Bangor City Forest

Bangor City Forest
Bangor City Forest

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Charleston, SC, Warrior Creek COE, NC and Big Stone Gap, VA - Jessie Lea RV park

After our time in Savannah, Ga we moved north into SC. We were able to reserve a site at the James Island County Campground. The roads into the park will give you some moments of low clearance heart stoppage. However the trees are trimmed to just clear the top of semis and RV's. The area is beautiful with Live Oaks and Palmettos. We had a great pull through site with FHU's and nice foliage for privacy. Our first evening we explored the local area around the park and came across a restaurant right on the intercoastal waterway. There was a draw bridge on the waterway and we had the opportunity to see a boat with high clearance go through with the bridge up.

Enlarge the photos for best viewing


The Charleston Seafood House had delicious food and great views as you can see.

Shrimp and Grits for me

Seafood Platter with Lima Beans for Glenda

We only had 2 days in the Charleston area so we contacted the park office and signed up for a shuttle to downtown Charleston from the park and back again. Cost only $10 per person round trip. Much easier than finding parking downtown for our truck.


The shuttle dropped us off at the Visitors Center

Glenda had done some planning for our sightseeing tour of Charleston. She contacted a walking tour company for a tour and lecture of Charleston history with emphasis on Slavery and the Civil War.

Our tour guide had us meet him at the Washington Park a few blocks away. So much history of Charleston in that park too.




Dennis Stiles, our guide, told us that SC was the first state to secede from the union and the convention held in Charleston had 169 delegates who ALL voted to secede. The only state where ALL delegates voted to secede. 169-0. Charleston was also a huge hub for the slave trade in the US at that time. Charleston was also an area where slaves were able to escape from their masters and go north to free states. There were even a few free slaves that owned businesses in Charleston after the war. Quite an interesting diversity in culture and societal hierarchy.

The building where the secession vote took place
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Charleston is rich in architecture too. Some building had multicolor facades and can not be changed due to the historical preservation.

Enlarge the photo to view the colors best

Of course there is some very tragic history in relation to the Charleston Massacre of black church members by Dylan Roof. Our guide pointed out the federal building where his trial took place.

Federal Building

Our tour was over a 3 hour period and Dennis gave us so much information there is no way I can even come close to remembering and passing on all that information. I highly recommend a visit to Charleston especially if you are a history/civil war buff.

Here are several photos of some historic and architectural buildings of Charleston.

Dennis our tour guide










Many homes have gas lanterns in the front of their homes

The walking tour ended at Riverfront Park where cargo ships and sail boats pass back and forth. The local community college even has a class on sailing.

Sail boats everywhere



Cargo ship


After the tour we headed to a restaurant for some lunch. We tried to get into a couple of places but the wait was too long so we settled on the Noisy Oyster along the main street. Good food and right on the street. Unfortunately there was street work going on outside and it took away some of the atmosphere.

We continued our walk around the downtown and then made our way back to the visitors center for our ride back to the park.

James Island County Park has great bike walking paths throughout and we took advantage of as much as we could.



We even had several opportunities to find some geocaches. I even had a First to Find cache. That means I was the first person to find the cache after the cache owner placed it. That was my first "First to Find". Something exciting for a geocacher.

We had a wonderful time and learned so much from our visit to Charleston. I would certainly come back to the area and try to stay at James Island County Park again.

We had a recommendation from our good friends Steve and Deb at Down the Road (Fast and Loose...inside joke) to go see the Angel Tree on Johns Island. So we found it on our GPS and made the drive our last day.

The Angel Oak Tree is very large and very old. Estimated at around 400 years old. This is a free must see attraction. About a 1/4 mile from the area you have to drive on a gravel road, very narrow and a little bumpy but easy to access.


You get a good perspective of how large when compared to the people around the base

The branches are so heavy and large there are several that have to be supported

Large supports and small


The tree is so large it's difficult to get all of it in the photo at one time.

After our stop in the Charleston area in South Carolina we moved further north into North Carolina and stayed at the Warrior Creek COE west of Winston-Salem. This is a beautiful park with tons of hiking trails. Unfortunately We couldn't hike any because of the rain in the area. There was so much rain recently they even had to close some of the day use areas. However, this made for a quiet park without lot of other campers.

