Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Chris Graduates from Freightliner School

While Chris finished up his course, Dixie and I hiked again in the Cowpen Battlefields. The day was sunny and hot, about 75 degrees. We saw the  bums and erect white tails of two deer as they charged away from us. I found a small child who was able to draw a crude map in the sand of our route so far.
Late afternoon, we drove a couple of miles to the KOA Campground for the night. Great mild evening for sitting outside and enjoying the sunset.

Saturday, in 80 degree sunshine, we took Old Highway 321 in South Carolina down into Georgia. The success of the businesses of the past are visible in rusted and boarded up establishments long since given over to the Modern Motorway. We passed lots of old gas stations, motels and restaurants with faded original signage and peeling paint. Many pastel coloured southern-porched homes sat in the shade of Live Oaks and Palms. Sadly, many decrepit homes lean sideways groaning to their occupants who call these places home. Others would likely take a wrecking ball to them.

Who wouldn't like a state whose most popular grocery store is called Piggly Wiggly?

 Every town, no matter how small, has its church. The most common style is the white wooden clapboard house with a steeple mounted on top. These are so common it looks as if there was a sale on Build-Your-Own Church kits that everyone ordered. Then there are the upgraded models, similar in style but made of concrete to better withstand the wrath of God. These lack character and charm on the exterior but perhaps make up for it inside!?
Once again, we spent our overnight in a Walmart lot in Brunswick, Georgia.

                                                                                      ( Stock photo: Not mine)                                                                

Sunday November 11. We Remember our Veterans with humility and pride!

We motored two hours into Florida where we set up camp in St. Augustine State Park. Because it was a long weekend, most campers were staying through to Monday. We had a two hour wait and a good deal of frustration with some Quebecers who refused to speak English to the camp rangers, in turn, causing pandemonium to the process of issuing sites. During the wait, we dipped our toes in the Atlantic and checked out the wide, bleached white beach and sugary dunes. Two large turtles crawled up through the rough grasses leaving scraggly trails in the sand. Our camp site was private and pretty lined with Palms, Live Oak, Olive and Purple Beauty Bushes. It was a tight spot with just enough room to put the slides out on out motor home.

We changed into some lightweight summer duds and drove into downtown St. Augustine, the oldest city in America.
Evidence of its early Spanish settlement is everywhere: in the red tile roofs, the intricately carved stone and the Colonial style metalwork. Strolling the town, we found a cafe with an outdoor patio where Dixie was allowed to join us. Indulging in some southern cooking, we chowed down on warm cornbread with honey butter and a shrimp PO-Boy!

Many of the narrow streets show promise of architectural treats but most are cluttered with tacky souvenir shops and so-called art galleries. It was much nicer to stroll along the stone walkways beside Matanzas Bay. The walls of the old Castillo De San Marcos Fort stands proudly with its impenetrable walls made from Coquina heralding memories of battle. The conglomerate building material is basically seabed, a natural crushed shell substance used in building walls all around St.Augustine. It's value in a fort is its brute strength and ability to absorb the impact of cannonball fire without compromising the wall's structure, thus the Fort stands today!

In the bay,a mock pirate ship battle took place complete with canon fire and sword fight....just one of the many tacky-tourist traps that we'd rather observe from a distance. We preferred the free show of pigeons flying in formation with a rainbow, harbour and drawbridge as their stage.

The State park provided a very quiet night's sleep. We started Monday with a beach morning. That particular beach was not as kind to the feet as the powdery sand back at the state park. It was comprised of tiny shells topped with larger shells washed in by the tide. We found a cool twisty one! Dixie played in the waves where a number of surfers waited for the perfect ride. It was difficult to leave the surf-carved dunes and soothing sounds of the waves but we had sight seeing to do!

Dixie stayed at camp while we completed our sightseeing. Our best stop was at the landmark St.Augustine Lighthouse and Museum, a black and white striped icon, constructed in 1874 and restored in 1980. A museum within the light house keeper's quarters displays artifacts from the glory days of the monument. Outside, is a pathway lined with bricks, many which contain supporter's names. One such brick was donated by Clare and William Bull, Chris's parents who owned a home in St.Augustine in the 1980's. The cool breeze at the top of the lighthouse was a pleasant reward for our hike up. The platform afforded splendid views of the harbour, beaches, the Atlantic Ocean and the entire red-roofed historic city. The gorgeous spiral staircase is a brilliant combination of utilitarian engineering and aesthetic design. 

Visited the Old Spanish Mission that was disappointing as the original structure is gone. The grounds were pleasant and a small stone chapel covered in vines set an appropriate backdrop for the old gravestones. We found an interesting row of renowned nuns under a shared headstone. We drove into the old town again to see the Veteran's cemetery across from the home previously owned by Chris's folks. We finished our tour on the seashore at The Conch House. We sat in one of the many individual grass-roofed huts at the edge of the patio. Some of them are up on stilts as high as twelve feet in the air. Two small gators are housed on site and look out of their compound at the guests with hungry eyes. We dined on mahi mahi and crab-stuffed shrimp sipping planter's punch and Inland Shark Lager. We were entertained by pelicans and jumping fish shifting about as the tide rushed in. Our evening was concluded back at the picnic table where we shared a brick sized piece of luscious Key Lime Pie from The Conch and watched the darkness descend.


  1. BILL BULL? really?...ah well, am drooling ala homie, thinking aboutcher KL pie..'s soo disappointing when you look forward to fab place with mega history and the you find it turns out to be a cheesy niagara falls or sedona...good thing for imagination...lovin pivs and THE MAP!!..thank the kid for me :)

  2. Gorgeous photos!! And the cornbread and honey butter?? Yum!!