Charleston, SC and Durham, NC

Friday May 6, 2016  More of Charleston

Click here to see a photo gallery of Savannah, Charleston, and Durham

Our friend’s Maryann & Scott treated us to a buggy ride through the streets of Historical Charleston today.  We were fortunate to get a route that took us to places we didn’t see yesterday.  We had a great lunch at a sea side cafe……I so wanted to order shrimp & grits but have got to STOP.  A stroll through the Market ended a wonderful day.

A little more about Maryann and & Scott……eventually all their children moved to other states and they found themselves retired in an enormous house in Knoxville and no family……they had the freedom to just explore and chose Charleston.  One of the sweetest things he told me when I asked him what his goal in retirement was……”to make Maryann happy”……and he is. 

Their community actually resembles the famous “rainbow row” houses in old Charleston with their pastel hues. They have a beautiful new home build much in Charleston fashion across the street from a lake where Scott can be found almost  daily kayaking or SUP…..An occasional alligator has been spotted in the lake, however. 

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The ocean  surf  is actually good and there is a surfing community here, he says. He  goes to the web cams to check it out.

Saturday May 7, 2016

Because we didn’t want to repeat the congested mess of last Saturday,  we didn’t go in to Charleston but went to Mount Pleasant, Boone Hall Plantation, instead.  They are famous for The Avenue of the Oaks which is in one of the early scenes of Gone With The  Wind. There are 88 Live oaks that are on average 270 years old and laced with Spanish Moss.  Also many scenes from the movie The Notebook were filmed here.

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The Oaks

During our “Mr. Toad Ride” around the plantation, we met a lovely couple from Myrtle Beach, Brian and Anne. They are an adventurous RV and motorcycle team that we enjoyed. Brian actually drives tour buses professionally and loves his time off in an RV – get that! We took these photos as they left and we hope to meet up with them later on our “road through life”.

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Brian and Anne riding their beautiful BMW

There was a wonderful presentation of the Gullah culture.  This culture and term was new to us so we will pass on what we learned. Many of the slaves originated from West Africa and often were in the caribbean prior to coming to the British colonies. The Gullah culture – the language music and melodies reflect this diverse background of all the slaves that came to live in the colonies and eventually the U.S.

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The Gullah presentation

This trip has certainly presented me with many insights… As appalling as slavery was, I well might have accepted it as “normal” had I been born and raised in the South at that time.  I lived through the Civil Rights movement, but from a Southern Californian’s perspective.  We had always been an integrated society in California during my lifetime.  I have always said that in a few more generations we will all be the same color.  My grandchildren are color blind.

Charleston is a peninsula with rivers on both sides and the Charleston Harbor.  It is called “Low Country”  because it is at sea level and surrounded by marshes that you can actually see the tide ebb & flow twice a day….a mix of salt and fresh water.   The streets are narrow & traffic moderate as  people travel  bridges connecting the many islands like James, John, & Sullivan.  From the bridges you will see a completely flat landscape carpeted in green.  As I said before, there are no high rises…..the tallest building being maybe 8 stories.  You see only church steeples poking their heads above the trees. Tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes have all left their mark on this city.

The population is 682,000 and growing.  Many big employers are moving here…Boeing, Volvo, & BMW to name a few. 

Happy Mother’s Day

Doug surprised me with a beautiful bouquet of spring flowers delivered to the Sandie’s house.  He has always felt like he took me away for from my kids and grandchildren when he accepted the position in Redding……he has tried to make it up ever since.

With all the churches in Charleston, it would take a month of Sunday’s to visit them all.  We joined the Sandie’s for services at their church.   The music got me to that perfect place of worship.

We joined their son and his wife for lunch.  Crab bisque put me in a fat induced coma for the afternoon.  The day was hot…..too hot to go for a bike ride until about 6:30.  We headed out to a great green way that ran through marshes and canopied trees…we barely made it back to the car before dark – good timing!

May 9, 2016  We see South Carolina in our rearview mirror – On to North Carolina

One of the nice things about traveling north is that we keep hitting springtime.  We are traveling north on Highway 95.  I never thought I would say this, but the green tree lined road actually gets boring.  Every shopping center, house, or thing of interest is hidden behind a forrest of trees. 

