Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A Couple of Fun Free Things to do in Charleston, SC…

With one more day in Charleston we chose to do something we had planned before but had never done. This was to walk across the 2.7 mile Ravenel Bridge. Before doing so we also wanted to check out the Charles Pinckney National Historic Site. Charles Pinckney was one of the principal authors and signers of our Constitution. This historic site is the remains of his preserved coastal plantation. I find it interesting how many of our founding fathers were slave owners and wonder what they would think now about slavery…

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The plantation is found in what is typical of South Carolina low country plantations with its stately large Live Oak trees draped in Spanish Moss. This 28 acre  farm is a remnant of Pinckney's original 18th-century 715 acre plantation known as Snee Farm that he inherited in 1782. There are trails throughout the 28 acres and we enjoyed visiting this free historical site.

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Next up for us was the hike across the Ravenel Bridge. We always wanted to do this hike but weather conditions kept us from doing so. Even today the weather was a bit dicey but we figured we might only see sprinkles of rain so we pushed on.

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Known by locals as the “Double Diamonds” the  Arthur J. Ravenel Bridge is an engineered artisitc masterpiece. It is a 8 lanes wide cable stayed bridge which opened in 2005. It towers above any of the ocean freightliners that choose to pass below it.

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It really was a pleasant hike across the bridge rewarding us with 360 degree panoramas of the Charleston SC skyline and bay around us. We could see an aircraft carrier docked across from the city and a cruise ship we later found out one of our friends from North Carolina was boarding(small world). There were turn outs where we could pause to watch many sailboats and touring craft sail underneath the bridge. We are certainly glad we made time to hike across the bridge during this visit to Charleston SC.

NOTE: We are now in Brunswick GA for a three nights before moving on to Flagler Beach State Park in Florida…

Saturday, October 27, 2018

An Urban Stroll Through Charleston SC…

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With the wedding behind us it became time for us to hit the road and continue our nomadic journey around the USA. We pulled out of Raleigh and drove south to Bass Lake RV Campground in Dillon SC which is a Passport America park we have stayed at many times in the past. We spent two nights as we waited for a storm to pass through entertaining ourselves by cooking new dishes such as Spicy Lemongrass Chicken.

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Once sunny skies prevailed we continued southward to another Passport America Park near Charleston, SC called Lake Aire RV Park. We always love to visit this charming southern gem of a city.

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We really didn’t do anything new but we always look forward to taking an urban hike through downtown Charleston as it is always enjoyable. The history, the architecture and the allure of the southern charm make strolling through Charleston a delight. There are so many beautiful homes and gardens to see. We also noticed a little Halloween D├ęcor here and there.imageMVIMG_20181019_130406

Called the Holy City for all of it churches and the religions they represent Charleston is vibrant and full of life. It was bit crowded for a weekend in fall but we soon realized the excess people we were seeing were folks from one of the cruise ships docked at the port for a day of sightseeing.

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No walk would be complete without a stroll along the waterfront. Lots of shops, restaurants and taverns dot the street along with the older southern homes and businesses. A smattering of street art and a few fountains make the walk relaxing especially as we gazed over the marsh grasses out to the ocean. We certainly enjoyed our first day in Charleston…

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Next we strolled through the rainbow  row which are nearly 200 year old buildings and we discovered a very old opera building we hadn’t seen before. Inside the Opera House we learned it hosted the very first opera seen in the US in the 1700’s. It was like walking back in time as we could picture ourselves sitting in the seat backs watching turn of the century entertainers. What a cool building…

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We ended the day visiting the Craftsmen Tap House who had an excellent selection of craft beer and an excellent happy hour. As fun as all the wedding and its preparation was, it sure is great to be back on the Road of Retirement…

NOTE: We are now in Brunswick GA for a three nights before moving on to Flagler Beach State Park in Florida…

Monday, October 22, 2018

Katie’s Wedding Weekend in Raleigh North Carolina -The Big Day!!!

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The Big Day. It’s finally here!

Katie and I got up very early to pack for her big day. We were so excited that John had coffee and breakfast tacos ready for us…yum! We had one bridesmaid with us and our first task was to go to Chick Fil A to pick up a bucket of nuggets, a jug of coffee and breakfast sandwiches for the bridesmaids who had not had time to eat.

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Once at the venue we met the hairdresser and makeup artist taking turns getting pretty for the wedding. Katie would be last which was good because the DJ and coordinator had a few last minute questions for her. John arrived at 1:30 and was able to grab a few private moments with the bride and took care of communications between her and Brooks since they did not want to see one another prior to the ceremony.

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My son and his family arrived and I was elated because my grandson Cameron would be walking me down the aisle and he looked so dapper in his new suit and new transition glasses. He and I practiced a little secret handshake to do as he seated me which made it extra special for me.

