14-27 Feb 2-16; Charleston – Lexington – Birmingham…On the Move Again, Kind Of

Greetings everyone!  We have been on the road a bit the past couple of weeks, spent time with great old friends, met some great new friends, and explored some new areas of the country we have not had the opportunity to do so before.

The 14th and 15th were pretty much lazy days, got some work done and some cleaning up of the Coach after we got sprayed with salt in NC on the way down.  On the 16th, we headed into Charleston, (James Island to be exact) to visit one of the newer restored plantations…the McLeod Plantation, which is now run by the Charleston Country Park System.  Check it out here:  www.CharlestonCountyParks.com

What a great place!  We learned so much, and had a fantastic tour guide.  From their website: “Established in 1851, McLeod Plantation has borne witness to some of the most significant periods of Charleston’s – and our nations – history. Today McLeod Plantation is an important 37-acre Gullah/Geechee heritage site that has been carefully preserved in recognition of its cultural and historical significance. The grounds include a riverside outdoor pavilion, a sweeping oak allée, and the McLeod Oak, which is thought to be more than 600 years old.”
“It is a place like no other, not frozen in time but vibrant, dynamic, and constantly evolving, where the winds of change whisper through the oak trees and voices from the past speak to all who pause to listen. McLeod Plantation was built on the riches of sea island cotton – and on the backs of enslaved people whose work and culture are embedded in the Lowcountry’s very foundation. It is a living tribute to the men and women and their descendants that persevered in their efforts to achieve freedom, equality, and justice.”

The plantation was over 1,700 acres in its prime.  Here are some shots of the day:

The main house. Mr. McLeod was not one of the richest in the area at the time, but was among the local wealthy. His descendants lived here until the late 1990’s, at which time the County purchased the property. The house is in great shape, and they are doing a great job restoring the rooms and furniture to accurate period articles. Our tour guide related that they learn more and more everyday about life on the Plantation from families of relatives, slaves, and workers. The house was occupied twice during the Civil War. Once by the South and once by the North. The property was actually sold off by the government after the war, but Mr. McLeod was able to get the property back in his hands.

Slave House row. These homes were actually occupied into the 1990’s.

Terri walking back from the river side of the Plantation, where the McLeod’s shipped their island cotton.

We experienced quite a bit of rain in Charleston over the course of the time we were there.  SC has had numerous areas that have flooded this past year during their 100 year flood.  It shows in these next couple of shots of the campground, as when it rained, the water was going nowhere.

Even a day and a half after the rains, we were still in the wading pool. Our site, #18, was one of the driest in the place if you can believe it.

Going to be fun dumping the tanks in this soup!

On the 18th, we headed into Charleston, and ate at a great little sandwich shop suggested by my buddy Mike, and it was awesome!  The place is the Artisan Meat Share on Spring Street downtown.  The place is small, and very crowded at lunch time.  The booths are reserved for parties of four or more, so we sweet talked a couple of folks in line into sitting with us so we could get a booth.  Great times.

We then walked the length and breadth of the town, just taking in the scenery.

One of the backyard gardens that you can actually get a glimpse of off of King Street near the Battery.

One of the signs in one of the shops on Market Street…priceless!

After we got back to the camp ground, Mike called and wanted to know if I wanted to watch the game with him at his sports bar…sure!  The Badgers were playing!  He can’t get on base, so I took a brisk walk to the gate to meet hin, and the trail went right past the Air Park they have.  The shot is kind of grainy since it is a night shot.

They have tons of running, walking and biking paths all over the base.

On the 19th, Terri headed into James Island to spend some time with Mike’s daughter , Melissa, as I was actually working for once.  They had a blast, and Mike and I met them later for dinner.

Melissa and her pup on the beach.

And just like that, our time in Charleston was almost up.  Terri and I were headed to the Civil War reenactment in Aiken the next day, so it was time for farewells:

Gonna miss these crazy kids!

We were up bright and early on Saturday to head to Aiken, SC. The Battle of Aiken occurred on February 11, 1865 as Sherman made his way across South Carolina. The principal commanders were Union Maj. Gen. Hugh Judson Kilpatrick and Confederate Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler. Wheeler was able to score a minor victory over Kilpatrick. Today an annual re-enactment is held the final full weekend in February.  We love these things, as we are slowly learning the sad, true and joyful parts of our nations history, visiting actual places where the history was made.

There were a ton of folk in the regalia of the day. Here you see Union Soldiers in a Confederate Camp…what’s that all about?  Well, when in Dixie, you do what you have to do to portray the battle the best way you can. Depending on the number of reenactors that show up, you may have a long lineage in the South, but portray the North in the battle.

We were able to get up close and personal with the “hardware” before the battle. This is on the Union side. Most of these working pieces of history are individually owned, and brought to the reenactments and fired.  Below are some additional shots of the day.

