Monday, July 27, 2009

Charleston Chew, part deux, and adieu

I’m sure it’s 
a Wizard of Oz analogy – I finally found my Charleston Chew candy bars – right at the Charleston KOA campsite!!! I did really love it there – the lake, the fish in the lake, the rainbow over the lake, and the friendly people at the campground. The town of Charleston is beautiful. Spent a day while I was there walking around the historic neighborhoods and went on a tour of a house built before the revolution – and it had artifacts inside from that time. Amazing. And considering that there was no air conditioning or electricity, they did a great job designing houses to allow air flow and natural light. Beautiful. Despite the crowded tourists, it wasn’t hard to find quiet alleys and streets that showed whispers of a time long ago.

I have learned so much from David Kiser. He took time to show and tell all about how he designed and built out his studio. I spent hours asking him questions, and he was not only patient, he answered questions I didn’t even know to ask!! Again, I’m certain I will have a much better studio as a result of this visit. Big thanks to David for showing me his beautiful place.

Also got to see some friends from training - Rachhpal and Mani. Mani is teaching at David’s studio, and Raj is a regular. He’s not teaching at the moment, he travels too much for work to make a schedule. I love this strong community of people all over the world!! And they are cool and interesting to talk with – I’m so lucky!!!

So after a week of Charleston, it was time to go. Headed south on highway 17 to Wilmington, NC. Went past a lot of beach towns. Didn’t get to see the ocean, in fact, I didn’t see much of anything –The scrub pines get so thick when given the chance to grow unencumbered. And on a part of this stretch, there was a very distinct indication of leaving a town (no more houses) and entering a town (start of houses) and in between a whole lot of nothin’! As someone who hasn’t spent a lot of time in the south, I’m intrigued the by number of houses I’ve passed with black women sitting on their front porch with five or six kids on her lap or around her. 
It literally looks like something out of a history book. It makes me feel good to see that kind of family love. Frankly, though, I don’t know how they do it – it’s so hot, there’s no way I’d let some sweaty and sticky kid sit on my lap.

Crossed into North Carolina – That’s the 11th state since the start of the journey. Just as I paid for my 2 nights at the Wilmington KOA and started to set up, a mother of a storm came up and absolutely POURED. I’m still fascinated by these summer storms. Quick, intense, and it releases the pressure of the hot air – just a little. When I pulled into the site, there was no water anywhere, but afterward….well….just take a look.

The next day I toured the U.S.S. North Carolina.
My dad served on that battleship in WWII. It was a self guided tour, but there was plenty of information provided and they allowed access to almost every corner of the ship. I especially liked how they would provide information on the specifics of the thing (a weapon, the ice cream machine, the mail room) and then a story from a sailor about his experience with that thing. We went on a tour of the ship when I was about 7 – that would be 40 years ago – I got a little teary thinking of my dad, but then was happy that he survived the war and got to feel a little closer to him as a result of having been there. I was also glad to get out – after nearly four hours I had to get off the ship, couldn’t imagine being on it for 4 years. In the older photo, my dad is on the right.  The picture of the machine below it was used to calculate the trajectory of the missiles that fired off of the ship.  
My dad started off working one of the smaller guns on the deck and eventually got promoted below deck to work one of those machines.  

I was surprised at the rather large people on the very lower decks – as I 
watched a very rotund man trying to haul himself up the ladders, I thought that he might be in some serious trouble if he had a heart attack – they’d have a big challenge getting that guy up out of the ship!!
I went to Wilmington expecting to fall in love with the place. I figured it would be a lot like Charleston with historic homes and lovely tree lined streets. It wasn’t exactly like that, but similar enough. Even so, although I liked the place, I did not fall in love with it. Can’t exactly say why, it just didn’t grab me like other towns have.

I like Asheville. Haven’t even been in the town yet, but I love these blue ridge mountains. Haven’t seen mountains since I left Arizona, so this is a welcome change. It’s cooler up here too. Had another gusher rain on the drive here, and Higbee’s side of the camper is all wet. I have to get some sealant and repair the seams of the camper top. Am definitely looking forward to the adventures of Asheville.

A note on RVers. It is surprising to me to see the people who are driving these enormous beasts. Over and over again, I encounter old men with hearing aids and canes driving semi-sized RVs and towing cars behind that. Watching them climb into their rigs makes me wonder if they’ll survive the ascent. How they are able to drive those things is beyond my understanding. So while you’re driving out there, seriously, give them lots of room. Chances are they can’t see you – their cateracs prevent it!!

Sending love to all.


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