Sunday, November 29, 2009


Saturday afternoon we decided to drive down to Savannah - about a 2.5 hour drive. Downtown was very busy with a Christmas festival going on - and a snowball fight going on! We thought this was very ironic...notice the kids bundled up (it was about 60 degrees).
Snow - Southern style...

One of the beautiful buildings in Savannah.

some of the beautiful old brick work in town...

Many of the homes have the same facade over the brick that was done back in the 1800's. During that time brick was considered to be only for the lower class - so the wealthy had the brick covered with cement - and paid to have it shaped like stone.

The Savannah River - notice the bridge is the same style as the one in Charleston - we noticed a lot of similarities in the to cities.

One of the many squares in Savannah - each one has a small city park in the middle.

A beautiful cathedral in Savannah - can't remember the name...

We went on a walking tour Saturday night - it was a combination pub crawl/ghost tour. It was a lot of fun to listen to the ghost stories (this is one of many haunted hotels we walked by) and even more funny to watch our fellow participants get more intoxicated as the evening went on...
We are leaving here tomorrow and heading towards New Orleans - hopefully it will be an uneventful trip - we will post more next week (I promise!)

This Weekend minus Savannah

Here is what we did the rest of the weekend - except for Savannah pictures. This bug was huge! I've never been one to be scared of bugs but ugh!! By the way - the knife is there to show it's size - not because we killed it! This afternoon we rode around Charleston on our bikes. It was a beautiful day - around 70 degrees and no wind.

I think we put 7 miles on the bikes - not too far and it was a great way to see a beautiful city. The old buildings in this town are amazing - they have done a wonderful job of restoring them.

This is part of the marina - Scott made me promise that if we ever win the lottery I will let him get a boat...

On Saturday morning we drove out to the Charleston Tea Plantation. It's owned by the Bigelow family, they are the only tea plantation in North America that grows and packages all of their tea.

We learned that three types of tea -Black, Oolong and Green all come from the same plant - the difference is how long the tea leaf is oxidized after it's harvested. This big machine is the harvester - it skims along the top of the bushs to cut off the newest growth. One tea plant can last 50-70 years - producing tea the entire time.

One of my favorite parts of the South is the big over hanging trees everywhere. It's so pretty when it is over the road. This isn't the best of pictures but I think it give the general idea.

Michael had friday off so we went golfing! We are all really bad golfers but we had a great time...the weather was beautiful and the course was right on base so we got to see where Michael works. I forgot my camera so I only got one picture...

Fort Moultrie & Fort Sumter

We've been seeing a few tourist destinations in between visiting with Michael and taking care of other business. Here is a picture of the Charleston harbor - that's the Arthur Ravenal bridge in the background.
This picture is taken from Sullivan's Island - it's of the intracoastal waterway but if you look closely in the background you can see the same bridge as in the picture above.

Downtown Charleston from the water side.

Fort Sumter - there are two forts at the entrance to Charleston harbor - this one requires a boat ride to it. The second one is Fort Moultrie and it's on Sullivan's island.

The first shots of the civil war were fired here in 1861 - the Union army held the Fort for 34 hours before surrendering to the Confederate army. The Confederate's held the fort for 4 years until the end of the war.

When the Fort was first built the walls were 50 ft high at low tide.

These 1/2 circles were where the gun turrets sat and moved from side to side.

This is Fort Moultrie (on Sullivan's Island) looking over from Fort Sumter. My camera was on max zoom.

The original fort was built in 1776 - Palmetto logs where used for the walls and reportedly the British bombs bounced off the fort.
The fort has been rebuilt several times over the years but has not been used as a post since the 1960's.

Monday, November 16, 2009

More of Charleston

Our Sailor...
Scott is a happy man...watching Nascar outside in the warmth - we just finished our dinner of barbequed steaks...Life is Good!

One of the many churches in Charleston - it's called the Holy City. This was has a lean to it due to damage caused by an earthquake over 100 years ago.

The buttons 1/2 way up the wall are to repair the earthquake damage - they are attached to steel rods that go all the way through the house.

Arthur Ravenel, Jr bridge, with a main span of 1,546 feet is the longest cable stayed bridge that carries vehicles other than public transportation(ie passenger cars) in the western hemisphere. It connects downtown Charleston and Mount Pleasant and has a pedestrian walkway which we used.

The view of Patriots point from the bridge. I couldn't get a good picture of downtown because of the angle of the sun.

The walkway...

