Saturday, April 4, 2015

Getting Around. . .

So, I'm in Columbia, South Carolina, at son Michael's since Thursday evening.

What a trip!  Missed a connection at Dulles airport in DC because the plane sat on the tarmac with "mechanical problems" and then took off an hour and a half late from San Francisco. One of my worst experiences traveling by plane ever.

Anyway, had to hang around Dulles from 8:20am till 1:40pm on Thursday and came across this interesting item hanging from the ceiling there. . . .  A solar-powered plane, with a United Technologies sponsorship (pretty neat, eh, Greg Regnier?):

Finally got to Mikey's and spent yesterday going thru old photos that I've stored here with him.  There's no less than a dozen shoe boxes filled with them.  I started picking out the better ones, which I intend to have transferred to digital format.  I think I may have to make a few more trips here to finish that job!

I took a few photos around his house here yesterday, too. . . .

Mikey's been busy planting stuff in the backyard.  He plans to add a bench-swing to this plot, too;

The swing is "under construction":

The plantings are a continuous "work in progress". . . .
His collection of rafts and boats is impressive.  TWO rafts and the trailers for them:


Same raft, from the back:

 Four or five kayaks, made just for fishing, on a third trailer:

The backyard, what with his garden and the blossoming trees in it doesn't look bad for a "boat-storage yard." 

On the side of his tool storage shed: 

Can you tell, from the looks of his SUV, that he likes fly-fishing?

Front of the house has a pergola that he rebuilt early last year and lots of vine-y stuff that he's added:

MY chariot, for this leg of my trip "back East."  Got a great deal on it, and it is a great ride.  Chevy Impala (Gee, I miss my old '59 Impala convertible). . . .

A couple of shots of the house from the street:

Southern pines are pretty tall. . . .  Tho I've seen some redwoods recently in my neck-of-the-woods.

He's got a collection of African Violets.  I tried to keep them alive after Eleanor passed away, with no luck, but Mikey seems to have inherited a green thumb from either his mom, his grandfather Charlie, or both of them.

Millie has got the run of the place. . . .

And though Michael complains about her habitually getting in the way, lost, or underfoot, he still feeds her and lets her stay around:

Later yesterday, I helped Michael prep for a fishing trip and then, at night, to get home from his "landing point" on the river.  He didn't pull in to the landing until midnight. . . .  but it seems that's a regular thing for a lot of the local Bass fishermen, too. . . .  Two other boats with big bunches of folks on them were pulling in to the ramp at about the same time!  Didn't get to bed till 2am.  He stays out late fishing, and then has to get someone (Meredith, as I understand it, is the usual someone) to go fetch his SUV and trailer from where he "put in" on the river and bring it downriver to put the raft back on it.

Today he had another fishing trip.  It is now 11:15pm and he's not back yet.  Meredith is "doing the honors" instead of me tonight.

So, while I had the day to myself today, I decided to go hike the highly-touted Sesquicentennial State Park's trails.  It was rated among the top 10 hiking areas in the state on some Internet site recently and I decided I wanted to see it for myself.

A nice little park, with trails marked for hiking, jogging and bicycling . . .

I started out by taking the trail that I thought was for hiking. . . .

It was a sandy trail in places and in others it was hard-packed dirt, an old road.

Lots of nice stuff to see along the way. . . .

 Tall Southern Pines throughout the park. . . .

Lots of sizable pine cones on the ground everywhere. . . .

Even a few swampy areas. . . . 

Lots of Dogwood trees blossoming:

I finally realized that I wasn't on what the map called the "Hiking Trail" but on "The Jogging and Bicycling Trail" when I got to the lake that's in the middle of the park:

I expected to see another dirt path, just for hiking, around the edge of the lake, but it turned out to be more like something I've seen in New York City!

I found some nice small waterfalls and some nice folks to take my photo near them. . . .

They have a great picnic and ballfield area:

No swimming, but a little fishing allowed. . . . 

And boating. . . .   Reminding me of the much larger boat and canoe and paddleboat concession at Belmont Lake State Park back on Long Island:

A very cute little park and lake. . . .

 Near the picnic and boating area was the campgrounds.  This marking on the road befuddled me.

Tho there was one similar to it back where I'd parked my car, which seemed to have a purpose of demarcating a pedestrian crosswalk:

I found this memorial near the picnic area:

And this placard nearby. . . .   Found it interesting that it says that all 17 of South Carolina's first state parks were built by the CCC in the Depression years.  If the other 16 are as nice as this, they did a wonderful job!

Couldn't find a hiking trail back to my parking lot, so I trekked along the roadside for about 1/4 mile and came upon this little gem:

And finally, after getting to the car and riding back out of the park, I passed this nice little home. . . .  Apparently the Park Residence. . . .  across the street from which was a huge "Rangers' Fire Tower," which I couldn't get a decent photo of, but it looked like something you would see in a National Park.

So all in all I've had a good time these past couple of days.  I'm looking forward to taking Mikey and Meredith and Piper and Gabi out to Easter Dinner tomorrow afternoon.  Made reservations at "California Dreaming" (of course), a really really nice restaurant in town that pre-dates Jamie and Jessica's years at school in Columbia.  It is located in what was once the railroad's "Union Station"  Think I'm gonna try their "San Francisco Shrimp" this time!

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