Day 1, October 11, 2003: Savannah, GA to Charleston, SC

Not an auspicious start to the trip — I awoke to find that it had rained most of the night and that it had barely diminished. Never fear. The top of the Miata was still watertight after twelve years despite the fading color. On the bright side, at least the cost of traveling might be kept in check since the local fuel price was $1.29 which was a full $0.20 less that I had been paying in Knoxville.

I decided to make a few miles up the road before having breakfast but soon discovered that to be a mistake since eating places essentially vanished just north of the motel. Soon hunger overcame good taste and I stopped at a McDonalds. The neighborhood was pretty grim, the very poorest portion of Savannah I'd guess. At least the stop halted the stomach grumbles. And the rain seemed to be slacking off a bit more so it appeared there was hope for the day.

First touristing stop for the day was Fort Pulaski — one of the numerous coastal forts constructed by the government in the first half of the nineteenth century. This one was notable in that it has a real live moat around it. And the moat often had alligators in it if the rangers are to be believed. The alligators are supposed to make their way up a gated canal from the river which is used to maintain the water level in the moat. Alligators or not it was obvious that something was spooking the small fish in the moat which were often to be seen leaping from the water in rapid hops clearly fleeing something. One hideous thing was to be seen: some sort of club of Chevy Avalanche owners was meeting in the parking lot. To paraphrase Douglas Adams "Uglier things have been reported but not by reliable observers". Why anyone would own a vehicle that is both ugly and wasteful is beyond me.

Further up the road and finally into South Carolina. Stopped for a few minutes at Pinckney Island Wildlife Refuge to eat a sandwich that I had picked up in Hilton Head. That locale proved to be a total waste of time since it was all locked up in private (and rather hostile) ownership and it wasn't possible to see anything beyond expensive homes, or at least the gates across driveways presumably leading to expensive homes. Certainly not a single view of the water to be had. Come to think of it, I haven't had a real view of the Atlantic Ocean since starting out. Rivers, estuaries, bogs, swamps, and similar things but no discernable ocean . Oh well. At least the weather cleared up enough to allow me to put down the top.

Had a terrible time finding an affordable room in Charleston and I almost thought I'd have to keep driving up the coast. It finally sunk in that this was a resort area and they were for some unfathomable reason committed to charging weekend tourist rates though there were no tourists (beyond me anyway) to be seen. Maybe that situation will get better after the weekend. Let's hope so anyway.

Just one picture today. This shows the complex brick construction used at the fort which allows it to remain stable right up to the present on sandy wet soil. Notice that the arches are symmetrical and extend below what would normally be the floor level revealing something which looks a bit like an aircraft fuselage.

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