November 2016 Mount Pleasant/Charleston, SC - St. Mary's, GA - Gainesville, FL - Wildwood, FL

     Today is a splendid day for a bike ride on Wild Dunes, Isle of Palms, Mt. Pleasant, and Sullivan's Island. Loving our lives!!

                        I LOVE bridges and the Ravenel Bridge is my very favorite.

     This facade is all that remains of the old Bennett Rice Mill standing at the center of the SC State Port Authority's Union Pier Terminal, downtown Charleston Harbor.
One of Charleston's architectural gems

     The mill opened in 1845 and is considered one of the best examples of 19th century American industrial architecture. Governor Thomas Bennett, who commissioned the rice mill's construction, envisioned its design to surpass all other mills of its time.  It was acclaimed for its successful blending of Classical Revival and Italian Renaissance styles. 

    After church on Sunday, we had a great catch-up visit over brunch with Martha and Jim in Mt. Pleasant, then did a rare thing for us—we went to see the movie, Sully. Less than infrequently do we do that even though there are many movies that have peaked our interest. We just don’t want to waste that much time not being outside. Yesterday was rainy so we jumped at the chance. 

A majestic reindeer 

                 Our one and only campfire while in Mt. Pleasant's KOA

This guy's made of trash that washed ashore

                                                          A Mt. Pleasant Sunset

A Mt. Pleasant/Awendaw icon

We've heard about the Sewee Restaurant for a long time so decided it was way past time to check it out.   

      The swimming pool at Mt. Pleasant's KOA--a terrible waste!!!

     Time to leave Charleston/ Mt. Pleasant. We've been here 2 weeks but that still isn't long enough.

     Thanks to each of you for my many happy birthday wishes for it was a wonderful day. Bill crowned me Princess for the Day and I marinated in it. 

     We went to St. Mary’s Boat Yard, GA, to pay homage to our lonesome and forlorned Kindred Spirit III. We slithered beneath her shroud to go inside and deeply inhale the fragrance of diesel fuel that resurrects a jillion memories of being on the water. We have far less room on the coach than on our trawler so we off-loaded extraneous clothing and other non-necessities. We picked up some warm clothes since we’ve decided to extend our land cruising for a few more months in order to reposition our boat. We found all to be well with her inside and out. Despite loving our vagrant lifestyle in our coach, I pine for the boat but we’ll be back aboard soon—time passes so fast, it seems, the older we get. 

St. Mary's Anchorage for the sumptuous Cruisers' Thanksgiving Dinner

     I uninstalled FaceBook on my phone and when I attempted to reinstall, I inadvertently created another account. I’m hoping to merge my 2 accounts and will delete Laura Sue Lane and hope it doesn’t take Laura Lane Bender with it so you may or may not see my posts in case I vaporize.

     After eating more Thanksgiving dinner than we should, we drove up to St. Simon's Island to spend a few hours with my brother, Bob, from ATL. We had an enjoyable afternoon walking the beach and the sweet little town.

My only sibling, my little brother, Bob, on St. Simon's Beach, Thanksgiving Day
     Trusting each of you had a grateful Thanksgiving. We ALL are so blessed with so much for which to be thankful.

     Onward to Gainesville and Big Wheel RV Park, a tranquil and woodsy respite with a very down-home, comfy warmth. As we were departing, Karen, the owner, came out to thank us for staying there and to say goodbye. We've never experienced that before.

     Although I'm a native Floridian, I'd never visited Gainesville. We strolled around the old downtown area and cycled the Gainesville - Hawthorne 37 mile rail trail. We haven't been on bikes in weeks or months so that was a bunch to bite off for a first time ride. Ouch!

                            A downtown Gainesville sculpture

     Our next destination, Wildwood, FL, for routine maintenance and a few repairs on our coach at Alliance Coach. They put us in a bay in the mornings then back into our site late afternoon. We're happy to have some down time to tend to things that we let slide so we can go outside and play. Interestingly, The Villages, a development of 157,000 for adults 55 and older, is right here so we've spent some time exploring some of those communities. 

     On our first day, we cycled 27 miles through The Villages and our posteriors hadn't recovered from the Gainesville ride. Had hoped to acquire saddle time gradually...but no.  I needed some saddle time but didn't want 64 miles in a period of 2 days. 


     These beautiful birds that looked to me like red-headed herons are actually Sandhill Cranes. They're so exquisite and stately.

    I've never seen SO many golf carts and they are driven by The Villagees and with naked aggression! They're all over the place like little ants in overdrive.  

     Our 2nd day in The Villages but no cycling today. Took our bikes to a local shop to have their periodic checkup. Should be ready Friday which’ll give our ‘sit-upons’ a much needed rest. 

     Think we’ll be here for a while yet—at least till the weekend. This was day 2 of a technician searching for an electrical connection which seems to be elusive.  The hourly rate isn’t peanuts, either, so hope it reveals itself soon because it MUST be identified.

     We discussed our take on The Villages.  It is TOO homogenous for me. Of all the people we saw, they were every one white caucasians. Every conversation we heard was only English. There wasn’t a single child or young adult that we saw. Don’t think I could ever settle in a community where everybody looked the same, spoke the same, acted the same, were close to the same age and all living in little cookie cutter houses. The property is very well maintained and beautiful—lawn maintenance folks are working all the time and everywhere we looked. Despite the recreational facilities available, SO many of them are grossly overweight. In their little golf carts, regardless of gender, their bellies where just flopped over into their laps. It would/should be an easy life. They have 'clubs' upon 'clubs'--cycling club, corvette club, mahjong club, swim club, ad infinitum, so all you have to do is wake up, dress, look at list of events that day, and just show up. Quite interesting.

     This is embarrassing but some may find humor in it—when we were in Wild Dunes where golf carts also abound although not so prolifically, I’d noticed a semi-clear plastic container with a neck on it always riding on the back of the carts so today I said to Bill, “I don’t understand why these golfers have no decorum. That is so absolutely gross that they ride around with their urinals in plain view.” Without falling on the floor laughing, he kindly and patiently explained to me that those are used to repair the grass when it’s damaged when the golfer digs up the turf when hitting the ball. So now I know.  Live and learn. But they sure do look like male urinals to me!

     This is 30 November and here we sit. We were told to be ready to release the coach at 7:30. At 9:30 we learned that they need to get a part so "go back to your coach and relax today." No bikes to ride; temps in the 80's; so will investigate a day trip to somewhere.  No complaints from us--happy to have some "do nothing" time.

Till later---
Bill and Laura aboard our coach
Wildwood, FL


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