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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Might Need The “Bird Lady’s” Help

One nice thing about staying here on the Charleston AFB is the abundance of wooded areas.  The base itself is huge, but the outlying areas dwarf all the buildings and runways and become a nature preserve.

There are pine trees and Spanish Moss covered live oaks all around.  A wonderful protected habitat for animals and birds galore.

Walking and riding our bikes around the base, we’ve found some different kind of “birds”, too.  Thankfully, for me, they’ve stayed still enough so I could actually snap a few good pictures of them.

For instance, there is this beautiful “Connie”. 


It’s a Lockheed Constellation, which went into production right around the end of World War II and became a favorite of the airlines until the jet age made them obsolete.  The Connie had a very distinctive triple tail.

Then there is the C-141 Starlifter.  A Jet transport plane that served the Air Force in more recent times.


This one had me baffled for a little while. I’d never seen this “bird” before.  I scratched my head over it’s identity.  My Bird guide book was no help.


It had a huge door under the cockpit that opened down to load passengers and cargo.  It is so big it could probably take all of Rick's yard clippings to the dump in one fell swoop.

After carefully walking around the bird as to not scare it off, I found this plaque telling me what its name is.  It’s a new life bird for me.


The prize of all these birds on display is this one:


A World War II Douglas C-47.  It’s nickname is the “Gooney Bird” and was a real workhorse.  Thousands were built during the war (on this 1930’s design) and there are still many of them flying today around the world.

This one, however is a special piece of history.  It has been lovingly restored to it’s wartime era paintjob.  It has  D-Day Invasions stripes painted on its wings and fuselage, bright markings put on all Allied aircraft for the D-Day Invasion for quick identification.


It has on its side markings showing it participated in two combat parachute drops of troops.


Walking around the plane, there were very obvious signs of battle damage.  All around the bottom were metal patches where bullets and flak shrapnel had punctured the plane during combat flights and were repaired.



There are a large number of birds here that are making daily flights.  It’s neat to see them take off and land.  These planes can carry an M1 Abrams army tank.  Amazing lift capability.  I couldn’t get too close to walk around so I had to capture this bird from a distance.  A C-17 Globemaster.


I guess I’m getting pretty good at bird identification.  Judy, The Bird Lady would be proud of me.  :c)



Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sometimes Washing Your RV Pays Off

Yes, I like a clean machine.  It goes back to my Coast Guard days where we kept everything as clean and neat as possible which often times prevented breakdowns from happening.  By cleaning over and under all the machinery, you’d sometimes spot that little leak or that loose nut that enabled you to get it fixed before it failed.  There aren’t too many parts stores 100 miles at sea.

Plus, it just looks good to have a sparkling clean RV.  Here at the Charleston AFB campground you can wash your rig for a $10 fee.  That helps defray the cost of the water used. 

Only ten bucks?  I jumped at the chance, forked over the dough and set out to wash the Journey and the Element toad.  I had a lovely day, 80 degrees (F) with little humidity.  I delved into my bucket of suds and was actually whistling while I worked.

Around back, I started washing the exhaust tailpipe and thought it seemed a little loose.  I figured when I was done and all the water dried up off the cement pad we’re parked on, I’d crawl underneath and take a look to see if everything was okay.


It wasn’t.  I found the clamp that holds the muffler to the engine exhaust pipe had bit the bullet.

A quick look on the Internet yielded the address of a nearby Freightliner truck dealer, so off we went.  They had a new clamp in stock.  (That’s the new clamp on the left for my less mechanically inclined readers).  ;c)


Looking up at the muffler and exhaust pipe connection, you can see where the clamp went and from the dark coloration on the right side of the inner (male) pipe, it was leaking some exhaust.


On with the new clamp, tightened up the bolts and we’re back in business.


But hey, while I was underneath the Journey, I multi-tasked and greased the drive shaft slip joint and two universal joints.  Keeping those parts lubed a couple of times a year prevents an expensive repair and tow.



Friends of ours recently had a driveshaft failure on their motorhome.  Not only did the shaft break and damage both universal joints, but when the driveshaft whipped around before they were able to bring the motorhome to a stop, it hit the transmission pan and cracked it.  Ouch! 

So maybe I grease those parts more than necessary, but grease is cheap, parts are expensive and my peace of mind is priceless.  :c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.


Monday, August 26, 2013

More Charleston, SC

Along with being a breathtakingly beautiful city, Charleston is dripping with history.

The streets are lined with beautiful trees and shrubbery.



Along the streets are sites of American history, like this building that held three of the signers of the Declaration of Independence prisoner during the Revolutionary War, after they had been captured by the British.  They were held in cells in the basement.


