It’s official! We have just finished the 5th week our trip. This was our last true day of vacation here in Charleston. We will hit the road early tomorrow heading through Atlanta with a brief stop at the Atlanta aquarium and then continuing our long journey home.
We got rained out in the morning today on our visit to the Boone Hall Plantation. Boone Hall is the only plantation still operating in America, they grow fruit now. It also has one of the most amazing entrances I’ve ever seen.
The oak trees that line the drive are 300 years old and were planted when the plantation was initially founded. It took them 200 years to meet in the middle. We didn’t get to see a lot since it was raining, but it was a cool visit.
We took the afternoon to join the local residents in a very popular activity — walking over the relatively new Ravenel bridge that connects Charleston and Mt. Pleasant. This bridge is the longest cable span bridge in the US. It’s also incredibly high and has a walking path on it. We walked up to the middle and then turned back. I have to admit that my fear of heights kicked in towards the top. I made it all the way though. It’s pretty surprising how many people go just to walk on this bridge. There are always people walking or riding their bike on it.
I’ve decided that this is “my bridge”. I find it incredibly interesting. The cable spans are so interesting. The geometry of it is great. I’ve decided that we need a bridge just like it in Minneapolis. I’m going to start lobbying for it when I return. :-)
Tomorrow morning we depart early for Atlanta and then continue into the evening to see how far we get. We are hoping to get back to home by Saturday night, late. Don’t expect any updates from me on the road. I’m looking forward to getting back home again!
We spent Wednesday in Charleston. The real newsflash is that we didn’t drive anywhere the entire day! Amazing! We had a relaxing morning and then took the water taxi to Charleston. We had great barbecue for lunch at Jim n’ Nicks and in the afternoon we went to the South Carolina Aquarium.
Mazie didn’t dig the water taxi in the morning. It was her very first time on a boat and when we got going she got scared. She overcame her concerns quickly though and on the ride back over in the afternoon she sat in her stroller on her own the whole way over like a champ.
The aquarium was nice. They have the tallest glass wall in the country in their huge reef tank. It’s a full two stories tall. At the bottom of it, it looks pretty immense. The picture on the right shows the wall. For scale, that is 20 feet tall. I’m excited to see the aquarium in Atlanta on our way home. It’s wall isn’t as high, but it’s 60 feet wide.
On Tuesday we loaded up in the van and headed for a short drive to Savannah, Georgia. Drive more? Absolutely! Why not… we just can’t get enough driving. Savannah is such a notable city and we thought since we were so close we should check it out. It took about 2 hours to get there.
Savannah is a really nice city. It’s smaller than the others we’ve been to. We didn’t have a ton of time so we drove through many of the parkways and then headed into the historic area of downtown.
We had lunch at The Lady & Sons restaurant. This is the restaurant that Paula Deen started before becoming the celebrity chef on Food TV. The Lady & Sons is best described as a Temple to Butter. The food is stunningly rich. As you sit there with biscuits immediately delivered to your table, you can envision truckloads of butter being constantly delivered to the loading dock to keep the cooks going. At one point while we are eating lunch one of the waitresses breaks out into song to praise frying! “I don’t want no grilled fish” went the lyrics, finishing with “give me my fried chicken and fried gravy”.
We spent the afternoon in Forsyth Park and took a bunch of pictures before heading out and returning to Charleston.
I wrote earlier that Mazie was having a horrible time getting her sleep. Asheville was the breaking point for Tammy and I. We were like zombies, Mazie was miserable and incredibly unhappy. We finally went to a different hotel the last night and Mazie was able to sleep. The good news is that she slept great at Ed & Nancy’s, and she’s been doing great here in Charleston.
She’s slept through the night and went to bed well for the last 5 days and is doing great. It’s amazing how big of a help that is to all of us. Yeah!
We spent Monday walking around Charleston in the historic downtown area. We took a drive around for a while to let Mazie get her nap in and then headed out on foot to explore. The historic downtown area of Charleston is really interesting. You pretty much trip over historical landmarks at every turn. We walked down most of King Street, which has a ton of shopping. Tammy was feeling in need of some shopping opportunities.
