Tuesday, May 25, 2010

West Columbia Car Show

On May 8 I decided to head over to the West Columbia Riverwalk Amphitheater for the weekly Saturday night Rhythm on the River free concert, and en route I passed a car show going on in the Big Lots parking lot, so I stopped and wandered amongst the displayed cars for an hour or so before continuing on to the concert.

My dad had a GTO like this in his youth

Where's the engine?

In the trunk, where else? :-)

Similar to the car my family had while I was growing up and in which I learned to drive.

I love the 80's era Monte Carlo SS. The fact that this one was for sale was tempting. :-)

Classic car riding on a classic truck

The evening's entertainment, Angela Easterling and the Beguilers, a country/folk band whose music I enjoyed very much.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Blue Angels & Boone Hall Plantation

On April 17 Donna and I drove to Charleston to see the Blue Angels perform and to visit Boone Hall Plantation. The Blue Angels performed over Charleston Harbor, and we watched from Patriots Point on the Mt. Pleasant side. We got there just in time for the beginning of the show, which ran from 2:00 until around 3:00. This was my first time ever seeing the group, and I was absolutely blown away by the speed, sound, and precision. Those F16s are LOUD! It was an incredible hour, and I had a grin in my face the entire time; I felt like a little kid!

Lots of folks watched the show from their boats

The U.S.S. Yorktown, on display at Patriots Point

From there we headed a few miles down the road to Boone Hall Plantation, which dates back to 1681. The nearly mile-long drive lined with live oaks was planted in 1743. What a vision it was to plant that! If only the planters could see it now.

The actual home is relatively new, built in 1936 to replace the older home that was in a bad state of disrepair. Being relatively new, it employees pieces and parts of various schools of architecture, making it a very interesting building. We toured the inside but were unable to take photos.

There is a row of 9 original slave cabins that date back to 1790 and a smoke house that dates back to 1750, all of which are in remarkable condition.

The slave cabins

And the smoke house

In its heyday, Boone Hall Plantation was home to the world's largest pecan grove, but Hurricane Hugo in 1989 wiped out the marjority of the trees.

A couple more shots from around the grounds; I love the undulating brick wall.

By then we had worked up a good appetite, so we paid a visit to Jack's Cosmic Dogs, the restaurant that, according to Alton Brown, "serves up the best hot dogs I've ever had. Ever." It's a tiny little place that's easy to miss if you're not looking for it, but it's certainly worth seeking out. The atmosphere is fun, the employees are very friendly, and the hot dogs are unique and very good. I had one with chili, onions, and some of their famous sweet potato mustard, which was very tasty, along with some of their excellent fries.

Not quite ready to head back home, we drove out to the Isle of Palms and Sullivan's Island for a bit of exploring. We stopped at the Sullivan's Island lighthouse, the most modern lighthouse in the U.S., built in 1962. It is so modern, in fact, that it contains an elevator!

We then headed over to Ft. Moultrie and walked around its grounds as the sun was setting. Little-known fact: Edgar Allan Poe was stationed here from 1827-1828.

That was the perfect way to wrap up the day, so, sufficiently worn out, we headed back to Columbia.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

ECTA Speed Trials

On April 10 my brass quintet, Excalibur, played at an outdoor wedding reception in Darlington, SC. It was held at a beautiful home on a really nice piece of property, and the weather could not have been finer. We played from around 11:30 until 1:00.

When we were finished there I headed north through several small towns, scoring a few new post office photos along the way. Just north of Society Hill on Hwy 401 I stumbled upon the grave of Abel Kolb, a murdered Revolutionary War Patriot.

I encountered this neat building mural in Bennettsville, SC, hometown of the Tom Haverford character on "Parks and Recreation." I love all the building murals around this state.

I then made it to Maxton, NC, where I went to watch the East Coast Timing Association speed trials. It is a sanctioned land speed record organization, similar to Bonneville in Utah, and they hold events a few times a year; I was fortunate that they ran on the day of the wedding, since the two are somewhat close. I saw a few cars break the 200mph barrier and a couple of motorcycles hit 260mph. I moved around between the start line, the "trap" where speeds are recorded, and amongst the queue and pits to see the vehicles up close.

One of the 260mph motorcycles

Another 260mph motorcycle

This guy broke 200mph

This one did not, but it was fun to look at. :-)

Another cool vintage vehicle

Didn't get to see this guy run, but I be he was seriously fast.

All told, a very enjoyable and productive day. And I ended up with cash in my pocket, since the wedding gig paid rather handsomly! :-)