Thursday, January 10, 2013

Biscuits and black-eyed peas

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Charleston, SC – Tonight we are in our own little home on wheels at a KOA campground 10 miles east of the city of Charleston. Mother Nature has provided us with a free carwash for the little Honda and the motorhome, which needed it after all the salt and slush they accumulated over the first days of our travels. The rain started to spatter the windshield gently as we approached the city, and held off while we got settled at our site. Then, once we were comfortably set up and enjoying our supper, it completed the wash job.

Our route took us southwest from Rocky Mount along Interstate 95 until we got into South Carolina, and then we switched to the I-26 in a southeasterly direction to get to Charleston, which is situated on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. We had pleasant weather, just slightly overcast, and our eyes widened with each mile as the temperature rose higher and higher, peaking at 26.5C at around three in the afternoon!

One of the things we wanted to do was stop at a Camping World to pick up some gear for the RV. These large stores are devoted to the RVer’s every need, and we found one just off the highway near Fayetteville, so it didn’t involve a great detour. Marlon, our sales rep, gathered all our stuff and helped us hump it to the RV. Then he pointed us in the direction of a local restaurant with good southern cooking, called Fred Chason’s Grandsons, “Carolina’s Famous Buffet”.

We could tell it was a popular spot by all the cars parked out front. The low, sprawling building housed booths and long tables inside, with a buffet section just beyond the eating area. Large stainless steel containers stood on steam tables in several rows, laden with pulled pork, mounds of mashed potatoes, sausages, lima beans, black-eyed peas, macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole, mountains of hot biscuits, grits, greens and food items I’d never seen or heard of before, plus a salad bar on the side and another counter covered with great slabs of layer cake, puddings, pecan pie and other tempting confections for dessert! Eager hands ladled out hearty servings of all the above as appreciative patrons made the rounds and then sat at the long tables to enjoy their meals. We did not leave hungry, but I did manage to resist the pecan pie, leaving me with a great sense of virtue and accomplishment!

Not long after we crossed into South Carolina, we caught our first glimpses of Spanish moss hanging languidly from some tree branches, and, in the swampy underbrush on either side of the highway, there were small palmetto palms scattered about. I kept looking for alligators in the murky waters, but they were well hidden, as were the Burmese pythons that also inhabit these parts.

Our entrance into the Charleston area coincided with rush hour plus the first spatterings of rain. We saw lots of industrial areas, shipyards with cranes and oil storage tanks and plenty of cars and trucks. Not much of an introduction to the city’s fabled southern charm and beauty, but we plan to stay here for a few days, so we’ll be exploring all of that very soon.

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