Saturday, April 23, 2016

Fort Pulaski and Tybee Island

Savannah graciously allowed us to sleep in the welcome area one night, but we didn’t want to take advantage of its generously.  So, late afternoon we headed toward Tybee Island.

On the way out to the outer bank, we were looking forward to riding a rail to trail, namely McQueen’s Island Rail to Trail.

This RTT is on a part of the Savannah Atlantic Rail Road line.  Tybee Island was (and still is) a refreshing destination for the humid conditions of Savannah.  Driving a carriage out required navigating marshes and all that live within.  So, a railroad was built in 1887.  However, in 1923 a road was constructed which led to the demise of the railroad.

The trail follows the South Channel of the Savannah River.  There are beautiful river views and marshes filled with sounds.  Unfortunately, we were only able to ride about three miles out  because the trail was closed for construction.  It will be six miles one way when reopened.  From where we were parked, we also rode our bikes into the Fort Pulaski National Monument.

Construction on Fort Pulaski began in 1829 and took 18 years to finish.  It was considered to be invincible and stood to guard the river approaches to Savannah.  It was not quite complete when the Civil War broke out but it was transferred to the Confederate States of America.  In 1861, The Federal troops were able to secure Tybee Island and set about bombing the Fort.  The Federal army had a new cannon which opened wide holes in the side of the fort.  Fearing the possibility of igniting the main powder magazine, the Confederate troups retreated leaving the fort to be occupied by the Federal troups the remainder of the war.  By 1880, the fort was occupied only by a caretaker and lighthouse keeper and was made a National Monument in 1924.

Tybee Island has beautiful beaches and vacation homes.  We walked out on the beach, enjoying the sunset with a picnic.  They had just completed a day of shooting the new movie Baywatch.  No, we didn’t see Zac Efron, The Rock or Pamela Anderson for that matter.  It will be fun to see the familar sights in the movie though.  If interested in more pictures, click here or on the picture.

IMG_8413

Friday, April 22, 2016

Savannah

Our roadtrips are usually a combination of research, planning and last minute  decisions.   Savannah was one of those, “why don’t we stop by there” ideas.  We were dropping down to visit Dan’s nieces in Alabama so Savannah wasn’t too out-of-the way.

Had I planned ahead of time, I definitely would have read,  Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt.  We quickly could tell the tourist aspect of the city was banking on story familiarity.  And, rightfully so, because the book is nonfiction and does capture the feel and history of the city.  (I’ve read it since returning home.) 

The first thing we did after a good night’s sleep only about 200 feet from the Old Town Trolley Tour is pay up and jump on.  All the trolley’s were open sided and had informed and colorful drivers with loads of information about what we were seeing.   We could hop off and on throughout the city.  Note:  we should have ridden the entire 90 minute tour and then started over.  Live and learn.

In 1733 James Oglethorpe led a group of colonists from England to start the city he would call Savannah.  Oglethorpe was a visionary and social reformer.  His colony strictly forbid slavery, was welcoming to all religions, including Jews and other persecuted minorities.  He laid out the city on a grid with center public squares and parks.  Homes and business where then built around those squares.  When Oglethorpe returned to England, his ban on slavery fell away.  But, his plan for the physical layout of the city continues to this day.

When Sherman invaded during the Civil War, the city surrendered immediately and provided as it could for the troups which kept it from serious burning and preserved historical buildings.

During the 1950s, the city rescued itself from its neglect of its beautiful and historical past.  We were only there for a day, and it was not enough.  If we were to go back, I would tour the restored  historical homes, haunted or not.  Visit the cemetary with a martini and enjoy more of the delicious food.  The friendliness of everyone there toward visitors is refreshing even though we were told in the past ten years 50 million people have come to visit town! 

Here is a slideshow of pictures—click here or on the picture.  The pictures will be full screne if you click “slideshow” on the upper right hand corner.

IMG_8361

Thursday, April 21, 2016

South on Hwy 95

We were looking forward to seeing Savannah, a city so many friends have told us we should visit.  Normally, I would just pass by the journey part and get right to the destination.  This time, getting there might be of interest.

We knew there was a tire problem.  There seemed to be a “bump” on the right front tire. An inspection in Kim & Marc’s driveway seemed to varify this.   So, we thought we would just spring for four new tires before we left Cary the next morning.  One problem, no one—absolutely no one, had the tires we needed.  These are special order, hard sidewall tires especially made for an RV.  A tire shop did say the bump didn’t seem that bad.  We didn’t ask if that meant we could drive  over 1,000 miles home.  We just assumed it.   (As you know, I am back dating these posts and we did make it home)  The problem with something like this is it is worrisome.  It makes the travel a little less fun.  So, there was that.