Terri warming up with one of the “Bells”

Me sporting a Union Calvary hat…not too menacing me thinks.

Who knew they had street performers in the Civil War??

The Gent on the left was a real hoot. Terri and I talked to him for a long time at his camp. He was one of the “unfortunate southern” that had to fight for the North on this day. He was a wealth of knowledge, and a really great guy to talk to. These folks put a lot of their free time into making sure that history does not repeat itself!

Taking a break before the battle.

And just like that, we were back at the Coach and getting things buttoned up for our trip to Tony’s RV repair in Lexington on Sunday.  When we awoke, Melissa sent these awesome shots she took on our departure day of the beach on James Island:


We headed out about 10, and made it to the RV repair parking lot about 2.  There we met new great friends Ted and Joanie from Idaho, who were busy moving back into their RV having not seen it since September of last year.  An unfortunate accident led to many months of repair, but their Coach looks awesome now, and Tony’s RV repair did miraculous things.

We got pulled into the repair bay early on Monday, and we were in the area living in the Coach in the bay and in the parking lot until Friday morning.  Here is some Tech Stuff, so fair warning to those of you that just like to see pictures and stuff.  Here is what we had done/discovered:

  • Our ride height valves are still not functioning properly.  I bought two new valves when I was in Oregon, and am still assured they are the correct replacement parts.  Well, the Cummins dealer in FL could not make them work, and neither could the good folks at Tony’s.  They did adjust the system front to back, but we still have some issues to resolve with the leveling system.  Maybe we will stop at HWH (manufacturer of our leveling system) in Moscow, IA this summer.
  • Leak in the main hydraulic cylinder for the slides.  I was worried about this one…replacing this cylinder is VERY pricey.  Come to find out, it was a quick disconnect leak, and they repaired it.
  • My batteries have been weeping terribly lately, and my fridge never wants to switch to gas from AC power.  Come to find out, all these things were related.  My inverter was bad, and was sending spurious 27 VAC waves through my entire system.  A few new parts for the fridge, and a new inverter, and we are back in business…almost.  The wire that connects the inverter to the remote panel is giving me fits.  This started of course after we made the 350 mile trip to Birmingham on Friday.  I called the shop, and Chuck, the guy that installed it, trouble shot everything with me, and we have a workaround for the time being.  We are debating whether to head back and get it corrected, or just keep trucking.
  • My speedometer does not work…not all the time anyway.  Not a big deal, as I have the GPS and the silver leaf (which is located right next to the speedo) that are more accurate anyway.  Found out we would have to have sent the speedo out to a place in NC which would have delayed our departure by at least three days (and cost more).
  • Oil Dip Stick tube leak.  Not leaking anymore…tape job working just fine.
  • My dash AC was not working any longer, as there was a leak at the expansion valve.  Everyone else I’ve talked with said I’d have to replace the whole system, as they no longer make the expansion valve, but Tony’s RV folks were able to put a new connector on with no issues.

There were a few other issues we had looked at, but these guys are backed up, and we were overextending our stay.  They were great…like family almost.  We highly recommend checking them out if you need repairs on the east coast.  We will definitely be back again!  We were able to stay in the Coach the whole time, and got to experience a lot of the local flavor of the area.  Great food, great new friends, great experience overall.

Valve on the left is supposed to replace the valve on the right…I don’t think so Tim. Bolts and brackets just don’t line up.

At an awesome all you can eat BBQ place nearby. Took this shot of Terri, as this is where you come into the place…what a great idea. You get to wash your hands before you head into the grazing room!

Took this shot of my speedo so I knew what the mileage was in case they cleared it.

Ted and Joanie headed out on Thursday morning, and we headed out on Friday morning.  We had a great trip to Birmingham, and are now at the Oak Mountain State Park.  Nice place.  Sites are not real level, and kind of tight, but the price is right and the hiking, biking and scenery are awesome.

After our long hike over hill and dale, we went into Birmingham and had a beer and a snack at a great little place in the heart of the city.  Who doesn’t like sauerkraut balls and beer deviled eggs??

I’ve had deviled eggs all my life, but this was a first with sauerkraut balls. They were awesome!

That’s all for now folks.  We have no idea where we are headed next…maybe back to SC to correct the data line in the inverter, or pressing on  toward TX.  We will see.  One thing we do know, is we will definitely be doing some more hiking and exploring around here tomorrow.

As always, we hope this finds you Happy, Healthy and Living Your Dreams!!!!


2 thoughts on “14-27 Feb 2-16; Charleston – Lexington – Birmingham…On the Move Again, Kind Of

  1. I need to get with you on Charleston. We’re planning a trip there here shortly. We’ll pick your brains for the usual suspects, et al resort, restaurants and sites.



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