The Dog & Rocket Tour 2010

July 28, 2010

Excuse me Sir, but are you a retired Naval Aviator?

Filed under: Uncategorized — corkyboy @ 3:27 pm

 

 

That was the question posed to me by a rather distinguished looking grey-haired gentleman sitting across from us in Tour Bus at Charleston SC Visitor Centre as we waited for the driver to take us on our way. It turned out that he had spied the new baseball cap that Karen had just bought me, and perhaps he was being just a tiny bit mischievous as when I replied I was a retired retailer from the UK he asked me to repeat it, perhaps in case the rest of the bus had not heard my lame reply. Anyway he was a charming old guy, accompanied by his family, he went on to explain that he flew for the US Navy and saw action in both Korea and Vietnam. He flew the Douglas A-3 Sky Warrior and the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk   The A-3 was the heaviest ever aircraft to be carrier borne and the A-4 was the backbone of the Argentinian Air Force strikes on UK troops in The Falkland’s little bit of bother.

 Staying with the MilitaryAviation theme for a moment, the Airport at Charleston SC is shared with The USAF and the 437th Airlift Wing. They fly the C-17 Globemaster 3 and as we taxied across the field I counted 22 of them lined up all in neat serried rows. Here is another good link to the C-17.

Back to the holiday and Charleston. It is a lovely sleepy old place, full of history involving both the British, who first colonised it in the early 1600’s and in 1861 the first shot was allegedly fire at Fort Sumter to kick off the US Civil War.

Examples of the British Colonisation are reflected still today in the Plantations and Plantation Houses that remain. One of the best examples is Magnolia Plantation.  The plantation dates to 1676 when Thomas and Ann Drayton built a house and small formal garden on the site. (The plantation remains under the control of the Drayton family after 15 generations.) The historic Drayton Hall was built in 1738 by John Drayton on an adjoining property. We spent a very interesting time visiting Magnolia but the heat and humidity on the day were absolutely draining, reported locally that day by the TV stations as having a heat index of 117f and it all ended around 4.30pm with an almighty storm and a 2  hour power cut back at the hotel.

We are now in Flagler Beach FL for the final week of our break. We are on the Eastern Seaboard, well away from all the theme parks in what can only be described as old fashioned Florida. We are staying in a lovely house that Karen tracked down and are just going to spend the week unwinding from all the travelling we have done. The weather is great, mid to high 90’s with only moderate humidity forecast so all looks to be set fair until we have to hop on the big birds again for the long haul back home.

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