Thursday, September 28, 2023

Being tourists

 When we left Alex's our plan called for a stop in Charleston, SC. We've been there before - even stayed in the same campground - but we've never taken the tour out to Fort Sumter where the civil war began. This time we did. We knew that St. James Island was a nice campground from a prior stay and it did not disappoint.

They even had a shuttle from the campground to town so we didn't need to drive. I love that. We picked up the shuttle at 9, then made it back to the pickup point at 4pm for the return trip. In the interim, we walked around Charleston and took the ferry out to Fort Sumter. learning some history along the way.
Walking around Charleston

Fort Sumter, notice the tik mark on the flag post
I just love learning history where it happened. Fort Sumter was actually shot to smithereens during the civil war. The walls around the fort were originally up to the height of that tik mark. Wow. Then they were destroyed completely and now they'be been rebuilt. 
The most interesting story was about a slave named Robert Smalls. He was "rented out" to the Confederates as a pilot. He knew how to navigate the navy ships in Charleston Harbor and the captain trusted him so much that he left Smalls in charge when he and his crew had a night on the town. While the captain and crew were getting drunk, Smalls gathered his fellow slaves and their families and piloted the ship back out of the harbor. He knew all the proper signals to make the confederates at Fort Sumter believe that the captain was in charge. He comandeered the ship past the port and out to a waiting Union ship where he turned it over in exchange for his freedom and that of his companions. 
What a story! And it's not over. Smalls ended up going to Congress and later buying the plantation of his former owner. I've looked for a book or a movie about him but no luck.  Here's the blurb on a poster:

Monday, September 25, 2023

Road Trip

 Jim's High School reunion is in Long Beach Island, New Jersey on October 7. Chris is attending the Google Product Expert Summit in London on October 14. Our plan? Take a road trip with the RV from Fort Lauderdale to New Jersey, then fly out of Newark to London and back. We can leave the RV at Jimmy's house on LBI. Then finish our road trip by driving home. Pretty much the same thing we did last year to go to Phil May's birthday party in Bexhill. We liked that so much, we figured we'd do it again!

First stop was to visit Rod and Natalie. They recently sold their house in Coral Springs and moved to the Jimmy Buffet 55+ community called Latitudes in Daytona Beach. Cool place. You can get around with just a golf cart. Go to the pool, the restaurant and community center with live music every night, even the Publix. 

We had a great time talking to Rod about his virtual reality programming gigs. He creates virtual worlds to be the background for a meeting platform. He said we could see a demo by just going to a web page, but I don't remember the address :-(

Then, we visited with Robin who was camping at Gamble Rogers State Park. Beautiful day!

She manages this large camper trailer, the truck to tow it and 2 big dogs - all by herself, and seems to be reveling in it. We see her every Friday morning on zoom with our tech-sharing group. 

More visiting

Next up was a mini-Nova Palooza at Alex's house in Melrose, Florida. Alex is my go-to person for conversations about life. We talked about living in places like Latitudes, vs. a house in Melrose, vs. a retirement home like Oak Hammock in Gainesville, vs staying right where we are in Fort Lauderdale.

So many pros and cons. We've had it so easy thus far. Never had to really make decisions about where to live - things just kind of fall in my lap. Now I believe that decisions should be made about the last stage of life before those decisions are forced on us.