Saturday, July 10, 2010

Charleston Cauldron

Hot, humid, and hellish. That's a description of the weather for the past two days! Heat indices of 104-109 with high humidity and high real temperatures (high 90s). We know that the coach AC works wonderfully as sometimes we even get a little cool when the AC is set to a reasonable temperature (like 79). Outside, however, it feels like we are being boiled in the hot humid air. Thus, the heading: Charleston Cauldron.

We had a relatively easy drive from Savannah to Charleston yesterday. I hated to say good-bye to cousin Ellen and her wonderful hospitality but it was time to shift our base of operations. So we made the short day's drive to Charleston.

We're at the Oaks Plantation Campground on Hwy 17, west of Charleston. This is an excellent site although it doesn't have enough trees. We have a concrete pad with full hook-up. We got in yesterday and set up our site. It was so humid that I had to go take a shower before Mary would let me back in the coach. Fortunately, this campground has an excellent shower house so I was able to cleanup, dry off and go home. At least to our home, sweet home Fleetwood Fiesta. Supper and a few rounds of Tri-ominoes finished off the day.

We arranged for a car from Enterprise Rent-a-car (I DO have to get a car we can flat tow; I've seen too many RVers who say that pulling a dolly just isn't worth it and since both of our present cars would have to be front-end on a dolly in order to make the trip I may have to change one of the cars). Enterprise picked us up at the campground this morning in a Chevy Camero (yes, Mary really IS flexible enough to fit into the back seat observing that I'd never get out of it if I got in the back seat...isn't it good that the old man is married to a younger woman who can compensate for his elderly frailties?). I could hardly see over the dashboard of the Camaro it was so high! So I asked for something else. We got a Toyota Prius. I don't know if they can be flat towed, but I could learn to like this car! QUIET!!! Well set-up. And NO real key. Just push a button (with the key fob in your pocket).

Then we drove downtown. Where Savannah had the trolley tours, Charleston has coach tours. We took the venerable GreyLine tour. They've had good reputations in cities we've visited in the past and they did not let us down. Chris, our guide and driver, had a splendid knowledge of Charleston, it's history, it's culture, and it's real estate. He could quote the prices at which the splendid old homes we past had brought if they sold in recent years. And let me tell you that even in a down economy these are PRICES not prices. The current recent record is $7.5 million for one of the old houses, although the locals don't understand how anyone could pay asking price for a home that is NOT one of the best of the historic homes when they were only bringing up to 3/4s of asking. Well, you don't need to listen to me indulge my real estate fetish. But the tour was informative, entertaining, and educational. And it was a good lesson in local real estate activity.

Charleston has lots of history, like Savannah, and we really got a good sample of it with both the Grey Line tour PLUS a tour of Fort Sumter. As many of you know, Ft. Sumter was the site where the first shots of the War for Southern Independence, aka The Civil War, aka The Late Rebellion (and a host of other names, depending on where in the USA you live) were fired. Ft. Sumter is on an island at the mouth of Charleston Harbor and although the Southern attack on the island (which was successful) did not result in anyone killed and did relatively little damage, the nearly six hundred day siege that the Union forces later imposed on the island fortress nearly destroyed the works (although they didn't capture the fort until the southern forces abandoned the it). We went over on a tour boat, had too little time there but enjoyed what time we had, returned to shore and had dinner at Tommy Condon's Irish Pub and Restaurant. Mary had a delicious shepherd's pie and I had some very tasty Coconut coated Atlantic shrimp. It was an excellent dinner prolonged by a serious rainstorm.

Tomorrow ... well, we haven't decided what the day will bring.

It is an interesting coincidence that son Vini and his bride Krista are in SC at the same time we are. Unfortunately, they are in Columbia and not Charleston so we can't even get in a brief visit. They'll be gone when the weekend is over.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Sultry Savannah

We're in the Biltmore RV Park and Gardens in Savannah, GA. The name sounds elegant but the site isn't. However, it is a quiet park, on the bus line, and has friendly owners. It's also full hook-up which is always nice for an RVer, that is, we have electric, water, cable, and sewer. We're well connected!

