We are officially three weeks into this great American journey. We’ve traveled 5,804 miles in the Subie through 13 states and Jim still hasn’t ‘accidentally’ left Lisa at the gas station (so far). Speaking of gas, it is still around $2.49/gal no matter where we go (except for $5/gal in Death Valley). And today we’ve finally escaped Florida, moved up the coast through Savannah, GA, Charleston, SC and coming into Myrtle Beach, SC under cover of darkness tonight. We have no idea what it looks like around here, but it seems very touristy and we can hear the waves crashing. Weather has been great, though rain will be coming overnight and it’s expected to be windy further up the coast as we go along. That’s our latest status report!
Today we accidentally left St Augustine without getting a photo of their lighthouse with the “twisty” paint job or taking a dip in Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth. Looks like we’ll have to go back again before we get too old! All in all, St Augustine was a great town, but we’ve got a lot of ground to cover today.
We first made it through Jacksonville without much problem and headed straight toward Savannah, GA and Tybee Island. However, in between those two towns, we discovered Ft Pulaski, a big part of history that we didn’t even know about and actually found completely fascinating. It’s an huge fortified brick fort at the mouth of the rivers that lead to Savannah’s shipping port. It saw battles in the War of 1812 and most notably in the Civil War, where the ‘impenetrable’ fort was actually breached by shelling from the ‘new’ rifled cannons. Once the Union soldiers were able to shoot through the massive structure and hit near the magazine (40,000 lbs of gun powder in storage), the commander knew all was lost and surrendered to the Union forces.
It’s amazing to be there and see mortars still in the walls, even though much of the fort was restored after the war. Jim was completely fascinated and will probably become the Cd’A export on southern Third System forts, now that he has time to study and research. Be prepared to hear his stories!
As an aside, this was the third time we were able to take advantage of our Federal Parks Annual Pass that we got at the Grand Canyon. It cost us $80 (non-senior citizen) and we have been able to use it not only at the Grand Canyon, but also at “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Sanctuary in FL and now at the Ft Pulaski National Monument in Georgia. We may actually pay for it in visits on this trip!
Next stop was Tybee Island. We realized we spent a lot of time at the Fort and to be honest, Tybee is cute and all, but pretty touristy and we wanted to see Savannah. So Lisa got her obligatory pic of the lighthouse and we headed to the city of beautiful old live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss.
Savannah is a beautiful city, easy to get to, has lots of history, and we could’ve stayed there for days if we could. We didn’t get as many pictures of the old downtown district because we hit traffic at the wrong time, but it seems very pleasant and has very nice old buildings that we don’t have on the West Coast. And as Lisa usually does, she found a lunch place rated #1 by TripAdvisor that was out of the historical district in a little strip mall, but absolutely worth it! If you ever get to Savannah, you’ll have to go to Joe’s Handmade Cafe. They only have four tables inside, the menu is half the price of our lunch the day before in Florida, the food was incredible and the desserts are amazing. Jim had a panini and Lisa had a chicken salad — they sound simple, but they were really amazing! We talked to Chef Joe and he has been open eight years, and #1 on TripAdvisor for the last seven. He had previously retired from the furniture business in Ohio and people loved his dinner parties so much he opened this tiny little place and they survive on their catering business. (People love to tell us their retirement stories for some reason!) Anyway, we left with lemon-strawberry cake to save for later – yum!
Back to the trip. With our little excursions, we’ve found ourselves running out of time. Do we skip Charleston which is an hour away in order to make it to Myrtle Beach at a decent time (9pm)? But Lisa really wanted to go to Charleston but did we have enough time? So we came into Charleston in time to take a sunset walk along Battery Park, check out the historic mansions on the harbor and see Ft Sumter across the bay (a fortified sister fort of Ft Pulaski) where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. For the first time, we’re feeling the pressure of traveling on a deadline. Neither of us like this feeling, but we must charge on to Myrtle Beach if we want to make our reservation and get any sleep.
Tomorrow is a big day. We plan on getting out to Cape Hatteras, NC and the Outer Banks before sliding in tomorrow night to Bill and Aster’s in Virginia. North Carolina is new for both of us and we’re buried in maps and ferry schedules and tour books. We have to get up and out by 5:15am. We’re powered on a late snack from our first visit to Chick-fil-A (did you know they have mouthwash dispensers in the bathrooms??) and then it’s off to bed. No more blogging for tonight.