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It was amazing how the golf club transformation took place. I had seen and heard Katie's vision but seeing it unfold was really a treat. Her colors were perfect, the signs, special pictures and her bridal portrait were perfect. Instead of a guest book she had a painted globe for everyone to sign and it was fun seeing all the florist, caterers, DJ's and others make the place a magical wedding backdrop.

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The time came to put on our dresses and take some professional pictures as the guests were arriving. I had one moment of panic because I lost so much weight that my dress was no longer tight…it was loose and a little too long. John was there to calm my nerves and assure me no one would know so crisis abated. I did fall up the steps once, though while tripping over the length (haha).

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As the time had come the music queued and the coordinator lined us up. Then the French doors opened and Cameron and I paused at the top of the stairs then made our way down the aisle. After our handshake we could relax and enjoy the procession. Brooks dad took his place as the Best Man with Brooks then each of the 5 bridesmaids came with their groomsmen. Next came Morgan, the maid of honor, then my heart exploded as John and Katie emerged at the top of the stairs. I lost it.

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My heart was filled with such joy that my tears fell all the way down the aisle. They looked absolutely stunning. Her dress was breathtaking and my John was so very handsome. He presented her and then came by my side for the ceremony which was beautiful. Brooks and Katie recited their own vows which were a mixture of funny and romantic. It was truly special and so very awesome.

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After pictures we were released to the head table to start the reception. The DJ was great and kept the party lively. Drinks flowed, cornhole and jenga was played along with dancing to the music. The bridesmaids and groomsmen had coordinated dances as they arrived to the reception which was very entertaining. Katie and Brooks arrived and had their first dance, then the groom and his mother dance, and Katie with her father dance. So awesome.

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Dinner was delightful…pork loin, caramelized onions, gouda mac and cheese, walnut mandarin salad and bread. Yum. Then dancing, throwing the bouquet, the garter and socializing. Before we knew it there was the sendoff with sparklers. The newlyweds drove off in a vintage 1958 Rolls Royce. So cool. Magical, romantic, perfect…

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John, Jason, Kelly, the kids and I along with Brooks family quickly packed away the leftover food, the decorations, and pictures then off we went. What fun we had but we will need a few days rest I think after such a hectic schedule! Back to our Road of Retirement is planned for the Tuesday after the wedding. We hope to see you on down the road…

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NOTE: Sorry for all the photos ; )    We are now in Fort McAllister State Park near Savannah GA as we slowly migrate to Florida…

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Katie’s Wedding Weekend in Raleigh North Carolina… Part 2

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After the bridal luncheon was over Katie and I got back in the car and we traveled to Brooks' mother, Caroline's home (also in Smithfield NC) to rest and relax with the grandparents until time for the wedding rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner. When the time came clothes were changed, makeup re-applied and off we went in Katie's car with two of the bridesmaids to the rehearsal at River Ridge Golf Club ( the wedding venue).

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The rehearsal went without a hitch and everyone was having fun as we went through our actions. The groomsmen and bridesmaids were enjoying the moments and making plans on doing a little something when they were going to be announced at the rehearsal dinner. I loved the officiant and the wedding coordinator as everything went very smoothly. It was really quite fun.

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In the meantime our son and family arrived from Texas and we had quite the snafu as Katie and I told him the wrong parking garage to find our CRV that we left for him to use. As a result he was not in great spirits when he arrived as we sorted out what went wrong. We finally got him back at Katie's house so he could get ready to meet us at rehearsal dinner.

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After getting Jason and his family situated we hopped in the car after rehearsal (John with Brooks and me with Katie and 2 bridesmaids) to head over to the rehearsal dinner in Clayton NC at the restaurant Bricks and Mortar. It was decorated perfectly with pictures on each table of Brooks and Katie as children. What a great venue this was and I was thrilled to see my son and family when they finally arrived.

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My best friend from College Station Texas arrived with her daughter and then another bestie with her daughter and another girl. All of these girls were a big part of Katie's softball years. So fun! It was really great getting to reconnect with all of them.

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After mingling there were some very moving speeches from the father of the groom and from a grandfather who gave the couple a memorial plaque commemorating their first date, the proposal and the wedding. Next came speeches from Brooks' sister, Morgan (the maid of honor), Brooks' best friend and me. A few laughs, a few tears, a wonderful Italian Buffet and some adult beverages made for a most wonderful and memorable wedding eve celebration!

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Brooks went to spend the night before the wedding at a hotel near the venue while Katie, Jason, Kelly, Cameron, Adrianne, John and I went back to the house to air up the portable beds an get a few hours sleep before the wedding day…

Tomorrow the big day would finally be here…

NOTE: We are now in Charleston SC for a three nights before moving on to a RV park near Savannah GA as we slowly migrate to Florida…