Saturday, April 29, 2017

South Carolina Botanical Gardens

We haven't done much since we arrived here in Anderson, SC.  The weather has been threatening most of the time so we've just been reading and doing a bit of auto hiking to check out the area.

Its very very green here.   Arms of the huge Lake Hartwell is just a minute down the road.   Nearby Pendleton is a cute little brick town on the Register of Historic Places.

all that remains of Tanglewood Mansion

Today I planned a scenic loop drive along the Savannah River Scenic Highway through Pendleton (for a quick stop at the Village Bakery, yum) and Clemson.  The section of the highway I chose turned out to be not scenic, nor was it along the Savannah River.   Ah well.

We did, however, stop at the South Carolina Botanical Gardens on the campus of Clemson University.   John, at this point you may want to find something else to do....bird and flower pictures are coming.

We didn't do these serene gardens justice, I'm sure.   It was 89 degrees with humidity to match so we walked the paths that led through the sun dappled and shady forests.    I'm afraid we wilt easily.

I was interested in finding the nationally acclaimed nature-based sculptures installed at various places in the gardens/forests of the Botanical Gardens.   We only found one.....Of course, we did not stop at the Visitor's Center where, I now know they have maps to guide one's search, or explore any of the sunny areas.    Ah well.    We thoroughly enjoyed our stroll through parts of the beautiful 295 acre Garden nonetheless.

The crucible by Herb Parker

Oh Dave.....

mother and child in the duck pond

I think this is a red shouldered hawk, any thoughts?

Tomorrow we drive 75 miles or so to Gaffney, SC for Beluga's physical and then on to Kentucky and the driveway of our dear friends!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Change of plans

We got to Ashburn, GA. yesterday afternoon, planning to stay four nights and get in a little golf.    We'd stayed at Wanee Lakes Golf and RV previously with Pam and John, it was a wonderful place and we had a ball walking right out of Beluga onto the first tee every day.

This year, under new ownership, the experience wasn't quite as pleasant.  I won't go into details but we stayed only one night and left this morning.    The main reason was that the electric service at our site was very bad and kept tripping our spike bar, shutting Beluga's electrical system down.    Dinner preparation was a study in frustration.

We were really bummed because we enjoy the area, it's green, quiet and the golf course is just hard enough to be fun and empty most of the time.   So many birds in the area, it was wonderful listening to them.    This little Wren sat on the half dead tree next to us and sang to Dave the entire time he was outside closing up and getting ready to pull out.

Tonight we're in a lovely wooded site at the Anderson/Lake Hartwell KOA (Anderson, SC.)  until we leave for our Freightliner appointment in Gaffney, SC.

Monday, April 24, 2017

This and That

Here are a couple pictures from our last day in Bay St. Louis.   We drove scenic rt. 90 along the water through Waveland, Pass Christian, Long Beach, Gulfport and Biloxi.    We stopped along the way for one last fresh seafood lunch and then came back to get things in order for our departure on Monday morning.

the red plaque high above Dave's head marks Katrina's water level
as measured in Long Beach, MS.

sweet little Least Terns

As happens when one lives life, one needs to spend time in grocery stores.   That activity moves from a relatively boring necessity to a fun activity when one lives on the road and travels to different parts of the country.

Different chain stores such as Von's, Piggly Wiggly, Rouses, Stater Bros., AJ's Fine Foods, Walts Groceries, Kroger, Fred Meyer, Albertsons, Safeway, Publix, Market of Choice, etc., etc. all have basically the same products.   The fun, for us, comes in when we run across regional specialties in these stores.

Finding a huge display of colorful Mexican pastries in the Bakery area, bags of dried peppers I never knew existed and hard, brown cones of sugar in the spice section, pinatas hanging from the ceiling and swaying in the breeze from the airconditioner tell us where we are.

I think about this every time we make a grocery run.   Yesterday, before we left the Gulf coast I snapped a few pictures of some of the unusual and place specific items on the selves of Claiborne Hill Supermarket in Bay St. Lois.


What I didn't photograph were the shelves upon shelves of different types of crab and shrimp boil,  corn meal and grits (who knew there were so many varieties!), and two huge coolers filled with ice and water and fresh shrimp sitting in front of the meat case.     Yep, I definitely knew where we were!

Today we drove about 265 miles and stopped for the night in tiny Cottondale, Florida.   It turns out that this rv park, Hitchin Post Corral and Campground, is just the ticket.    It's still quite raw (only been open for less than a year), right next to I-10 but the owner's are just about the most pleasant people we've ever come across.   There is no office yet,  we were met as we drove in, given the Passport America rate without asking and led to our large pull through site.    She told us all about their park, what they've done, what they want to do, told us about the white bunnies hopping around, showed us a nice walking trail around the perimeter and along the fishing pond and promised to bring back some fresh eggs from her chickens!

Tomorrow we're off to Asburn, Georgia and a few days of golf.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Busy day (not!)

Another day in paradise.    We divided the day between beach and exploring pretty little Bay St. Louis.    Shrimp Po boys for lunch across from the marina, followed by a drive along the water.

Oh Dave.......

can you imagine climbing those stairs with arms full
of groceries?

As we drove along we saw the results of Katrina's catastrophic storm surges in the driveways going nowhere, in the stairs that once lead to beautiful estates going nowhere, and  new houses built on stilts at least 17 feet high, some much higher.    We saw stilts that evidently were too low sitting alone, without their houses.

these stilts were too low to keep their house safe

We visited the small Visitor's Center in the Historic Train Depot.    It's a odd sort of visitor's center, not a lot of information save some displays of the normal brochures and a very prominent collection of Mardi Gras costumes.

 We were getting ready to leave when a little woman popped out of an office and asked if she could do anything for us.    We told her we were really looking for some photographs of Katrina's affect on the area and she pointed out a small album.   As we paged through the photos her story began pouring out.....she and her husband had a house nearby, an elevated house.    It was 15 feet off the ground.     Katrina had been downgraded to a catagory 2 storm and she felt they could ride it out easily.  To make a long story short, her husband watched the radar and insisted they leave right away.     Luckily they left because Katrina filled their home with water and mud - up to the attic!    She tells us that now the code for waterfront houses is 17 feet high,  I wonder if that is enough....

After dinner we took Lewis for a long walk on the beach.   As usual, he had a ball!    He's such a good boy, a very good boy.

He was quite a bit in front of us,  running along the surf line when he stopped abruptly and turned back.    He's a good boy because he listens very well and responds quickly.    He listened to me yell "NO" "LEAVE IT" just as he was beginning to perform the dreaded shoulder drop on a very stinky fish carcass.   He didn't drop and roll, he came back to me......can you imagine what his long, beautiful ears would have smelled like if he wasn't such a good boy????

Thursday, April 20, 2017

A short hop

We left New Orleans this morning and made a short hop along the coast to Bay St. Louis and our site for the weekend.  

we hear the river is unusually high for this time of year...

We didn't have time to visit the WW11 Museum
this time, but it's still high on our "list"

over shallow Lake Ponchatrain

Tonight we're settled into our site at the Silver Slipper Casino RV Park, directly on the Gulf of Mexico.    Not much of a park but full hookups and what a view....

What Beluga sees

 bad picture of our beautiful welcome committee -
a pair of bald eagles behind Beluga

Lewis couldn't wait to get on the beach -
hurry up Dave!