North Carolina is the “clean & green” state.  After visiting I can say it lives up to that quote very well. 

We arrived in time for dinner with Caring & Gary.  I call her Abby.  We worked together when we were both in our 20’s at Pacific Hospital.    Every nurse we worked with, it seems, was having babies at the time….Pam Rossetti, Jan Callaway, and Terry Furlow.   We have not seen each other for 40 years. She still has that same sweet smile and “can do” attitude I always remembered.  She was born in the Philippines the 3rd of 15 children… shoes, no electricity in their home.  Her nursing career allowed her to come to the US and eventually bring her parents and all but one of her siblings.  That alone is an accomplishment.  She has worked all her life with the exception of a couple of years when she had her 2nd child.  Never to let a moment go unused…she would take her son in his stroller and play 9 holes of golf, go home, eat lunch, nap, then go play another 9 holes (self taught of course).  This is just one of many cute stories.  She meet Gary playing tennis when she hit him with the ball.  They are a bundle of energy and we had a hard time keeping up.  Gary is quiet and delightful.  He is an  entomologist.   He just sent me the itinerary of their month long European trip….it is perfectly scheduled…to the minute.  That kind of attention to detail goes along with being a scientist.

Caring and her husband Gary

The first night they had dinner ready…..Gary did a complete BBQ on his Trager….corn, yams, ribs….I couldn’t stop with the ribs and literally “rolled” out the front door.  The next night Caring taught me how to make pansit.  No Filipino nurse can come to a potluck without producing this dish.  I have tried making it from a recipe and it never tastes the same…, finally, I think I can.

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The Intrepid Durham Bicycle Foursome!

Durham is one city of “the triangle ” including Chapel Hill and Raleigh.  It is simply more beautiful that I expected.  The Tobacco Trail is a “rails to trails” that runs through the city….we spent an afternoon exploring it on our bikes.  

Doug and I were exhausted after 16 miles but Caring and Gary hadn’t even broken a sweat.  The next day Abby had an itinerary set and we started our “tour” at 10am…..Duke University Gardens and Chapel, DownTown Durham, and a tour of the Duke Lemur center. Duke University is one of the most beautiful universities I have ever seen.

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Duke University Chapel

Downtown Durham has been rebuilt from the old American Tobacco Company warehouses and cigarette factories.  Now it is beautiful venue with restaurants, offices, breweries, the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), and a baseball park for the famous Durham Bulls! There is a dual purpose area called “the cage” which is a basketball court by summer and an ice rink in the winter. The entire American Tobacco Company facility is now “Smoke Free” – progress!


May 12, 2016

We need a rest!!!!!  We spent the day “recovering” and had Caring and Gary to dinner at our rig which was at Jone’s Station RV Park, about 30 minutes out in the country.  The day started sunny, we had a camp fire (in the fire pit this time), dinner was on the table and the skies turned black and a down pour started. We grabbed our food and returned to the RV for dinner indoors.  Little did we know but it would rain all night. 

We said goodbye to Caring and Gary that night.  Our goal had been to get to North Carolina before they left on their European trip……we now have about 2 weeks with no reservations and no plans.   So far we have traveled 4,800 miles on our adventure. 

May 13, 2016   Happy Birthday Madi……17 years

A memorable transition for a parent is when they realize their child is perfectly capable of taking care of themselves in the world around them.  I now am starting to see this growing self reliance in my granddaughters.  I guess that represents good parenting. They were quite young when I would notice that my ring tone or screen saver was changed or new apps would suddenly appear on my phone.   If it weren’t for Doug,  they would definitely be my “go to” girls for anything computer related.  I am supposed to take care of them in September when their mom and dad go on a much deserved get away…..I wonder who will really be taking care of whom?


Our shower is on the interior of our coach and has a skylight…..makes you feel like you are outside.  Today I am showering until the hot water runs out…I will also do the “biannual” shaving of my legs.  I look at them and think yuck….wrinkled, discolored, veined, and spotted.  Then I think how thankful I am for them.  They have supported me through 43 years of my nursing career.   They have bounced to the rhythm of the Poly High fight song,  chased 3 active little boys to adulthood, walked me down the aisle with two husbands and shown me the wonders of Mt Shasta.