Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Intentional Tourist Part 4

At the crack of dawn we left Florida. Oddly, as we crossed the line into Georgia the clouds parted and the sun came out. It was however still cold. At the same time the sun started shining this truck passed me. 

I don't usually go for this kind of folk art, but I really liked what was in the back of the truck. This guy used the natural shape much more than most. I didn't see any bears either.

We drove together through the entire State of Georgia and until we turned off towards Charleston in South Carolina. I don't know if it finally seeing the sun or his colorful work, I sure was enjoying the drive.

Charleston and the area around it has a very strong Antebellum South feel to it.

Most of the trees drip with spanish moss. A note; do not pick it and take it home. There may be a bunch of insects in it just waiting to jump out.

We thought we had a reservation at Edisto Island State Park. Fortunately Reserveamerica had lost our reservations between the network and the park. We pushed on to a campground closer to Charleston. The county has a really nice campground on St James Island. 

We went over to Bowers Island for the sunset and dinner. It was still cold at the usual 37 degrees.

Bowens Island Fish House was the perfect place for us. This is not a fancy place at all. You order from a very limited menu with the bartender and when it is ready they shout out your name. All their beer is local and it is all draft. Many were eating oysters, but they are only served steamed here. Not a fan of steamed oysters.

Draft beers and draft soda while we waited for our food...

Beth had shrimp and grits. It was mighty tasty even though I am not a big fan of grits. That is a story in it's self.

The rest of us had the seafood plate. Shrimp, crab cake, fried fish, hush puppies, french fries, and coleslaw. So good! Very good! So good I could only eat 2/3. I rarely do not leave an empty plate.

The next morning we had until noon to see Charleston. It was all we needed since there were 20mph winds and it was 27 degrees.

If you like old buildings, walking around downtown gives you plenty to see.

Pink is a very popular color in this town. There were a lot of pink houses. I always though that was an Indiana thing.

There are a lot of very interesting buildings.

This house was built in 1720. It must have had a great builder. I doubt Ryland built this one.

I pray we can return when it is warmer.

We were homeward bound and oddly it was getting colder. I think the Arctic Vortex was on it's way. I have never seen a sky like that before. It was rolling like an ocean.

One last tourist trap. This time it was JR's Outlet.

JR's is a blended tourist trap and outlet store. 

They sell a lot of off brand stuff. These leather jackets had an Italian name and all implications of being fine Italian made coats but in reality they were made in Bangladesh.

Chinese made cowboy hats.

Chinese made cowgirl hats.

I strongly suspect these were a buy out special. 

North Carolina wine? Seriously? I don't know jack about wine, but when I go buy a bottle for Beth, I do not go to the guy and say "How about a nice North Carolina chardonnay? Can you hook me up?" 

There was a bit of humor to the merchandise.

Then there was the tobacco section. Would you really need to go to an outlet store for your completely off brand cigarettes?

How many packs of rolling papers would you possibly use in your life time?

I was hoping for a cool Gnome. No luck, the choices were slim. Though they had a ton of different led lighted dragon flies.

I bet that stock rotates quickly.

I was tempted to buy a ham in a sack. I really was since these are the salty hams you have to soak for a week before you cook it. I really do love a country ham.

Another temptation. No moonshine in it however. 

And suddenly we were home. 5 states and 2609.6 miles on the Dodge. I averaged 15.8 mpg towing the trailer. There was snow on the ground and it took four wheel drive to get the trailer back into the yard. It was 27 degrees, just like when we had left 10 days before.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Intentional Tourist Part 3

We left the Lost Coast a day early than planned. It was raining. It was 37 degrees. Why not sit around in a moving truck rather than a stationary trailer. Our next stop was over to the Atlantic side of Florida. Beth has an uncle we were planning to visit in Palm Coast. Our camp ground was Faver Dykes State Park just North of there. When we got to the camp ground it was pouring once again. I have gotten very practiced at setting up the trailer in a cold, driving rain. To get to the camp ground one must go down a long dirt road. Most of the road was plastered to the trailer when we backed into the spot. Once set up, I proceeded to give Anna a bath. I kept looking over my shoulder, expecting a tyrannosaurus rex or a velociraptor to come charging from the saw palmetto.

This is a very natural place. It has a very primal forest feel to it. I imagine most of Florida looked like this at one time.

The campsites are very generous and fairly private due to the thick Jurassic growth. The sand drains the rain fairly quirky though it rarely let up. We only slept here so our needs were minimal. The bath houses were clean, though unheated like all the state park campgrounds.

Hopefully someday we will return and explore the park a little more. It really is a very beautiful place.

We needed some indoor entertainment. We found a tourist trap. 

All over Florida you see signs for Florida Citrus Centers. They have big bowls of oranges to try. They are all incredibly sweet and tasty. Then they sell you a bag of nasty oranges that taste nothing like the sample. They usually have guys who smell of liquor and use friendly but high pressured sales techniques to persuade you into purchasing things you do not want. 

They all have multiple bins of shells you can buy to make your house feel more beachy.

They all have numerous signs you don't need but feel tempted to buy.

Some people still use ash trays. Less people are smoking tobacco, but more and more are smoking pot. They all need a place to put their ashes.

I really wanted one of these mugs. I was on the verge of the purchase.

Halle wanted one of these until she realized it was a real alligator head coated in varnish.

An aligator jaw bone knife anyone? I bet these are very popular with 13 year old boys. They probably go out into the woods with these strapped to their belts. The first time they whittle with it, the handle snaps. Yeah, I have been there. They still are cool.

And who does not need some highly priced fireworks? We managed to escape with a pound of boiled peanuts and 4 sticks of alligator jerky. It was mixed with beef and tasted like a typical dollar store beef stick. They were $2.50 each and not a dollar.

Beth's uncle lives right by the ocean in Palm Coast. The waves were crashing on the beach. The wind was blowing water and sand fairly hard. No beach time here either.

We played 9 holes of miniature golf in the rain. When I was asked if I wanted to play mini golf, I pictured windmills, water falls, and a church you had to drive the ball through. I had no idea it was going to be miniature golf. Beth's Uncle Lester uses the mind over matter technique to deal with the cold. Even though it was 52 and raining, he wore shorts.

Everyone took it very seriously except Halle and me. She played along, but wondered when it was going to be over. She asked out loud twice. I shot 4 over par. We made the best of it even though it was raining.