Southern Hospitality

The South – 5 Days

7/13/13 – 7/17/13

I remember back to the early millennium when I had the best sandwich (actually, a wrap) I’d ever eaten in my life.  For years I told my sister about the deliciousness that was Roly Poly, and for years her and I tried to eat there, only to have it closed every time we visited.  We would go at 2:00 on a Saturday afternoon and they’d be closed, we’d visit at Noon on Thursday and they’d be closed!  Until finally one day we tried again only to be greeted with an “Out of Business” sign hanging in the window; really this was the only thing that let us know the place had actually ever been opened at all in the last few years!

“OH MY GOD!  ROLLY POLLY!” I screamed at Tom, “We’ve got to eat there!!  Are you hungry?”

YAY! Roly Poly!

YAY! Roly Poly!

Tom did what anyone would do in this situation, driving in an unfamiliar city with a crazed lunatic shouting at them.

We found parking and satisfied the meter for 1 hour, church bells rang loud from the church on the corner behind us.  Up one block and over to another until we found it, I smiled big and reached for the door handle.  “What!?  I can’t believe this!!”.  They were closed.  At 1:30 on a Wednesday afternoon!  I am now convinced Roly Poly is just a cover for some secret agency or operation (no, I can’t explain the one time I actually did eat their warm, melty, perfectly stuffed and rolled sandwich!).  I accepted defeat and we strolled the city of Savannah looking at all the beautiful architecture and greenery.
We found Pulaski Square and defaced corrected the spelling on the sign with a wet straw wrapper, we walked around looking for the Forest Gump bench to no avail, we had a great lunch at the cute little Cafe Gelatohhh! and as we walked toward the truck with our gelatos we realized we had no idea where the truck actually was!
We stopped to think, tried to trace back our wandering, we walked up and down streets trying to remember and craning our necks hoping to see the Eezi-Awn above the roofs of all the other cars.
But we didn’t.
We stood and stared at each other puzzled and, in my case, a little panicked, I honestly had no idea where we left the truck.
And then all of a sudden church bells rang out in the distance, “This way!”, I yelled and started off towards the ringing.  Finally we turned a corner and saw Gwen patiently waiting for us, luckily without any tickets on her windshield.  We marked the map on the phone and set off to wander a little bit more.

Pulaski Park

Someone spelled this wrong…

Now it's right!

Now it’s right!

Savannah was beautiful and fun.  I loved it!  But alas it was time to move on.  We read about Fripp Island which sounded pretty awesome so we headed that direction only stopping once at the Chapel of Ease for photos.

Chapel of Ease; built in 1740, burned by forest fire in 1886

Chapel of Ease; built in 1740, burned by forest fire in 1886

We got camp close by at Tuck in the Wood Campground.  The mosquitos were relentless so we put the walls of the tent up (for the 2nd time in as many months) and watched a movie in our enclosure.  The next morning we were excited to see what Fripp Island had to offer.  We were sorely disappointed when we found out it was a private gated community!  DOH!  I’m not quite sure how that slipped by us.
We popped into a couple of souvenir shops and I found a grey horsehair bracelet like Tom’s but overall the day was a let down.

Finding fun on an otherwise disappointing day

Finding fun on an otherwise disappointing day

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We found a free camp from freecampsites.net, punched it into the GPS and drove and drove.  We drove into the woods for miles and miles until the GPS finally said we had arrived… no where.  Frustrated we stopped to make some lunch but as soon as we stepped out of the truck we were swarmed by mosquitos, not just mosquitos but those new fandangled Asian Tiger mosquitos.  I had 13 new bites in the minute and a half it took to get out and right back into the truck!  We drove straight out of there wondering what those mosquitos eat all day being that we were the only food within a 20 mile radius – I guess there were enough animals in those woods because as soon as we had 3G again I learned that regular mosquitos fly up to 7.5 miles for food but very rarely more than a .5 mile and the Asian Tigers going only about 1 mile over the course of their lives.
We checked into the KOA that we had passed about 20 miles back and settled in next to the pond.  I made some dinner while Tom set up the tent, dinner and showers and we were off to bed.  We couldn’t believe how quiet the place was, for a KOA in the middle of summer or for any campground for that matter, I swear to you the first bird didn’t even chirp until 9:30 in the morning!

