Going down south (towards Savannah)
We woke up at the Cheap and Crappy Motel (or The Red Carpet Motel) in Gold Rock on Tuesday May 1st, got up and hurried out before the daylight made us notice (more) unpleasantries in our room. We got on the I-95, and stayed on it through most of North Carolina - and didn’t see much other then endless rows of trees along the freeway. We stopped an hour or so down the road to grab some breakfast and fill up on cold beverages, and the temperature was 103F (39,44C)! So we just hurried back to the air conditioned Volvo (which we’re actually rather satisfied with) and kept on driving.
It’s getting hot in here! 103 degrees Fahrenheit!
As we passed the South Carolina border, we started to get bored by the trees. We spotted a scenic route on the map, and decided to get off of the freeway and down towards the coast. Well, the area was probably beautiful, but we didn’t see much of it. We got onto a highway, taking us towards tacky Myrtle Beach, and this one was lined with trees as well. The sights (mostly plantations) were located a few miles off of the road and cost a fortune to visit. Our Rough Guide stated that most of them had tour guides overplaying their Southern Belle act, going on and on about dinner plates and furniture. So we skipped it, and kept driving south. We did get to see some houses (and lots of trailer homes) along the way, so it was in fact a step up from the tree alley interstate. Oh, and we passed a place called Selma. That was odd…
Now open: Selma Inn. Oh, really?
Then we arrived in Charleston, one of the earliest European settlements in the US. This is actually where the Civil war started - with the first shots going off at Fort Sumter, just outside the Charleston harbor.
We parked the car at the Battery, close to the harbor, and went for a walk in the neighborhood. The (old) town was really, really beautiful - probably the most beautiful town we’ve visited thus far. The weather was fantastic; sunny and warm (90F+/33C) with a nice breeze from the Atlantic ocean. Selma was eagerly, but unsuccessfully, trying to get in touch with her GF, and had yet another episode of desperately needing a restroom - without finding one. Thus, her concentration wasn’t fully focused on the gorgeous houses and gardens we walked past. Louis, who pees once a day, was more able to take in the beauty of it all, and got a bunch of photos.
The Battery, Charleston
It was a little past five as we finished our walk, and we figured we’d get some dinner before leaving town. We’d passed a place called “The Noisy Oyster” driving into town, and it seemed to be a nice place - so we went back, parked nearby and walked in. The restaurant had a Caribbean touch, and served mostly seafood. Selma is allergic to some seafood, and picky about everything else, but found a chicken dish on the menu that she settled for. Louis had a chicken and shrimp fajita dinner, and we ate happily under a giant wooden merlin that somehow was meant as a tribute to a merlin Hemingway caught at Key West. Suited us well, as our (quasi) final destination will be just Key West.
Louis at the Noisy Oyster in Charleston
After eating (and peeing), we went back to the car and back on the road. Our next and final destination for the day was Savannah, just across the Georgia border.
We reached Savannah just a little after 9pm, and started looking for å place to stay. The fact that we’d been without an internet connection for several days had stopped us from making reservations in advance. For our traveling distances, where we drive as far as we get and stop by a generic motel along the road (and, usually in the middle of nowhere), we’re able to find beds for a reasonable price - but as we get into towns and cities of a certain size, rooms are more scarce and the rates are a lot higher. This was the case in Savannah as well. The first couple of hotels we checked were filled up for the night. Finally, we parked the car and set out to walk from hotel to hotel until we found something vacant.
We walked into the East Bay Inn, and were met by a courteous lady behind the front desk. Unfortunately, they had no available rooms either. But this was our first taste of the Southern Hospitality! Julie called around to several other hotels, asking if they were vacant and if they could offer us a great walk-in rate. She got us a room at the Inn at Ellis Square, just a few blocks down the street - for $109 per night (a bit over our budget, but after spending $30 for a crappy motel last night, we felt we’d deserved it). But not only that, she also gave us a bunch of brochures and pamphlets of sights and tours in Savannah - and pointed out the best of them. We had a nice and long chat with her, and she really gave us a warm welcome to Savannah. A Southern Belle! (So - thanks, Julie!)
Julie at the East Bay Inn - with Brad
We drove down to the hotel, checked in and carried our bags up to the room on the fifth floor. It was getting late, but we decided to take a stroll down to the waterfront, just to get a long day of driving out of our system.
Down by the water, we passed a few steamboats, a cruise boat - and a sailboat with a (small) Norwegian flag hanging from the mast. We tried talking louder - and even hummed the Norwegian anthem - in case there were Norwegians inside, but if there were - they didn’t want to meet any fellow countrymen.
Selma and Louis down by the waterfront
We ended up at a bar called the Warehouse - where we had a few beers and cokes. We were approached by a young fellah who said Louis was the spitting image of a guy who had just gotten a record deal in Nashville. We added that to the list of people he’s been said to resemble. It was a warm summer night and well into the 80s outside, and a bit too cold inside. And Savannah is one of the few cities in the US where you’re allowed to walk outside with your beer. But it was also one of the first places we’ve visited where you can still smoke inside a bar. So there were reasons to stay inside and reasons to go back out to the waterfront, but after a while we decided to celebrate summer - and finished our drinks outside before heading back to the hotel.
(We’ll upload and add pictures as soon as we get them all sorted right on our internal and two external disks! Sorry for the delay - again!)