Saturday, June 26, 2010


A couple of weeks back Donna and I drove to Spartanburg to see Angela Easterling and the Beguilers perform a free outdoor concert at R.J. Rockers Brewery. They are a local group that I recently enjoyed seeing at the Rhythm on the River concert series in West Columbia and was eager to see again. However, when we got to R.J. Rockers around 7:00, the time at which both their and Angela's websites said she'd start, an opening act was performing. I inquired and learned that Angela wouldn't be going on until 9:00, which would have had us getting home really late, so we ended up passing on the concert, but we had a good trip nonetheless.

En route to R.J. Rockers we visited the remains of Glendale Mills near Spartanburg, a site I visited earlier in the year that was worth another visit. It was a booming textile mill during the 1800's up through 1961. The grounds around the mill are a nice place for a stroll; it's built on the Tyger River, so it's nice walk up and down it, with a dam and old bridge spanning it.

We watched this blue heron catch a few fish for dinner.

From Glendale Mills we headed over to the Beacon Drive-In, where we had their barbecue. It was pretty good, though a bit unusual - instead of shredded, pulled, or chopped pork, it was cut into 1-inch chunks. The sauce was a bit like salsa, but the pork had a good, smoky flavor on its own, so sauce wasn't really needed. The plates were served "A Plenty," meaning fries and onion rings were heaped upon the plate, covering the meat underneath ... a second, empty plate is very useful. It was a fun experience, which is what the Beacon is all about. We were happy to see J.C., the order caller; he recently announced his retirement, so we didn't expect to see him there. It just won't be the same without him.

Sufficiently full, we headed into downtown. After visiting R.J. Rockers and deciding to pass on the music, we walked around for a while before heading home. There were several interesting sculptures made of bicycle parts on display.

This plaque is at the base of a sculpture ... good words by which to live.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Waterfall Adventure

On the Sunday before Memorial Day I headed up into the northwest corner of South Carolina for a waterfall adventure. I visited 5 that I had not seen before and revisited one old friend. I left around 7:30 and headed up I-26 and US76 toward Westminster. Along the way I encountered this neat step back in time:

I encountered a fair amount of rain throughout the day, but thankfully most of it fell while I was driving (and I was in my car rather than on a motorcycle, so it didn't matter), and my hikes were for the most part dry.

The first one, Chau Ram Falls, is in Chau Ram County Park just north of Westminster. This is a good one for those not inclined to hiking, as you can literally park right at it. The park entrance fee is a reasonable $2 per car. There are hiking trails that will lead you to another 5 waterfalls, but since I had others scouted out for the day, I elected to save those for another day. Camping is available for $20 a night, so maybe I'll head back one day soon and camp and catch those other falls.

The next one was Riley Moore Falls, just a bit further up US76 and off Cobbs Bridge Road. The directions say to hike up 748-C, which I found not to be marked, but it's very near 748-B. It was a somewhat strenuous and lengthy hike, made additionally challenging by all the wet and slippery red clay caused by the rain, but it was well worth the effort.

I then continued a bit further up US76 to Brasstown Falls. It was a fairly easy hike, though scrambling to the base was a bit challenging. There are three other levels that are more difficult to access, so I passed on them but may have to return to seek them out.

Continuing even further up US76, almost to the SC-GA border, I next visited Reedy Branch Falls. It was a very short and easy hike, and an absolutely beautiful waterfall.

Next in line was Fall Creek Falls, a bit east of US76. The guide states that the upper falls can be seen from the road, but I found the view very lacking, so I descended the very steep terrain to get to the base. It was very challenging getting down and back up, compounded by the slick mud and leaves from the rain, but it was well worth it.

I ended up on SC28 to head homeward, and I passed the sign for Isaqueena Falls, which is another good one for those not inclinded to hike, as it's a very short and easy walk, and it's an impressive waterfall. Always worth the stop to see it, so even though I've seen it several times, I stopped to see it once more.

By then I was sufficiently worn out, so I meandered back toward Columbia, catching a few post offices for my collection en route and enjoying a much-deserved Cracker Barrel breakfast near Clemson. These five new waterfalls brought my visited waterfall count to 50.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Shawfest 2010

On May 9 I headed over to Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, SC for ShawFest, an annual open house and air show. There were all sorts of aircraft on the ground available for close inspection and many aerial demonstrations throughout the day. And the weather could not have been finer for spending a day outside!

It's amazing how complex even just the landing gear mechanism is.

Part of a team of 4 women skydivers.

Old meets new - a WWII-era P51 Mustang and a present-day F-16 flying together.

Look closely and you'll see a crazy wing walker on top of the plane.

The featured attraction was the Air Force Thunderbirds. Just a couple of weeks prior I'd gotten to see their Navy counterparts, the Blue Angels, perform in Charleston, so it was interesting to compare and contrast the two teams. Both were extremely impressive.

On my way out I captured my first military base post office for my collection!

The crowd was estimated at around 80,000, so departing was an exercise in patience. It probably would have been worthwhile to cut out a bit early, or either take a book and chair and enjoy an hour of reading before joining the queue.

It was a very enjoyable and well-run event, and I'll definitely plan on going again in the future.