What I did on my summer vacation…and then some

It’s been a crazy week.

This time last week I was anticipating my flight out of Cedar Rapids after severe storms (which included heavy rain) threatened my departure. After many hours on the plane and a layover in Atlanta, we landed in Charleston. The first thing I noticed as I stepped out into the street was the overwhelming heaviness of the humidity.

Being from Iowan, I know humidity, but this was much worse.  I had a headache the entire time I was there, but I refused to let it bother me. I had way too much sightseeing to do.

We had an awesome tour guide while we were there, who showed us all the great sights. Jeff’s son, Keith, who is in the Navy, is stationed at Goose Creek. He and his wife, Sara, live in Charleston and were more than happy to show us around.

dolphin
I’m pretty sure this was a dolphin, and not a shark. However, I wasn’t going to take a chance and get too close.

The first thing we did was visit his base. He took us to the swamp where we looked for “gators,” and stopped at the pier to watch a dolphin hunt for his lunch.

We decided to head downtown, “because that’s where all the excitement is,” according to Keith.

We decided to take a carriage tour around the town and had to kill a little time, so we went to the market; three blocks of pure tourist heaven.    I chose a few knick knacks for the kids and took in the culture. I realized that 99 percent of the people shopping were tourists, just like me, and my mind began to wander about where they were from, what their story was.

We boarded the carriage, along with several other people, and began the hour-long trek through the downtown area. Our guide, Bill, was extremely informative about the history of Charleston, and pointed out many of the highlights.

My favorite landmark was a house that was rumored to be owned by Robert E. Lee’s grandson. We looked up and saw an elderly gentleman standing on the veranda looking out over the harbor. Could this be him?

Could this be Robert E. Lee's grandson?
Could this be Robert E. Lee’s grandson?

We saw a lot of other sites, including Rainbow Row, which got its name because the group of houses had been in danger of being torn down many years ago. However, one woman decided to buy one of the houses, and then fixed it up, encouraging others to do the same. They painted the houses different colors and that’s how the street got its  name. (They also saved the houses, too!)

Bill pointed out many mansions that were worth several million dollars.  He told us stories about the people who once inhabited these homes and I wondered what it must have been like.

It was hard to imagine what Charleston was like during the Civil War, the kind of life the people lived, the culture that was so different from my own.

After the tour, we stopped at a local restaurant for dinner and ended the evening visiting with Jeff’s family.

Keith and Sara wanted us to see the Angel Oak Tree. This tree is said to be the oldest tree in the country and is on John’s Island. However, because of a sudden downpour on the island, the road washed out, which forced us to turn around and go back to the main road.

Once we were back in Charleston, the skies cleared up, the sun came out and we decided to head to the beach, where we picked up shells and enjoyed the waves.

Our vacation was over almost as soon as it had begun and we returned to the airport Monday morning to make the flight home. It was short and sweet, but very memorable.

Two days later, I was on my way to Des Moines to see Fleetwood Mac, the best musical group since the Beatles (in my book, anyway). My oldest daughter had bought me a ticket for my birthday in April, and the day had come when I would finally get to see them face to face….kind of.

Our seats were near the top of Wells Fargo Arena, but I didn’t care. I was in the same room with Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, and John McVey. The group’s album “Rumours” has been a favorite of mine since “Gold Dust Woman,”  “Dreams,” and “Go your own Way,”  top  the music charts.

They were late getting started, but once they did, the music was outstanding and the visuals that accompanied their songs was “trippy” as my daughter put it, but I prefer “awesome!”

Nearly 40 years after they put out their first album, Fleetwood Mac still has it, but then, I don’t think they ever lost it. For those of us who appreciate classic rock, anyway, Fleetwood Mac will never go out of style.

It’s been an interesting week, to say the least, but oh, so worth it. As I wrote in my earlier blog,  I am ready to take on whatever adventures come my way this summer…and then some.

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