"Four Days to Parris" Parris Island Travelogue by grandmaR
Parris Island Travel Guide: 10 reviews and 49 photos
We left on Wednesday morning (Sept 21) about 10. Bob said to leave about 10 as we were going as far as Fayetteville which I figured was about a 6 hour drive. So about 9:30, he came up to where I was finishing up on the computer and complained that I wasn't ready. I did indeed not have my dress or shoes on. He wanted to turn off the water, which I do not know why he wanted to do that as we were only going to be gone for 4 days. But it was no use arguing with him about it. So I hurried up to finish in the bathroom.
We actually did leave a little after 10. I had the GPS set to take us to Fayetteville --- BUT it didn't take into account that the Allen's Fresh bridge on MD 234 was out or the sinkhole on US 301 in La Plata. Bob was adamant that we would NOT go up 234 to Trinity Church Rd which is the official detour. The GPS gave us heck trying to get us to go back to 234.
We took MD 6, and then Bob allowed the GPS to send him down Bel Alton-Newtown Rd to US 301 which also avoided the sinkhole area. We were approaching the Gov. Nice bridge (all the signs just call it the "Nice Bridge" which I think is hilarious) by about 11:10. Here we found that construction on the bridge made the traffic only one way - but we lucked out and didn't have to stop as the traffic was going our way when we got there.
I fell asleep (I brought a pillow so I wouldn't get such a crick in my neck) and woke up just about the time we got to Bowling Green because Bob wanted to know where we should eat lunch. But we had already passed everything before I-95 and it was still a little early. We passed Kings Dominion about 12:10, and finally stopped in Ashland at about 12:15. Bob told me to pick and I picked Perkins, but Bob wasn't happy with Perkins as he said there was nothing on the menu he wanted to eat. He finally ordered chicken mini burgers but he said he should have just had chicken soup and a salad. I had potato pancakes with bacon, but they were soft instead of crisp. Strangely, the bathrooms for the restaurant were in the adjoining hotel
The weather was cloudy with rain or sometimes downpours on and off. For some reason the GPS took us right through the middle of Richmond which was only about five miles shorter. Here again there was construction. I napped some more. Bob had a very peaceful drive without me talking to him all the time.
We got to Fayetteville by about 1630 and got gas. Here there was sticker shock - gas was $3.599 a gallon - much more expensive than at home. The car got 36 mpg. We checked into the Hampton Inn and got a very nice room with a handicapped shower with a seat in it. There was also a small fridge and microwave neither of which we had a chance to use.I had looked up the local cemeteries and there were two across the street, so we drove over there and I took some photos, but the cemeteries were almost completely documented, and I was being eaten up by mosquitoes. Some of the mosquitoes sneaked back into the car with me. So I just got some photos of those who died after 2008, and also a better photo of the cemetery sign.
After that we went to eat. There were two non-fast food places and we couldn't see where one of them (Ruby Tuesday) was. So we went to Shoney's. There was a deal where two people could eat for $10.99 so we decided to do that. Bob had two choices - liver and onions and chicken tenders, and he decided on the chicken. I didn't see anything I liked so I settled on the Half-O-Pound ground beef patty which I thought would be a hamburger type thing. But it turned out to be a big lump of gray meat. I got rice so I wouldn't get gravy with it. I think I would have been better with the chicken. We saw where Ruby Tuesday was on the way back to the hotel
I called our son and talked to him. He was still at home and would be leaving to go to the Hampton Inn later. I spent some time one the computer uploading the cemetery pictures, and then went to bed.
Tomorrow we are going to Parris Island and hope to take our grandson and family to lunch. We intend to leave about 9 as I figure we have about a four hour drive
I washed my hair and finished up on the computer. At breakfast they had cranberry juice, and I had a hard boiled egg and a muffin. Bob had yogurt and cereal. They did have breakfast sandwiches but I couldn't stand in line to get one and then wait for them to cook. The same for the waffles.
We got underway about 8:45. We stopped at the border rest stop at 11:45 for Bob to use the bathroom and he remarked that all the vending machines were behind bars - you had to reach through to put your money in and take the product out. He said it was to keep people from robbing them.
I talked to our son and he said his phone was about out of charge. I called him when we were entering the base and he said they were at NFCU. We had no problem getting on the base and the 100% ID check was extremely cursory. Our son said that they stopped him and searched him - maybe because he had three women/girls - his wife, his daughter and his son's girlfriend. We got to where they were about 12:45.
Our grandson couldn't go off the base, so we walked over to Backyard Burgers which was mobbed. Bob and our son and grandson went to order the food and get the drinks. I thought from the color that I had lemonade, but it turned out to be root beer which was a surprise, although I do like root beer. They brought our order, but forgot our daughter-in-law's salad, so our son had to go back and get it. They had brought a huge chocolate chip cookie cake with frosting that said Congratulations and had the marine corps insignia.
We walked back to the cars and then we convoyed down to where our grandson thought there might be a lighthouse, but it was an observation tower for the firing range. He had just 5 minutes to get back to his unit so we continued on without them. The Beaufort front and rear range lights are long gone, but the oil house is still there on the base and the marines spent $50K restoring it so we thought we might be able to find it. I had the coordinates in the GPS. It took us down past the golf course and then the GPS suddenly pointed at a 90 degree angle to the left and said "Start off road navigation"....Nothing there but dense forest.
