Thursday, May 21, 2009

Driving Across America: Leg 5

Thursday, May 21st
I will upload pictures tomorrow, as I just don't feel like doing it right now. But today was full of all sorts of things worth mentioning.

Breakfast in Roswell
Our plan was to hit the road by 7am so that we could get to Savannah for lunch with some time to explore, then leave for Charleston for dinner with some time to explore, before reaching our final destination at Myrtle Beach with some time to hang out. All of that changed, however, when the harsh reality of east coast weather came storming back. Being in Tempe, there was never a reason to check weather reports, so it was the furthest thing from our minds. More on that after this quick note on breakfast.

We woke up at 6am (I had a lot of trouble sleeping, so I was operating on about 3 hours of sleep when we got up). The Reids had a quality spread laid out for us with lots of fresh fruit (papaya, watermelon, canteloupe, strawberries), bagels, a maple walnut coffee cake, a Honey Nut O's. Melissa had coffee. I had water. It was a great start to a long day. We ended up leaving around 8am, and it only took us 45 minutes to get through Atlanta, which was a great surprise. We expected hours of traffic during morning rush hour on the Thursday before Memorial Day.

Savannah, GA
Back to the failure to check the weather... It began raining as soon as we got south of Atlanta. It didn't stop until we were three-quarters of the way between Savannah and Charleston. This had a detrimental effect on our visit to one of the south's oldest cities. For a quick history lesson (which I only recently learned myself), General Sherman--in his famous march--destroyed the city of Atlanta, so as far as American cities go, it is relatively new in its construction. In fact, Sherman razed a great deal of the cities in his path. For some reason, however, he spared Savannah. This place was, despite the rain, beautiful. It is very European at its heart. There are no yards, instead the city offers squares that are common area yards for everyone. These squares pop up every few blocks. They are all small parks with benches, grass, and trees, with the equivalent of a roundabout (traffic circle) around them and some street parking. The houses themselves were all very historic; elegant architecture everywhere you turned. The rain was a big damper on our fun, though. We originally meant to eat at Mrs. Wilkes, an old fashioned boarding-style diner, but the line wrapped around the corner in the rain and we didn't have rain coats or umbrellas. So we pressed on. We opted out of Paula Dean's restaurant because it was too expensive. We ended up parking near the river and walking down in a mild drizzle to find a lunch spot. When the deluge of rain began, we sought shelter in the nearest decent looking restaurant - the Cotton Exchange Tavern.

We got crab chowder to split, which was very good. I got a crab cake sandwich with sweet potato fries (pretty good, but no Maryland crab cake) and Melissa got seafood quesadillas (shrimp, crab, cheeses with salsa and sour cream). They were pretty decent as well, but not amazing. I ordered my first southern style sweet tea in years and made Melissa try it, as she had never enjoyed one before. We finished up and headed outside, only to be greeted by even more rain. We tried to see a couple sights along the river but were forced to retire to the car to avoid the weather.

I had a serious recurring wardrobe malfunction as we walked back. My flip flops kept sliding off my feet as we trudged through the wet roads and sidewalks. It was annoying, but Melissa found it to be hysterical. So I jumped in a puddle and splashed her. We finally made it back to the car so that we could dry off and get to Charleston, all the while hoping for the rain to subside.

The bridge out of Savannah was pretty but frightening. It was pouring, the winds were raging, and all the support cables were bucking wildly against the gusts. We made it across unscathed and were on our way to SC.

Charleston, SC

This city was beautiful as well. It had all the elements of a beach town, mixed with all the character of a historic site. We visited the battery where Colonel Moultrie (I'll check his name later when I upload the pictures, but I think that's how it is spelled) fended off a British attack against all odds. Fort Sumter was visible across the way. The houses in Charleston were absolutely incredible. Huge, plantation-style mansions on every block. The rain had stopped, but it was very windy and cold on the water, so we didn't stay at the battery long. We headed into town, parked just off Market St., and walked around for a little while. I was beyond tired, so despite Melissa's desire to hang out and enjoy the town, we decided to cut our visit short and head to Myrtle Beach. We did walk around for about half an hour, though. We learned that southern restaurants serve crab dip chilled, which is strange.

Myrtle Beach, SC
The drives are getting harder and harder as we get more and more traveling under our belt. I think our bodies are wearing down. We are getting more irritable about hunger and fatigue, and napping is becoming more and more common while riding shotgun. But we are keeping our morale as high as possible.

We made arrangements earlier in the week to stay with a family friend of Melissa's in MB--Amanda--who is house sitting a golf course starter mansion for 6 months by herself. For the third time on this trip, we managed to find a place to stay that did not require paying for a hotel (as opposed to two nights in hotels). Not a bad ratio.

We made it to the house a little after 8, and it is gorgeous. The room we are staying in has a bathroom larger than our bedroom was in Cityscape. The house is ridiculous. It backs up to a lake, has a hot tub with a TV outside, has touch lamps, overhead fans with remotes, heavy duty high efficiency laundry (this is our first time doing laundry on the trip, and it is sad that it is exciting to me), and one of the most comfortable beds I have ever laid in. I am actually laying in it right now as I type. I'm not expert, but I believe it is a memory foam, pillow-top, king size bed. I may never leave.

Amanda had plans to see a band play at a place called Spuds, so we waited for her friend to show up so that we could go get food and see the band. Spuds is in Murrells Inlet. We got there around 9:45, only to find out that they were no longer serving food. We walked up the "marsh walk" to Dead Dog Saloon for food, which was decent. Melissa and I shared a crab dip (served hot) and a chicken Caesar salad. Then we walked back to Spuds to listen to the band and we met a few of Amanda's other friends. She had to work early, so we called it an early night.

Now, I am laying in bed unable to sleep, with Futurama on in the background. It is one of my guilty pleasures.

On the bright side, once I get all the rest of the pictures uploaded, my blog is officially caught up. Thanks, everyone, for reading. I may have one more entry for everyone about this trip to sum things up once we are home. If we end up staying another day here, I'll probably post an extra leg describing our beach experience, then wrap things up on Saturday from Annapolis.

Either way, this has been a magical journey. I enjoyed sharing everything thus far. And this was great practice for my Italy travelogumentary, which promises to be even more interesting! See everyone soon!

1 comment:

Paula said...

Can't wait for you all to be safely :)