Charleston, SC 5/29-5/31

A gentle departure from Hilton Head around 11.  We wrap up the coach.  Hooked up the car and wound our way through the narrow roads to the exit gate.  Before long we were headed for the toll bridge to exit the Island.  They call themselves “The Low Country.”  It is easy to see why they need to have evacuation routes in the event of a hurricane.

The coach GPS routed us to I-95.  We joined the line of trucks and cars.  Within a few minutes we noticed the trucks ahead of us had their brake lights on.  Relatively rare on the hiway.  I could see a cloud of dust.  I have an engine brake, affectionally named ‘Jake’, who helped slow me down.  Two trucks had pulled off on the right.  There was a small passenger car inverted in the median.  I was able to pull in between the two trucks onto a decent shoulder and be off the road.

Traffic had slowed and it was easy to get across the road.  The other two truckers were already next to the car.  ”There is one woman in there.”  Reported the first trucker.

The roof was completely crushed.  The engine was still running.  I looked through broken glass and saw a crumpled body.   “Is she talking to you?” I asked hesitantly.

“Yes.” replied the huge trucker.  In a moment the trucker returned with a large hammer.  With a few wacks he had cleared out the driver’s window.  He was able to reach in and disentangle her legs from the steering wheel.  I could hold her head while he lifted her by the shoulders and dragged her out through the window.  We lay her in the grass a few feet from the car.  The trucker went back in to try to find the ignition to shut off the engine.  The dash was gone but he found the ignition and killed the engine.  I felt a little safer.

As I held the elderly lady’s neck I introduced myself.

“I’m Dorothy.” she said with a smile.

“How old are you, Dorothy?” I asked to start the conversation.  I received a look of someone trying to remember.

“That’s OK.  I sometimes forget myself.”  I answered my own question.

“1923.” She said with a smile.  Quick math.  This young lady was 90 and had just rolled her car.

Pain survey.  Nothing hurt or was tender.  Neck, chest, abdomen, pelvis – all non tender.  I looked over at the crumpled car.  This was the luckiest woman alive.

Other than a small skin tear on her right wrist she appeared unscathed.

“Where did you come from, Dorothy.”

“Lakeland, Florida.  I must have dozed off.”

“You were in an accident with your car.”  I told her.

“Really?”

“Yes, ma’m.” I was looking at her totaled car.

The trucker had found her purse and placed it next to her.  In what seemed like a few minutes the sirens started.  The first on the scene was the police officer.  He assured us EMS was on the way.  After obtaining her permission he went into Dorothy’s purse in search of her driver’s license.

The fire truck and ambi were next.  The young paramedic came down the small embankment.  I told her what I knew and she introduced herself to Dorothy while she started her survey.

“I’ll be leaving now.  Good luck, Dorothy.”

“Thank you for your help.”  she replied.

“A pleasure to meet you Dorothy.  You will do well.”

Bev and I climbed back up to the road.  The police officer held the traffic while we crossed to the other side.

We looked back at the crumpled car.  ”How did she ever survive that?” Bev asked.

“It just wasn’t her time.”  I reflected.

rollover

Onto to Charleston.  We followed the audible directions from the GPS.  We were headed for the James Island County Park.  This was the “big rig friendly” designated park.  As we were instructed to turn onto the final road leading to the park it looked tight.  It was two narrow lanes.  I pulled out with the green light.  I started the turn.  The tree guarding the corner suddenly got bigger.  With traffic in the opposite lane there was no where to go.  We were stuck.  The cars in the lane realized my plight and they all pulled off onto their shoulder.  I inched forward watching that tree in the mirror.  This was ceasing to be fun.  Miraculously, with the help of about 10 cars I made it into my lane.  I waved a thank you and realized there were some places we didn’t belong.

James Island County Park was huge 360 acre preserve.  Don and Terry had arrived first with their RV.  They reported our site ‘might be a little tight.’  As we checked in I asked ‘Marietta’ if I could see the site first.  She told me how to find it.  I went for a hike and found entrance to the site.  The forest had reclaimed a bit of the lot.

“Nice spot for a tent but what would they do with 50 amp service?” I thought to myself.

“Marietta, do you have anything that isn’t overgrown with the bushes.”

“The problem is you want three nights and I only have two as you go into the weekend.”

“No worries.” I said with a smile.  ” There are just a few little shoots that need trimming.”  She looked back at her boss.

“Our maintenance staff have already gone for the day.”  The supervisor answered.

“No worries.  I’m an arborist.  I have a little clipper for the shoots.”

She nodded her consent.  When we reached the site I pulled out my ladder and my saw.  Bev took a clipper to the bushes.  In half an hour we had a pretty nice site.  It took a little longer to haul off the lumber into the woods.

A quick shower and we were off to Charleston with the Cohen’s for dinner.

Downtown Charleston is a historic place.  It was the birthplace of the civil war at Ft. Sumter.  The old patrician homes had been rebuilt in the last few decades.  The downtown was now a modern collection of restaurants and shops.  It seemed that every third building had a restaurant.  We found a parking lot.  Street parking was a mythical dream.  We found the recommended seafood restaurant.  The place was packed.  The hostess said  30-45min and took Don’s cell number.  We could see the harbor in the distance.  Don and I headed there for a look as Bev and Terry went in search of shopping.

In two blocks we were at the harbor.  The sailboats in the harbor were apparently jockeying for position for the evening regatta.

Charlestonregatta

A fountain there provided some great back lit shots with kids playing in the water.  They seemed to be the only ones not too hot.

girlinfountain

 

fountainkids4

 

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There is a light breeze making the warm humid air bearable.  We soon returned to the restaurant area to find Bev with a new necklace.  First successful shopping she had so far this trip.

Bevsnecklace

Finally, the restaurant called.  The decibel meter on my iphone hung around 80. But hunger let’s you over come a lot.  Dinner was good and followed by a better walk through the downtown.

The following day we decided to do Ft. Sumter.  If we are studying the Civil War it seems only fitting to visit the spot it began.  With Don’t skillful driving we zipped into a parking garage near the departure point for the park service boat with 4 minutes to spare.  We were the last of the 248 aboard.  The 1/2 hr. trip though Charleston harbor took us to Ft. Sumter.  The sun was beating down.  The breeze was very light.  The interpretive ranger was helpful giving us the history of the bombardment and subsequent surrender of the fort that started the War in on April 12, 1861.

FtSumter

The heat drained my strength.  We made it home in time for a brief but needed rest, before heading back into town for dinner at the Palace Hotel.  This time a civilized dinner in quiet outdoor courtyard.  Bev was happy.

bevpalacehotel

After dinner we strolled back to the car through the historic buildings.  I slept hard this night.

The next day Bev, Don, and Terry were off early for a horse drawn town tour.  I took the morning off to work on projects around the coach.  A much better use of my time.  I thought.  A quick dinner at home and then into town for a play.  ”The Amazing Entrance of Dan Diety” was the story of some professional wrestlers.  It was interactive theater.  We were in the second row.  Some plays you like and some less so.  Bev was lucky that she had a headache that spared her the experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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