The Carolinas & the Mid-Atlantic. Part 3: Leaving Charleston
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Charleston, South Carolina. (Map)

Summer 2011.


After quite a few Palmettos on Yrvy's piazza the night before, I didn't get that early Thursday morning start I was hoping for.

Leaving around noon, I started my day properly with Taco Bell in North Charleston; then stopped at the Old Fort Dorchester State Historical Park near Summerville.

A nearly-300-year-old bell tower from a 1719 Anglican Church is enough to get me off the highway, but I made sure to remember this place for its history.

You see, a bunch of 18th century Massachusetts people trotted down here to form a county seat in the South.

The Chowdaheads lasted for a while, building South Carolina's 3rd largest town at the time...

...a town which benefited from its strategic location up the Ashley river from Charleston - resulting in the construction of a Tabby Fort in 1757...

..but not surprisingly, those sally Chowdaheads couldn't cut it. They started to whine about the heat, and Dorchester fell into decay as more and more of them fled South Carolina and returned to their beloved Bay State.

Seeing as I know a couple of people from Massachusetts, I couldn't help but take some pictures here & give them a hard time about this (plus put a little english on the story by portraying their ancestors in a certain light, haha).

I continued west, making sure to get moving as the day was running into the afternoon - I needed to hurry if I wanted to achieve my main goal for the day.

This hospital was imposing & intimidating. I was perfectly balanced on the metaphorical fence about going inside or going on my way. Although, to have went out of my way to leave Yrvy's, to reach out for information from friends, to have allotted time for this - I was very happy to finally find myself inside one of the wings.

That's not to say I was overly calm, but things seemed to be going alright. Those circular lightwell blocks were interesting & something new to my eye. The standard metal roof-support poles, with asylum windows, were comforting in a way; this was similar to other places I've been, as it is a kirkbride, and in that I was comforted.

This wasn't the worst place to keep an eye from.

There were a few modern outbuildings, but there were also historical & pleasing ones as well.

(I would later learn that the section I first entered was the female wing of the asylum.)

Shuttered fire doors blocked my path halfway through the female side. I was unimpressed with the thought that I might have to to go outside to travel between segregated sections.

Thankfully, I found that someone had broke open a window between a small kitchen & the above corridor.

I calmed down a bit with time, my emotions changing to happiness with the amount of items left behind & the beauty of the building.

Moving into the central admin portion, the above staircase is neat because of the suicide-prevention fencing above the handrail.

I've seen this type of fencing before, but I'm not sure if I've ever seen them made of wood.

I ran into two dudes in the central admin, one of them who had clearly been to this hospital a number of times.

He led us towards this rotted skybridge, which we needed to cross if we wanted to see the isolation ward...

...and so we did.

The isolation ward with its skylights was neat in real life, but outside of my photographic ability.

I was glad I ran into these dudes, as I surely wouldn't have crossed that ramshackle skybridge otherwise.

Another interesting item was the old chapel, which had been subdivided into two floors. This left the stained glass windows cut in half, with their bright lights shining on the bottom half of my body.

The interior of the main dome.

A view of the city. The male wing sprawls before me.

The male wing wasn't as good as the female wing, but I also didn't see the entire area (there were more segregated areas).

My newfound tour guide also brought us to the cafeteria building, which was very nice in that I saw another building & one which was covered in tacky 1950s wallpaper; with a floor littered with random equipment marked with the hospital's i.d. stickers.

It was funny when we went to leave this building, as there were yellow jacket nests around the entranceway. The two dudes were very concerned with the yellow jackets, while my dopey self was amused with honest-to-goodness yellow jackets so close to Georgia Tech0.

I imagine I wouldn't have been so amused if I left this hospital with yellow jackets stings.

0 - Georgia Tech's mascot is the yellow jacket.

We decided to leave together, as I assumed that the experienced fellow would have a tried-and-tested means of going on our way.

When we reached the road we parted ways, since we were parked in different 'hoods. I have to thank those two dudes, it was nice to meet them.

Back at the car, I inhaled a bottle of Powerade. I had only brought a small water into the hospital & it was in the 90s this day.

I celebrated a successful mission by finally having some Zaxby's!! GW & I would always Braves baseball on Peachtree & see Zaxby's commercials - which always looked damn good - but the closest Zaxby's was in Arkansas.

So when I noticed that Newberry, SC had a Zaxby's?!? Oh it was finally on.

The funny thing is that it was pretty mediocre. There was a long line & I ordered something lame, a product of being unfamiliar with the lengthy menu.

In addition, I was wearing nice pants this day & I got strange chicken sauce all over them as I tried to eat my meal on the Interstate.

A Zaxby's fail all around. I will be back.

I had a couple of other locations in mind, but there wasn't enough time left in the day. I punched in Greenville's Municipal Stadium & realized that I needed to hurry if I wanted to make it there before complete darkness.

Racing through unfamiliar Greenville, I hurriedly parked my rental as a little-league baseball team watched me wander off into the mud field nearby. I could see well enough, but dusk had almost passed. As I made my way inside, the mosquitoes left me alone as I left the trees behind. I set up my tripod, but my replacement Canon was having troubles focusing. This was the best shot of the 11 or 13 I took. I love old sporting stadiums, so this blurry shot really chaps my ass.

Especially with the history of this place as the home to the Atlanta Braves AA team. Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones, Tom Glavine, Javy Lopez, Jeff Francouer & Kyle Davies all played at this park.

I started towards the north afterwards, starting to round back towards Philadelphia. I wanted to see some of Shenandoah National Park on the way back, so I knew I had to stay north instead of going directly northeast for Philly.

I decided to drive to a state highpoint, but voted against South Carolina's, as you need to take rural roads; roads which I didn't want to feel alone upon this night. Instead, I pointed my rental towards North Carolina's Mount Mitchell.

It was dark soon after Greenville, so I was disappointed as I reached apparently-scenic Asheville. I took note of what I could in the dark alone on my highway. From Asheville, I exited onto a one-lane road towards Mount Mitchell, encountering heavy fog within a matter of minutes. The first few minutes I could somewhat see the overlooks & the scenery around me, but with this heavy fog, I knew I was missing out. I wasn't impressed that time constraints were causing me to drive this byway during nighttime, especially when the fog became really thick, to the point where I had to drive about 30mph.

The gate to the Mount Mitchell State Park is what you see in the above picture & I parked outside the gate, pondering sleep until they opened at 7 am. For some reason or another, I didn't feel comfortable up there & I didn't think that I would be up for hiking to North Carolina's highpoint at 7am (I forgot at this point that it's a difficulty 1, easy breezy highpoint. Dumbass I am.).

So I left & drove the remainder of the highway in the heavy fog. Anxious to get to a city, which apparently was not for another 30 miles. I was extremely tired & the calculations in my mind of 30 miles at 30 miles per hour, just weren't equaling joy & happiness. In addition, this was the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is often found on those '100 places to see' lists. Right now I was completely missing everything except the bright white light 4 feet in front of my headlights.

I was starting to head bob when I finally approached Marion. I found the first big box store I could find (a Lowe's), parked the HHR, then tested my buddy Arntz's rave reviews about sleeping in the back. As I stretched out my feet and wasn't cramped at all, I was happy to be here in this Lowe's parking lot in the mountains of North Carolina. It was bedtime.

Onto part 4.


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