Monday, September 29, 2014

On To Edisto Island

The 80 mile drive from Hunting Island to Edisto Island took about 2 hours.  We did stop for about 15 minutes in Beaufort for Ben to make several phone calls. The phone service on Hunting Island this  year was not very good with ATT.  We had camping neighbors with Verison that seemed to have service all the time….I remember we had good service last year…who knows.

Edisto Island is quite different from Hunting Island.  It is a much larger island and has a “town” that Hunting or even St Helena Island does not have. We stopped at the Sea Cow Eatery and had a  hamburger which was OK.  Then found the campground.  It was about 1:15 and they would not allow check-in until 2 so we toured around the island and arrived back at the campground a little before 2 and got checked in. Nice campground with brand new bathhouse which is just across the road from our site.  The campsites have some undergrowth around them and we are really only close to one other site.  We are not going to put up our table tent as we will only be here the one night.  There are two area of campsites in this park - ours is in a wooded area about 1 mile from the second which is near the beach.
Our Site

Bath House across Road

Not too sure what we expected but so far I am not too impressed with Edisto. There are probably 10 or so restaurants, lots of rental houses, a golf course, one grocery, a gas station or two and a couple little convenience/gift shops. We walked around the campground, read a bit and at 5:30 drove back to the restaurant we had picked out as the “best” from our drive around tour.  We chose the Old Post Office Restaurant and it was upscale and very nice. Small with great service and good food.  Jane had Shrimp and Grits which was very good. Ben had Crab Cake and Beef Medallions.  The beef medallions were excellent but the crab cake left much to be desired. Too much seasoning to taste the crab.  Jane even remembered to take a photo for Margaret who enjoys the food photos (not very good photo but we remembered)! 
Blurry Shrimp and Grits

Back at camp it was cold – well not cold but 72 so it is either get out the jacket or get inside the Sprinter and watch TV kind of weather…..I have written the blog so it is going to be get inside ! We watched a couple more old TV shows and an old movie.

Another good thing about this campsite is the 3-G phone service is good and I can get a bit of news and such on the phone….they also have an ice dream truck that just came by – too cold tonight for ice cream!  Not sure if we have WIFI here so this may not get posted until we get home!

We did drive through the beach campsites and they are close to the water and seem nice - it is much smaller than the wooded area we were in. We finally saw some shore birds here - they have been scarce on this trip.

No WIFI at the camp so I am posting when we got home.  We left camp about 8:30.  Had breakfast in Walterboro and lunch in Hendersonville. We listened to Brian Kilmeades - George Washington's Secret Six (spy ring of the Revolutionary War).  We were home about 4:00.  Sunshine and pleasant drive.

While we saw little sunshine at the beach, it was a pleasant relaxing trip.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Still cloudy and moving on

Wednesday afternoon continued to be cloudy, rainy off and on, and very windy.  We closed up camp about 5:00 and drove back into Lady’s Island for dinner.  We chose the popular seafood restaurant – Dockside.  This is a two restaurant chain with sites in Beaufort (really across the bridge on Lady’s Island) and in Port Royal. We enjoyed a bowl of hot She Crab Soup – hot as in temperature not flavor!  The thermometer said 65 and we were chilly.  To our dinner we added salads and split a Seafood Platter.  All the food was excellent but we forgot to take photos.  In fact the food was so good we are considering going back for a second night! 

We drove back to the campground – 16 miles from the Beaufort bridge to Hunting Island.  There are several restaurants about halfway – and we have eaten at several of them.  We have not been to a bad restaurant here to be honest.  It was getting just dusk at 7:00 as we got back to camp. 

The evening was quiet and cool so we again did not need the air conditioner for a pleasant night’s sleep.

For some reason camp was very quiet this morning and we did not even wake up until 8:00.  We had been expecting the cloud cover to break today but as I write this at 3:00 it was still very overcast – no blue sky at all.

We took two long walks on the beach today – one at high tide and one at low tide.  The beach is very smooth and gently slopes out to sea.  There have been many oak, pine, and palm trees downed as the beach has eroded  The root structures on all are very shallow. The surf comes within a few feet of the campsites that are nearest to the beach.  Our campsite is about 200 yards back from the beach.  We can hear the waves but due to a shallow hammock of trees we can’t see the surf from our site.  There are 4 campsites down the short road between us and the beach.  There really are not any bad sites here – they are just a bit closer together than we prefer.
High Tide

Low Tide

Walks, reading, a bit of computer work, and lunch have occupied our day.  We are going back into civilization to eat dinner tonight.  We will only have made two trips back into town and one across the bridge to buy seafood.  Last year we explored Port Royal and Parris Island and did not see much reason to go back. 

One young deer came right into our campsites this afternoon. A neighbor lady fed it pieces of an apple and that kept it close around for everyone to get great photos.  I really think it might have taken the apple right out of her hands.

We made it back to Dockside for dinner and enjoyed the great She Crab soup and scallops again.  Another good night's sleep and we broke camp and are headed 80 miles north to Edisto Island and State Park for one night.  Want to scope it out for a future trip. Hard to believe it can be better than Hunting Island but we shall see.
Excellent She Crab Soup at Dockside

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Deer, More rain and cold!

Tuesday was a rainy day with a stiff breeze from the north.  Reading and a little computer work was all we accomplished.  We did both walk over on the beach a bit between showers.  The surf which is normally very calm was rough with waves breaking far out into the water.  We had seen shrimp boats on Monday but none today. 

Ben worked on reading several emailed documents from the North Carolina archives regarding his Great Path Grant research.  The documents handwritten in the 1780’s were difficult to read to say the least. Jane accomplished only writing the blog and completing book two of a 5 book series about WW2 in South America.   

Near dusk we had a group of 7-8 deer visit our campsite. They were within 20 feet of our site. Most of them small  We are near the end of the campground so they had come out of the woods.  Always when we have camped here before we have had numerous racoons; but so far this year none.

Supper was flounder, shrimp and hush puppies along with slaw. Good day for getting the skillet out and frying since it was cool.  We did not run the air-conditioner at all last night (Tuesday) and it was 61 upon rising.

There was still rain on WEDNESDAY morning but gradually it stopped and just remained overcast.  The surf remains rough but perhaps if we continue to have no rain we can walk the short distance to the WIFI hotspot near the camp store for a little internet this afternoon.   That means I can post this blog.  Not much exciting happening but a very relaxing time away from everything.  Certainly glad I packed some long sleeve shirts and my fleece jacket!  I had been telling myself that when I got home from the beach I would be ready for fall....guess I am ready now!

View to North

Hunting Island Light to South

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.