MUTHUH's RIDES - Doin' the Charleston
July 14-16, 2006
A Hogs for Dogs Update:
There's not gonna be a Harley in sight in any of these pictures ... that's 'cause we took the convertible this trip. Kim and I went down to Charleston, SC to visit with old friends, and if you've been reading this stuff over the past couple years, familiar faces to you as well... Blaine and Janet are the folks who did the Hogs for Dogs ride in 2004 around the country, taking in 48 states in 7 months raising funds for people in need of assistance dogs. I'll not go into too much about that ride or the several trips I took in 2004 to join them on parts of it (see the Archives for 2004), but just say they are both well, as are Max and Bailey, on their Sailing Yacht, The Charboneau.
Blaine has settled into stateside liveaboard status this year building up a thriving business in Marine Services (service, repair and delivery). He has his commercial Captain's licence and insists I call him Capt'n whenever possible when we're out at bars. I refused to render a hand salute in the traditional way, and my modified finger salute prompted him to rescind that request. Janet helps in the business, tends bar locally, and both sit on the fun side of the bars fairly regular it seems, as all the barmaids seemed to know them.
Anyway - Max and Bailey are a bit older and live abord with them happily, and still go off on Sidecar rides with them but there will likely not be another HFD ride in the future because of their age... business dealings with family are keeping them stateside til next year, when they hope to get back out onto the open ocean for more voyages. We hadn't seen them in a while and had a free weekend before the summer craziness begins, so packed up the ragtop with a cooler and shorts and sandals, and a book on tape, for the 6 hour ride to Charleston - one of the South's best kept non-secrets.
One of the new toys I got for the upcoming Sturgis trips was a new Garmin 2610 GPS, shown here on a dashbag mount. Doubt I'll get much remote control use out of it on the bike, but in the car I gotta say the handheld was a great alternative to reaching on the dash for every little adjustment. With the top down, and sun lotion on, we took off trying to listen to a book on tape and keep from sweating too much. Didn't take long before I did something I often wish I could do on a bike ride - put the top up and the A/C on full blast - was easier to hear the tape, too. On the way down we stopped at the NC/SC border, where I always do to remove the helmet, and took a couple pics.
We got to the Marina in Charleston soon after 4pm. did all the handshakin and huggin and kissin and true to form went straight out to Reds for dinner and drinks. This is a very sweet place both for the sheer volume of single women (Blain said he researched and found a 10:1 ratio of women to men in Charleston...dunno how scientific that is though) and for the food - which was perfect. The outside patios and bars were a fun, if not a tad hot, place to hang out as the sun set.
At the end of dinner on the patio (pic 10) we went up to the skybar to finish up some drinks and cool off after a hot afternoon overlooking Shem Creek... this place is actually in Mount Pleasant - by all means look 'em up.
Back at the Marina, we went out to their local bar - Salty Mike's. I bellied up to the bar trying to get the barmaids attention, and watched as Blaine, three bodies back, wave at her and saw her point to him and take his order first. There's a lot ot be said for drinkin at your local bar often... the barmaids tend to take care of you first. I kinda got Pic 13 and 14 reversed...14 is the Charleston Bridge as we rode over it. This is a really neat bridge that replaced the old steel bridge ... more pics of that bridge later as we went sailing under it. They had live entertainment and a great outdoor patio that ovelooked a marsh flat out back...
From Mike's, we walked back to the sailboat, stayed up late bullshittin and swapping stories. Thank god for the air conditioning cause the humidity was awful. The next morning, I got up early and roamed the marina a little while everyone else slept. Pic #17 is The Charboneau at dock - a 40-something foot Island Packet yacht that they've sailed some 20+ thousand miles so far from Newfoundland to the Caribbean. Pics 18-20 are just random shots around the docks.
Pics 21-24 are of the Cap'n and crew on our morning sail out past Fort Sumpter to a swimming beach. The dogs have lived aboard, except for the 2004 Hogs for Dogs trip, for almost 5 years. They do take up a fair amound of room, but are well trained to lay still as we hopped and skipped around them. Blaine fixed up a ramp into the crew quarters so they can get in out of the weather when needed. But it was obvious they enjoyed being up top with mom n' pop.
Once clear of the congestion near the Battery on the southern tip of Charleston, Blaine turned the helm over to the Road Captain as we sailed around Fort Sumpter (pics 27 and 28)... Kim took up residence at various shady corners of the cockpit and told me what a good job I was doing. I actually learned a lot about the concept of sailing on this ride, including something that always confounded me - that when the wind is coming from off the bow, the angle of the wind across the sail actually sucks you through the water, as opposed to blows you through the water when it is from behind... (no jokes please...this was an epiphany for me.)
Once we got past Fort Sumpter we dropped sail, and wound our way into "the hole" for a little beach time. The beach was a bit crowded, sure, but I didn't put any of those pics up here so it looks like we had it to oursleves...we didn't! Pic #32 is me and my 1-pack abs...they don't call me Muthuh for nuthin...
Woulda been more beach pics but my batteries went dead... remember this lil dinghy in #36... we use it later tonight to cross the channel to go to dinner...
Back on the boat before low tide trapped us in the hole, we headed back into the harbor, past the USS Yorktown Battleship, and under the new bridge for some stunning perspective shots on the bridge....
Then dropped sail again for the upwind motoring past the waterfront and around the Battery back to the Marina.
After a quick shower in the airconditioned marina showers (a long shower!) we took that dinghy across the waterway to "California Dreaming" a popular restaurant and bar... we stayed in the bar of course. We tied up the dinghy at the docks just to the right of Picture #46 and watched as a tremendous storm blew over - trapping us in the bar for hours... it was awful... the place was full of those 10:1 women I spoke about (this must be the research blaine did, eh?) with margarita's overflowing and lightning kicking up a howl outside... we need to get stuck at places like this more often!
There's our lil dinghy in pic # 49 before the storm hit, and me causing trouble during the storm. Emily, the very attentive barmaid in #51 had to ask that we stop abusing our wives in the bar... afterwards we re-crossed the waterway in the dinghy, me in the bow holding up a flashlight with green/red lights like George Washington crossing the Delaware River and relaxed in the sailboat til the wee hours of the night... Pic #52 may LOOK like I was faking having passed out with a drink in my hand....and I was... you KNOW I wouldn't fall asleep with a half full drink nearby! The umbrella orange and cherry was Janet's idea and looked hurt when I said NO FRUIT...so I was forced to suffer through the humiliation while they took pictures... hell I don't care - the Jose' Cuervo hit the spot.
As my professed farwell ride looms in the next few weeks, I must say I know I will miss the bike, but this ragtop riding stuff ain't all bad either!
Till next time - 'nuff said...
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