While camping at Rock Crusher Canyon RV Park we decided to stop for a few days in Charleston, South Carolina. We made reservations for the James Island Campground since we heard so many good reviews about this location.
|April 2, 2006 - Sunday
The past few days have been hectic. On Friday we left Topsail Campground in the Florida Panhandle at 6:00 am Central Time and headed east on Interstate 10. Initially I planned to end our days travel at 250 miles which would have taken us to Oak N Pines Campground just west of Jacksonville. However, the journey was going so smoothly we agreed to travel just a bit further to Pecan Park just north of Jacksonville but again decided to push forward just a bit more. Finally after driving for about 380 miles we selected Inland Harbor Campground near Darien, Georgia. We stayed at this same campground in January when we were traveling to Florida and found it to be adequate for an easy on-off access to I95 and the campground itself was small. The sites were narrow and just long enough to accommodate our motorhome and car without the need to unhitch for the night. We had site A7, which was level, hard surface and paid $22.
Yesterday, Saturday, we left Inland Harbor Campground around 7:30 am realizing we could drive at a more casual pace since we only had to drive 165 miles to Charleston, South Carolina. Traffic on both Friday and Saturday was heavy, especially heading north since many of the snowbirds were heading home. Occasionally we would encounter bumper to bumper backups on I95 that would be 5 miles in stop and go traffic.
When stopping at the Flying J's for gas it was a test of patience with long lines of cars and RV's waiting for their turns at the pump. A women waiting in line in front of me nearly backed into me because she was on the cell phone and had forgotten she was in reverse. Then when it came her turn at the pump she kept pulling the release to open her trunk rather than opening the door to the gas cap. She made this mistake 3 times before discovering the correct way to fuel her car.
Well, anyway....we are now here at James Island Campground just 5 miles from downtown Charleston. The campground is nestled in a large recreational park owned and operated by the county. The campground sites are all level and large in width as well as length. The recreation park has 3 different hard surface bike trails totaling about 12 miles in length, a water slide park, several small lakes, a climbing wall, conference center and much more. This is a fantastic destination for a family with young children with so much to do without ever leaving the campground. In addition, it's an easy 15 minute drive to downtown Charleston.
|April 3, 2006 -
Later today we expect the arrival of our friends from Massachusetts, Dick & Barb. They were with us at Rock Crusher Canyon Campground during Feb and March and then they went on to St. Augustine while we were at Topsail Hill Campground. By coincidence they had plans to visit Charleston in the same time frame as us. It will be nice to see them again.
It's 9:00 am and we are preparing to leave shortly to go into Charleston for a horse and buggy ride. Yesterday the temperature reached 90 degrees and it is expected to be 87 today with a slight chance of a severe thunder storm. After this cold front moves through the daily temperatures will return to their seasonable normal of mid 70's. We have not had any rain since early February.
2:00 pm and we have returned from an ambitious, fun packed four hour visit to downtown Charleston. Our sightseeing must be kept to no more than 5 hours because of Rebecca's, our Miniature Schnauzer, eating requirements. Anyway, we had a great time starting with a short walk through The Market while waiting for the 10:35 am carriage ride. The carriage ride was one hour in length and served as as good introduction and overview of historic Charleston. When we returned from the ride we then realized getting an early start was wise....the city limits the number of active carriages to 20 at one time. Once the maximum of 20 is met than you must sit and wait your turn. The wait can be as long as 1 hour simply sitting in the carriage and not moving at all.
Upon completion of our carriage ride we were just a short 1 block walk to Hyman's Seafood Restaurant. This restaurant has the #1 seafood restaurant rating in South Carolina and #2 in the entire southern United States. We arrived shortly before noon and again we were able to miss the crowds that showed up just minutes after we were seated. Diana had the Fish & Chips and I had Fried Shrimp. Both meal portions were more than ample and neither of us could finish the meal. Cost with tip was $37. The meal was very good.
We finished our time in downtown with a 45 minute walk along Meeting Street and Church. Along the route we stopped at Saint Michael's Episcopal Church. Inside the church was beautiful and peaceful. This church was established in 1751.
