Well…the concert yesterday afternoon was excellent…Connie really enjoyed it as it was all Renaissance music mostly by Italian composers…Neil thought it was OK but at least he didn’t not like it. The concert lasted about an hour and then we headed off 10 or 12 miles southeast to a place called The Wyld Dock…it was right on the marsh and is a bar/seafood place.
Dinner was good…at least the food part was. Service was less than stellar and the overall ambiance was something less than we thought it would be…Connie had worn a dress and heels to the concert so we were way, way overdressed for this place…although we did see women in outfits with skirts they were mostly either sun dresses or bathing suit coverups. In addition…the noseeums were out so Connie got sort of ate on…Neil is pretty much immune to biting bugs as long as Connie is around…he calls her his ‘skeeter magnet since she has A blood and he has B hers is a lot sweeter than his.
We stayed long enough to have an order of scallop corn fritters and a bowl each of crab chowder…food was good. Connie had a Victoria Amber (a Mexican brew) and Neil a Suitcase…which was some concoction of Goslings rum, juice, bitters and nutmeg…it was too frou-frou and was basically a waste of perfectly good Goslings rum. Afterwards…we thought about another drink…but it was getting on to sunset and the bugs were getting worse so we headed home and drank our own beer.
Alexandillo tweeted a nice photo last night…that’s grand baby Alex’s twitter handle.
Connie looked so happy at the concert that Neil decided to take a picture of her.
Unfortunately…by the time he took the picture she opened her eyes and looked around and the above “what the heck are you doing” look is not the smiling, happy face she was displaying milliseconds before he snapped this shot.
She also took a shot of the view from The Wyld…the view was nice and they had a drive up dock for boaters who wanted to stop and have some eats or drinks.
Monday morning after breakfast we headed off for…you guessed it…more Fun Stuff©. Today’s adventure was a trip about 12 miles north into the southern portion of South Carolina to visit the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge…it had been reported to us that it was an outstanding place to visit. We stopped on the way to get some gas and more bug repellent…we were considering a mile hike around the pond after we did the 4 mile loop drive…but by the time we were done it was hot and we were hungry so we skipped the hike and headed home…grabbing a couple of cheeseburgers from the Golden Arches on the way back. While we were out…the lady that owns the campground called us…apologized profusely for the noise last Saturday night, and told us she credited one nights stay back to our credit card. There’s a barn on the property of Red Gate CG that’s used for weddings. Saturday night they had music going on until about 2230…it wasn’t that loud but when the party broke up there was a lot of whooping and hollering, engines being raced, and general debauchery going on…at least the way she told the story. We actually didn’t think it was too bad and by 2245 when we went to bed it had quieted down…would not have bothered Neil anyway as his auditory enablers get removed when he goes to bed. Still…the owner said that wasn’t the way they wanted to do business…apologized again and insisted on giving us 1 night credit back. We also asked her if we could break out the pressure washer long enough to wash the dead love bugs off the front of the rig…she said that was fine so after our burgers Neil went out and spent 20 minutes or so blasting them off.
Ok…let’s get on to the photos.
The first thing I can tell you is…the wildlife in southern SC is pretty much the same as the wildlife in SW FL…but then the climate and ecosystems are pretty much the same…Savannah is a relatively swampy area so there’s your normal complement of wading birds, water fowl, and gators. We weren’t all that impressed with seeing gators being as we’re from deep in the heart of gator country now…but the visitors we ran into from San Diego were mightily impressed with the…and you need to read this next part with that deep voice that the guy on Swamp People uses…”Massive Leviathans”.
The Savannah NWR is located just north of the Savannah River over on the SC side…and is in an area that…back in the day…was composed solely of rice plantations. The 4 mile loop drive basically goes along the top of some of the dikes that separated the rice paddies which have been allowed to go back to the nature wanted them to be.
As usual…all photos and plant life shots are Connie’s as Neil isn’t interested much in them. As we started off from the visitor center…Neil went ahead and mounted the bird lens on the camera and put his “normal walking around lens” 18-300mm lens on Connie’s camera instead of her usual wide angle to normal 18-55mm lens…that way she has a little more reach for things that are out a bit farther.
This Great Blue Heron had a fish for breakfast then promptly started looking for his second course.
Brown Headed Cowbird.
Breeding American Pipit…Connie identified this for us with Peterson’s as she’s got more patience than he does.
Red Wing Blackbird…this was a pretty outstanding pose for this species…normally all you can see of them is the next shot.
Snowy Egret…only about 2/3 the height of the Great Egret above…and one of the shots that Connie was able to get using Neil’s longer lens than her short one. He’s offered to get her a longer range zoom…but she doesn’t want to carry that much weight.
View of the moss covered road down the dike.
Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay…wasting time.
Another Red Wing Blackbird sitting on a fence post.
