Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mt. Pleasant South Carolina to Augusta Georgia

We woke to another beautiful South Carolina morning. While the others were getting up, I took the tools to the bike and removed the broken crash bar and associated trim. The fix will take two bolts and some time with a drill and easy-out to get the broken bolt ends out. The bike can be ridden in its current state but if it fell over on the left side, even stopped, it could be nasty.

When I was done, Leo and I half filled the grey tank for flushing and then I washed the black tank by passing the hose in through the window and sticking the wand (which emits a pulsating spray out sideways) into the toilet. We rinsed until the clear plastic coupling showed clean water and then we pulled the grey valve to rinse out the sewer hose. Lastly, we hooked the water hose to the RV and half filled to grey tank (which we don't use much right now) for the final dump at the Flying J south of Birmingham on Monday. We must have done something because the black water gauge was working better.

Before we left, I spoke with a gentleman from Valleyfield Quebec running a large Dutch Star pusher towing a 1978 MGB convertible. His English was better than my French and I found out he would be spending a month in Florida before flying back to Montreal for the skiing season.

I googled some Charleston information and they suggested there was ample parking at the Visitor Center downtown. We headed down Highway 17 and over the impressive Arthur Ravenel Jr Bridge into downtown Charleston. From the bridge, we saw a Carnival Cruise ship at dock. Apparently, their cruises are now departing from Charleston.

Carnival cruise ship

Arthur Ravenel Jr Bridge - Charleston SC

There may be ample parking at the Visitor Center if you are driving a car but no way a motorhome could find a spot. Sandy did get a picture of the H.L. Hunley, the Civil War submarine that sank the Housatonic in Charleston harbor before going to the bottom itself. The wreck was found in 1995 and raised in 2000.

Full scale model of the the submarine H.L. Hunley

Not finding any parking spaces, we headed back across the Ravenel Bridge to Patriot Point. We did see that the bridge is pedestrian friendly, even having a centre line on the walkway. Many people seemed to be using it.  Arriving at Patriot Point across the harbor from Charleston, we found an RV/Bus parking lot. The spots were back-in but I managed to get the job done. We had a bite to eat at the snack bar before checking out the tours.

Ravenel Bridge from Patriot Point

Our choice today, due to limited time, was between a boat ride to Fort Sumter (the site of the first shots fired in the Civil War (or war of Northern Aggression for my southern friends) or a tour of the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown CV10. We chose the Yorktown. Yorktown was commissioned in 1943 and named for the earlier Yorktown lost at the battle of Midway. It was decommissioned in 1970 and, during its long career, it saw service in Viet Nam and recovered the Apollo 8 capsule in 1968.

Walkway to the USS Yorktown

Before we got to the Yorktown, Leo and I got sidetracked by the USS Clamagore SS-343, an 1,800 ton BALAO class submarine of World War II vintage. We took a walk through while the ladies waited on the dock. On board, we found Sid, a retired submariner who started out on the USS Shark, sister ship to the ill-fated USS Scorpion that was lost under mysterious circumstances in 1968. People with claustrophobia should avoid this tour.

Leo in the forward torpedo room of USS Clamagore

USS Clamagore sonar operator

On board the Yorktown, we were given tour advice by volunteer and veteran Chip. He suggested how we could get the most out of our visit.  We started on the hangar deck and first took a five minute simulator ride. It took us on a mission from a carrier during Desert Storm.

Navy Flight Simulator

Then we walked the hangar deck. One end had many World War II aircraft on display. At the end were the extremes, a Wright Flyer and a Mercury and Apollo capsule. At the other end was a snack bar populated with Boy Scouts who will be sleeping on board the carrier tonight.

Hangar deck

Wright Flyer and space capsules

B-25 Mitchell hanging over Boy Scouts

From the hangar deck, we took self-guided Tour 1 (out of 6) that went below decks to see the berths, mess, repair shops and infirmary.

Me in front of berths

Wash area

Mark 44 torpedo

Soryu, one of the carriers that attacked Pearl Harbor

Back on the hangar deck, on Chip's advise, we took Tour 3 up to the flight deck and on to the bridge. Lots of narrow stairs. On the flight deck, there were many more modern aircraft from Viet Nam forward.

Sandy and Leo on the flight deck

F-14 Tomcat (Top Gun)

Sea King helicopter (the US can keep them flying)

F8 Crusader for Slammer

Does anyone know what this aircraft is?

Sandy in the pilots' ready room

We finished the tour about 1:15 and left, planning to be in Scottsboro Alabama tomorrow night so we can check out the Unclaimed Baggage Center on Monday morning. We crossed the Ravenel Bridge for the 3rd time and caught I-26 (aka the Palmetto Prideway) towards Columbia. In Orangeburg, we stopped at a Cracker Barrel that had RV parking spots. Otis served us. I had a bowl of very substantial beef noodle soup and a country ham sandwich that was delicious. Sandy had beef stew that was thinner than my soup. Otis forgot our coleslaw but we didn't need it anyway.

Back on the road, I-26 got quite rough until mile marker 37, when it became as smooth as silk. I spent my driving time making voice notes about the checklist I need to follow to put the motorhome to bed on Monday.

The sun goes down here about 5:40 PM. That's almost 3/4's of an hour later than West Virginia. As an added bonus, the sky was red so tomorrow should be a nice day.

We reached Augusta, Georgia, home of The Masters Golf Tournament and found the WalMart on Bobby Jones Expressway. The young lady in customer service said we could park here but steered us to a quiet part of the lot. Apparently the young Fast and Furious crowd likes to hang out at the front of the lot. The embedded McDonlad's was supposed to have WiFi but they thought it wasn't working.

Leo and I found a mascot lying in the parking lot. We'll have to find somewhere to mount him.

Sandy and our new mascot

We fired up the generator and had spring rolls and a honey bun each for supper. I got a lot of blog work done while we watched the security guard in his SUV with orange flashing light chase kids out of the lot. Then it was off to bed.

Today's Route (199 miles):

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1 comment:

DougD said...

Scary that so far other than scenery the highlight of your trip seems to be cleaning the toilet and not getting soaked!