Swamps dominate this region of the South.
Once the ride was over, we did a little shopping in the marketplace, then returned to the car to drive on; this time we went via Route 17 over the massive cable bridge over the river to enter South Carolina; This is a cultural corridor, with all the signs of local culture; the first thing you see is a gentlemen’s club with live entertainment. Shortly after that is a billboard advertising a fully automatic shooting range. Then the cap it all off, there is a billboard advertising hospital services for those who did not fare well at the first two cultural establishments.
Driving on to Charleston seemed to take longer, but we made it just before sunset, so we could see the bridge to Mt. Pleasant.
One of the many shady venues in Savannah
By the time we reached Georgia, the skies were clearing, and by Savannah, there was plenty of blue. But no facilities. We pulled off the highway expecting a gas station or restaurant, but there was nothing on the darned parkway until we popped up in the heart of old Savannah.
We finally parked in a city parking garage, found the tiniest, weirdest McDonalds with only two unisex bathrooms to use, had an ice cream, and went into the city market.
The goal was to take a carriage ride; with Trixie in her cart, we opted for the Trolley ride, and got an excellent tour of the city seeing most of the squares, churches and antebellum housing close up. Given the close proximities, Pops had to use the iPhone to take photos along the ride.
Tribe thought she could drive in the rain – she has a license after all…
We departed Lake City in the midst of a horrific rainstorm, which slowed our progress; a couple of lightening strikes came way too close for comfort!
Florida’s vexing roads continued to plague us as well, as we threaded our way to the highway to Jacksonville, where we headed north onto I-95. Of course there were slowdowns, due to the deluge of rain, and an accident where someone had so totaled his semi truck cab (no trailer thank goodness) that only the frame with the wheels could be seen on a flatbed, and they were digging the upper bits of the cab out with a backhoe in the wet swampy land. Serves them right for not having the highways not nearly wide enough to accommodate the traffic. Most have a wide median strip – overgrown half the time – and narrow pull off strips that dive down into the ever present swamps.
Cannon on the upper ramparts of Fort Pukaski
We paused for Ice Cream, then returned the way we came, visiting Fort Pulaski. This was a state of the art brick fort during the Civil War era, and successfully proved brick forts were obsolete when Union forces forced its surrender after a 30 hour bombardment The leveled corner was rebuilt – and the area was used as a prisoner holding area.
The fortress is very large and relatively complete, a classic shield fort surrounded by a moat, perched in the center of a flat swampy island that ensured control of the waterway. We went in, Mum and Trixie exploring the lower level and Pops went to the upper level. From there he could spy a small lighthouse on the river, Cockspur light. But swampy fields and distant forests made the fort seem to be a place out of time, awaiting a chance to stand tall again.
We then went through the narrative of the Eighth Air Force’s history – a safe house to one side, and a POW camp display to the other – past cases of mementos donated by various servicemen who had flown against Germany from southeast England. Here the narrative got a bit thinner and repetitive. One thing that showed up too often were souvenir knives from the SA – Nazi Brownshirts – which were exterminated before the war to cement Hitler’s hold on the German military. As you know, anything can be sold as a souvenir, whether it is a true item or not.
Tybee Island Light is open to the public.
Once the museum was done, we drove southward to Tybee Lighthouse, a magnificent tower that is a beacon at the mouth of the Savannah River. With an open field and somewhat clearing skies, it offered a splendid sight. Pops didn’t go into it to climb the stairs to the top –we simply did not have time for him to scale the lofty heights, and peer over yet another set of old Endicott era bunkers that lined the shore. One of the bunkers appeared to have been claimed by the VFW or American Legion as their hangout.
Trixie in her carriage and her Mum pose in front of the B-17
The Eighth Air Force Museum museum is quite well laid out, part mausoleum and crypt – especially with the memorial garden and chapel in the back – and part collection. The latter part we went through, and after a brief introduction and bypassing the film areas, we found ourselves face to face with a B-17 that was being restored.
The nose and some tail sections were removed, but the engines and all the rest were still in place, even leaking oil – the old radial engines on airplanes were notorious for doing that, and why they couldn’t drain them for a museum piece is beyond reason – but they were leaking out and onto cook pans on the floor. We circled the inner hangar around this old giant – small by current standards it was famous for its tough construction.
An American P-51, a German Messerschmitt 109 hung from the ceiling, and the nose of a B-24 Liberator also filled the cluttered hangar – which was far neater than the New England Air Museum in Connecticut.
The road to Savannah
We awoke with the area in such a thick fog that even the bridge was invisible as we drove back across it through Charleston. It cleared up into a half decent day, despite the best forecasts from the weathermen – who predict a blizzard in New England this week. Honestly…
Driving the highways here is a monotonous task, with it hemmed in by trees, with the occasional open swamp here and there.
Our first stop was the Eighth Air Force Museum in Pooler Georgia – it is parallel to Savannah on Route 95, and I had not bothered to explore those possibilities. But Trixie’s boy called on the phone and suggested it – and he wanted a challenge coin from it. So in we went.