Friday, May 22, 2015

USS North Carolina

Zebulon, NC

Dave and I just returned from a round trip to Florida (more on that later).   Along the way, we took the 5 hour grand tour of the Battleship North Carolina in Wilmington.   I toured the ship 10 years ago by myself, but is was much more fun to share it with Dave.  Someday, I expect that Dave can share it with his son Bobby.  Bobby is currently a sailor in the USN.

The North Carolina is by far the best of the warship museums I've seen around the country.  They allow you to see almost all of the spaces above and below deck.   Dave and I both marveled at the amazing number of details designed into the ship to make it operate, even under battle conditions.  The 1930s engineering was very impressive.

Below is another youtube video I made of our tour.  Watch it; you'll like it.  You'll be especially impressed if you have never been close to 16 inch gun munitions.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Woke Up In A Cold Sweat

Zebulon, NC

I'm sure this has happened to you.  I woke up suddenly in a cold sweat.  Somehow when I was sleeping, I thought of a real life thing.  I remembered that when Libby and I stepped off Tarwathie and drove away, I forgot to move and secure the solar panels in a place secure in case of a hurricane (or even a severe thunderstorm for that matter.)   Damn.  That's a serious error.

What to do?  I could call the boatyard and ask them to do it.  I could call our friends Chris and June and ask them to do it.  But I need it done in a particular way.  I need the panels plugged in and operating (we leave the refrigeration running all summer or else the collant leaks away.)   I also need the panels located out of the direct force of the wind, and very securly tied against winds up to 100 mph.

So here is the plan.  Dave has Wednesday and Thursday off from work.  he and I will drive down to Green Cove Springs and take care of it.  We'll also have fun travelling together.  Hopefully, we could manage to get in a side trip to the battleship North Carolina.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Brookgreen Gardens

Zebulon, NC

In Myrtle Beach, our friends Bo and Joyce took us to a nearby place called Brookgreen Gardens.  It was delightful.  It was created from rice plantations that bordered along the Wacamaw River.  But it was turned into a massive botanical garden and sculpture garden.

What fun it was to roam those grounds because hidden everywhere are these marvelous sculptures.   Libby and I are sure that this is a place that Jennifer would really love to visit.

It is also a place that we have passed by on Tarwathie many times. The upper portions of the Wacamaw River pass through cypress swamps.  We have written about them many times.  They are second only to the upper Pasquotank River for beauty.  But alas, there is no public access to the Brookgreen Gardens from the river.

I made a little video of my photos from that day.  Enjoy.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Too Busy To Blog

Carolina Beach State Park, Carolina Beach, NC
34 03.03 N 077 55.14 W

I must apologize, it has been much longer than usual since my previous blog post.   We have been too busy to post.  Here's a summary of what we did.

  • We spent two days at Gold Head Beach State Park in central Florida, and we really liked it.  That's a lovely spot.
  • We drove north, avoiding all major highways, through Florida and Georgia.  The bad part about that is that we missed a stop in Fernandina Beach and a chance to visit our friends Charley and Mary.  That's unfortunate.  Next fall hopefully, Charley.
  • We found that all campsites along the coast to be probitively expensive ($50/night for a tent).  We also found that most inland sites in GA, have converted to 100% RVs with concrete pads and electric shore power.   We finally found Magnolia S;rk gs State park which had 4 of 40 sites reserved for tents.
  • We visited cruising friends Penny & Richard from Viking Rose, in Port Royal.  They are now CLODS, and they moved in only 2 months ago   Their new home and the location are wonderful.  Thank you Penny & Richard.
  • We spend the night with other cruising friends, Brian and Jan from Wind Chaser.  They too had moved into the Beaufort, SC area two months ago.   Their house and location too are wonderful. The took us to neaby Wishing Island for a walk on the driftwood beach.  It was great fun.  Thank you Brian and Jan.
  • The next day we drove to Myrtle Beach to spend two nights with still other cruising friends, Bo and Joyce, on Dream Catcher.  They took us to Brookgreen gardens (more on that later)   Thank you Bo and Joyce.
  • Today, we are on our own at Carilina Beach State Park which is one of Libby's favorite places because it has the best pine needles anyplace.  Alas, ALARM ALL BLOG READERS, the park staff has systematically destroyed all the dwarf pine trees with the best needles.  To me it looks like a program to keep controled burn fires awary from the roads.   Outside the park, on the far side of the bike path, there is still a stand of those luscious trees; just not nearly as many as before.
  • Tomorrow, we will be with Dave and Cathy in Zebulon.  We'll stay there a couple of weeks.
Whew, we have quite a chain of friends to visit (and sponge off of) between here and Marathon.   Few such however from here north to NY.

I'll post pictures soon.


Saturday, May 09, 2015

Camping Shakedown

Gold Head Branch State Park, Keystone Heights, Florida

Before cruising in a new boat or a new plane, it is customary and prudent to go on a shakedown cruise to discover the bugs. That's what we're doing here. We left Tarwathie yesterday and drove only 30 minutes to this site.

The first bug we found was a big one. Since 2012, we have been carrying the tent from our 2012 western trip on the boat. We have used it in that time. Yesterday, we discovered that we don't have the fiberglass rods that hold the tent up. They are in Dave's garage in NC. Oh well, I had to drive an hour to a Wal-Mart to buy a whole new tent.

But it would be very wrong to call this camping a work day. It is wonderful here. We especially loved the song bird seranade in the dawn hours. Bird songs are one of the things we miss most on the boat.

More: I just returned from a swim in the lake. The water in this lake is shallow, and the lake appears to be shrunk to 1/4 normal size. But the swim was delicious and the waters were cool, sweet and crystal clear. It brought back a childhood memory of the glass bottom boat at Silver Springs, which is not far from here. This afternoon when it is hot, I'll take another swim.

A feature of this state park seems to be tha 100 foot deep ravine. To someone who just returned from Utah, a 100 foot ravine sounds laughable. But then I thought, "This is Florida." In most places in Florida you can not have a 100 foot ravine unless the bottom is 96 feet below sea level. Come to think of it, on the drive here, the road had some up/down slopes that Floridians could call "hills." Yep, to a local this place is exotic and special. That's fine by us.

We are trying to meet other people, but is it more difficult than in a harbor. There is only one other tent in this park, and the tent's people are nowhere in sight. Everyone else is camping in RVs. During the hot daytime hours, they go inside their RVs, close the door, turn on the air condiitoner and TV, and can't be seen. The RVers who don't do that, take their vehicles and disappear until dinner time. It's lonely here for Libby and me.

p.s. I'm going for another swim this afternoon.