With that our tour of the Savannah NWR was finished…although we did stop back by the visitor center to complete our second geocache. This one required gathering info from 4 different spots along the drive and from within the visitor center…the 4 digits recovered are the combination to the the lockbox containing the cache. We successfully completed that as well and logged the find.
I have to give mucho credit to Connie…she picked an excellent dinner recipe tonight. Sure…Neil cooked it but she found this chicken recipe with a honey/orange/hot pepper sauce that was really, really good…so good that we save the rest of the sauce for something else later. Had some noodles and Parmigiano-Reggiano to go along with it…it was outstanding.
Next up…Tuesday’s trip to the home of the Mighty 8th Air Force Museum…but it wasn’t actually an Air Force at the time…it’s official name was the VIII Bomber Command and it was responsible for the bombing campaign targeted against German forces in Europe during WW-II. VIII Bomber Command was established in January 1942 in Savannah GA…hence the museum is located here. It deployed aircraft to England through the spring and summer and initiated operations in August 1942, attacking the railroad marshaling yards in Rouen-Sotteville France.. Early missions suffered heavy losses as the Luftwaffe was more experienced at the time and training was limited before operations began. Experience quickly overcome the early losses and by the end of the war the unit was sending missions up up to 1,000 bombers escorted by 800 fighters. Forces of this command were principally responsible for the destruction of German military equipment factories, oil industry facilities, air bases, and transportation.
Restored B-17 “City of Savannah”…the B-17 Flying Fortress was one of two bombers operated by the command capable of a maximum payload of 6,000 pounds of bombs although this was usually restricted to 4,000 at the ranges required for targets in Nazi controlled areas. The other was the B-24 Liberator which was built Consolidated Aircraft…the company known today as General Dynamics. The B-24 was faster and had an 8,000 pound payload which was restricted to 6,000 pounds at the mission ranges required but the B-17 was a far tougher aircraft to attack and shoot down due to more defensive armament and a much tougher airframe…hence it’s name Flying Fortress. These bomb loads were large for the time but by the of the war the B-29 (which dropped the atomic bombs on Japan) had increased the payload to 16,000 pounds. Contrast this with current bombers…the F/A-18 single seat fighter bomber has a payload of 13,700 pounds and the B-52 bomber payload is around 70,000 pounds. A B-52 pilot Neil talked to in the officers club back in the day told him that with 1000 pound bombs the aircraft ran out of places to hang them before it ran out of payload.
The belly turret on the B-17…it’s operator was lucky as he could enter the turret from inside the aircraft…the tail turret required the gunner to enter it from his own exterior hatch before takeoff…with essentially no real access to the tail turret from inside the remainder of the aircraft.
Scale model of a B-24 Liberator.
Restored Boeing-Stearman Model 75 Kaydet training aircraft.
As I said up above…the B-17 was pretty hard to bring down. This photo…sorry it’s a lousy image but it’s a photo of a photo…shows a B-17 that successfully returned to base after having it’s nose shot off over Germany…take a look at the shots of the whole plane above and you can see that the antiaircraft flak shell blew off everything forward of the cockpit…killing the bombardier who sits in the clear plexiglass nose…although the shell didn’t break anything vital and the aircraft remained flying for 3 or 4 hours to return to it’s base.
Open bomb bay doors on the B-17.
Vietnam era F-4C Phantom…the workhorse of the air war there in both fighter and bomber roles…and proof positive that if you put large enough engines on it you can make a brick fly…it’s the world’s faster converter of high quality jet fuel to black smoke. This is the same kind of aircraft that resulted in Neil’s meeting the mayor of Auburn AL back during his NROTC tour at Auburn University…I’ll put the long version of the story in the blog on another day when I don’t have much to say…but long story short he got a couple of these to do a flyover for a commissioning ceremony at the ROTC programs. Turns out that Auburn AL has some rules about aircraft over city limits…500 foot minimum altitude, no afterburners, and no supersonic speeds…unfortunately (and unbeknownst to him) the weekend warrior pilots who flew the flyover violated each of these. The participants and attendees of the commissioning ceremony were duly and mightily impressed…the mayor not so much…hence Neil getting invited to her office to ‘splain himself as he was responsible for them being there.
Soviet MIG-17…a Korean era daylight only fighter…which although developed didn’t see service during the war as production was concentrated on the MIG-15 instead. IT was still in use in the early part of the Vietnam War.
With that…our tour of the museum was done so we headed home via Walmart to pick up some groceries. Not sure if we’re eating in or going out tonight…it’s still under what we call “dynamic observation” at this point. Tomorrow we’re heading off northwards…an overnight stop near Fayetteville NC before arriving in the Richmond VA area to see grand baby Alex on Thursday…we’ll stay again at Pocahontas State Park while we’re there for 6 nights before continuing on up to the Fairfax VA area for a few days.
Interesting things found on the net.
I wonder what happened to the first one?
That’s dark…note the portrait of Dad on the wall..
Couple of interesting RVs.