Hilton Head – Part 2

On Saturday morning, June 24, the children left for their fourteen hour drive back to New Castle, Pennsylvania. What a great week we had, however! The last three days were just as fun as the first three. And, as a bonus, Delilah, finally warmed up to me. She progressed from growling, snarling, and barking to affectionately licking my legs and arms so vigorously, I probably lost the top layer of skin and half the hair on them.

Lilah.

On Wednesday, we decided to visit the Pinckney National Wildlife Refuge, 4,053 acres filled with waterfowl, shorebirds, and wading birds, with large concentrations of white ibis, herons, and egrets. On our five mile walk along the many trails, we also spotted an alligator or two. After expending so many calories hiking in the hot sun, we replenished them eating some great Carolina BBQ at Jim and Nicks. Later on, we hung out at the pool and grilled burgers for dinner. Mmmm!

There were thousands of small fiddler crabs in the marshes of Pinckney National Wildlife Refuge

Perwinkle snail

This snake slithered away too fast to obtain a photo of his head or full body.

Cindy had just stepped close to the pond for a picture when she heard a noise behind her. She turned around to see this alligator upset about her presence.

Red-winged Blackbird

Refreshing pool time after a busy, hot day

On Thursday, we miniature-golfed and visited a local arcade prior to taking a very informative two-hour tour of Gullah history and culture. The Gullah are the descendants of enslaved Africans from various tribes who lived in the Lowcountry regions of the US states of Georgia and South Carolina, in the area of both the coastal plain and the Sea Islands. They have their own culture and creole language. I was intrigued to find out that the majority of the descendants of the Bahamas are Gullah descendants and speak an almost identical dialect. Our tour guide, Melvin, a Gullah with a rich, deep voice, mesmerized us with his stories over the two-hour bus tour. In the evening, Julie and I played a little tennis while Cindy prepared for us a dinner of her delicious spaghetti.

On the porch of the Honey Horn Property at the Coastal Discovery Museum, where are Gullah tour began and ended.

With Melvin, our Gullah Guide

One of the stops on our Gullah Tour was at the former site of Mitchelville. In 1862, General Ormsby Mitchel established the town of Mitchelville to house the Island’s ‘contraband’ community. This was the first self-governing, Freedmen’s Village in the United States.

The perfect wine for our spaghetti dinner: An Aquinas Pinot Noir

On Friday, Julie and I left Tracy and Cindy behind to tackle the Zipline Hilton Head Aerial Adventure which consisted of six up-in-the-trees (12-36 feet above ground) courses consisting of cross swinging bridges, swaying tunnels, logs & bridges, jumping thru hoops & nets, and climbing obstacles. There are six increasingly difficult levels. During our two our adventure in the grueling South Carolina heat and humidity, I successfully completed the first four levels, while Julie tackled five of them. It was quite a challenge and great fun! Afterwards, we all hit the beach for a second time. Then, later in the evening, we returned to Hudson’s on the Docks for another great seafood feast.

Julie, almost 40 feet above ground on one of the “black” challenge courses.

We survived the aerial adventures!

We have often heard that the two happiest days in a boat owner’s life is the day he buys the boat and the day he sells the boat. Well, if so, Friday was one of our two happiest days of boat ownership. We closed on our sailing home of the last five years. It was sad in a way, but a relief to be free of the double expense of upkeep on a sailboat and an RV. Cindy and I are no longer boat owners for now. But, that will likely change in the coming months and years.

Julie and Tracy visited us on our sailing vessel, Beatitude, more than anyone else. So, they earn the Beatitude crew hats!

Celebrating the sale of Beatitude!

On Saturday, the 24th, our girls left, leaving a hole in our hearts, filled with great memories of our week together in Hilton Head. We spent the rest of the day cleaning and cashing in on our trivia contest prize, a movie with snacks included. We saw the very well done, Churchill, which chronicles the life of the prime minister in the few days leading up to D-Day. We’d recommend it.

Good-bye, kids!

This alligator was in the water right behind our RV.

The tree beside our RV took on a much more mysterious look after dark.

Thanks to Julie for contributing some of these photos!

Surprising Cindy in Hilton Head, SC

There is nothing that makes us happier than to surprise Cindy with a visit from family. Julie and Tracy have teamed up with me on several occasions to drop in on us at a baseball game, our home, a cruise, our sailboat, and now on our RV. They drove all day on Friday in order to meet us on Saturday morning in Hilton Head. The shocked look on Cindy’s face as she opened the door to find them standing outside was priceless!