We had lunch at Sermets Corner. The food was great. I recommend the sweet potato french fries. We spent the rest of the afternoon walking down East Bay street, and then down Market street.
Market Street was a bit of a trip. They have a big open air market there selling cheap “stuff” (nice way of saying mostly junk). However, the history of the building is that it was where slaves were sold after getting off slave ships. Being a “yankee” as I am, it is a bit of an eye opener to see so much of the legacy of slavery surrounding everything. So much of what you see is bittersweet — I find myself wondering how much of this was built on the backs of slaves. Too much, to be sure.
Let me get caught up first. On Friday we left Asheville and headed to Charlotte to spend the weekend with Tammy’s biological father Ed and his wife Nancy. We had a very nice time with great company, amazing food and wonderful accommodations. We got to meet Ed & Nancy’s son, and Tammy’s half-brother, Christopher. Christoper is a little over 3 and is all boy. What a great kid! We also spent the weekend with Tammy’s aunts, Betty Lou and Sandi, as well as Sandi’s husband Bob. (Whew, got the whole role call there.)
It was very nice to get some home cooked meals after being on the road so long (31 days!) and to spend some time just relaxing. I think the highlight for me was just sitting on the deck in the back on Friday night chatting and looking at the stars.
On Sunday we headed out and continued the great adventure to Charleston, SC. We arrived in Charleston right around 5:00 pm and got checked into the Belvidere Club Resort. This place is pretty great. We have an entire two bedroom “cottage” to ourselves. It’s very comfortable.
Today we ventured out of Asheville again and went to Chimney Rock Park. The park was pretty cool. We did a short hike to the base of a 400 foot water fall. Mazie did really good in the carrier, although we failed her by not bringing warm enough clothes. We had to bug out pretty quickly since Mazie was cold.
We also went to the North Carolina Arboretum in the afternoon. It was nice. They had a great bonsai exhibit that I really enjoyed. Mazie enjoyed running around for an extended period of time.
We have moved to a different hotel for this last night in Asheville. This hotel is much better equipped for Mazie and we are hoping she gets a good nights sleep. I didn’t need to put tinfoil on the windows here. :-)
Lastly, I updated the Google Earth file with our Asheville adventures. Load the Great Adventure KMZ file to check out where we’ve been.
Here’s a big bummer.
Last night while driving back to the hotel getting ready to put Mazie down a car was trying to run the light as it turned red. The other car was turning left onto my street, I was going straight. I honked and the other driver slowed, but did not come to a complete stop. Luckily the other driver slowed to probably less than 5 mph. Very unluckily, the other driver was uninsured and I’m probably going to get stuck with the repair costs or face my insurance going up since I actually used it. [Insert rant here about the scam that the insurance industry is.]
The damage is to the rear lower panel on the passenger side. It’s totally drivable, thankfully. The other car hit the wheel and then scraped the crap out of the panel.
The even bigger bummer is that the panel that got dinged up is the entire rear bumper. I imagine they are going to have to replace the whole thing which will add up quickly.
Just because I’m on vacation doesn’t mean that “geeking on the ‘puter” stops. I’m happy to report that I was able to successfully install Windows Vista RC 1 (Build 5600) on my MacBook using Parallels (Release Candidate, Build 1898). This is the first time I’ve been able to make this work. There was no magic involved, the latest release of Parallels offers Vista as an “experimental” option in the drop downs. I mounted the ISO image in the virtual machine, booted and installed.
It works just fine. You don’t get Aero Glass, but you do get Aero. Haven’t played with it much, don’t expect I will until I return from vacation. However, I’m glad this configuration finally works.
Over the last couple of months Mazie has really started to develop a lot more language skills. It’s so fun to watch her pickup new words. Tammy and I were curious how many words she knew. Not just words she would mimick, but words that she actually uses on her own. Here they are in no particular order.
The list gets longer everyday, so this will be instantly out-of-date.