Thursday, August 11, 2011

Day 20-23 Outer Banks, Charleston, Savannah

Okay, it looks like we are finally winding down our trip. We are presently heading to Savannah, GA after spending some time in Charleston, SC. I haven’t had time to write in the hotel rooms, so I’ve been trying to get some of these updates done while driving. Of course, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, I also tend to take photos from the Jeep as well! Cindy has been joking that I should put together my own photo book; but instead of a photo book of scenic places and cities, which usually entails actually getting out of the vehicle, I should make one of scenic drives as seen through the windshield while driving! I actually like that idea, though I’m not sure I want to be driving all over the country again until I get some rest. J
Anyway, day 19 found us driving from Harrisburg, PA toward the Outer Banks, NC. On our way we decided to go around Baltimore rather than through Baltimore to save a little time and head to Ocean City, MD to check it out (though I’m sure I would have gotten some more awesome “windshield” shots for a future photo book!). I had been to Ocean City as a kid, but I didn’t remember anything about it. It was a nice drive through Maryland and we were looking forward to walking a bit on the Boardwalk, but when we got there it was just way too busy. We didn’t want to try to find a place to park and then to fight through the mass of people. It looked like it would be a fun place to spend a whole day or weekend, but not to just get out and walk for only an hour or two. So, we just drove down the strip and back out towards the hotel in Chesapeake, VA where we were staying that night. The Outer Banks would have to wait until the morning. Day 19 was basically just a “driving” day.

Day 20 Outer Banks
We got up early and headed to Cape Hatteras National Seashore and other places along the Outer Banks. Our first stop was Jockey’s Ridge State Park (between Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head) to climb the highest “living” sand dune in the…U.S.? Anyway, we were going to scale it: can anyone say HOT?! Cindy says it was like walking through hell in a desert with the sun just relentlessly beating us down. I had taken off my shoes so that I could walk in the deep sand but eventually I had to put my socks back on because my feet were burning. At one point I thought I saw smoke actually rising from under my feet! We didn’t even make it to the bottom of the dunes before we had to head back because of the heat. This may be highest sand dunes around, but we enjoyed the dunes at Cape Cod much better—we could actually walk on those (well, I could, Cindy would sink in them!) and we were able to enjoy the beach and water as well. Oh well, we decided to get back into the truck and head to Cape Hatteras Light House which is the tallest in the nation (248 spiral steps and equivalent to climbing a 12-story building) and is supposedly the most photographed.

And it was still HOT! In fact, because of the heat and the difficult stair climb facing her Cindy didn’t want to try the climb up into the lighthouse. There is actually a disclaimer discouraging certain people from climbing. It said: The climb is strenuous. The stairs have a handrail only on one side and a landing every 31 steps. There is no air conditioning. It may be noisy, humid (understatement!), hot (again understatement) and dim inside the lighthouse and there is two-way traffic on the narrow stairs. Visitors with heart, respiratory or other medical conditions or who have trouble climbing stairs should use their own discretion as to whether to climb the tower.
The rangers who guided the groups up to the top would even try to discourage people from doing this unless they thought they were really up for it. Cindy didn’t feel up to it because her back was beginning to bother her and her knee wasn’t up to the task; so I ended up going to the top myself.

and I got to pay them $7 for this! I asked the guy at the ticket counter, “You mean I actually get to pay you $7 to walk up 12 flights of stairs in a claustrophobic, hot and humid spiral stairwell in 100 degree heat with a mass of other people?” He said, “Yep”. So I paid the man and then waited in the heat for another 15 minutes until my “group” was called. While walking up I would occasionally see some individuals hanging out on one of the landings seemingly on the verge of passing out from the heat! All the while I was thinking how much you, Jerry, would have enjoyed this (based on your Panama Canal story). J All in all, though, the view from the top was worth it. Being up so high and on the coast brought a nice, cool breeze; so strong, in fact, that you would have to hang on to your hat so it didn’t blow away. Again, my photos don’t do the place justice. I wanted to stay up there longer, but Cindy was waiting for me below…and I wasn’t looking forward to the trip back down!
The lighthouse wasn’t quite all the way at the southern tip of the Outer Banks, but it was far enough for us. After this we headed back up and stopped to see the ocean. The sand walking to the Atlantic in this area was soft and thick (and hot), but the ocean view was spectacular. The waves were pretty good, too. This is supposedly one of the best places on the Atlantic, in the States anyway, for surfing. The trip down to the lighthouse was longer than we had anticipated and it was so hot outside that we decided to head west to Raleigh, stopping in Rocky Mount for the evening.

Day 21 Raleigh, NC
We went to Raleigh specifically to visit a bookstore. Stevens Bookstore is advertised the largest used bookstore between NYC and Chicago. I believe it. It was huge! It was much bigger, though not as architecturally pleasing, than the bookstore we went to in Harrisburg. And they specialize in Christian books. We spent a long time there and ended up getting 13 books. A couple of them were books that were out of print and the rest were priced low enough to splurge. And of course I’ve started them all already! I’ve read the Preface and Introduction to them all and they all seem like they will be very interesting reading…if I ever get to it. Actually, I think I’ll start a couple of them as soon as I finish the two books I bought (seemingly ages ago) in Minnesota at Woodland Hills Church (Day 4 or 5 of this seemingly endless journey J). (This is Cindy and I’m sorry that my husband keeps writing seemingly endless emails! Insert smiley face here) Raleigh was a nice, relaxing few hours. We then headed to Charleston, SC.

