Sunday, October 2, 2011

Walking the Arthur Ravenel Bridge

Since my Friday Flash Fiction story at this moment appears to have run aground on a small island called "Lost Plot Cay" I am posting a few pictures of my abortive trip down to the coast last weekend. Like most of my trips to the coast they are essentially unplanned excursions which tend to make them huge successes or total failures. At least this time I have a real reason why this one failed. With the passing of my dad-in-law back in late August Dragonwife has been spending most weekends with her mom in Manning, South Carolina leaving me to hold down the fort at home. Up until the very last minute it looked like last weekend was going to be another trip to her mom's to help organize things. When it fell through I had my chance to head down to the coast for a much needed session of rest and relaxation, especially since my usual travel companion my daughter Darth Wiggles wanted to stay home since she had invited a friend over.
It started out good with a rough idea of heading down to Charleston and finally visiting Fort Sumter, something I have never done in all my years of living in the Low Country of South Carolina. But like the saying Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance I did not check times and arrived at the Patriot's Point Naval Museum a couple of hours early. Making matters worse I do not have a cell phone and did not think about calling my cousin who lives in Charleston until I was strolling in the Patriot's Point gift shop. Compounding my mistakes I called his house rather early and left a message on his answering machine with no way for him to call me back. After so many mistakes what does one do? I started walking the Arthur Ravenel Bridge connecting Mount Pleasant, South Carolina with Charleston. Something I have wanted to do since the bridge was opened back in 2005.   

I know next to nothing about bridge architecture and design but have always loved how graceful some bridges can look. This one is in a class all by itself since I already have such an affinity for the Holy City. At first the day was glorious with a nice steady breeze and enough clouds in the sky to block the worst of the sun. It had already rained several times, something that would eventually ruin the trip, leaving a partial rainbow in the sky. Click on the first picture above to enlarge it so it can be seen.

Had to quickly learn the rules of the bridge because when I started up I noticed a dividing line which I took to mean the same rules of the road applied to those walking the bridge. As I was walking the right side of the walkway I noticed a guy on a bike heading straight for me. Figuring he was wrong I stood my ground forcing him to move, just a few yards later I see symbols painted on the cement below me showing that walkers go on the left side of the dividing line while bikers stay on the right. Oh well, I know now. The picture above was taken at a rest area about a third of a way across heading into Charleston. It is a remarkable location and if I was smart I would have just stayed there longer soaking up the view.  

A photo of the USS Yorktown, the center piece of the Patriot's Point Naval Museum. Patriot's Point did have a retired navy destroyer and Coast Guard cutter on display as well also but for reason I can only guess at the have been removed leaving only a very old diesel-electric submarine as the only other vessel on display. I have some vague knowledge that the Patriot's Point is having some funding issues which may have required the other ships to be sold. I know from a newspaper article hanging in the museum gift shop dated sometime in 2009 that the US Navy has told Charleston county the Yorktown herself needs massive and expensive restoration. On a side note the ominous clouds hanging over Charleston harbor are the main reason my trip was a bust.   
A view of Charleston Harbor overlooking a crab boat in the water and a nice portion of the city itself.

A shot of the "Easy Lady" using my camera's zoom feature. Now if there was a job I would lave to try it would be on that boat.

This a picture of an ACTIVE US Navy vessel docked on the other side of the harbor. I just thought it was cool and did my best to get a decent shot.    After walking about halfway across the bridge I returned to Patriot's Point with all intention of doing the trip over to Fort Sumter. What stopped me was an already very crowded boat loaded with families and groups. Since my daughter usually accompanies me on these trips a crowded boat would have been no issue but something just did not feel right about going with her not with me.

The back up plan I came up with would have had me traveling over to nearby Sullivan's Island and the Isle of Palms and just walking around on the beaches and seeing what trouble I could get into. Later I would have gone into Charleston, found a bar serving She-Crab soup, and called my cousin again. Just as I arrived on Sullivan's Island and got out of my car it started pouring rain. As luck would have it not two minutes after getting back in my car the rain utterly stopped and the sun came out. Oh well, I figured the I would drive over to the Isle of Palms and hang out there. Just as soon as I parked it started raining again and this time my frustration level was getting to the point that I considered calling off the whole thing and going home.  Long story short, while heading back into Charleston I developed a headache and it started raining again. By this time I figured it was best to abort the trip and head home since I had spent little of of my mad money slush fund. I figure I can come back down in a month or so, of course after making a real plan and calling my cousin first.


Lowandslow said...