This street is the last surviving street that was paved with ballast stones from British ships that carried trade with Charleston before the Revolution.  The stones were loaded into the ships in England to give them stability as they sailed across the Atlantic.  Upon arrival in Charleston, they were dumped off and the ship’s holds were filled with trade goods like lumber, cotton and tobacco for the return voyage.  Not to waste free building materials, the streets were paved with the ballast stones.


At the southern end of Charleston is the Battery.  It is covered with beautiful live oaks.


It is also where some of the first shots of the Civil War were fired on Fort Sumter, out in the harbor.


Sorry I couldn’t get a great picture, but that is Fort Sumter our in the distance.  You can take a boat out to visit the fort, something I’ll do with the grandsons one of these days.


The railing in the above picture is part of a walkway that was constructed in the mid 1800’s and still used today.


It was constructed exactly two hoop skirts wide, so ladies of that time could walk side by side in their 40lbs plus hoop skirts and talk while they walked.


Charleston had seen its fair share of disasters, from Union Naval bombardments during the Civil War, to tornadoes and earthquakes.  In recent times, it was hit by Hurricane Hugo in 1989, which caused widespread devastation.  A famous painting of the waterfront homes can be seen all over the city.


The market, about 1/4 mile inland was hit hard by Hugo.


The white marks on the bricks show the height the water was during the storm.


Even today, it still gets periodically flooded by storm surges.  Note the green growth on the bricks.  It was flooded just three weeks ago.


I’m not usually a fan of food pictures, but at Henry’s Grill at the market had a Pimento Cheese Bacon Burger that was guaranteed to sink you in a storm.  Nope, now way could I have finished all that!


Even the “lighter” fare Cobb Salads were enough to weigh you down!


Good thing there are plenty of scenic places around Charleston to walk off food like that!

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Charleston, South Carolina

We’re certainly enjoying our “vacation” here in Charleston.  We even decided to bite the bullet and stay another five days.  Even though we already have paid for the month at our “home” campground, it is so nice here we felt it was worth it to splurge and spend the money.

We decided to take a carriage tour around the city.  Slow and easy to get some interesting pictures and yet cover a large distance without wearing out our feet.


The carriage tours are very popular, and not too expensive at $22/person for an hour long tour.  Discounts are available and we got our tickets for $18 each.

We had a great tour guide who was not only well versed in Charleston history, but had a great sense of humor which made the ride all that much more fun.


He even got John, the horse pulling the carriage, to snicker at some of his jokes.  Alt least it sounded like a snicker.


The city has a lottery system in place.  Once a tour starts out, they have to stop at a booth where a machine just like you see on TV that picks lottery winning numbers pops up a ball with a random tour route.  That way the city prevents too many carriages from taking the same route and blocking traffic, after all the streets are narrow in spots.


The city has strict rules on maintaining the houses and buildings to a certain historical standard.  If you were wealthy enough to own one of these homes (I wish!) and needed some outside repairs, you couldn’t do it yourself, you must hire a certified historical repair contractor who would make the repairs using the same techniques and materials from the period when the building was originally built.  Ouch!

But the homes have a great charm to them and are really beautiful.





Some of the architecture was amazing.




I’d better stop here, with limited Internet connections, too many pictures will take forever to upload.  Stay tuned, more to come.

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Couldn’t Stand It Anymore

Being stuck in one place has been getting to us.  As much as we like being close to the boys, we needed a chance of scenery.  As good as campfires are,


and as good as S’mores taste,



sometimes it’s good to move on.

I really wasn’t sure if the Journey’s engine would even start, let alone if the wheels would roll.  But it fired right up and felt like it, too wanted to move.

First I had to stop at Tractor Supply Company. 


I needed to fill the Journey’s propane tank, it was getting pretty low.


And this is why I stopped there.


Next we hooked up the car to the Journey, I even remembered how to do it correctly, but I double and triple checked myself before rolling.


Of course as we traveled down the highway, we hit drenching rain.  So much for my nice, clean motorhome and shiny wheels.


Despite the rainstorms, the Journey ran like a top.  I got the best mpg ever since we bought it: 9.1 mpg.  That is amazing, figuring that usually I see only 7.5 to (if I’m lucky) 8 mpg.  I guess no wind and nice smooth flat roads had a lot to do with it.

So where did we go?  Could this be a hint?


Nope, not New Orleans, but for some reason, they sell this here:


Charleston, South Carolina.  The city market.  Lots of vendors selling all kinds of expensive (really expensive) items, from hand woven baskets,



to all kinds of prints, trinkets and souvenirs.


We spent the afternoon walking and driving around sightseeing.



We’re staying for a few days at the Charleston Air Force Base FamCamp.  It is really nice, full hook ups/50 amp campground for $20/night.

We were escorted to our site by the Camp Host, who took great care of us.


We’re enjoying the change of pace and change of scenery.  Sort of a vacation from staying in one place so long.  We’ll make the most of it.  :c)


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