Saturday, April 28, 2012

Savannah Georgia and Fort Pulaski

Still working our way north we ended up near Savannah Georgia and spent two days visiting the city.  First we headed to River Street where we boarded a mock stern wheeler for a 1 1/2 hour tour of the river.  Not a good history tour as it was mostly about the growth of the port of Savannah. 

It did give us the chance to see the old dock area from a distance and it was a beautiful day for a boat ride.

This is the 3rd or 4th bridge like this that we have seen in our tour of the country but it still remains a marvel in engineering.  We did not cross over this one as we decided not to go to Hilton Head.

Love this shot with the sun glistening off the cables with the blue sky as a back drop.  This is similar to one of the copper hat bands that I designed.

Our second day touring the city we purchased an on/off tour trolley ticket and learned a great deal of  the history of this city.  One of Jackie's must see places was the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low who was the founder of the Girl Scouts.  The building is now the headquarters of the Girl Scouts USA and they give tours.  Most of the furnishings are original.  Juliette (or Daisy, as she was known by her friends) was an artist and many of her paintings and sculptures are in the home.  The tour was excellent and it was exciting being there just days after the 100th birthday of the Girl Scouts.

Not only did we take a tour of the house we had the pleasure of touring her garden where we got our picture taken with this monument.

We could go on and on about our visit to Savannah but if you are really interested, head for it does have a very interesting history.  We could post another 25 pictures just around town but it's time to move on to another location with lots of our country's history.

It's called Fort Pulaski National Monument, Georgia where the day we visited the 150th year celebration of the beginning of the Civil War was in full force complete with a full scale reenactment including the shooting of canyons, both ways.

Construction began in 1829 and took 18 years to complete at the cost of 1 million dollars and required over 25 million bricks.  Before the fort was garrisoned it was taken over by the Georgia militia. 

The top of the wall had over 40 guns positions...

and close to that many below and behind 7' thick walls.  The grooves in the floor from the aiming wheels still exist.

Even in the mid 1800's the US Government was building motes.

In 1862 the Union troops took over the surrounding area and set up 36 guns, two shown here, aimed at the fort and with the new style of guns bombarded the fort until the south raised the white flag and it was again in Union hands.

A little loud but what a show to see.  Hard to picture over 36 guns this size and larger all going off over 30 hours.

To be continued...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Last of Florida, a little fun and some history

Still moving around Florida, we ended up back in the Orlando area where we had the pleasure of spending an evening at dinner with Irene and Dan Braillard from Renton, WA. ( Jackie went to high school with Irene.)  We had a great dinner and an evening of wonderful conversation which went by way too quickly.

Our thanks to Patrick Braillard (Irene & Dan's son)  for the entrance tickets to Universal Studios where we spent a full day seeing the sights in 85 degree temperature.  The day we picked was right in the middle of spring break where half the people of Florida decided to join us there!

We still enjoyed wandering around to see all the sights but decided to not spend 1 to 1 1/2 hours in line for the rides.  This is just one of the store fronts that are still in use.  Lots of great street scenes to wander around and enjoy.

Around one corner was the Blues Brothers putting on a short but good show for the crowd.

We had to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter so we walked around to the other side of the complex only to find it so full of people that one could hardly find a path to get from one side to the other.

The building of this complex was done in such a remarkable way that it was hard to believe that it was not all real.

We think it actually felt cooler with all the snow and ice on all the buildings.  It was a grand day and we finally got back home after dark.  Next time, if there ever is a next time, we will pick a date where we can actually walk around the park and maybe even go on some of the rides.

Our last stop before departing Florida was 5 days parked with the Saint Johns river in front of us and just around the corner was the Atlantic Ocean.  This is the view out our front window with large and small ships going up and down the river.  From here we had a chance to visit the NE corner of Florida and spend some time walking and wading in the Atlantic.  And yes we picked up shells from the beach but no rocks here in this state.

One evening while walking the beach, up rose several hundred seagulls and we had to head for the car before we got in the drop zone.  Never did figure out what spooked them.  While walking the beach just before sunset we found out why we were the only ones on the beach -- it closed a half hour before we got out there and the Ranger came out and sent us home.

The next stop was going back into the history of this great Country, further back than any other place we had visited to date.  Castillo de San Marcos National Monument in St. Augustine Florida founded in 1565 by Spanish explorer and admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés.  It is the oldest continuously occupied European-established city and port in the continental United States.

The fort was started in 1672 making it one of the oldest standing structures in North America.  The fortress has served six different flags, survived hurricanes, and withstood bombardments and sieges.

The gun deck had mounted 74 canon of varying size.  The largest had a range of over three and one half miles.

The next few blogs when we find time to publish them will be more history from Georgia and South Carolina where we are now.  Finally out of Florida after 5 (warm) months.

To be continued...