We got in here midday on Tuesday, got setup and called cousin Ellen who lives here in the area. She came right over and after a delightful visit/catch-up time we went out to supper at a fantastic seafood place on the Ogeechee River, Love's Seafood and Steak. I had some great Georgia white shrimp and Mary had a tasty salmon. Then back  home to a quiet evening since Ellen needed to get home to take care of her dogs.

Yesterday, Wednesday, we took the trolley tour of Savannah. The company we picked even came out to the RV park and picked us up (and brought us back at the end of the day).  Ellen met us downtown at the visitor's center and accompanied us on the first round of the trolley tour. We went through all the stops to see what was available with Ellen's commentary on the historic district and its squares in addition to the commentary of the tour guide/trolley driver. We learned a lot from both.

Savannah is a fascinating city with a long interesting history. It is one of the oldest cities in the southeast, being founded by James Oglethrop and colonists from England. Of course, it has ties to John Wesley since he came here as a "missionary" in the 1700s. And was an abject failure, both professionally and personally.

We saw the Mercer house and some other sites associated with the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil which was a true story about life in Savannah. We wandered the riverfront and we walked lots of streets, catching trolley rides from spot to spot.

Today, Ellen is taking us out to Tybee Island and maybe we'll find a place to do some shopping for supplies. Tomorrow we'll raise the jacks and put the wheels on the road towards Charleston, SC.

Monday, July 05, 2010

High Falls State Park, GA

Here we are at High Falls State Park in Georgia (between Atlanta and Macon). It's a nice evening and the miracle of technology has the two of us sitting outside the coach in the dark typing on our respective computers. I'm posting on the blog and Mary is putting something up in our family's FaceBook group. We're connected through a Verizon MiFi 2200 which lets both of us be online in our own private "hotspot" at the same time. Neat stuff!

This is a very pleasant state park, not far off the Interstate. We're on the way to Savannah, GA, where we'll arrive tomorrow. The evening is nice too, cool enough to sit outside. We'll probably be able to sleep with the windows open and the AC off! That'll be nice.

An observation from today's driving: it was easier to drive through Atlanta (we went straight through on I-75) than it was to drive through Nashville. Now, I admit that today was a holiday for many people (since the 4th was on a Sunday), but still! It was easier to drive through Atlanta than Nashville!

We're getting better at setting up and breaking down camp. We're faster and take fewer missteps along the way. Hurray for us! This morning we had to do the dreaded holding tank DUMP! Black water and gray water alike. I will spare you the details, but it is not a fun experience, just a necesary one!

I'll be back tomorrow, after we get into Savannah.

On to Georgia

This is our last morning in TN (at least for the moment). We'll be packing up and heading off for Georgia and a visit with cousin Ellen in Savannah. I'm excited about seeing Ellen again. It's been too many years since we've been together.

We'll have an intermediate stop tonight at High Falls State Park, between Atlanta and Macon. I hope it's a good place for the night.

Yesterday was a good day. I spent the morning getting some "chores" done around the coach. I finally got the tire pressure monitor system installed correctly and working. Hopefully that gives us a good safety margin on the important issue of tire pressure. We also used some of the special cleaning supplies we bought at the RV Rally. The pink stuff works very well!

We spent all afternoon with Mother at the nursing home. The day had mostly good moments. They  included visits with two of the Robinson cousins and their spouses: Barry and Margaret, Janet and Dorris. Visits with them are always a delight. I feel blessed to have so many wonderful cousins that I enjoy so much. Mother had a reasonably good day.

Supper was at Jason's Deli in Murfreesboro. It's on Thompson Lane, near the intersection with Medical Center Parkway. If you're in Murfreesboro and haven't eaten there, by all means give it a try! It's the only place I've ever heard Mary say, "If I were rich and able to buy a franchise, I would buy this one so I would have it in my town!"

The latter part of the evening was spent watching a great fireworks display at the "Nashville I-24 Campground" in Smyrna. It was a real professional job! I think it was better than some city-sponsored fireworks I've seen in the past. I planned to have some pics, but discovered that getting pictures from a Windows-based smart phone to a Mac is not easy. I can email them to myself, but was too tired to fool with it. Maybe another time I can get them online.

Well, time to start the day and get the packing up started. Talk to you later!