Follow us to the Edge of America

Follow us to the “Edge of America”.

After days of sightseeing adventures with planned and unplanned educational activities, it was time for a sightseeing adventure purely for fun.  On this day we traveled to Folly Island.  Not only did we want to enjoy the surf and sand on Folly Beach, but we also wanted to witness its claims to fame.

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The locals claim that Folly Beach is the “edge of America”.  Another claim to fame is that the Folly Beach Fishing Pier offers breath-taking views “that stretch into the sparkling waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

At that moment in time,
all of us were excited to walk along the edge of America,
to see the spectacular views,
to soak up the southern sun,
and to have some fun.

Imagine our surprise on that day
when we stepped onto the beach and saw more fog than long pier.
It truly looked like the edge of America (or the world),
but I don’t think that’s what the locals were claiming.

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Despite the fog and the absence of sun,

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we decided to walk to the pier to have some fun anyway.

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 Even though we could barely see to the end of the pier,
we had read that Folly Beach Fishing Pier extends 1,045 feet into the ocean.
This claim to fame makes it the second longest pier along the east coast.
(Just in case you were wondering, like I was, the longest wooden pier on the east coast
is reportedly the Apache Pier at Myrtle Beach.  The Apache Pier is 1,206 feet long.)

Despite the fog and the absence of sun,
I still decided to capture this famed pier in photos.

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At that moment in time,
I was disappointed that the fog spoiled the claimed spectacular views.
But today,

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I can appreciate these photos of stunning tunnels

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and amazing mazes underneath the pier.

Still having fun in the fog and without the sun,
we decided to walk along the Folly Beach Fishing Pier.

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From the pier,
we did not see the claimed sparkling waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
We only saw shades of gray.

The Folly Beach Fishing Pier is also known as a fisherman’s catch,
but we didn’t find any fisherman on that day.

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However, I managed to catch several shorebirds in photos.

 Folly Beach is known as the home to numerous surf sports,
but on this day we didn’t see any surfers either.

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And from the end of the pier, we could barely see the beach.

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 We laughed at the folly of spending money

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to pay for the claimed breath-taking views from the pier.

With thick and heavy fog, we couldn’t see into the distance,
but we could easily see the gathering of birds along the pier
that were right in front of us.

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There were all kinds of birds.
And none of them were afraid of us.

As for us,
it was the eerie abundance of birds and not the thick and heavy fog
that compelled us to walk straightly and hastily off that famed pier that day.

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And today, the birds that I managed to capture in photos remain haunting to me.
In fact, these words from Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” come to mind
as I think back to that day.

. . .Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul has spoken! . . .
Take thy beak from out of my heart, and take thy form from off my door!
. . .And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming . . .
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
shall be lifted – Nevermore!

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When we were safely back on shore,

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 I snapped one last picture to remind our family
that despite the fog and the absence of sun
we had fun that day.

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And today,
none of us have forgotten
the heavy fog, the gray views, the haunting birds,
or the folly of it all.
Folly Beach, South Carolina

Americans only tea plantation

Come along with us to Americas only tea plantation.

After spending several days researching, visiting, and learning about Charleston’s history :

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  • at the first European settlement in South Carolina, Charles Town Landing State Historic Site,

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  • at historic fortification which protected Charleston in the American Revolution, and the American Civil War, Fort Molutrie and Fort Sumter, and

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  • along its cobblestone streets of the historic district in downtown,

our family of four was ready for a different type of sightseeing adventure.  Come along with us for a virtual tour of America’s only tea garden.  Just where are we going?

DSCN0370To Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina which is:

  • 10,149 miles from Indonesia
  • 9,395 miles from Sri Lanka
  • 7,934 miles from India
  • 7,816 miles from Kenya
  • 7,320 mils from China
  • 5,630 miles from Turkey
  • 4,823 miles from Argentina, and
  • 726 miles away from home.

 

 

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To the only tea garden in America, Charleston Tea Plantation.  Who knew that this sightseeing adventure would include a lesson in world geography?

As we walked around, we were surprised by the beauty and tranquility of this plantation.  It wasn’t a southern plantation with a grand two-story house supported and adorned with a row of white columns, but a plantation with . . .

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enormous live oak trees draped in delicate Spanish moss and

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acres and acres of perfectly manicured tea hedges
(127 acres to be exact)
which varied in hue from green to golden.

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After soaking up the sun, exploring the grounds, and admiring the beauty and tranquility of tea fields, we stepped inside the factory for a tour.  The tour consisted of a glass tour-way looking into the factory and a video which explained the production process.  From the tour we learned:

  • about the history of tea;
  • about the history of Charlestown Tea Plantation;
  • how tea is made – from the harvesting to the packaging; and
  • the difference between green, black, and Oolong tea.

After the factory tour, we browsed the Plantation Gift Shoppe.  This was my favorite find:

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Click on the picture to Enlarge and Read.

In the corner of the gift shop, we found complimentary tea samples.  We poured ourselves a cup of freshly brewed American Classic Tea.  As we sipped our tea, we contemplated on purchasing tickets for a trolley ride through the tea fields.  After weighing our wants and wishes, it was an unanimous decision to save our budgeted money for another sightseeing adventure.  It was also an unanimous decision to step back outside and into the tea fields.

