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Wednesday, June 27, 2018


   Roadside sign, New Smyrna Beach

   We began our cross-country trip by visiting  Pierre, a college buddy living in New Smyrna Beach. 
  Walking to the water, we encountered these excited young shark fishermen. They returned this black tip to the sea. Their dad taught them that we need to protect sharks.
   Pierre, a retired photographer, told us a he was recently approached by a young woman while swimming.  At one point she said, "I like talking you, especially since you're standing in deeper water, keeping between me and the sharks".  New Smyrna is our country's shark bite capital. It has something to do with the great surfing, schools of fish and murky water. There is no evidence that the people who swim there taste better. 
Where It All Began

    Visiting my niece and her family on Charleston Bay, Pi and I saw witnessed this beautiful sight with a somber history.  

   Just above our little dog is Fort Sumter. When the South Carolina soldiers hurled cannon fire at it from Sullivan's Island (to the left) in 1861, the Civil War began.
    Fort Moultrie is on the island's Atlantic's side.  After we captured the remarkable Native American chief, Osceola, (under a flag of truce) he was imprisoned there until his death.
    To the left of the island is the inlet where  the Confederate Navy launched the H.L. Hunley, its fledgling submarine, in 1863.  Using hand cranks to propel it, the Hunley headed out to sea, hit some waves and sank drowning all on board.  The H.L. Hunley 

    The following week it was raised and another small group of seamen volunteered to give it a try.
They fared no better and met the same fate.  Strong sailors lifted the death machine off the sea bed once more so a third group could give it a shot. These guys actually made it out to a shipping land where their torpedo sank a Union ship, and, themselves!  Eight more met their maker in this iron casket. 
    Too deep to locate or recover, the Hunley remained two miles offshore until it was raised in 1995.  The captain's uniform still had a dented silver dollar in its breast pocket, the one that had once stopped a bullet in battle.
    The rusting, 40-foot death trap was restored and is now a popular Charleston attraction. 


 On a happier note we headed north the next day through the "low country". 

      On Pawley's Island, we chatted with master craftsman Marvin Hunt as he turned 200 feet of cotton rope into a magnificent hammock. 

   An hour later we arrived at the Terry Reunion on the North Carolina shore. Forty of us will be singing "Getting To Know You" for the next week. We've been introduced to the Terry babies born since our last bi-annual event.
I forgot how much they  poop  and cry.  
  Sister Linda with Rylan and Ben
   They could be crying because the World Cup soccer games are playing on the huge living room TV at our beach house  constantly.  
    There is a humongous ocean and pristine beach just outside but many choose to watch a game in which it is impossible for anyone to make points. I swear, the score is zero-zero every time I pass the transfixed Cup junkies (Why isn't the "goalie cage" twice as wide?).

   They think I'm kidding when I suggest that players should get a point every time they kick the ball or fake an injury.  I get no better reaction to my suggestions that we switch to Canadian football. At least their scores feature more than zeros.

     It's hot here but I step outside occasionally.   Ocean Isle Beach looks like a Coconut Grove developer's dream. The local builders cut down all the trees so they could pack this place with people in huge, beach-box houses.  
    Still, it's nice to have my siblings for roommates again. What a pleasure it visiting friends -and family- on the road. 

What a difference 30 years make.
Our Bi-Annual Beach Gathering in
1986 and 2016

Thursday, June 21, 2018


   They say the longest journey begins with the first step but what if you're driving?  Today we hopped in our camper van and headed north on our latest 10,000 mile Tour of America.  

    After I passed my neighbor's house I thought, "We just drove one hundredth of a mile. We only have to do this a million more times and we'll be home again".
    I was wrong, we had forgotten to latch the front gate. I pulled a U'y, latched that sucker, and departed once more. Francesca, our dog "Pi", and I are now rollin' up I-95.       
    Tomorrow we'll be in Charleston. On Saturday we'll join forty others at the Terry reunion on the sweltering North Carolina coast. 4000 miles of zig-zags later will put us in the Canadian Rockies. We hear they still have snow!
    That's the plan. We wish you the best on your summer adventures.
For detailed plans on how YOU can make your own camper van, check out the next entry.