Wednesday, May 6
As I noted, we abandoned camp and camping on Wednesday morning, leaving Givhans Ferry State Park with a day remaining on our reservation. Apparently, even though you have to call the park for short notice reservations, they still process every reservation through ReserveAmerica, and those of you who have used that (often mandatory) camping reservation service understand the likelihood of getting any kind of refund. However, it was worth many times what we paid to escape the voracious mosquitos.
Givhans Ferry was the weakest of our camping spots in terms of internet access. Not only was there no wifi for miles around, but our cell phones did not even have service. (This may also have been a factor in our early departure.) Though we had a cooked breakfast, we were hungry by mid-morning, so when we saw a Dunkin’ Donuts, we had to stop. Here we investigated some of our touring and lodging options to the extent that we could (while enjoying a few donuts, of course).
We decided to visit Angel Oak on St. John’s Island before going into the center of Charleston. The dirt road to Angel Oak Park was a bit rough, but the drive was worth it. Angel Oak is believed to be the oldest thing (living or not) in the U.S. east of the Mississippi River. It is believed to be about 1500 years old, so it was already close to 1000 years old when Europeans “discovered” America. It gets its name from a family that once owned it. The tree is now owned (as if such a thing could really belong to someone) by the city of Charleston. As such, it is in its own park and is free to visit.
We took a few photos, then decided that we should enjoy a picnic, since we were already at a park. Dogs are not allowed near the tree, but they are allowed in the picnic area.
After lunch, we drove into Charleston and looked at some of the beautiful old houses. We also went by the historic City Market. Given our canine companions and the fact that we did not yet have a place to stay for the night, we sadly did not stop in Charleston itself.
We continued up the coast, passing the USS Yorktown (now a museum) on our way out of town, but sadly skipping that too.
We started to look for property management/rental offices when we reached Murrells Inlet about 15 miles south of Myrtle Beach. (We had tried the HomeAway app earlier with no success, largely because we were traveling with dogs.) The first (and only) place we stopped could manage a place for us on short notice, but they had a three-night minimum and a total charge of about $1000–well above our target. We drove through Myrtle Beach along the hotel row. Maureen was amazed that a place like that existed, with never-ending mini-golf and tacky hotels. We stopped at one hotel that relegated dogs to smoking rooms and another that did not take dogs over 20 pounds. Fortunately, at the second stop they had an information sheet about dogs and hotels showing which locations accepted dogs, what they charged, and how big the dog could be. Dog size is usually a non-issue for us, since Rebbe weighs a mere 12 pounds, but we also had my parents’ dog Lucie on this adventure, and as a lab-retriever mix she is quite a bit bigger. We finally ended up with two rooms at the Red Roof Inn. The rooms were spacious and clean, with refrigerators and microwaves, and they don’t charge a pet fee!
Although we were disappointed not to have a beach house, we were happy to be settled before the storm.