Friday, October 31, 2008

Uncle Bubba's and Tybee Island

Yesterday was a stay-at-home day, with the notable exception of lunch at the Pink Pig, an excellent barbeque restaurant less than half a mile from our rv park. They are only open a few days a week, so it worked out perfectly to have lunch there. This restaurant has been featured in magazines and on tv, and I can see why. The food was some of the best barbeque I've had. Of course, since we're in South Carolina, they consider the definition of barbeque to be pork, no beef here!

Hardeeville RV Park allows washing rigs, so that was our task for the day. Before lunch, Jim climbed up and scrubbed the roof of the Castle, and after lunch we tackled the rest. I helped by doing my half of the rig - the bottom! This is the first time we've washed the rig with soap and water since we left Colorado.
Mark grilled some wonderful bacon wrapped turkey fillets on his grill and Dortha made veggies with pasta for dinner. After dinner, we got a campfire going. We sat outside for a little while, but it didn't take long for the evening cool to outpace the warm fire, and we retired for the night.

Today's adventure began with us picking up the wheel cover for the Saturn. Unfortunately, it's turned out to be the wrong style, so we'll have to return it and get the correct one ordered. After the stop at the Saturn dealership, we made a quick bank stop and then headed towards Tybee Island. We decided to go ahead and have a nice lunch and skimp on dinner tonight. I have to tell you, staying within my Weight Watcher points allowance is a real challenge here in the south, and especially Savannah! There are so many places that offer delicious, but high calorie foods!

Our choice for today was Uncle Bubba's Oyster House, owned by Paula Deen's brother. It's location is just next to Tybee Island, so stopping here was right on our way:

We really enjoyed ourselves! Dortha and I chose grilled fish options with corn and collard greens, while Mark and Jim had fried choices. It was all very, very good! Mark wanted pecan pie for dessert, so we got one piece and the rest of us had a few bites and gave the rest to Mark. It came out with a huge scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on top. We all decided we like Uncle Bubba's better than The Lady and Sons.

I wish I'd gotten a picture of that pie before Mark finished it off! He was one happy camper!

On to Tybee Island and the lighthouse. The structure that stands today is the 4th one at this location. The first two were built too close to the water and were replaced. The third one was partially burned by the Confederate Army at the beginning of the Civil War to keep Union soldiers from using it. However, only the stairs and landings were burned, and the Union Army occupied it and repaired the damage.

The current structure was built using the base of the former lighthouse, but with 94 feet added, making it 154 feet tall.

There are 178 cast iron steps leading to the watch room gallery:

The site is actually a Light Station, with the keeper's house, assistant keeper's house and several other structures that are still intact. We toured the keeper's house, here we are in one of the upstairs bedrooms, which strongly reminded me of the bedroom I shared with my sister in the house where I grew up:

This is the first order Fresnel lens which now uses a 1,000 watt electric light bult, which can be seen for 18 miles.

After our visit to the light station and museum, we drove around a bit, and of course, walked on the beach.

It's been a fabulous day! Tomorrow promises more adventure, so come back, y'all.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Visiting Hilton Head

It felt really good to stay snuggled up in bed this morning, the temperature outside was about 35 when we got up around 8. I bundled up the dogs and myself for our walk.

This afternoon, Mark and Dortha wanted to get flu shots at the CVS in Hilton Head, so we took the opportunity to do a little sightseeing while we were in the neighborhood. There is a lighthouse in Harbour Town in the Sea Pines area, so we headed there first.

Gee, I hope this guy is just getting ready for Halloween:

Now, I've heard that Hilton Head is pretty ritzy, but honestly, I've never been to a neighborhood that charges $5 for visitors to drive into! But that's what Sea Pines does, so make sure you take your wallet with you if you visit.

Here's a view of the lighthouse past all the yachts:

And a sail boat:
We walked around the area for awhile and then headed to the CVS. Once Mark and Dortha got their shots, we headed back to the rv park.
While we were in Savannah a couple of days ago, Mark and Dortha bought a GPS to help them navigate. They are still learning all the functionality of "Flo", as she got named today. On the way back to the rv park, we made a quick stop and Flo got all flustered and ended up taking us an entirely different route back. It worked out fine, though and we got back in plenty of time for Jim to barbeque some chicken breasts while I put together the rest of our dinner. Dortha made a wonderful pear cobbler for dessert. I think our dinner tonight was every bit as good as Paula Deen's was last night, and a whole lot healthier!
We're hoping the weather is a little warmer tomorrow, but today turned out to be pretty nice!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Savannah Afternoon

This morning, Dortha and I went to a Weight Watcher's meeting, even though we just attended one Saturday morning. There aren't many meetings close by, so we decided to go the one closest to us, and today was the best choice of times.

