Tuesday, September 13, 2005

We’re Back

Well, almost. Terry's in NJ and I'm in NY with the trailer.

We spent four lovely days in Sumter, SC visiting Terry's aunt, uncle and cousins Jim and Lorraine and their spouses. I had made a short stop there back in 2001 when Rick graduated from Parris Island but otherwise hadn't seen these folks in 13 years. Terry had been down for a wedding or two and Cousin Lorraine and her husband, Joe, operate a small B & B in Sumter and put us up for our visit.

Besides just hanging around and catching up on news, Terry, Lorraine, Joe and I drive down to Charleston where we did a walking tour of some of the old parts of the city (one block south of Calhoun Street and several blocks down by Battery Park). Battery Park was one of the sites of the cannon that fired upon Fort Sumter, waaaay out in the harbor, to start the Civil War. In retaliation, much of the town was bombarded into rubble when the North got the upper hand years later. A few old homes remain standing and some of those that were damaged were restored. It's a beautiful place to stroll.

After lunch, we drove across the new suspension bridge to Patriots Point where the USS Yorktown is docked and took two walking tours of the ship. One led us through the main working quarters below decks and included the medical facilities, the machine shops and the main mess with its galley and bakery. The bakery had a display of the crew's favorite snack--chocolate chip cookies--and what it would take to bake 10,000 of them. That was what was needed for one day for the crew of 3,500. The other tour was to the flight deck and the bridge. Looks just like the one in the movie Midway.

Next it was dinner at a very nice restaurant on Shem Creek called Vickery's. Some great crawdads, shrimp and crab with two fried oysters served over hot grits. Never thought I liked grits until I ate those.

Joe took me about 20 miles out of town where they own 150 acres of "the farm". Actually, it is a tree farm right now, the pasture having grown wild while they were in England for eight years. (He was a civilian contractor working for the military.)

After our visit we drove north on I-95 then switched to I-81 just south of DC to avoid the beltway. One stop just before the switch and another near I-78 and Route 61 in PA to visit Cabelas in Hamburg Then I dropped Terry off in NJ and drove to NY with the trailer.

All in all it was a very nice three week excursion to the south. We lucked out in the weather department missing Katrina on our way down and having no rain during the entire time. Ophelia held off (and is still rambling around) so we didn't run into any harsh weather at all.

Now I have to clean and winterize the trailer, cut the grass for the last time this year (I hope) and see about replacing the chimney in the kitchen.

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