Thursday, August 27, 2009

Where are Niki and Paris?

Odometer: 17170

Gas: 2.38

Hilton Head SC - a very pretty place. We can see, even through all of the rain here for our stay, why people would vacation here from the East and South.

A big problem with coming here though is that 75% of the island is owned by resorts - and they control there property and beach access completely. It was quite difficult to actually see let alone get to the beach because of all of the gated communities and resorts.

We had rain everyday that we were here. not just drizzle, but downpours. This necessitated creativity in our cramped living space. We had a couple of games of indoor princess baseball, we all had crowns made and had some great dance sessions too.

Zoe and Kes also enjoyed some extra tv time too

We did get a four hour window to enjoy the beach one morning. Very long and flat/shallow - like Waikiki beach. From the gradual slope and all of the rain - people were actually riding their bikes on the sand with no effort like it was a road.

Our site at the campground was nice - the campground actually sold most of their sites, almost like condos. The owners then would fix them up various ways. Ours had a garden and fountain as well as patio furniture. The way it works, is if you rent the site, the owner gets a cut of the fee along with the resort. The campground also had two pools, a gym (not as nice as it sounds, the only thing you could really use was the treadmill do to poor quality and personal safety), tennis courts, and a marina/dock. The resort actually just gave us the key to to the gym and told us to keep it until we left - not a whole lot of other people utilizing it besides the Tillners.

Of note - Kes has graduated from his 0-3 month to 3-6 month clothes!!

A big bummer one night - out of the corner of her eye - Missy spotted a huge beetle or cockroach in the trailer!!!!!! We tracked it down to our bedroom and I was able to end its little party with my shoe - but for the next couple of days I kept my eyes open. I took apart all of the storage compartments on the trailer, cleaned them out and placed some roach poison - so far he was solo. Ugghh.

Zoe not wanting to get up from her nap even though she would cry every time I shut her door.

We all received countless mosquito bites here, regardless of fans and bug spray - worst bugs I have ever seen. As soon as I would step out of the trailer I would have 5-10 mosquitoes immediately on me. We all had welts on our legs!!

Zoe and Kes kicking it in Zoe's bedroom. Kes kept taking his crown off.

A little stroll in the rain.
We told Zoe she is going to Disney world soon - now that is all she talks about!!


We didn't drop off the face of the road trip - just been detained by the Stepford/Disney folks and their crazy internet prices. I wrote this about a week ago, but never finished before moving on too no or very expensive internet.


Gas: 2.38

Well, the weather luck ran out a little bit this week. We've had rain for two days - so we decided to tour Savannah, a short drive from our campground in Hilton Head.

We had lunch at Mrs Wilkes - the locals favorite for real southern cooking. Everybody is fascinated with Paula Dean - but we heard you never see her and the food is mediocre, Mrs. Wilkes is "the place to go". You sit at a large table with whoever at eat family style - everything on a southern menu is served here, and it was very good. We sat with people from Southern CA and New York.

This is the only sign in front of the restaurant letting you know, yes, you are in the right place.

You can see all of the different bowls on the table and they had already cleared a few off by now too.

Cindy our tour guide was born and raised in Savannah - and her accent was so strong I thought about calling Dr Pless for translation. I'm not even sure how to phonetically spell the way she said windows, but it was sorta like windeers all drawn out. Very informative and funny guide.

No AC on the bus we were on, but it was nice not to have to walk around in the rain and humidity none the less.

More Civil War history - Sherman and his 60,000 troops took the city from 10,000 confederates at the end of the war in 1864, and they weren't so nice I guess. The oldest graveyard in the city was used as a campground by many of the troops and they vandalized many of the headstones - everything from knocking them over to scratching in new inaccurate dates. The city saved all of them though - and now, because they have no idea where they went, are all lined up along the back fence.

One of the largest parks has a confederate soldier statue as well paid for by the daughters of the confederacy. After the war - they ended up having it made in Canada, then transported by boat to Savannah to ensure it never went on Union soil. Just like Virginia, you get the feel they may still have a chip on their shoulder.

The oldest african american church in the US - built completely by slaves at night during their time off from the hard labor. None of the other pics really turned out - but this place has been through alot of tropical storms - the steeple used to be three stories tall but was finally knocked off - it now rests on the roof. All of the original stained glass is still there too - but now under very thick plexiglass.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Charleston Chew


Gas: 2:37

Kes and dad hanging outside while Mom and Zoe check out the frozen yogurt shop outside the College of Charleston.

Not sure who this statue is of, but the lighting was nice so I grabbed the shot while on our after dinner walk.

This is a relatively new bridge on the north side of Charleston - very impressive addition to their skyline.