After we got back to the rv park, we decided to eat lunch early before going in to Savannah for the afternoon. The first order of business when we got into downtown Savannah was to see if we could get a dinner seating at "The Lady and Sons" for this evening. Mark dropped Dortha and me off to check while he and Jim drove around the block. There was no one in line at the hostess desk, and we were able to get a 5:00 seating.

We found a spot in a parking garage and headed over to River Street to look around and do some shopping. River Street is on a lower level street than the rest of downtown. The streets are cobblestone, and you can drive down them, but parking is very hard to find, so we chose to walk.

I took this picture from the top of the steep stairs leading down to River St. Dortha, Jim and Mark are down at the bottom of the staircase.

Ok, I made it down those stairs - this is looking back up them!

A view down River Street:

The busy Savannah River:

The famous Waving Girl. This sculpture of Florence Martus (1869-1943) commemorates the woman who lived with her brother in a lighthouse and waved to ships coming in and going out of Savannah for 44 years.
After walking from one end of River St. to the other, we decided to drop off our purchases at the car before heaing back to Paula Deen's "The Lady and Sons" restaurant for our dinner. We really needed all the steps we could get to help offset the meal! To give you an idea of the dietary damage eating here can do, there is a T-shirt in her shop next to the restaurant that says: "I'm your cook, honey, not your doctor!"
We were instructed to wait across the street from the restaurant until our names were called. A few minutes before 5 pm, this server came out with the dinner bell and put on quite a show to open the restaurant for dinner.
We waited patiently for our names to come up, then we headed inside.

We were assigned a table on the third floor.

All four of us chose the Dinner Buffet. I picked tiny samples of most of the vegetable offerings, plus a few bites of meatloaf and beef stew. The biscuit and hoecake got to me though, they were really great! Dessert was included, and my choice was banana pudding, although I would have liked the chocolate chip gooey butter cake. I'm still pretty sure all of my "extra" points are used up for the week! My 11,000 steps today did help offset some of those calories, and it was definitely a special experience.
We headed back home after dinner to settle in and stay warm. It's supposed to be down in the 30's tonight, brrr!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Travel Day to Savannah, Georgia

Today was a short travel day, about 90 miles on US Highway 17 South to I-95, and then to Hardeeville, SC, almost to the Georgia state line. We got 9 mpg today. Before we left the Charleston area, we topped off the fuel tank and paid $3.35 per gallon. That's the lowest price we've ever paid for diesel. When we bought the Castle in March, we were paying around $3.85.
Here is what our view looked like most of the way here - isn't that a nice looking motor home in front of us?

We did have a slight mishap near the end of the journey, when we had to make a very sharp right turn. The car went over a curb, and the Pressure Pro sensor was knocked off the valve stem of the right front tire of the Saturn. The hubcap was also bent up. The tire didn't go flat, and the sensor was still transmitting, so we didn't get an alarm. However, when we got parked, the tire went flat. A quick airing with the compressor and I think we'll be fine. We'll see in the morning if the tire is holding air.

We got to the Hardeeville RV Park just after noon. There aren't a lot of choices for rv parks in this area, so we were happy to find this one that isn't priced out of our budget, has full hook-ups, and is not too far from downtown Savannah.
After we got set up, Mark reported that their electric hot water heater didn't seem to be working - at least the red light on the switch wasn't on. After some in-depth trouble shooting, it appeared that the water heater is probably working but the switch needs to be replaced. So it seemed that a trip into town to Camping World for a switch; and the Saturn dealership for a hubcap was in order after lunch. Dortha put out the leftover meatloaf from last night's dinner and we had sandwiches. Then we headed out.
I didn't take any pictures while we were out, so we'll have to make up for that in the next few days as we explore Savannah.
Camping World didn't have the switch that Mark needs, but while we were on the way to the Saturn dealership, Tiffin called back, and they will probably be able to send him one. At the Saturn dealership, Jim got the hubcap ordered, and it will be in on Friday. After our business stops were taken care of, we did go take a look at Skidaway Island State Park, where we could have stayed. It's really beautiful, but we would not have had full hook-ups, and with all the trees, we probably wouldn't have gotten satellite tv.
We headed back towards the downtown area and stopped at a Mexican restaurant for a quick dinner before getting home for the evening. We got just a short glimpse of the historic district, I'm really looking forward to more exploring!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Drying Out and Carrying On

We survived the drenching rains. I heard that the Charleston area got a record 7 inches of rain on Friday. As I walked around the rv park yesterday morning, I noticed that the water got quite high in some places in and around the rv park:

This boat might have come in real handy if the rain had continued a little longer!

