Charleston, SC

Trip Start Jun 05, 2010
Trip End Aug 13, 2010

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Flag of United States  , South Carolina
Wednesday, July 14, 2010

We had a site booked for 2 nights near Charleston, NC. A place called Lake Aire, about 11 miles from downtown. It was a little bit "hillbilly" but did the job. The sites were unpaved and they had an issue with their water main so we were instructed to fill our tank and use our own water while they made repairs! (which ended up taking 2 days. Lucky we have a big fresh tank.) This was one of our half off places from our Camp Club so we couldn't get too bummed. We drove into Charleston right after landing and ate dinner at a local brewery then walked a little bit of the downtown. This town is really old. I didn’t know much about the history until we started checking it out and reading stuff, but it turns out that the first shots of the Civil War were fired here and it has a lot of Revolutionary War history here as well. Kind of boring to you all, probably, but you start to get caught up in it after hanging out for a while. Also, we end up taking a lot of pics of the architecture too, which is probably boring as well, but they are so old that we just start snapping pics. A lot of old structures still standing here on the East coast. I guess these are considered new compared to what’s in Europe, but our oldest stuff back home is pretty much all mid to late 1800’s. I realize now that California is pretty new school.

Violet stayed at camp the next day. This was the first time we left her back. She didn’t want to get up. She needed a day to herself and maybe we did too. We told her she couldn’t leave the trailer and locked it behind us. She said she didn’t feel like listening to another day of us marveling at architecture! She’s got wifi, myspace and an iPod. What else does a 12 year old need? (By the way, thanks for all the birthday wish comments to Violet in the recent post. She is missing home pretty bad and is always stoked to hear from you all.) Once we were in town, Vonnie and I split up for a while because we wanted to see different stuff. ( I wanted to see Fort Sumter but, after a mile walk in 90+ deg temps wearing flip flops, I missed the fairy out. Damn! Then had to walk back. ) We met back up for a tour of the old Customs House/Exchange Building. You can Google it to know the history if you care to. I just mention it here because it is pretty amazing that this place is 90% original and it is around 240 years old I think. Check the style of masonry in the dungeon (see pic). Here you can also see remains of the old walled city from the mid 1600’s, I think, called Charles Towne. There is an actual archeological dig happening in this basement area. The Charleston that exists today was built over the top of it.

We stopped off at one of the many open air rooftop bars for some refreshments, to cool off and get some nice views of the city.
We met some nice folks from Phoenix, about our age. They were doing some traveling in their RV and had their 14 year old daughter (who, like Violet, sounded passionate about volleyball) with them. We were bummed Vi wasn’t with us for some socializing.

There is so much to see here and, as is usually the case, we could barely scratch the surface. Our method of experiencing a new town/city has been to first do some internet research. Since we usually only have a day or two, upon arrival, we might try and go straight to the downtown / historical district and just walk for a few hours, check out some art galleries, shop a little and eat. Then we get a feel for what we may or may not want to check out the next day. It kind of works for us but we never have enough time. It’s nice to see and take in some history of a new town but we also like to swim and hang at beaches and lounge. It’s nice to take a hike or a drive somewhere new or check out a skatepark as well….or a brewery or see some live music. It’s just impossible to pull it all off in a couple of days. I was telling Vonnie yesterday how it’s kind of good, in a way, to leave a place still wanting more because it gives us a reason to come back someday…. another destination to add to our long list. (Upon leaving a place Vonnie might get on the smart-phone and start researching prices for flights out of California.)

I will mention, without getting too political, one thing that we all found interesting here in the South is the pride these folks have for their civil war heroes with lots of statues and monuments and plaques with quotes chanting how great it is to have fought for slavery. I was taught and raised up thinking that slavery was a bad thing but here it is a great thing to have fought to protect slavery and a person is praised for doing such. I guess we were brought up as “Yankees”. I know it was a different time and I’m not trying to be judgmental…. Just stating some facts. Incidentally, I don’t think one of those statues or monuments would last a day without being dismantled, spray painted kicked over or burned to the ground where we come from. There would probably be mass protests and picketing and, possibly a riot, if one of these monuments were erected in the Santa Rosa square. It’s so funny and trippy how different it is.

Back at camp Violet was just hanging out. Her hair was straightened, full face of makeup, fully caught up on MySpace and even taught herself a few guitar chords. We asked her if she missed us and she said “no”….

About my truck problems…. My check engine light is no longer lit so that is good. Must only light up in hail storms! I got a hold of the company that makes my exhaust brake (Pac Brake) and the dude was real helpful. We had the problem figured out in a few minutes. It looks like it will be a simple fix. A regulator switch went bad on the pump and I can replace it. Since it’s only a few months old it’s still under warranty of course. I have to call them back next week with an address (probably somewhere in DC) to ship the part to and he said it will be there within 3 days. Stoked! I hope that will fix it. I miss my exhaust brake. And we need to cross a couple of mountain ranges heading back home.

I’ve been wanting to see some of the Appalachians and/or the Smoky Mountains. Everyone we’ve met says to check out Asheville NC near the corridor of the Smoky Mountain National Park so we’re heading inland and up in elevation aka, the "highlands". Note: they call this “lowcountry” here, near the coast. That "lowcountry" word is used everywhere, lowcountry art, lowcountry dining, etc…. I asked some locals about this word and they laughed. They said it just means near the coast. As we go inland we’ll be passing through the “midlands”, the “piedmonts” and the “highlands”. Makes sense now.
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