We had a really large pull through site 130 by 50 ft. on an elevated area of the park.
We left Charleston in 80 degree weather and set up at Warrior Creek in 50 degree weather and rain.





The park is somewhat hilly so on our walks each day we got plenty of exercise going up and down the hills. We wish we could have enjoyed more of the park but the rain was on and off during our 2 day stay. The campers in sites on the loser part of the park had to move to higher ground due to possible flooding.





Unlike our walk at Palmetto Island SP with our friends Faye and Dave we were prepared for the weather.




The sun came out on the second day so we inspected the flooding in the lower part of the park. The water was getting pretty close to the sites there.

We were walking along the road by our site and we came across this snail trying to make it's way to the other side.



On our last day as we were packing up to leave there was this beautiful Rosy Maple Moth on the side of the rig. The colors were vibrant yellow and pink. What an awesome find.

We enjoyed our stay in North Carolina and would love to come back again in the future.

After NC we moved on into Virginia and the Jessie Lea RV Park and Campground. Nice little park with a very laid back owner. We pulled up to the office, IN THE RAIN, and had to call the number on the door. The owner doesn't have regular office hours. He originally was going to give us a back in site but we saw a pull through that was vacant and the owner being so laid back said go ahead and take it. We decided to just unhitch and go get a bite to eat in town. Big Stone Gap is a small Appalachian town with great mountain landscape.



I took these the next day after the rain.

The RV park is close to a 4 mile multi use path so we got our steps in along this path each day along with finding a couple of geocaches.


The path runs along side a creek

Found this carving along the path

We only had a couple of days at the park and we heard a lot about the Natural Tunnel State Park nearby so we planned a day to explore the park and  tunnel. Again it had rained a lot the day or so before so the paths were still damp but not enough to deter us. We stopped at the visitor center but at this time of year it was not open during the week. Things will get going strong after Memorial Day.

So we had the park mostly to our selves. We hiked up to Lovers Leap and got great views of the canyon below where the Main Tunnel is.


Chimney Rock in the background



We even saw that there was an Earth Geocache at the coordinates for Lovers Leap so we answered the questions about the area and made the find. After some additional hiking around Lovers Leap, we had a little snack and then headed out for more. We hiked a couple other trails that lead to the campgrounds in the park. There were several sites that would work for us but we found that the rate for sites there was more than what we paid at Jessie Lea RV park. Depends on what type of camping/RVing you're looking for.

Then we took the trail that lead down to the tunnels in the park. The main tunnel actually is a working train tunnel for the coal industry in the area.

Switchbacks down to the bottom





Main Tunnel


They have a chairlift for those not interested or able to hike down and then climb back up

Lots of steps

Our travels have now lead us to some new states and increased our numbers of places we've stayed.

The icing on the cake was our last night at Jessie Lea was a bluegrass jam session. The main talent was two young ladies who played guitar, mandolin and violin along with singing. What a treat.

Maggie and Beth

Even got the owners grandkids involved


Other musicians getting involved

We certainly do love this part of the country with the down to earth folks and hospitality. The laid back lifestyle is contagious and also reminds us of what we have in this lifestyle.

We're moving closer and closer to IL and spending time with our family and friends. We have  a couple of stops in IL before we get to see everyone again. Rend Lake (South Marcum) and Lake Shelbyville (Bo Wood) are up next. Thanks for following along.




4 comments:

  1. We loved Charleston. Glad you got to see the tree. We were hitched up and there sure was no where to park and we weren't going to chance driving up to it with those low branches! Great finds in campgrounds you guys had. Too bad the campers in the "loser" part of the part got washed out ;-) The hikes looked like a lot of fun too. Neat face carved in the tree. Have fun at home. Congrats on the First To Find!

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    1. The tree was impressive. Thanks for the suggestion to see it. The loser section....haha. Typo for sure. Been edited. Wish we could have done more hiking. Looking forward to seeing the family.

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  2. Congrats on the First to Find, we finally got started on our geocaches around here. Nice to see you learned from our walks in the rain and are now properly prepared. Looks like some great campgrounds, have to keep some of them in mind if we are in that area again. Love those large oak trees.

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    1. The FTF was unexpected. Wasn't sure I was the one but the cache owner contacted me and congratulated me. We did have some good campground finds. With so much rain around the places we stayed we had to be prepared. HaHa.

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