We drove on a little bit and found an unpaved track that went back at an acute angle toward the area where the off road navigation had started so we bounced along through the mud puddles. We found a clearing with some buildings and vehicles but nothing on the other side. We kept on going and found a road which had some deer standing there watching us. Eventually we ended up at an abandoned airstrip.
Our son said that he thought they supplied the materials for our grandson's barracks (which are new) because they dropped materials at the air strip for some building. In any case we did not know if we could get out somewhere on the edge of the airstrip (we could have), so we went back the way we had come. We were leaving the base about 1500. Then Bob took the first right instead of the second one and we went up US 21 all the way into town instead of going up SC 280
We checked into the Sleep Inn about 3:15, and they gave us directions to the graduation the next day and a coupon for a free appetizer at Gilligan's which was next door. We had a nice room, although the shower (which was big and square) did not have a seat in it. We talked to our son and decided that we would meet at Gilligans at 5:30 as there was a reception for families of graduates there from 6 to 8 and we were afraid that we wouldn't be able to get a table if we waited.
I thought I might be able to take the scooter over, but Bob said that the sidewalks had curbs so we drove. We had the shrimp dip appetizer and then Bob and the girls had the she crab soup, and Bob also had steamed shrimp and raw oysters. I had the stuffed salmon.
Our table was by the window and we saw some young raccoons climbing around in trees outside. Then a guy came in and gave us a talk about what we should be doing tomorrow. He said to leave the hotel by 0530 so as to get a good seat at the graduation.
We got up early and had breakfast. The cranberry juice cocktail was extremely sweet, and I just had a bagel in addition. We left the hotel early but not by 0530. We were entering the base about 0750.
No problem. We found a handicapped parking place near the bleachers. The weather looked like it was clearing, so Bob put the scooter together and we started over toward the set of bleachers for our grandsons unit. Just as we got there, there was an announcement that graduation would be in the all weather building. So we turned around. Everyone streamed out of the bleachers and I scootered among them over to the building. I was told to go in the side door as the door I was attempting to enter had all steps.
We found a place for the scooter beside some folding chairs and Bob sat beside me. Then someone came and cleared out the non-handicapped people from those seats. Our son and daughter-in-law came and sat with us, but the girls stayed up in the stands.
First a band came in and played a Sousa march. Then they played the Stars and Stripes Forever and the piccolo player had a solo. I tried to record some of it with my camera, but it didn't come out. The graduating Marines marched in and then there was a program with an invocation, the Star Spangled Banner, the address by the commander, and various acknowledgements, and during this we could hear the rain just pouring down outside and were grateful that the ceremony was moved indoors.
The ceremony was over about 9:45 and our grandson was allowed to go home with his folks. We managed to leave between rain showers (the showers washed all the mud off the car from the preceding day) and we went back to our car and disassembled and packed away the scooter. Then we waited. For about a hour. Bob read the paper which I had picked up at the motel.
Finally about 10:45, Bob turned away from the traffic and went down around the edge of the parking lot to the entrance where cars were actually moving, and we left and headed back to Fayetteville.
We stopped to get gas at the Marine Air Station which had gas at $3.229. We followed the track back to I-95 on the GPS, stopping at the Jackson Family Cemetery where I meant to take some photos, but when we turned in, we found another cemetery back of it called the Pilgrim Fort Cemetery and so we took photos there instead. Then it started to rain, and we left.
We stopped in Waltersboro about 1230 for lunch and the first place was the Long Horn Steak House, which was mostly a buffet and which had a busload of people there. The people were from Jacksonville FL and they were returning from a trip to the Amish Country of PA. The buffet was not very appealing and it is usually not a good deal for us as we don't eat that much, so we tried to order actual food. This proved to be a problem. Bob ordered chili and they were out. So eventually we both had a pulled pork sandwich and then he had a brownie sundae and I had key lime pie. Service was very slow and lunch took us an hour.
We got back to Fayetteville about 1630, and the gas was now less expensive, but still more than we had paid in Beaufort or at home. This time they gave us a different room and it had a bathtub with a shower instead of a shower with a seat.
We had dinner at the other non-fast food restaurant which was Ruby Tuesday and the dinner was good and the service was quick. We had the lobster specials that they have Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I had the lobster mac 'n cheese and snap peas, and Bob had the seafood trio and the salad bar. Bob went to bed early as we had started the day early.
Bob got up and got dressed and had breakfast before I was awake. I finally managed to get organized, and got my breakfast while Bob checked out. I got some cranberry juice and a bagel and picked up two nice green bananas for breakfast at home, and ate in the car.
This time the GPS routed us on I-295 around Petersburg/Richmond. We stopped in Hopewell and got gas, and had lunch at Pizza Hut. Bob had a personal pan pizza and I had pizza rollers. It was quicker than yesterday at the Lone Star. From here it was same-old-same-old until we got home.
Except that they weren't doing any construction on the Nice Bridge on Saturday.
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