Outer Banks, North Carolina

One of the reasons that we wanted to come to the East Coast was to do some bicycling on the Outer Banks. The area was part of our bike trip of the East Coast back in 2003 and we fell in love with it and the people. We planned on leaving last Tuesday but with Hurricane Ida heading towards the area we waited until Thursday afternoon. We rented a uhaul because we've found they are cheaper than car rentals and there isn't a problem with hauling my big recumbent. We drove about 3/4 of the way and when we woke up Friday morning we watched the Weather Channel - as Jim Cantori was describing the coastal flooding in the OBX he mentioned that highway 12 by Oregon Inlet (which is where we were headed) was closed but that it should reopen by that afternoon. We drove the rest of the way to Kittyhawk where we were told the highway would reopen Saturday morning. We checked into the hotel and started seeing the destruction that had taken place...
I overheard a hotel employee say "every cloud has a silver lining - there will be lots of jobs this winter for the re-building." We also found most of the locals were calling this the "storm of the century."

These stairs were some of the few that escaped the storm - many more were destroyed. I wish I would have taken more pictures - most of the damage we saw while driving so it was hard to get them. Most of Hwy 12 had sand and beach debris on it, many of the parking lots were flooded and there was a hotel next to the one we were staying at that had lost most of it's foundation - but most houses escaped unscathed because they are built on pilings.

Lots of debris in the water - often that did more damage than the waves.
By Saturday at noon DOT was reporting the road might be opened by Sunday "sometime" so we decided to cut our losses and head back to Charleston. The frustrating thing was that u-haul charged us twice as much to go back to Charleston as they did to go North...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Charleston, South Carolina

Michael got off work Thursday afternoon for a 4 day weekend and on Friday we spent the day in downtown Charleston.
Beautiful city - lots of old buildings that have been preserved...some paved streets but also cobblestone and brick streets.

Patriots Point from the city. There are pictures later in the blog from inside the submarine.

my "little" boy...

This was part of an old building that is now a condo
- we were wondering if it used to be the fire hall?

One of many stately homes on this street - known as "the Battery"

The view from our campsite the first two nights we were here - we moved closer into Charleston for the rest of the month.

A submarine at Patriot's point -
Michael said the food is the same as it was back then...

Some machine they still use on the submarines now...Michael said he's taken it apart and put it back together several times.

Michael goes back to work tomorrow for basically a 14 day stretch - so we are planning on going for a bike ride! Pray for wide roads and good weather and we'll post more later.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Downtown Nashville, Tennessee: We got into town on a Sunday afternoon and decided it would be a good time to go downtown since there shouldn't be much traffic...we were wrong! The Titans were in town and there were fans everywhere and lots of streets blocked off for party's - evidently football is very big here.
We ate some good barbeque and went on a tour - did you know that healthcare is the biggest employer in this city? I thought it would be music...
This was a group of college age kids using garbage cans and so on to make music - kind of like in Stomp...they were great.
So cute! we almost bought them for our girls - but at $25 each we decided we'd better wait until they could actually get some use out of them...

The Ryman auditorium - the Grand Old Opry moved out the the suburbs in the 70's but once a year around this time they start playing in the Ryman again so the New York City Rocketts can use the Opry stage for their Christmas show.

Next to the theatre is the hotel grounds and behind that is a massive mall - all surrounded by more hotels and restaurants...

We were wondering why 24 mph and not 25? After seeing all of the outlet malls in the area Scott's comment was they got a deal after some DOT worker messed up...

Went on a wonderful bike ride near Opryland and the Cumberland river - this is the bridge they built just for bike and foot traffic. Did I mention that Nashville is a very wealthy town?

Here is a picture of the bike path - the bridge is in the distance - not sure if you can see the path up to the bridge.

When we came up to this tunnel the first thing that went through my mind was..."gotta watch for moose" :) No moose but I must say the squirrels here are huge!

We stepped out of the car and all we could hear were birds - hundreds of starlings in the two trees on the side walk. All of a sudden there was a massive flyaway and we looked over to see this guy landing...not sure if he got dinner or not!

Churches - in some area's there seem to be one on every block! This one is a Presbyterian church that was founded in the early 1800's and was a hospital during the Civil war - then in 1992 it was renovated for "those in the congregation who wanted to stay in this historic site." The tour guide in Nashville said the city is considered the "Protestant capital of the US," he went on to say that as a Catholic he can't even play God's game (Bingo) in the state - he has to drive to Kentucky...
We have found it very interesting that we have seen more signs for "adult toy stores" in this part of the country than anywhere else.

Franklin, TN - a historic town about 30 miles south of Nashville. Very quaint with some beautiful houses and old buildings.

With so many banks failing lately what's next - the sixth fourth bank??
We drove today towards the Great Smoky Mountains and ended up in Pigeon Forge...the name should say it all! This is the home of Dollywood - and more outlet stores and miniature golf courses than I've ever seen...
Tomorrow we head to South Carolina!