I got an early start to a day that included mostly travel and maintenance. I knew I wouldn’t make it all the way to Bluffton without having to get my oil changed within the 5,000 mile requirement to keep my warranty, so I planned a stop in Charleston. I found a state park on the way, so the dogs could have some play time as I presumed they’d be cooped up much of the day.
We stopped at Hampton Plantation State Park, a South Carolina historic site where rice was once grown. I didn’t go to see the plantation as the goal was to let the dogs run around and to find a South Carolina cache which I failed to do on the scenic drive in the western part of the state. Finding the cache wasn’t easy as my GPS couldn’t get a satellite signal and my phone was on an extended network that kept showing a cell tower in Africa, 5,000 miles away on the map yet another screen that doesn’t update unless it is refreshed claimed I was within 100 feet of the cache. I used the hint to get me to the ammo can. Nearby the walking trail, stood the remains of a former slave’s home. He and his wife remained on the property long after rice was no longer profitable.
After our walk through the surrounding forest, we stopped at the Firestone in Charleston for an oil change and two new tires. This took most the afternoon, but I was able to salvage enough time to dine at 82 Queen. For those of you who have ever been to my Super Bowl Party the grits come from this restaurant. I’m not much of a grit lover, but the grits here are fantastic. They are the only grits I will eat, and I would have never known of them if it weren’t for my Aunt Jennifer who had purchased a few cans and made them at home for a birthday party! It was fun to order the grits and experience the restaurant for the first time (though I don’t think the waiter was too enthused about my $2.50 check) Before leaving Charleston, the dogs and I took a walk along the Charleston Harbor and watched the sunset.
I arrived at the Bowling Alley in Beaufort, SC around 6:30 just before my uncle and cousins finished their Sunday league. Josh, my cousin Catherine’s husband bowled a 300! I haven’t seen my cousins in over 10 years and my uncle in over 20 years. We had great fun catching up over wings and beer at Catherine’s house in Bluffton, SC. Catherine, the youngest of my cousins (31) sells memberships to the Hilton Head Country Club and Josh is in sales at an air conditioning company. They have three kids, Kristen, Justin, and Ryan and a cat that successfully dodged the dogs for the evening.
Mary Ellen recently moved from New York to South Carolina. In less than two months of being in the area, she already has a boyfriend, J.C. Mary Ellen is currently volunteering at Justin’s school in after school reading, and plans on beginning a part time teaching job next week. J.C. also works at an air conditioning company, and met J.C. through her brother-in-law.
Marjorie is a single mother of four, Ashley, Carli, Faith, and Matthew. She has her hands busy!! Marjorie is an advertisement representative for the newspaper during the day and is a floor manager at a restaurant at night. In addition, she recently self-published a novel, The Other Side of Midnight. Marjorie was inspired to write the book when her daughter Ashley, who enjoyed reading vampire books in the hospital while fighting Leukemia, asked her mom to write a story making Ashley immortal. Ashley is a vampire in the book, but more importantly, the Leukemia has been in remission the last three years!
My uncle Roy is retired from the rail road. He spends his time bowling and taking care of his granddaughter Ryan. It was just so fun to see them all. If only my cousin Roy lived in the states and I could have seen him too. He’s currently living in Ukraine and coming home for Christmas. Too bad I missed him. We decided we should not go another ten years without seeing one another and that we need to have cousins reunion, Just Cuz!
Before I sign off for the evening, I forgot to mention something exciting that happened yesterday. As I was traveling on Saturday, a number flashed on my cell phone that I didn’t recognize. I normally don’t answer calls from a “non-contact”, but I’ve exchanged numbers with a handful of people recently that haven’t made it in my address book, so I took the call. Neal was on the other line. He was in Indiana with his parents for the holiday and took them geocaching for the first time. He found my card which simply includes my name, number, and blog in the cache and called me! He wanted to know if I was still in Indiana. How cool is that?!? It kind of reminds of spring break in college, when our sailing class bare-boated a 45 foot yacht around the British Virgin Islands for a week and tossed a message in a bottle overboard only to be contacted three months later by a man who flew weather balloon in the Bahamas!