Day 33-36: Um, let's not go there again

Trip Start Jul 01, 2008
Trip End Sep 27, 2008

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Where I stayed
Mt Pleasant KOA
North Charleston Inn

Flag of United States  , South Carolina
Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Leaving the campsite in Savannah with a wet tent, we were grateful to be heading to our hotel in Charleston, the last of our pre-booked accommodations for this sectorof the trip. Whether to book hotels/campgrounds, or not, before we left San Diego was the subject of much debate in our preparation stage, but in the end we realized that footloose and fancy free is not how we would feel come 5pm on a desolate highway with fatigued & food-starved children, so we went the responsible route and committed ourselves to an itinerary and hotels that met the usual criteria; cost, location & free breakfasts. (One thing we didn't consider, but have been lucky with, was the height restrictions on the parking facility. Our clearance with the rooftop box is about 8' and it's only been the once that Matty had to back up from an underground parking lot, realizing late in the game that he just wasn't gonna make it through.) Until day 33 we were impressed by our accommodation selections, but the North Charleston Inn is not a hotel we would recommend. To anyone.We watched the checkered flag on the GPS get closer and closer, and then listened in horror as the voice announced 'Arriving at destination on left',  swallowing hard before braving the check- in. Words really can't describe the room, and anyway, it was more the visual and olfactory senses that were overwhelming, but we were here in the room now and the kids had seen the pool already. To say we looked out of place at the pool would be an understatement, and as soon as the kids were wet enough we were outta there. We braved the McDonald's next door for dinner (and for once it wsn't the nutritional value that had us concerned) and then bolted our room door as best we could, hoping we would all see sunrise when we woke up. There was one redeeming feature - the $4.99 breakfast, which was a home-cooked southern feast, still the best in all the south we've tasted. Matt has a thing for grits and I've become quite partial to biscuits & gravy. Despite the tastiness of the fare, it was still a frightening experience given the company we were keeping and we almost tripped over each other in our haste to get to the sanctuary of our car on our way out.
Charleston proper, on the other hand, was a truly lovely and genteel city. So much so, that we altered our plans to head west into Georgia & Tennessee and booked a night in the historic district so we could stay and wander longer. We took a carriage ride around the city, the kids found water (as they always do) and spent a really happy hour or two playing in the fountains, and then we had a great meal at Hyman's (grits again for Matt) before retiring to our new hotel. I booked it through the downtown Charleston Visitors Centre, just to be safe, and the woman assisting me nearly choked when I mentioned where we had stayed the previous night, before whispering that North Charleston ranks around #4 in the US for dangerous cities. That was not shocking news to Matt or I.
Day 2 was spent exploring Charleston, Matt in his running shoes, me with my credit card. We both felt we had spent quality time in Charleston. Another swim at the hotel before lunch (Hominy's which was as wonderful as the reviews we had read) and Matt had yet another plate of grits, before heading to our next night's accommodation in Charleston - the campground in Mt Pleasant. But not before more swimming, this time at the beach, which was wet and salty, but didn't have the white sands/turquoise water we were hoping for. The campground was the prettiest we've stayed at so far, and we selected a site on the edge of the lake. All went well until the kids soccer ball ended up in there and to stop the kids & Matt from wading in, I told them about the alligator sign I had seen at the Check-in desk, so not only did we have cries for a lost ball, we had a terrified Aviva to deal with.
Day 3 we spent at Boone Plantation, which was interesting but really hot and humid. Daniel was terribly disappointed when he realized that it wasn't Soup Plantation we were going to (for anyone not familiar, this is a buffet style dining option we have enjoyed many times in San Diego), but he put on a brave front and gave slavery and the Civil War his full attention.
We are loving the South but it's time for a change of scenery - we are about done with alligators, swamps and grits (well, most of us) and next stop is North Carolina. Into the north west of the state where we are hoping to get some quality mountain air and a reduction in heat & humidity.
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Sue zimmrrmann on

You 2 are certainly seeing thr US in a thorough way and not missing much! As for me I'm in Rome now, did you get my other emails?

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