I was in Charleston a few years ago and agree it's a GREAT city. I did both the Yorktown tour and visited Ft. Sumter, something you must do. The Sumter tour was just incredible, at least to a history buff like myself.

Sounds like every time you parked it began to rain. I'm thinking you could make a lot of money right now just driving to Dallas and parking for a week or two. You could leave a tip jar on your hood. We need the rain. ;)


Randal Graves said...

Not that you got lost lost, but sometimes just making a half-assed hash of things can lead to swanky trips, though there are these new-fangled-techno-gizmos called umbrellas.

Pixel Peeper said...

I remember when that bridge opened (still lived in SC then), but only have driven across it. Walking across it is definitely on my bucket list. Glad I'll know which side to walk on... :-)

Agree with Lowandslow - you must visit the Yorktown. Just watch your head - some low ceilings there.

Windsmoke. said...

We have a saying down here in Oz "If you fail to plan you plan to fail". Isn't it typical of the weather to rain when you get out of your car then the rain stops when you get back in and drive away its most annoying at times :-).

Mike said...

Looks to be the TICONDEROGA class guided missile Cruiser, USS VICKSBURG (CG 69) stationed out of Mayport, Florida. Nice liberty in Charleston for the crew,for yourself as well.

mike the retired navy guy

Nance said...

That bridge is so lovely and so is Charleston. I'll use any excuse to go. Before the "new" bridge, I had real difficulty getting into Charleston from the north. The first time I saw it, we had just moved here from Alaska and I was headed into Charleston for a mediation training. By the time one saw the old bridge, there was no easy way to avoid crossing it. It was steep, narrow, felt somehow wobbly, and was practically two bridges...a camel with two humps. I was literally beside myself by the time I reached the south terminus.

The new bridge is wide, graceful, and serene. I'm sorry you got rained out, but weren't your pictures glorious against those clouds!?

Truth 101 said...

God I miss living near the ocean. Or even Lake Michigan.

Cloudia said...

enjoyed sharing this walk with you, friend.

I was there. . .

Warm Aloha from Waikiki;

Comfort Spiral

/ )

> < } } ( ° >

Beach Bum said...

LowandSlow; I've visited the Yorktown several times since it was first opened as a musesum. I've had the honor of talking with several navy guys who served on the ship, including the carrier named Yorktown that was sunk in WW2.

On the last visit I talked with one of the people who has worked on the Yorktown for years and he said that he has noticed a not so slow decline in visiting veterans because they are passing on.

Randal: Thats my hope, get lost and see what turns up. Umbrellas? I can't, I look just too damn weird using one.

Pixel: Yeah, been all through teh Yorktown but never over to Fort Sumter. Told my daughter that next time she HAD to come with me. Since her sleepover that weekend did not go well she completely agrees.

Windsmoke: Absolutely on the planning thing, but it was also the absence of my daughter. We had plenty of great trips together. But with her getting older and having more of a social life I better make plans on doing stuff alone. I went through the same thing with my son as he got older.

Mike: Thanks buddy! I served in the army and my hat is always off to you navy guys and gals. In some ways its a far tougher service in dealing with stress and confined spaces.

Nance: My wife was terrifed of the old bridges. Whenever we crossed them she slumped way down inside the car.

Truth101: Me too!

Cloudia: Thanks!

lime said...

well, bust or not i hope it was somewhat therapeutic and that you do get a fun time with our cousin next time around.

Pearl said...

I hear only good about South Carolina...


Suzan said...

Hi Beach!

I'm visiting Charleston right now.

Rock on.


Mr. Charleston said...

Come on BB. What a whimp. With all the restaurants, saloons and plain wandering around Charleston offers you couldn't find any trouble to get into? You're slowing down boy. You better watch it, the reaper is gaining on you.

Red Nomad OZ said...

How wonderfully photogenic! I'm sure a virtual tour isn't as good as the real thing - but it's pretty damn fine!

John McElveen said...

THANKS BRO!!!! I feel as if I drove the 118 miles and never left the house. I so love to go out of Shem Creek--right in front of the Yorktown and look up at it's majesty!

The bridge is awesome isn't it!!!!???

Great post Bro!


okjimm said...

sounds like a great get away.... somehow I never seem to get south of Chicago... and then, only rarely. I would love some southern BBQ

Joan Perry; Sidewalk Curator said...

Things might not have worked as planned but your bridge shots are glorious! One of these days we will bump into each other.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

You are a good photographer, dude. The ones of the bridge and the U.S.S. Yorktown are particularly awesome. You really should make some limited edition prints and sell 'em. Seriously.