Charlotte, NC to Charleston, SC
Trip was 230 miles which took 4 hours (5pm to 9pm). The first hour was in the rain, torrentially pouring rain.
This rain started before we even left and was coming down so badly we decided to not put the car on the dolly and Colleen just drove behind me the entire way; not ideal, but we knew it was a short jaunt so no big deal. When we drove out of the Charlotte area we also drove into a clear night of driving which was a uneventful drive down to Charleston. We got into our campground, Lake Aire RV Park, in the dark and apparently all the rain from Charlotte was here first. The campground was pretty much flooded as you can see from these pics:
It was a beautiful place and would recommend folks go there, just would try to stay more towards the front of the campground where it seemed to dry out a bit quicker then where our site was located. It had some cool hiking trails along a waterway (see below) and a cool little lake as you can see above.
The next few days we just stayed at the campground. Something I haven’t shared about Colleen yet is she consults and does transcription work as it becomes available. Some jobs were offered and she took them. Otherwise, Colleen cooked up some really good meals and other fun stuff like laundry while I worked. One night we needed to pick up a few things so we went to try to find a Walmart. One thing to know about South Carolina is they love to hide all their stores. You would not even know you passed a grocery store or even a Walmart unless you know where it is located and even then it is tough sometimes. One of the great things about that though is it really does keep the amazing beauty of the area. They take this very serious, so much so that we were told it is built into all their building codes.
For those that have never been to this area of the county there is so much to do in Charleston that Colleen and I realized a weekend clearly was not long enough to possibly cover it. We estimate, to feel as though one can fully experience everything this area has to offer, we now understand we need to spend significant time (3 months at a minimum) just in the Charleston area. There are plantations everywhere to explore, you can dive into the history of Charleston including the Civil War, Fort Sumter, 100’s of real pirates, the beautiful architecture both historic and new, the waterways, all types of cuisine and golf courses everywhere, the list goes on and on. Well, we decided we were going to see what we could fit into 2 and a half days and most definitely arrange multiple trips of longer durations over the years to come.
So lets get things started. On Thursday November 12th, we went into the city of Charleston for the first time, it is a very cool city. That night we went to an Irish pub called Tommy Condons for some drinks and dinner. It had live music and outside dining area. While we enjoyed ourselves and was excited to be out on the town for the first night, I would not rate this place high and probably would not go back mainly because Charleston has SOOOO many places to go that are unique and just plain better. They did have something called Dublin Rolls for 7.99 as an appetizer which is Corned Beef, Swiss cheese & Vegetable in an egg roll which was fried golden brown & served with mustard & slaw; pretty good and I never had it before and since after all it was an Irish pub, I had my Guinness and Colleen was able to have her elusive Smithwick’s.
That night we came home to find out very disappointing news, our unlimited data plan (UDP) from OmniLynx was terminated. For those who do not follow cell plans, for large data plans, they are not easy to find and can be VERY expensive. When you find an UNLIMITED plan, it is like finding gold at the end of the rainbow and you never want to loose it so, since this happened with NO warning and we both depend on it for work and entertainment (computer, TV, cell phones, tablets), you can imagine the concern. Luckily, when we look for campgrounds we try our best to find ones which have WiFi to your site so have a backup. Lake Aire RV Park did and it worked perfectly for the remaining 5 days we were there; sometimes however campgrounds block streaming of any sort so there is enough bandwidth for everyone in the facility. Small price to pay though to know, like in this situation, I can depend on it to work which is the most important thing. Anyway, Colleen and I spent the rest of that evening looking for a replacement internet plan. If you are diligent, you can find them out there, but at a price. What was great about our OmniLynx plan that was just suddenly shut off with no warning from the company was it was a Verizon plan and worked everywhere we needed it and it was less than $50 a month! I would like to thank Cherie and Chris at Technomadia who informed us of such a great deal and said right from the start and often this very well may happen. If you are a fulltime RVer and depend on internet technology, you definitely need to follow their site; I have purchased their subscription and obviously it has worked out thus far. So back to the story, we did found one and had it sent to our son’s place to have when we get to Florida, so once again we will be setup again with an unlimited plan. If anyone really want to know more about this please contact me via my email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enough tech talk, back to Charleston. Friday, I worked from 6:30am to 2:30 pm and went to the Citadel that afternoon; it is a very cool experience. We wanted to take a quick tour before going into town and catching a bite to eat. The Citadel has hourly tours and typically has a military-type parade but unfortunately, because they had their military training trips this weekend, there was no parade as they were packing up and leaving for their different destinations. We are still very happy we went though, we still enjoyed a very cool tour around campus.
The library which was public and had paintings of every war since the civil war. The Citadel claims that they fired the first attack of the Civil War right from Charleston. A rich history that I could have spent many hours checking out.
A floating staircase…No supports except the floors above and below.
The non-denominational Christian church which has flags of every state (which is unique to the Citadel) and the stained glass windows that is dedicated by the classes along the way and also have the in battle fallen alumni throughout history (not all obviously, but many).
The field and the different branches of the military Preparing for their training trips.
The oath they truly do live by so much so that if you are caught ONCE being dishonest, cheating, or stealing, you are expelled no matter if you are on the first day there or an hour before graduation.
Just other pics.
and of course our guide who was very informative and spent another 20-30 minutes answer questions Colleen and I had after the tour was over. Thanks to the Cadet who is a senior named James McManus; his tour was excellent and focused on recruiting as we joined up with a high school from Alabama.
On our way out I asked a cadet where can we go to get some food and drinks, without hesitation, he recommended Red’s Ice House. It was a very cool place right down at the water; exactly what we were looking for especially because it had a whole slew of local microbrew beers and an excellent menu which included a bucket of local rock oysters. It was there that we found out about the ISIS attacks in Paris. I tried to contact a fellow associate who is living in Paris, but all lines would not let me through. I really did not know if all the great folks we work with in Paris were ok until I started seeing emails coming in that weekend. While we were at a really cool place with fantastic views, we were watching the news mostly.
On Saturday we got up knowing that we had a fun filled day and the weather was to be excellent, sunny mid-70s. After some breakfast we headed into the city of Charleston. First up on the day’s agenda was to take a horse drawn carriage ride through the city. It was better than I thought it was going to be and completely worth the time, I recommend it highly. The carriage service we used is the largest service in the world. The tour guide was extremely informative and a great southern personality added to the event. Something unique about the carriage services is that each time you took a tour you would not know which of the four tours they offer you are actually going to experience; we were not told this until we started out. The way it is decided is a ping pong ball lottery. The tour guide, who is also the buggy driver goes about three blocks from the stable and stops on the corner where a person stands there and actually picks the ping pong ball out of the machine which chooses the route for that tour; weird but apparently effective. Moving on, here are some pictures of the tour:
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