Yesterday was cloudy and overcast all day, but at least there was no more rain. Dortha and I attended a Weight Watchers meeting in the morning, while the guys found a place to eat breakfast. Later on in the day, we all went to Camping World. Mark found a ladder and we found a new pair of lawn chairs that are not recliners.

We've been keeping in touch with another RV-Dreams friend, Charles (Roz). He and his wife, Ethel, have been workamping in Maine for several months and are on their way home to Jacksonville, Florida. They wanted to catch up with us, so yesterday, Charles contacted Dortha to see where we are now and when we'd be in Savannah. When he found out we are still in Charleston, he and Ethel decided to travel a few extra miles so they could stay here and get together.

We were delighted to meet them. They arrived around 6 pm and we all went out to dinner together at the Folly Beach Crab Shack. After dinner, we gathered to visit at Dortha and Mark's rig.

This is Charles, visiting with Jasmine. (for Ginger - she's got on her new "bling" collar). Finally, we called it a night and retired to our respective homes. This morning, Charles and Ethel said their "see ya later's", and headed out around 10 am. It was a great treat to meet them, and we hope we get to spend more time with them down the road.

In my last blog, I mentioned seeing some white birds around here that I believe to be White Ibis. I did get some pictures of them today:

I was looking for them yesterday, when I saw this much larger bird with a totally different bill. I think this is a Wood Stork:

Today has been a laid-back, catching up day. Jim got his laundry job back and I made a batch of Weight Watcher friendly chocolate muffins. Dortha is preparing dinner tonight.

Tomorrow is moving day again, and I think we're ready for our next adventures in Savannah!

Friday, October 24, 2008


That's an understatement! We are currently under a flash flood warning, since it's been raining continuously for over 12 hours now. It pours hard for a while and then lets up a little, but since this morning, it has never completely stopped. Evidently, the Charleston area is getting a record amount of rain totals for 1 day. The poor dogs, their raincoats don't even help.

Yesterday was a pretty good day, although it was windy. We took a drive and visited several areas nearby. First stop was to see the Angel Tree. This is similar to the huge tree we visited near Rockport, Texas last year.

Can you see Jim standing under the tree?

This is another side of the tree, there is a couple standing by it in this picture:

We then drove to Mt. Pleasant, Sullivan's Island and Isle of Palms, all areas right around Charleston. While we were on Sullivan's Island, we stopped and took a quick look at Fort Moultrie, which played an important role in the defense of Charleston Harbor in both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.

I thought this mailbox on Sullivan's Island was more interesting than pictures of the fort:

There's also a lighthouse on Sullivan's Island, although it is not the most attractive one I've ever seen, it still counts.

We stopped for lunch at a seafood restaurant in Mt. Pleasant before deciding to visit the outlet mall. Dortha wanted to see if the Corning Outlet store had any dishes she could love, and I needed to see if I could find a new pair of jeans. I did get a pair of jeans, as well as a pair of shoes and 2 shirts. Of course, I then had to clean out my closet when we got home. I managed to find a few items that I don't wear, so now I have room for the new things.
Today we took care of some meal planning and grocery shopping. I fixed spaghetti for dinner tonight and baked a Weight Watchers chocolate cake.
We've been noticing a flock of white birds at a pond that is part of the rv park. Today they were right by our motor home and I got a good look at them. I believe they are White Ibis. I didn't get a picture of them today, but if I see them tomorrow, I'll try to get some pictures. They were very busy today, digging in the grass with their long, slender bills. I imagine the rain has brought up some good bugs for them.

It's been a good day, but I will be glad to see the rain stop!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Touring Charleston

Today we took 2 tours of Charleston. The first was aboard the Carolina Belle, which took us around the Charleston Harbor.

We learned about some of the history of Charleston, founded as Charles Town along the Ashley River in 1670. It was moved to it's present location on a penninsula between the Ashley and Cooper Rivers in 1680. The name was changed to Charleston in 1783.

These are a couple of the many historic homes along the waterfront:

A harbor cruise wouldn't be complete without our pelican friends:

Charleston was an important location in the Amercian Revolutionary war, and it was the place where the first shots of the Civil War were fired on Jan. 9, 1861 by Citadel Cadets when the ship Star of the West attempted to enter the harbor.