DSCN0374Gary and Buddy checked out the hybrid cotton picker-tobacco harvester which the factory has customized to gather tea leaves gingerly.

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Meet the Green Giant

Nearby, we found the Propagation Hut and stepped inside for some outside learning.

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In the propagation hut, we learned:

  • about the Camellia sinensis, the tea plant variety grown on this plantation;
  • that this variety dates back to 1888 and is one of the strongest clones in the world;
  • about propagation from cuttings to cloning, from whip wood to rooting hormones, and from greenhouse to field.

Who knew that this sightseeing adventure would also include a lesson in horticulture?

We were swept away in tea fields in South Carolina, and we lost track of time.   Surprisingly, it was time to go home.

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As we climbed back into the dually and drove away from the Charleston Tea Plantation, I commented that our different type of sightseeing adventure had turned into a unique learning experience.

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Not only did our lessons that afternoon include world geography and horticulture, but we also studied a “living piece of American history” in the tea fields of South Carolina.

Lake Aire RV Park and Campground

Come check out Lake Aire RV Park and Campground with us. We are traveling across the country and living in a home on wheels.

On Sunday, despite the cool temperatures, we were blessed with a beautiful day to explore Stone Mountain Park. On Monday, we scheduled an in-day to catch up on school and laundry and to prepare for departure.

Yesterday was a travel day for us. (our 29th travel day).  We departed Atlanta, Georgia and headed east and moved south.  The drive was long, but uneventful.

Home is currently in Hollywood, South Carolina, at Lake Aire RV Park and Campground.

Why Hollywood, South Carolina?  Because Charleston is less than 15 miles away.

Why Lake Aire RV Park and Campground?  Because I only found two campgrounds near Charleston which could accommodate our big rig.  And one of those campgrounds did not allow dogs to be outside, not even on a line.  Thus, we had one choice for a temporary home near Charleston.

As for our temporary home at Lake Aire RV Park and Campground,

Gary has noticed that an RV Park often implies permanent residency and a campground generally suggests temporary lodging.  We have come to the conclusion that we prefer campgrounds over RV parks.  However, we have found that our rig is often too big for campgrounds, but not RV parks.  Nonetheless, at this facility, the two different types of dwellers, permanent residents and drifters, are separated.  Here we are with the other temporary dwellers in the campground section of Lake Aire.

lake arie rv park and campground, hollywood, SC

As we moved south, we found ourselves with more neighbors.  I suspect we aren’t the only RV residents escaping the cold and avoiding the snow.

As for our temporary home at Lake Aire RV Park and Campground,

Each of us immediately noticed and have repeatedly remarked that we are not fond of the water here.  Buddy, after his first shower, described the water like this:

There is the smell of scrambled eggs, which is unpleasant.  There is the smell of boiling eggs for Easter egg dying, which isn’t too good.  And then
there is the smell of the water at this campground, which couldn’t be worse.

After I showered, I added that the water smells as if you are boiling Easter eggs while perming your hair while standing alongside a sulfur springs.  Thankfully, we don’t smell like sulfur after showering (or our sense of smell has been singed by the stench.)  Regardless, we are not drinking the water!

And one more thing about our temporary home at Lake Aire RV Park and Campground,

One might think we have another temporary home with a lake view.  We do not.

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The lake has been drained or has dried up.  However, enough water remains to make mud.

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And we have discovered that Fannie likes marching through mud.  Especially, when she is on the hunt.

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In the brush alongside the empty lake, Fannie managed to find some type of duck.  With much effort, we managed to keep Fannie away from the nesting fowl.

Despite the absence of a lake view,

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Buddy and Fannie found this campground a fun place to take long walks

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 and short breaks.  Don’t fret, Fannie isn’t drinking the water either.

And wouldn’t you know it, at the campground with the smelliest water,

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Fannie required frequent baths after her hunts, marches, and walks through the mud

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before she was allowed back into the house.
From the look of Fannie after spending a day outside, hunting is hard work.

As for our sightseeing plans,

We are calling Hollywood, South Carolina, home for a week, so we should have plenty of time to explore the area.  Our sightseeing adventures include:

Soaking up the history of South Carolina and Charleston with tours at original European settlements, famous forts, and historic downtown districts,

AND

Soaking up the sun, feeling the sand, and hearing the surf along the Atlantic shores in winter.

Before I leave you today, I want to share with you one more thing about living in a house with wheels.

As I have mentioned before, an RV kitchen even in a big rig is small and the appliances are even smaller.

Well, one morning before a day of sightseeing, my Knight prepared a roast for dinner.  The plan was to have the roast cook in the crockpot all day.  To accompany the roast, my Knight set out a loaf of bread that morning.  The plan was to have the loaf rise while we were out sightseeing.

As we expected, our plan worked.  When we came home from sightseeing, our home on wheels smelled of bubbling pot roast and ready to bake bread.  There was just one problem.   The loaf of bread rose so much that

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we doubted that it would fit in our small RV oven.

After some measuring, minor modifications,

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and baking,
we dined sufficiently on roast and potatoes and carrots and fresh baked bread
after a full-day of sightseeing in Charleston.

Cooking in an RV did present us some challenges,

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