Once we were up and about our neighbor came over to chat and told us about mile marker 420 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, said there was free camping anywhere along the parkway.  We were excited!  We decided that we’d go there tonight.  We stocked up at Whole Foods and headed out to Charlestown.  We parked in Battery Park and walked up and down the streets, well, more of a walk-stop as I kept stoping us for pictures, maybe a thousand times about every 3 yards.
The houses were so beautiful!  I love houses, architecture, design – the older the better.  I loved being a property manager because it gave me access to houses and other peoples’ homes.  When I ride down the road at night I love to look in unshaded windows to glimpse paint colors and interesting light fixtures.  I found myself imagining what those houses must look like on the inside and wished I could see for myself.

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I couldn’t get enough of the beautiful doorways and gas lanterns

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Love this one! Something about the grey door and the Scottie dog makes me smile.

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Click, click, click.
I WANT TO GO INSIDE!!!

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You know how long we stood here waiting for the wind to blow the flag just right? 😛

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After about an hour of this stop-take-1 million-pictures-then-go we arrived at the city market.  What I thought would be awesome turned out to be pretty lame.  I thought there’d be a bunch of cool crafts to look at but all I saw was a never-ending corridor of people selling sweetgrass baskets on either side.  There were a few cool spice and nut shops and I wanted so badly to buy every spice I had ever dreamed of having but Tom gave me that look that told me I already had “too many spices and what did I think I was going to do with any more?”, so I kept moving.  There was only so much more we could take of this place.  It was pretty crowded so we scooted out onto the sidewalk.  We stood there for a while trying to think of what was next.  People were walking by with ice-cream so you know what direction I wanted the plan to go!

As I happily licked my cone we walked to the docks where there were some kids playing in a fountain.  We sat and watched as they frolicked and splashed around with big smiles, water had completely soaked their clothes.  I wanted to get in the water with them!  But I thought it best that my clothing didn’t get thoroughly wet, might not be the most kid-friendly show ya’know?  I fought my urges for the second time in as many hours and we waked off to find the truck.

What I would have given to get in there!

What I would have given to get in there!

We fixed up some turkey & cheese sandwiches and started off to find camp.  By this time it was 5:00 and we realized we weren’t going to make it to Mile Marker 420 tonight.  We found another free camp at Congaree [Swamp] National Park but once we got there found it was only camping in the woods and marked no camping in the parking lot.  Hmmmm  We sat there for a while.  Even got out our chairs and pondered what we should do.  It was dusk and as a van filled with people drove in we figured it was time for us to find something else.  Defeated and kind of lost, we drove out into the night.  At 9:00 we were relieved to find Sesquicentennial State Park right where it should be.  We pulled up the driveway and met a car parked at the open gate.  The Ranger approached the truck and asked if he could help us.
“We’d like a site for the night”, Tom said.
“Well, the park is closed.  I’m just coming back from getting my dinner and was shutting the gate here.”
I can imagine seeing our faces drop was what promoted him to say,
“You can find a site and register in the morning; boy, you sure got lucky timing.”
We couldn’t agree more, and he had no idea how lucky we felt.  We managed to find a pretty good spot despite the darkness of the nighttime forest.  In the morning we realized just how great of a spot it was.  We decided to call the office and reserve it for tonight too.  Ahh, to me there’s nothing better than not having to rush out of camp or a hotel!  We just hung out all morning drinking coffee and taking advantage of the wifi, I was looking for a workaway and/or couchsurfing opportunity .
After such an exhausting morning what is left to do but take a nap?  Tom opted for a walk.  When I woke up I laced up my running shoes and stretched my lungs a little.  The weather was ominous and we were afraid of what was about to happen.  We sat under our awning for the rest of the day watching the clouds roll darker and darker and the cracks of thunder grow louder and closer.  Around dinnertime it finally started to rain.  We were surprised to find it last for 20 minutes and never be more than a light shower.  I’ve never seen and heard such torment come from the sky and felt such apprehension for a storm as I did this day, and for it to never produce more than a ⅛” of rain?  Oddest thing ever.

Waiting for the rain

Waiting for the rain

We woke up to offer emails from a farm in Brasstown and a couchsurfing host in (West) Asheville!
We Arranged to spend 2 weeks at the farm, but not for 2 more weeks.
The couchsurfing host was forming an intentional community so were all excited to meet and he offered us an in-law suite for the 2 weeks until we left for Brasstown.
Perfect.

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