Week 1.5: Charleston, SC

Day 6:  Friday, August 2nd

As I made my way out of Fayetteville, NC, I drove the 3.5 hours to Charleston, SC to see my old friend Heath.  I got in town a bit late, so he was already out at dinner, but left me a key to get in.  After a quick shower I yelped out a mexican restaurant for some cheap eats.  Fifteen dollars gets you a lot in mexican restaurants!

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Afterwards, I hit up a local live music venue, The Pour House, which I dubbed the Jazz Cafe of the South (after an infamous local bar in Wilkes- Barre, PA).  They had an eclectic live music set on, with Colonel Bruce Hampton and The Pharoah Gummitt playing.

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They drew a good crowd, and I met a bunch of interesting people there that night.  One in particular though was more creepy than interesting, and decided to follow me around for a while.  I’m more used to getting creeped on by girls than guys, so this was new.  I had to split.

I headed down the the infamous King St., and met a bunch of people before calling it a night.

Day 7: Saturday, August 3rd

The next morning I woke up early and took a drive out to Angel Oak Park, where a 500 year old Live Oak tree survives.  I took some pictures and marveled at the grandeur of this ancient being before me.

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Click to see the full resolution album

When I got  back to Heath’s, we got ready to go out on the boat for the day.  We met up with Heath’s friend Skipper, a guy who I’ve had some good times with on previous visits.  He got his boat on the water and took a group of us out where I had my first wake boarding adventure!

Heath got out first and showed me how it was done.

Then I strapped on the board and gave it a shot.

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It took a minute to get the feel of it.  On the first try, I couldn’t even stand up, but after I felt it once, I got up the second time.

I got a few more runs in and really started to get the hang of it.

We traded off for a while with everyone else on the boat.  At one point I started to get comfortable getting some air.  I thought I was real bad ass!!  Until I went down so hard that I got rocked enough that my head hurt.

We put the wakeboard away and headed to one of the less populated islands close by.  The air was warm and the beers were cold, and I was smiling from ear to ear.  It seemed like we were the only ones on the water.

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We got to the beach with the music blasting, then dropped anchor.

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Of course the trip wouldn’t have been complete with out the obligatory pics with my homeboys!

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Time for me to catch up on my tan!

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You can just tell we are the shit!

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Although it seemed like paradise, after a while we released the anchor and headed back.  Karaoke was calling!

But first, we went to a place called Castaways to eat dinner.  We were joined by Skipper and his wife Kristin, Pam, her dad Freight Train Wayne, and Angelina.  Heath wouldn’t shut up about his meatloaf craving; you would have thought the kid had a disease that could only be cured by meatloaf.  Although he was advised against Castaways’ meatloaf, he dove headfirst into meatloaf heaven.

Until it arrived.  It even looked funky.  Sorry dude.

While at dinner I learned about Pam who before moving to Charleston, took a road trip up the east coast.  She was so in love with Charleston that two weeks after it ended, she moved there.  Inspiring!

We made our way over to Island Bar and Grill, where the karaoke was just heating up.  It was my first time there, so they had no idea what they were in for.  Immediately, I signed up to do Bon Jovi’s “Living On A Prayer”, and Kristin signed up to do a song as well.

After a couple of other performers came up – some you might think just came from American Idol (the rejected line up) – it was my turn to shine (or at least join the alley cats).

Bon Jovi came on thumping, and immediately I was off timing – that’s what you get when you sing a song that you don’t even know the words that well.  But when the chorus came around, I gave a big bellow.

“WHOOOOOAAA!!! We’re half way theeeeere!!!

WHOOAAAHOOOAAAAAAA!!!  WOMEN’S UNDERWEAR!!!!”

The crowd seemed to enjoy it 🙂  By the end, my voice couldn’t keep up with the Jov, but I got some nice crowd support anyway.

Kristin and I had a few more songs up our sleeves.  I guess we were the only ones in our group shameless enough to do it.  Although, with her voice, she didn’t need to be shameless.  We ended up doing a duet for “Shoop” which was really quite splendid if I do say so myself.  We even got some back up dancers when Pam and Nicole jumped up on stage with us.

After singing several songs, impulsively jumping on stage while a group of girls were singing “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” (only to get kicked off stage by one of them – literally, with her foot), and just having a blast with friends, it seemed like we were there forever.  But even forever has to end some time.  So we called it a night.

Day 8: Sunday, August 4th

The next morning, a few of us went for breakfast, then Heath headed off to the beach while I went in my own direction.  I had my sights set on skydiving that afternoon, but not before getting some more photographs.

One thing about Charleston that struck me from the very first time I got there is the beautiful, lush growth of trees that seems to envelop the roadways.  It’s almost like you’re driving through a cave made of Live Oaks with Spanish Moss hanging down like tinsel from a Christmas tree.  The scenery is so magnificent, I wonder how much goes unnoticed or unappreciated by the locals.

IMGP2539Perhaps the best example of these beautiful specimens, although not technically on a roadway, was at Dixie Plantation, conveniently located between Charleston and Skydive Walterboro (my next destination).

IMGP2543On the dirt road in, the trees surround you.  I was told that this road is known to be one of the most haunted roads in Charleston.

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Click the picture for the high resolution album!

The arching branches curved above me slower than a southern drawl, like something that architects only wish they could replicate.  I was truly astounded by the beauty found nestled in this hidden little backwoods driveway.

Although I wish I could have stayed and worked on my camera technique, the blue skies were calling my name – so off to Walterboro it was!  I put Charleston in my rear view mirror, feeling extremely grateful for the hospitality of Heath, Skipper, and the rest of the people I got to see and meet in Charleston.  It won’t be forgotten.

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