Surprise!

We arose in St. Augustine before sunrise on Saturday morning for an early start. We did so in order to coordinate our arrival with the girls in Hilton Head. Of course, Cindy was unaware of my ulterior motives, but she unquestioningly followed my wishes for an early departure. She was not so blissful when, three hours later, we checked into Hilton Head Harbor RV Park for several days. She thought we were only staying 2 days and was upset with me for not including her on the decision to stay longer. Of course, I couldn’t answer her questions of why, so I postponed my response until we were set up on our site. Fortunately, I was soon to be rescued by Julie and Tracy’s arrival. All was forgiven when Cindy realized why I had excluded her from my planning. 🙂

Beatitude II at our site.

View out our RV window.

We’ve had a blast since the girls’ arrival. On Saturday, we played a little tennis at the RV park courts before cleaning up to go down to Coligny Plaza for some trivia competition. Our team (“Team Beatitude”) won a couple of movie tickets, complete with soda and popcorn for winning one of the contests. The four of us make a pretty good team since we all have areas of knowledge different from the others. We returned to Beatitude II for filet on the grill. Mmmm!

One half of the doubles match.

The other half of the doubles match.

Mom and Daughter

3/4ths of the brainiacs at the trivia contest.

Grilling steak.

Waiting on steak.

The view from our RV campsite

And another

Sunday afternoon was beach day at Alder Lane beach. The water was wonderfully warm, yet refreshing, while the sun was soft and comfortable. We tossed a football in the water between being smashed by waves, and we played frisbee in the shallows on the beach. It was a perfect day. My Father’s Day was completed by one of the best seafood dinners I’ve ever had at Hudson’s on the docks. My Neptune’s Seafood Feast, consisting of scallops, grouper, deviled crab, shrimp, and oysters was amazing. It was great celebrating Father’s Day with at least some of my children. I was also blessed to receive video calls from Jeremy and Mariah.

On the beach access walkway.

Beach shot.

Cindy and I laying on our Mother’s and Father’s Day presents from Julie and Tracy.

Enjoying the refreshing ocean waters of Hilton Head.

Tracy and Julie

Football. Who threw it and who is catching it?

Julie on the beach.

Frisbee time.

Unforgettable Father’s Day dinner at Hudson’s on the Docks

Hilton Head wildlife

Yesterday, the fun continued with a zip-lining expedition. It was a blast riding cables up to 75′ above the ground at Zipline Hilton Head. We had a couple of great guides, Day and Gabe, who added to the fun. The ladies also took some time to do a little rock painting on the RV. Then, in the evening, Tracy grilled us some delicious chicken fajitas. Mmmmm, again!

Zip-Lining Crew

Tracy atop one of the platforms.

Trudging up the stairs to a higher platform.

Cindy and I making our way on one of the swinging bridges between zip-lines.

Great view from the top!

Our great guides, Gabe and Day

Ladies’ Rock Painting

Spectacular sunset

Julie and Tracy will be with us for another few days before returning to New Castle, Pennsylvania on Saturday. We look forward to more fun and games before their departure. We’ve also had their mostly sweet bulldog, Delilah, with us. I say “mostly” because she is super sweet to Julie, Tracy, and Cindy. Not so much with me. For the most part, her interaction with me consists of growling, snarling, and barking (on her part, of course). She acts like she’d like to tear the flesh from my bones. We had a few hours of love on Saturday evening. I fed her some of my filet mignon at dinner. The rest of the night she lavished kiss upon kiss upon my arms and legs and allowed me to pet her freely. The next morning, all reconciliation was forgotten. She was back to her “mostly-sweet” self. I don’t really mind and I’m not scared of her. Poor thing was a shelter dog which had been abused in her past life, who now has chronic kidney problems. Julie and Tracy adopted her and have given her a good life. I must remind her of some traumatic experience in her previous life, so, it’s all okay. Actually, today, we’ve had a sort of truce. She hasn’t acted aggressively toward me, and I’ve done all I can not to provoke her. 🙂

Lilah with her look-alike cow toy.

Sunset from Hilton Head RV Park.

Our First RV Destination: St. Augustine, Florida

Before leaving Central Florida, Cindy had breakfast with a friend, Betty, while I underwent some routine medical testing.

Our good friends and family (Our son, Jeremy’s wife’s mother, Heather, and her Aunt Sherry) visiting us from Orlando. Here, we are having dinner at Cracker Barrel.

Saying good-bye to company.

