could see the 3 miles back to Charleston.  We were on the island for about an hour and it was adequate time to see everything.  There was a small museum which told their story well.  The ranger also gave a short talk.  Back on the boat for the 30 minute ride back to Patriot’s Point.
We decided to skip Fort Moultrie and found somewhere to eat lunch.  Ben was hungry and not willing to spend time researching for a good restaurant – which takes all of 5 minutes – so we pulled into J B ‘s .  It was OK but certainly we could have done better with a bit of research on Trip Advisor.  Jane had not charged her phone so could not research without plugging into the car power – reason for no research on trip back to shore.  We had OK po-boy sandwiches – Jane shrimp and Ben oyster. 

Huge Cooper River Bridge
Back in the car we headed south to Hunting Island – right through the center of Charleston on US 17.  We passed about a block from where we lived. Nothing here resembles what Charleston was like 50 years ago.  We ate lunch near where the Lori-Lei was – on the Mount Pleasant side of the Cooper River.  The bridge is new, large apartment buildings, and much built up where before was only marsh.  The hospital where Jane worked covers many blocks now and it was one large building then – Medical College of South Carolina Hospital.  The Navy base where Ben worked is completely gone now – closed a number of years ago.  There is a submarine base somewhere near Goose Creek but we did not see it.  There were Navy ships up ad down the Cooper River then – now container ships. I assume the Battery remains the same as it was even 100 years ago but we did not drive there.

About 2 hours south of Charleston we turned east towards Beaufort and Hunting Island. Here nothing had changed since last fall when we camped here.  We found our campsite (19).  We are camping on the original side of the campground this year.  Usually we are so late getting our reservation we have to stay on the newer side which is a bit further from the beach.  This side of the campground is more open with no undergrowth.  The high pines provide shade but there is more breeze and less bugs. 

The down side of this part of the campground is you are much closer to your neighbors.  We have 3 campsites right on top of each other. It is barely 6 or 8 feet to two of our neighbors and maybe 20 to another.  We just adjust.  Later this fall I will make our reservation and get a better site. I can’t seem to remember it until spring and by then the good sites are gone.  Reservations are 11 months ahead only.

Weather was comfortable but a bit warm for sleeping so we were glad to have our air conditioner. We were lazy and settled for listening to the waves crashing on the shore and watching from afar and did not venture out to walk on the beach.

Monday - Morning brought perfect blue skies with a bit cooler weather than Sunday.  This trip to the beach was to be a do nothing but relax and eat seafood trip.  The phone service and internet service is helping us do nothing since both are fairly non-existant at our campsite.  Occasionally we have 1 or 2 bars of phone – enough for a call to come in and then frequently cut off.  Ben had one business call that took 3 tries to complete.  We did stop at the wifi hotspot near the campstore to check the weather.

Ben went to the beach for a little sun – Jane continued reading her book.  Mid afternoon we headed to Gay’s Seafood to buy shrimp and fish to take care of meals for 2 days.  The shrimp as usual was excellent – however the price has gone up from last year.  $9 for a pound of large shrimp.  I think it was $7 last year.
Jane cooked Shrimp Scampi for dinner and it was very good – the unusual 2 pot meal.  Most of our camp meals are 1 pot meals with perhaps a veggie cooked in the microwave.  Not much desire for dish or pot washing for this camper!
The rain called for has still not arrived but we closed down the table fly expecting the rain during the night.

Ben had put lots of TV shows on his hard drive so we watched a couple old shows and read.  Tonight we watched Northern Exposure and Jag.

Tuesday- There was little rain during the night but it began about 8:30 just as we had finished breakfast – not a thunderstorm but a slow gentle rain that looks like it might last most of the day.  At least that was good for Jane to get herself off the lazy streak and write up the blog.  There just was nothing much exciting to say – but we must maintain the historical record of our travels.

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