Sunday, 25 May 2014

American Road Trip - Things heat up on the way to Charleston! - Part 10


 Every day we see something that makes us laugh.  Before we get on the road to Charleston, John spots this in the car park whilst we are loading the car.  It's advertising something called "Chief Namu's Fire and Hula Shack".  What the hell is that??  the ladies with the Hawiain headresses are photographs, not paintings, so our guess is that they are waitresses in some kind of BBQ restaurant.  And possibly there is a hula hula floor show?  This is Myrtle Beach, after all!

      And then, on the road out when traffic lights are red, I get a gap in the traffic, and spot this li'l ol' brown truck - centre of picture - on a used car lot.I expect that, before too long, that will be cleaned up, laquered, and on show on the streets of New Bern one Saturday afternoon.

Before we leave Myrtle Beach, our hosts tell us to call in at Polly's Island.  Look at the map but 1) cannot see any islands on this part of the coast, and 2) Can't see anything called Polly's Island.  No!  Wait!  There it is - not Polly's but Pawleys Island, South Carolina - a little township just on the coast that once was a great place for growing rice.  And early farmers made a lot of money here.  It was just right for rice, and no-one in this area was eating potato at the time (more about that when we reach Charleston).  The little houses are, in fact, private sitting-out areas, with their own boardwalks leading out to them.  So, you have to have a house here to be able to sit out on the creek.  And the grey areas in those two pictures are actually reeds which are covered when the water comes into the creek, left grey when the muddy water recedes.  It's Hot, Hot, Hot here. The car soon tells us that the temperature outside is in the high 80s (f).  I have experienced this before, but not with high humidity.  It's enough to lay you low! The a.c. in the car works fine though, so we can stay cool as long as we don't get out - and that would be silly, wouldn't it?   Maccers wants to photograph the Police Department and Town Hall and I warn him to be out and back in quickly because it's hot and he has no sun blocker on his skin.  You can see, though, why he wants to take a pic.  It's tiny!  And as small as it looks, too, only one room deep.  I surmise from this that town meetings are quiet affairs, and that the police are not too busy here. 

 Suddenly, he's back in the car!  Nose bleed again!  I pack one side of his nose and we try out the roll of paper under the top lip trick and it works.  But now he's worried.  He has to drive a fair way yet, and maybe it will continue to bleed;  although it doesn't, and after a few slugs of water and my reasurance that he is going to be fine, we are on our way.  We pull away from the coast again, and very soon shout "bridge"!  We do love bridges as much as ferries over here.  They cross large expanses of water  to save the long route around.  We have crossed loads, and this afternoon we drive over three more, crossing wide, wide rivers.  Then comes one of those magic minutes when you see a sign and decide to turn off.  The sign says McLenanville South Carolina and off we go.  Another tiny township with not much happening, but it's a lovely day, John's nose has stopped bleeding, there is Spanish Moss everywhere in the trees, and it's quiet enough to stand in the road and get the perfect shot! 

I hope you can see the Spanish Moss clearly in this picture.  And now's the time to tell you it isn't moss, and it isn't a parasite either.  It's a kind of air plant.  When you look at it, it's pale sage green, although it looks grey up in the trees and would surely look good used as something to cover up the soil round houseplants - but DON'T DO THAT!  There is a little mite that lives on the Spanish Moss, which may burrow under your skin and make you itch (but someone told me that she dabs nail varnish on if she gets one under her skin..... soon dies that way)   Also we spot the first US mail office that is easily accessible so that I can post a card to my sister - the only postcard that is going to get sent, as I don't do them anymore. This mail office is easily one of the bigger buildings in this little township.  Built of red brick; built to last a hundred years, quiet, cool, and with one only member of staff!  I send it airmail, but my guess is it will be weeks till it arrives at number 9.  With the best of intentions I send a picture of the Wright Brothers on the beach with Kitty Hawk on it's way.

We drive on now through the Francis Marion National Forest which is huge, phoning our next host on the way to make sure she is in, and to tell her approximately what time she should expect us.  And now we are on our way to our most southerly point of the holiday, the glorious city of Charleston, a town where manners are a fine art, ladies never sweat (and I doubt they ever perspire, either), and where the American Civil War started.