Fort Sumpter was held by Union when, on April 12, 1861, it was attacked by shore batteries led by Confederate General Pierre Beauregard. After a 34 hour battle, Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort.

Our cruise took us past the Yorktown Aircraft Carrier, seen here with part of the new Arthur Ravenel/Cooper River bridge in the background:

After our harbor cruise, we headed off on foot to our chosen lunch destination, Jestine's Kitchen. On the way, This pretty house caught my eye:

Jim and Mark were hungry! Jestine's Kitchen is named in honor of the lady who began it, she lived to lthe age of 112. It is known for it's great southern home-style cooking at moderate prices. It did not disappoint! The guys had pecan crusted fried chicken. Dortha had a delicious meatloaf, and I had the Blue Plate Special - shrimp creole. Side dishes included okra gumbo, squash casserole, hoppin John, collard greens and cornbread. Oh, yes, and the coconut cream pie the guys had for dessert. (Dortha and I got some bites of that!)

After our wonderful meal, we once again set out on foot to our next tour, a horse drawn carriage through the historic district.

Our tour guide was Robert, and our beautiful transportation was provided by Bill, a Belgian Draft Horse.

We saw many alleys like this, but this particular one was of interest because it was the only place where dueling was legal!

In the days of slavery, during the winter when there wasn't much work in the fields, slaves made bricks. Many buildings are built with brick, and many of them have been covered by plaster, stucco, or wood.

Some very interesting architectural detail:

The Exchange, where tea was stored during the time of the Tea Protest prior to the American Revolution. It was also the location where representatives to the Continental Congress were elected, and where South Carolina declared it's independence from the British Crown:

In addition to surviving several wars, including the American Revolution and Civil War, Charleston survived two major hurricanes in 1885, and a devasting earthquake in 1886. Many of the homes we saw today were built long before that, but they have been lovingly restored and maintained.

During the tour, our guide, Robert, told us stories of the individual houses we saw. Gee, I didn't take notes, so now I don't remember which house went with what story.

This house was built by a cousin of George Washington:
There is intricate scrollwork around the window frames, to indicate the owner made his fortune on the sea:
Another beauty:

We saw many beautiful places today in this historic city. Charleston has done a very good job of preservation. It's a very special experience to be here where many important events in the history of our country occurred!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Magnolia Plantation to Downtown Charleston

It was great sleeping last night without an added quilt on the bed, and without the furnace running. Moving south was a good idea. We did run the heater this morning to take the chill off, but then it warmed up to be a nice day.

After some discussion with Dortha and Mark, we decided to visit nearby Magnolia Plantation first today. I had no idea what to expect since this is our fist visit to this part of the country. The only plantation I really know anything about is Tara from "Gone with the Wind".

Just a short drive from the rv park is this lovely old plantation, still owned by the Drayton family, as it has been since it was founded in 1676. Through wars, hurricanes, earthquakes and family tragedies, this plantation has survived. It has the oldest gardens open to the public. We arrived and purchased tickets for a tram tour and a house tour as well as the grounds and gardens.

This is the third house built, one was destroyed by fire, the second was burned in the Civil War.

On the tram tour, we got to see some, wildlife, including this great white egret:

I think if I was one of those turtles, I wouldn't be so eager to hang out near this alligator!

We stopped for a picture while we walked the gardens:

Spanish moss hanging everywhere:

Even though there weren't a lot of flowers, we did see some:

Beautiful trees and ponds:

And bridges: More flowers:

And more trees and ponds:

We spent about 4 hours here and finally decided we were getting hungry. We all decided we'd like to go downtown for awhile, so we found a Ruby Tuesday's on the way so Dortha and I could have a good salad. After our late lunch, we drove across the Ashley River and headed through downtown Charleston.

This certainly isn't one of the most attractive buildings in the city, but it does house the market and we were in the mood to do some shopping:

Dortha and I have had our eye on the local artisans' Sweetgrass Baskets, which are made only in this area. The origin of the baskets were African slaves who brought the skill of basketweaving with them. The men were primary basket weavers during the time of slavery. They were used in rice processing. After emancipation, women became the primary weavers and soon baskets were being made for sale. Dortha and I picked out the same style and got a discount on them:

One last flower as we headed back to the car after our shopping excursion:

Back home for a quiet evening in. Tomorrow, more adventure awaits!