The funny thing about a coast line called the lowlands is that you can build straight roads. The advantage is that rivers and marshes create beautiful islands filled with wildlife and natural harbors. It also creates a playground for the wealthy.
The sun was shinning yesterday and I was much more adventurous. I crossed the waterway into Charleston with the USS Yorkton moored off to my right. Patriots Point is a naval museum and is home to the decommissioned aircraft carrier, directly across the harbor from downtown. Downtown Charleston reminded me of Galveston but on a larger scale. Victorian houses surround town squares and both modern and old city buildings. The city center park was filled with kiosks and children for a Saturday open market.
My next stop was 60 miles down Highway 17 South. I left the highway and rode down Highway 21 South towards Beaufort and Hunting Island. I discovered that Hunting Island is only one of the islands that fill the area between Charleston and Savannah. Sailboats and shrimp boats are making their way inland on calm inlets and waiting at draw bridges that connect these little islands. Hunting Island is state park surrounded by islands with large old mansions and newer beach front communities. Every community blends into the surroundings easily. You have to look hard to see houses or signs of people. Nothing more than two stories and nature is a big part of being in the area. Families fishing off the pier, kayaking in the estuaries and sailboats not motorboats are water transportation. It has a very lazy feeling about it.
Back out to Highway 17 South and left onto Highway 278 East some 20 miles south is Hilton Head Island. Home to the beautiful set in South Carolina. I counted ten golf courses before you even get the bridge that crosses onto the island. A BMW and a Mercedes dealership are flanked on each side by a Clubcar and E-Z-Go golf cart showrooms. Once again though everything blends into the landscape. You would never know that Westin or Mariott have resorts here. Even the store signs for shopping centers are wooden and no more than six feet high. Another ten golf courses are on the island itself. The beach was busy given that it was a sunny Saturday on Thanksgiving weekend. The hard packed white sand is perfect for riding bikes and playing football or frisbee.
I retraced my route back out to Highway 17 and continued onto Savannah. As I entered Georgia it was getting close to four o’clock. The two lane highway filters onto a huge bridge that mirrors the one north into Charleston. Savannah has a very different vibe. The historic downtown core is right along the river port and it feels like you are walking back in time. I was getting a little tired and my patience to navigate out of town to find a motel did not happen. Plus I was really intrigued with staying closer to downtown. I found a funky gentrified motel.
Showered and changed, I walked right into the heart of this party. College football games on every television screen. Men two stepping with cocktails in one hand and kids in the other. Every other block is garden park. Old moss covered trees surround a fountain or statue while a street performer plays violin or a recorder. Much like the motel I chose, the city is old and funky and full of life. A fireworks show ended after I had finished my outstanding smokehouse chicken wings and I wander back through the vibrant streets to my room. If I had not blown two nights budget on my lodgings I would like to stay a little longer. Such is life and I have a lazy morning to wander around town in the light of day….