On the morning of June 15th, we hitched up our new home and drove 182 miles up I-4 through miles of crazy traffic and construction and then up I-95 to St. Augustine. We’ve adopted a general guideline when traveling that we will attempt to adhere to as much as possible called the 2:2:2 rule. The goal on travel days will be to drive less than 200 miles, arrive by 2 p.m., and stay at least 2 nights at each destination (We modified this rule from other RVers). Our first trip was a success, then, from the standpoint of adhering to our rule.

Making sure the tops of the slides are clean so that we can safely retract them prior to departure from Lazydays.

Putting away the sewer hose. No “RV” incidents with the sewer hose yet!

Cindy folding up the steps prior to departure.

Our living area with both slides retracted.

In fact, it was a success in (almost) all aspects. We had no problems hitching up the RV, although it did take several repetitions of backing up and moving forward to align the kingpin with the hitch. Maybe we’ll get better at this as time goes on, or maybe that’s just what it will take to hitch the RV. We had no problems negotiating the heavy traffic and construction zones, nor did we have any problems stopping for lunch and finding an appropriate place to park the rig. Setting up at the new RV park was also a much smoother process. We’ve now had three times to practice all of that.

Ready to hit the road.

Food stop! It’s a long way from the rear of the RV to the front of the truck!

Parked by one of the big boys. We’re about as tall though. The height of our RV is 13’3″.

Our only real problems of the trip were found when we opened the doors to the RV upon our arrival. The first was small, we had stacked some soda inside the door which had tumbled over and one can leaked slightly — not a big deal, but we’ll have to continue to improve preparing the interior for our travels down the road. The second was slightly more of a disaster. We have very nice roomy cabinets above the sofa at the rear of the RV. We had stacked books on the top shelf of these cabinets. Unfortunately, the shelf decided it didn’t want to support the books (which probably weighed more than a hundred pounds) and one side gave way, sending all the books spraying out the cabinet doors and into the living space. We first realized there was a problem when Cindy tried to extend the slide outs. The books were caught in between and wouldn’t let the slideouts fully extend. We cleaned up the mess the next morning and I made a trip down to Home Depot for some supplies to repair the shelf. No more books on the top shelf!

A mess in the living room. You can see the shelf to the right gave way, spilling our books onto the floor.

The shelf is repaired.

Our spot at Stagecoach RV park.

The evening of the first day in St. Augustine we drove into town and had dinner with a friend at Cellar 6, a lovely restaurant on Aviles Street in the heart of the downtown area. It was so nice to enjoy a great meal with Megan, the daughter of our good friends in Charleston, Justin and Shera. She recently moved from Charleston to Jacksonville, and was so nice as to drive down to St. Augustine to have dinner with us and stop by the RV for a few minutes afterward.

My love and I at Cellar 6 for dinner with Megan.

Megan and Cindy on Aviles Street in front of our dinner spot.


Today, our second day in St. Augustine we did a little sight-seeing. We’ve visited St. Augustine a couple of times before by car and once when we were making our way up the east coast in our sailing home. You can read about those adventures HERE and HERE. Even though we’ve seen most of the sights of St. Augustine, we still love it here. We decided to revisit a couple of places today, the Fountain of Youth and the San Sebastian Winery. I had remembered the Fountain of Youth as a kitschy, touristy place not hardly worth a second thought. Either they’ve changed the place or I didn’t see much of it before. There is still the kitsch, but there is also an archaeological site and historical demonstrations. It was nice. Our winery stop was also nice. Most of their wines are nothing to speak of, but their dessert wines are actually good. Today, we brought home a bottle of their Sherry.

Cindy at the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park.

We know this isn’t the “real” fountain of youth because we drank of it around 15 years ago. We’re old.

A cool, 1950’s technology educational display, a two-story spinning globe showing the routes Columbus took on his first two journeys to the New World.

The archaelogical site is behind us. St. Augustine is considered to be the oldest city in the U.S. The original settlement was on the property of the Fountain of Youth Park, slightly north of the modern town.

Cindy, doing archaeology. Sadly, she found no valuable artifacts.

Standing in front of a reconstruction of the original Catholic mission in the first settlement.

One of the several entertaining demonstrations at the Fountain of Youth Park. Here, a guide fires a crossbow.

At the winery.

Tomorrow, we head on up the road a little. We’ll leave early for our trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina, just a little over 200 miles away.

Peacocks were all over the Fountain of Youth Park. Here is a beautiful white one.

And, a beautiful “normal” peacock.