We traveled down southeast on I40 and then caught I95 south to Buies Creek where we decided to hop off for a bite of lunch.  The first little cafe we came to was “Hot Dog and Hamburger Heaven.”  Now, this is what small town eatn’ is about!  Kim said we would have to get outside the Triangle to “hear” the real South. She was right.   The gentleman who took my order would not have it but that I order coleslaw on my burger. And, there was no asking—the tea was sweet.  He also knew  everyone who walked in the door by first name.   Always enjoy  hometown cafes.

Little did we know that there was someone further down the line at Florence, South Carolina who could make our worries about our tires laughable.  And, he had his own RV!

IMG_3248

We stopped by a gas station near a Walmart, then decided to run in after something we needed.  We happened to park right in front of Jim’s CannaBus.  If you study this picture for a while, you will find it more and more strange.  Like, what is that thing on the ground along side of it.  And, what about the crosses?  If you do go to 420 JIM.com there is a video that tells it all!   (It’s long but you’ll get the gist right away)   It looks like he got on the wrong side of the law in Emporia, KS, though.  Basically, he is driving to Washington DC with a petition to legalize—yep, hemp because you can drive using the oil.  I learned if you let a vehicle run in a closed up garage on hemp oil, it won’t be fatal you’ll just get high.  Who knew?

Finally, on the road again, there were no further stops until we wound our way into Savannah.  By this time, it was about 5:45 pm.  I had read the city allows overnight RV parking in the Welcome Center parking lot.  But, when we arrived, everything was closed and no RVs in sight.  We spotted a lady in the exit toll booth closing for the night.  It was our first taste of the Savannah friendliness.  She said, “Sure, you can park overnight.  It’s just $8.”  We were thankful because there was no Plan B.  

And, we felt safe with this parked nearby!

IMG_3252

Then we walked across the street to downtown Savannah and had a  drink and delicious meal.  All is well!

IMG_3249

IMG_3251

Shrimp PoBoy with Sweet Potato Fries!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Wheels!

It is always fun to visit our families.  Since spending time with them now means a roadtrip, we look forward to putting our rubber to the road both east and west from Kansas.  And, when goodbyes are said, we know it will be for a while.  But, summer is not far away and there is a celebration planned over July 4th.  All will be here! 

Time to check out of Jordan Lake campground and take the rental car back.  Even though we are sad to see our time end, we are excited to be a part of a big day for Aaron and Adam.  Wheels!

IMG_3310

While we were visiting, this vehicle became a new addition to the family.   (I am blank on the chosen name)  Right now Aaron is the only one legal to drive, but Adam is not far behind.  I think everyone remembers their first car so memories are made here.  Even Jojo is excited.

So, it is goodbye and then tomorrow, on to Savannah Georgia.

Monday, April 18, 2016

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Get ready for a short North Carolina quiz:

1. What is the name of the oldest river in North America?

2. Name the highest waterfall east of the Rockies.

3. How many gallons of water do Pelicans scoop up in their bill?

4. How many years does it take for a hardwood forest to rejuvenate?

5.  What is the name of the oldest tree species in the Eastern US?

Answers at the bottom of post.

Kim, Dan, Evan and I visited the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh.  We only spent a couple hours there, but there are movies and other interactive activities that would take up most of a day.  State museums are always interesting and this one is no exception.  IMG_3240

 

IMG_3243

IMG_3244

Display of types of granite in the State of North Carolina

IMG_3245

Examples of wood available in North Carolina

IMG_3246

The message Evan is pointing to says that we all contribute to the museum by asking questions and observing things around us.

Museums make me hungry and thirsty so we ate lunch at a locally owned restaurant while enjoying a craft beer brewed nearby.  Fun day.

Answers to questions: 

1.  The oldest river in North America is the New River.  2. The Highest waterfall east of the Rockies is the Whitewater Falls.  3.  Pelicans scoop up three gallons of water at a time.  4.  100 years.  The first 5 to 50 are Sweet Gum and Red Cedar.  Later squirrels bring in hardwood nuts which eventually grow large enough to out shade the smaller trees.  5.  Bald Cypress