Monday, March 23, 2020

Carolina on My Mind

Richland Rum distillery in downtown Brunswick

On the last afternoon in Georgia we toured the Richland Rum distillery, ate some Brunswick Stew, and packed up Loretta. The next morning we hit the road for South Carolina.

First stop: Charleston. Such rich maritime history. Like Georgia, the history feels very close to the surface.

The campground we stayed at was a ridiculous $50/night - $25-30 would have been the right number considering the condition of the park. The buildings on the property were all under active construction, which made an annoying din all day, it was basically a bug-infested swamp, but it certainly qualified as remote and the bugs kept us indoors, so it was a good place to be when the Corona Virus landed on the East Coast.

Cypress stumps line the pond at the Magnolia Plantation & Gardens

Pond at the Magnolia Plantation & Gardens
Fortunately for us, there were plenty of outdoor dog-friendly activities to do that kept us 6 feet from other humans. First up: the nearby Magnolia Plantation and Gardens property. North and West of Charleston on the waterway, it was here that the Colonists prepared for the anticipated British assault and ultimately failed, surrendering 7000+ troops to Her Majesty's army. In short, Charleston was sacked by the British because of some bad strategic decisions made on this very piece of property in 1780, and the despair of it all nearly crushed the patriots and the young nation.

Pond at the Magnolia Plantation & Gardens
Next up in virus-avoiding activity... a walk along the fortified waterfront in Charleston. The big guns remain and it isn't hard to imagine the locals of generations past defending their town from pirates (BlackBeard successfully blockaded Charleston for a week in 1718), a collection of iron-clad Union Navy warships, and receiving the first German submariner prisoners from the cutter Icarus.

The guns of Charleston's Battery still pointed at the waterfront

The big gazebo at the heart of Battery Park often hosts music and dancing. Chloe wasn't into "the dip".

Antebellum architecture of the Battery area of Charleston

The next park we stayed at in North Myrtle Beach, SC also was $50 for our one-night stay, but it was a superb park and we felt the price well justified. The RV pads were level concrete, the property was well cared for, and it bordered the ICW and hosted boat slips and a dry dock. Watching the forklifts wrangle the speed boats between water and their storage shelves made for endless entertainment. The park also had a water slide and a roster of park activities, all temporarily silent because of the social distancing requirements of COVID-19.

We met some boaters that were tied in a slip for the night. Full-time RVers and cruising boaters have similar lifestyles, it's easy to make friends. We offered them a ride to the grocery store in our car since they didn't have one, and they offered us a tour of their beautiful boat because they could clearly see us enviously eyeballing it. We spoke for hours about the ICW, sailing, weather and of course boat designers. Everyone has opinions on boat design and this is a subject any boater will tell you to wade into carefully and only with plenty of time on your hands. We happily debated the pros and cons of various boat designs for an hour or so, from 6 feet apart on their boat and dock, and parted ways laughing about the awkwardness brought on by a group of people trying to establish new social norms around virus avoidance with a virtual handshake, or elbow bump, or wave, or... nobody knows what to do so we all just laugh and shrug.

North Myrtle Beach Luxury RV Resort and Dry Dock is one of our favorite campsites

The next morning we settled in to a Thousand Trails park in North Carolina for boat shopping. It's a lovely quiet park with a pond, within easy reach of New Bern, Oriental, and Wilmington. The word here is that the region has "3 boats to every human" so this should be good hunting grounds. Call it a sixth sense or whatever... I feel like she's very close.

Internet Speed Comparison
North Myrtle Beach RV Park & Marina Dry Dock, SC
Sampled 3/18/20 at 2:06 pm

MB down
MB up
Calyx (Sprint)
Google Fi
Jetpack (Verizon)
Park wifi

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