Road Trip – Part 1 Lexington to Jacksonville

Passing through Ashville, NC, (and the Bat Cave) we met Ian in Charleston, SC, an old friend from our Mongolian adventures in 2013.  The temps were in the low 60s (around 16⁰C)!  Anita had not brought a jacket since we were heading for the Sunshine State, so I “chilled” while she used mine ❄️.

As our tour guide, he took us first to Isle of Palms where he often walks the beach.  He was disappointed that we had not brought our metal detector as he has seen many guys collecting “treasures” there 🙄; usually lost watches or ornaments of other tourists.  He was mum when I asked why he did not have one.

Most locals are more than tolerant of us visitors and happy to take pics of the three of us.  I did the obligatory touristy thing of chasing sea gulls to get them into flight.  The pier was a private one that I suggested posed no problem to climb over the gate, but was outvoted.  Birds in flight always fascinate me, so caught images of a few fliers around the beach.

Leaving Isle of Palms behind, we went to Sullivan’s Island as we did not have time to go to the island of Fort Sumter, available only by ferry, where the first shots of the American Civil War were shot.  The armory at Fort Sullivan was enough to just about wear us out.  The “guard” at the gate had some interesting stories to tell of his own Marine experiences in Korea when he found out Ian’s nationality.

At the restaurant where we caught lunch, oyster shells cast out by the staff are used to dress the beach by the inlet.  I had never seen a “vending machine for boats” before, so THAT was unique!

While a fisherman measured his catch to see if he could keep it, a stork played hide-and-seek in the marsh to avoid my camera and a pelican made a perfect landing on top of a mast.  While waiting for him to resume flight, he looked at me as if to say, “Hey, YOU, I’ve been fishing all morning; my belly is full, and I’m not going anywhere for a while! 😠

Leaving the islands behind, we headed back to the mainland of Charleston.  Fountains one can run under are irresistible to kids of any age!  We then took a water taxi for a poor man’s tour of the harbor that included three stops before returning to our park.

Fortunately, the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier lies in the bay (as a museum), so the pirates tend to be discreet, even with major container ships almost always coming in or going out.  One of them forgot to exchange the Jolly Roger for a safer flag though 😱!

Pineapples in Charleston, as well as other coastal cities like Newport, R.I., signify a welcome to visitors.  A tour of a park found ancient trees spreading their limbs out to start new trees, except for what I called “witches trees!”  I had never seen Spanish Moss up close before, and it gave an eerie Halloween feel to the landscape.  The gazebo was pretty, but occupied by homeless guys, so we walked on.  Encountering some Canadian geese, Anita asked them to say “Hi” to her sister when they went north next fall and the couple she spoke with said they would look her up in Alberta.  Our final stop was a quick view of The Charleston Museum which had interesting displays of the history of the city and area.

We finally had to say our mixed-feeling goodbyes to Ian, a mélange of love and sadness at moving on.  As we drove toward Middleburg where we had reserved a hotel off the beaten path, we avoided some of the “white-knuckle driving.”  The least expensive gasoline we saw since leaving Lexington was marked by someone’s attempt at humor with credit for the pricing. 😉

En route, we encountered Florida’s effort to keep visitors from parking on the entry ramp of a Welcome Center!  But we were slow on the iPhone and only caught about 1/3 of the signs!! 😄
And our audiologist back in Lexington never told us about her own private resort in Florida!  We’ll have to ask Dr. Ormond about this next time we see her. 😎

Next stop, Palm Springs, specifically Palm Shores.