Thursday, January 29, 2015

Weekend in Charleston with our Sailor


After spending a few days with family back home, we packed up Nicolas’ car with his “stuff” (fortunately there’s not much of it . . . benefit of an RV lifestyle!), and drove it down to Charleston.  We timed our arrival for the Friday after he arrived – that gave him the week to get settled and acclimated before we got there. 

The temperature rose as we drove south, but we also ran into quite a bit of rain on Friday.  Arriving in Charleston around 1pm, it was too early to get checked into our hotel, so we headed over to the base to meet up with Nick.  He was done for the day, but his liberty didn’t start until 4pm, so we had to stay on the base until then.

We walked around the Commissary and the NEX with him to check out prices.  He probably won’t be doing much shopping at the NEX, but the Commissary has pretty good prices . . . not that he needs to buy too much food!  He eats his meals in the galley, but says the food there isn’t anything like he had in bootcamp . . . he actually said he’d go back to bootcamp for the food!

By the time we finished walking around, it was after 4:00 and he was able to leave the base.  We went back to our hotel to get checked in, and then decided that we might as well go to a movie since it was still raining.  We had a quick dinner at Hooters, and then went to see “American Sniper”.  It was a very good movie, and as I read in somebody else’s blog, it was very eerie to have the entire audience in complete silence as the movie ended and we walked out of the theatre.  Nicolas needed to be back by 10pm, so we dropped him off, along with his laundry supplies, so that he could get his laundry done that evening.

I had given him lessons on laundry in the last few months he was home, so he did pretty well, and only had to call me with a couple questions!!




On Saturday morning, we picked up our Sailor-boy again, and headed to downtown Charleston.  When we were here two years ago visiting Katy & Shane, they took us to a Farmer’s Market in the square downtown, so that was our intended destination.  Unfortunately, they must not have it in the winter . . . the square was empty!  It’ll probably be back in the spring . . . Nicolas will have to watch for it.



So, since we couldn’t go to the Farmer’s Market, we just parked by the Historic City Market, and walked through there.


There was a variety of vendors and shops, and I finally found some “stopper” beads for my Pandora bracelet, which I’ve been looking for. 


From there, we walked down the streets on either side of the market and I found the Tea & Spice Shop that I liked.  I picked up some tea, and some basil and bread dipping spices – YUM.

We also stopped in the Pepper Palace!


Nicolas did a little sampling . . .


and Bryce found some hot sauce with his name on it!


After getting a quick lunch at Subway, we headed back towards Goose Creek, stopping in North Charleston to do a little shopping for Nicolas.

We picked up a few things at Walmart, and by the time we came out of the store the sun had come out and it had warmed up quite a bit, so we walked around the outlet mall for awhile.  With our shopping complete, we took Nicolas back to drop off his stuff and pick up his computer, so we could go back to our hotel and look over his budget, paycheck stubs, and other online accounts.

Boys relaxing in our room

He’s getting internet with his roommate, but hadn’t gotten his password set up yet.  After going through all of his stuff, we relaxed in the room for a while, and then went out for a later dinner at Texas Roadhouse.

Nicolas certainly is eating good this weekend!!

Sunday promised to be warm and sunny, so after meeting Nicolas for mass at the base, we headed to Sullivan Island and Fort Moultrie.


Fort Moultrie was used during the Revolutionary War to protect Charleston Harbor, but proved to be insufficient, so Fort Sumter was built to block the mouth of the harbor.

We could see Fort Sumter in the distance.

Fort Sumter



We stopped in the Visitor Center to watch the video on the fort, and met the volunteers working there.  They are fulltime RVers also, and have done a lot of interpretive work in National Parks.  That’s something I think Tom and I would like to do, once we are travelling by ourselves.

They gave Nicolas his military annual national park pass (free for active duty military), and we exchanged cards and blog information.

From there, we walked across the street to the restored fort.


Walls of the Fort

Old walls










There’s a walking path through the fort, with signs that describe the remaining structures and cannons.



Checking out the big guns

It was such a beautiful day, a real pleasure to be outside!