Taking a long walk on a short pier. :) This is the walkway to visit the aircraft carrier Yorktown and the submarine too. Both have been used as memorials/museums since 1975. Interesting to go through both but they are more floating memorials - the battleship in Wilmington was a better tour of what the ship was really like and what serving on one must have been like.

The sail of the sub - unfortunately I forget the name of it.

You walk through the sub from bow to stern starting in the forward torpedo room. The room was the living quarters and workplace of 18 men. When we told Zoe we were going on a submarine that went underwater she insisted on bringing and then wearing her swim goggles for "going underwater". You head back through the sub and see all of the different areas from the food prep room to the bridge to the engine room. It had about 80 men on board while at sea. It made us think our trailer was like living in a mansion. Just incredible that sailors serve on these things let alone with the potential to get shot/drown at any time too.

The family pic on the entrance/hanger deck of the aircraft carrier.

Zoe exploring one of the many jets they have on display in the hanger.

A nice view of the bridge taken from one of the elevator doors on the hanger deck.

Of course we have to included one of the aircraft carriers dental chairs. The ship had two ORs too that were much larger than the battleships too.

Just in case you are having a big party soon I included the navy's recipe for 10,000 chocolate chip cookies.

Having a late afternoon chill session at the Charleston campground - Zoe and dad racing their remote control cars. Zoe has forward and reverse down but still doesn't like to turn her car. She just sends it straight until it crashes into the grass and then we chase after it and do it again.

If you do make it to Charleston - you have to do a carriage tour of the downtown area. They are only allowed to go in the residential area in between 9-5 and it is crucial to see those areas. The history of the area is amazing. Everything from the house the confederate general was staying in when he ordered the first shot of the civil war to huge mansions built by slave traders.

There is a great pier on the north east part of town with views of Fort Sumter and the river heading west. There are large porch swings and a large fountain there as well. A nice place to sit for a bit while Zoe ran around some more.

Zoe making friends on the street in town - she will talk to anyone - just don't try to get close to Kes if she is around!

This is actually a street through town - we found out the day after we walked it that it is the most haunted street in town because it was the sight of duels. Obviously no cars on it - but there are many beautiful old homes along the way.

As any good dentist family would, we visited the dental museum in town. This was on our way there first thing in the morning - notice Zoe carrying her "race car". To put it mildly - she did not want to go to the museum.

Once we arrived at the museum - the doors were locked - shocking we know! You had to go into the library next door and ask to go in. :)

The first xray machine in South Carolina - the curator told us the exposure time was 20-30 minutes!!

The first electronic pulp tester - ooohhh, aawwwwhhh.

Some early extraction instruments - yes, they are the same ones we use today, maybe just a bit rustier.

Missy taking a closer look - they had some early anesthesia machines on the shelf there. Notice the row of old dental chairs behind her.

Zoe and Kes do humidity about as well as I do, so Missy graciously took them home for naps while I went on the boat ride and then explored Fort Sumter.

For those of you who don't remember your US history - this was the site of the first shots of the civil war. The fort was still occupied by a Union brigade for months after SC had left the union. Finally, enough was enough and they demanded the troops leave. The officer in charge of the Union troops said he couldn't until he had orders from DC. Then Lincoln sent a ship with resupplies down to the fort - when it arrived, it was fired upon by cadets from the Citadel. The ship was private and unarmed so it turned around and went back to NY. Then the confederates gave the Union troops a day to leave or be fired upon at 3:30 am. They of course didn't leave, the confederates waited until 4:30 am and then started firing the other two forts on the mouth of the river. The officer in charge of the confederates had actually been a student of the the officer of the Union troops at West Point and was not so happy about having to give the order - at least that is what history says - I want to know if maybe he didn't get the "A" he thought he deserved all those years back. Anyway, it of course went down hill from there.
Interesting facts about the Fort - the location was chosen by the Army core of engineers back in 1820 something - they were commissioned with building forts all along the US coasts after the war of 1812. It was a sandbar 12 feet under water at low tide. They thought it would be a good idea to pile rocks for a man made island and then build the fort on top of it. Construction began in 1829 and the fort was only 90% completed when the civil war began in 1861 - see, the government has always been efficient. Anyway, the fort was massive - three stories tall with room for 135 cannon. When the fort was fired upon, only around 40 cannon were ready to be used.

The confederates remained in control for over two years and that allowed Charleston to be the only functional port for the south during the war. The only problem was the union army did get ahold of positions to the south quickly during the war and shot at it continuously for the two years. The fort was constantly being rebuilt and torn down again by cannon fire. the interesting thing is was that the majority of people on the island who had to rebuild it and get shot at was actually black slaves, not confederate soldiers. The island was so destroyed that by the end of the war, it was just earthen walls, no real brick structures left. They actually had archaeological digs on the island after WWII. Anyway, very interesting history here, sorry for the rambling. :)

Charleston from Fort Sumter

A few of the remains.