Oh, but first Cindy wanted me to tell you what happened when we left the bookstore. Do you remember the story of me leaving our Atlas on the top of the Jeep when we left our hotel on the North Shore (Minnesota) and having to drive back about 3 miles to get it? Well, it happened again! No, not the Atlas. This time it was the passenger side floor mat that flew off the car. For reasons too long to go into, the floor mat under my feet had gotten completely soaked with water. So, I had the brilliant idea of leaving it on the hood of the Jeep to dry out while we were in the bookstore. And it was a brilliant idea! We discovered that it was completely dry…after seeing it fly off the hood straight into the windshield and onto the pavement as we were driving down the road! After Cindy pulled into a garage and sent me walking back down the road to retrieve it, I brought back a clean, dry floor mat!
Day 22-23 Charleston, SC

We stayed the night in Florence and arrived in Charleston in the afternoon. After unloading our stuff (again), we headed to the historic district to see the water and eat some seafood. The “Historic Charleston” area is really very beautiful. If you look on a map you will see that the historic district and “downtown” are on one peninsula with Mount Pleasant, Daniel Island West Ashley and James Island surrounding it with bays and rivers scattered throughout making the region very appealing to look at and a boater’s paradise. And all the bridges connecting these land masses are very cool. And of course it is rich with history from the Revolutionary time and especially with regard to the Civil War. We think we’d like to come back here to spend some time visiting all the historic sights and learn more about the history of what they call the “holy city”. They refer to it as such because of all the churches that were built back in the day.
Anyway, we spent the afternoon/evening walking through one of the harbor parks and then eating at supposedly the best seafood restaurant on the east coast—Hymans Seafood. And it was HOT! Have I mentioned that yet? Before eating, however, we enjoyed a waterfront pier and park for a while and then we almost got caught in a thunderstorm. We saw it coming over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge (the bridge you will see in the photos) and managed to jump into a bar/restaurant before getting drenched. We waited it out while having some…hmm…refreshments? I also ordered something called a “she-crab” soup. Cindy had heard of this before, so we got it. This soup is really a type of clam chowder bisque, as differentiated from a clam chowder soup. Anyway, it was awesome! After the rain stopped we headed for Hymans.

Cindy had the Captains Seafood Combo (fried fish, shrimp, and scallops) and I had, of course, Fish-n-Chips. Now, I had forgot to mention that I also had Fish-n-Chips at the Outer Banks. The fish there was Flounder. I’ve learned that Flounder is not my favorite fish. At Hymans, the fish is Haddock. And I’ve learned that I love Haddock. It is a white, flaky but chewy fish (if that makes sense). Anyway, Ken, I’ve found another awesome Fish-n-Chips place; though it’s a little far away from Colorado Springs. Their “signature” dish was a flounder dish and, needless to say, I didn’t want to try that; though I’m sure it would have been good. They served us boiled peanuts as well. Boiled peanuts? Whatever. Boiled peanuts didn’t do it for me! After dinner we walked around a bit more and headed back over the bridge to the hotel to get ready for our tour of Fort Sumter in the morning.
Day 23 Fort Sumter, Savannah

The hotel manager allowed us a later check out time so that we could take the tour in the morning. Fort Sumter is the place “where the Civil War began”. The history behind this place is fascinating. It took the boat ½ hour to reach the fort and then we spent an hour on it before heading back. We wanted to go first thing in the morning so that it wouldn’t be as hot, but I don’t think it mattered. We were drenched in sweat before we even got off the boat! And it was brutal on the island. But it was well worth it. Visiting the site of the start of the war has made us both more interested in this history. Cindy had bought a few books on the Civil War and now I want to read them (along with the books she bought on the Revolutionary War). Actually visiting such historical sites makes our history seem more real and tangible and interesting.
Well, the tour of the fort was incredible; and incredibly hot. Have I mentioned that it has been hot out here? We made it back to the hotel in time to shower (again) and pack (again) before checking out. So we loaded the Jeep and headed for Savannah. And this where we are now as I type. We checked in a little while ago and went to the “historic district” to have some dinner: subpar Mexican and then some homemade ice cream. Tomorrow and Saturday we will investigate the historic district and relax on the beaches of Tybee Island.

Well, as I said we’re winding down our trip (or maybe I didn’t say it. This is already page 4 and I can’t remember what I said on page one). After Savannah we will head to The Villages where we will spend the next few months. I will update again with a run-down of our time in Savannah with pics. Photos of the last few days will be uploaded (probably) tomorrow. Right now it’s time to read one of my twelve latest books. Okay, I’ll probably read a couple of them! J
Check back tomorrow for the pics of Outer Banks and Charleston. And for those of you who have managed to make it this far in this post J, please continue to keep us in your prayers. We are enjoying our more focused pursuit of Christ (in relationship) and are still eager to know what He has in store for us. He hasn’t let us in on His plans yet, so please pray that we will hear His voice when He speaks.

God bless,
jj & cj

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