Fort Sumter in the distance

Bryce being a dork!











I’m not really sure what Bryce is doing in that picture!! LOL

We continued through the fort . . . checking out the cannons and even the gunpowder room.     DSC_0287

Gunpowder Room


Checking out the old buildings



After our tour of the fort was complete, we walked past the row of Revolutionary Cannons,


and the Torpedo Storage Building.

Torpedo Room

We drove to the north end of the island, to the little town of Isle of Palms, where we had lunch outside on the patio at the Harris Teeter grocery store, before crossing back over the Intercoastal Waterway.

Intercoastal Waterway

Arthur Ravenall Bridge


We turned back toward Charleston and crossed over the Ravenall Bridge.  We were going to walk part of the way over the bridge, but we missed the turnoff and Tom didn’t want to go back!

So, we continued on until we saw the sign for Riverside Park and the old Navy Yard.

Old Navy Yard

It was a nice little park along the river, with a good view of Patriot’s Point and various shipyards.




This was an active Naval Base until it closed in 1995, and the area that the park is in was the Officer’s Quarters.




There are still a few remaining buildings,

Officer Quarters

along with a walkway along the water, an amphitheater, and a reflecting pool with memorials of the Navy Base.


Reflecting Pool











Model Ships



It was a beautiful park, and a great place to visit on such a nice day!










We returned to the hotel to visit and rest, and then took Nicolas out for one last dinner.  Our weekend with him was coming to an end and we had to say good-bye again!  We were heading out in the morning, back to Florida, and Nicolas was going to be starting his classes.

It was hard to say good-bye again, but at least this time we are able to stay in touch . . . in fact, I talk to him every day!

Before leaving the hotel, we took a family photo with our sailor in the lobby!

Family Picture

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Back to the Detroit International Auto Show

Detroit International Auto Show


Back when we lived in Michigan, the Auto Show in downtown Detroit was almost an annual event for us.  We’ve missed it the last few years, so since we were back in town for a few days, we thought we’d check it out.  Nicolas was disappointed that he couldn’t go with us!


Monday was Martin Luther King Day, so it was pretty crowded, but not too bad.  We got our tickets and were inside by 11:30.

We walked all through the show and saw lots of pretty cars.












Acura NSX

If Nicolas had been with us, he would have sat in each and every car he saw . . . Bryce and Tom only sat in a few, so we were able to get through the show a lot quicker than we normally could! Smile

Bryce likes the Fiat!










There were some vintage vehicles that looked pretty good, too!


Alfa Romeo Roadsters










We made our way over to the Ford display, which is always the biggest, and usually the most crowded!  That was true again this year!

Busy Ford Display

Blue was apparently the color of 2015!

Ford GT

Ford Raptor

Shelby Mustang










Those new cars look really nice, but Tom and Bryce like the old Baja Truck, too!         Baja Truck









Innovation Park was an interactive area of the Ford display that was getting a lot of attention.  It was a park-like setting in the middle of the display, with a camera that projected video images onto the ceiling (and also onto the internet, I think).

Innovation Park

When we were finished looking at all the cars, we headed down to the lower level . . . past the sweet scent of fudge . . .

Gotta have the Mackinaw Island Fudge!










torture, but we didn’t buy any!!

There were just a few displays in the lower level . . . engineering schools, aftermarket companies . . . where we saw a couple of cool trucks . . .

There's a truck for Nick!

Tom found a truck he likes!










and a large display of Army vehicles.  We were getting tired and hungry by then, so we decided to head out and get some lunch.  When I talked to Nicolas later, he couldn’t believe we got out of there so quickly . . . that’s how it goes when he isn’t with us, I guess!

We walked a few blocks to our favorite lunch stop in downtown Detroit.

Time for lunch!

Lafayette and American each have their own set of loyal fans, and we are firmly in the Lafayette camp!

Our favorite coneys


The diner was packed, but we managed to grab three seats at the counter and ordered coneys and chili fries . . . YUM!

If you’re going to eat a hot dog, this is the place to go!

Anyone want a hot dog?

It was a good day spent in downtown Detroit!