In late afternoon we took a short 10 mile drive east on Route 171 to Folly Island. This is a barrier island with the typical assortment of summer vacation homes and just a dozen very small shops. We did see something that we have not seen before...there were 3 or 4 fellas kite surfing. They use large kites to pull them on their surf boards at speeds of 30 to 40 mph and at times leaping 20 feet into the air. The Atlantic Ocean was quite rough today with sustained winds exceeding 30 mph.
|April 4, 2006 - Tuesday
The magnificent Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is the oldest plantation on the Ashley River and a centerpiece of Charleston History. This was the main feature for our agenda today and we were very pleased that we took this tour. As usual we did this early in the day and thankful we did because as we were leaving the cars were lined up waiting for entry. The plantation dates back to 1676 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Many experts have considered the gardens as the most beautiful garden in the world. The display of spring time blooms were everywhere and the air was filled with their aroma.
|April 5, 2006 - Wednesday
While I'm posting this update to the website Diana is getting ready for our visit to Patriots Point Naval & Marine Museum. I estimate the drive from the campground to the museum is approximately 12 miles and the route will take us over the new Cooper River Bridge. I believe this bridge is the longest cable suspension bridge in North America. But a minor glitch has cause us to delay our departure. Adjacent to the new Cooper River Bridge is the old bridge. Apparently the city decided to remove the old bridge with explosives and the initial attempt was only partially successful. So, this morning at 9:30 am the remaining portions of the old bridge will be removed with a controlled explosion. Therefore the new Cooper River Bridge will be closed for a short time until the explosion is completed, thus we have delayed our departure. Sorry to bore you with these superfluous details.
The tour of the ships at Patriots Point was well worth the time and money. Walking through the ships was an awesome learning experience. It was also humbling and sad to think of all the young men who gave up their lives to serve aboard these ships.
Our time as "Snowbirds - 2006" is rapidly coming to a conclusion. Our visit here in Charleston has been fun and educational. The weather could not have been more perfect and I can only hope the clear skies will continue through this weekend so we can have good weather for our return home. By the time we get home we will have been on the road for 78 days traveled 2400 miles in the motorhome and visited 7 different campgrounds. We have biked over 125 miles and took side trips in our car totaling well over 2400 miles. We were able to meet old friends and make some new friends. In short we had a wonderful time and feel fortunate to be able to travel this way.
PS....I forget to mention I sampled Boiled Peanuts the other day while having lunch at Hymans Restaurant. All through the south we see boiled peanuts advertised at roadside stands but we never tried them. I didn't care for the taste.
|April 6, 2006 - Thursday
By mid-morning we were parking at The Battery in downtown Charlestown. Weather was once again spectacular....deep blue sky, brilliant sunshine and temperature in the high 70's with a slight breeze coming off the harbor water. Diana and I took a leisurely 2 hour stroll through the the main streets and back streets of downtown. At one point we stopped at a pavilion overlooking the harbor and sat to enjoy the porch swings. What a great way to enjoy this beautiful historic city.
|April 7, 2006 - Friday
Diana & I are both anxious to get home even though we have had a memorable winter trip. By 6:15 am this morning we were on the road and by 4:15 pm we arrived at Americamps, Ashland, Virginia. The 10 hour, 450 mile drive was quite tiresome and I'm exhausted. Traffic on I95 was not as bad as it was last week so that was a benefit and also the weather was dry and the temperature here in Virginia is a balmy 83 degrees.
The drive tomorrow is only 270 miles but the traffic near Washington DC, Baltimore and Philadelphia can be brutal and to make matters worse rain is expected. I'll simply take my time and be safe. For now I'm going to take my shower and off to bed early. Good night.
|April 8, 2006 - Saturday
Traffic on I95 was once again horrendous and the foul weather made matters even worse. The traffic heading south was even worse than the north bound side but the drive around Washington DC was typical crazy and crowded. Some of the construction on I95 is finally starting to be completed but they still have many more years before the entire project is completed.
For most of the day it rained heavily with crosswinds gusting to 35 mph. About one mile from home Mother Nature played a trick on us....it actually started to snow. The snow would melt as soon as it hit the windshield but what a greeting.
We were thankful for a wonderful trip....lots of fun and delighted it all happened safely.