Cheraw State Park Camping - Sunday, Oct 17, 2010

Well, the end of this great weekend has come.  It was chilly when we got up this morning.  Nancy and I took one last walk along the boardwalk before packing up and heading back to Murrells Inlet.
Chilly walk on the Boardwalk

Road leading to the Campground Entrance

Campground Entrance and Dump Station

Entering the Campground

Bill and Chris getting ready to head home.

You know the weekend is over WHEN... 
You head to THE DUMP!!

We had a nice ride home and did a lot of reflecting on the wonderful weekend we just had with our good friends.  We know this is just the first of many great camping trips with Bill and Chris.  Thanks guys for a great time!!

However, when we got home we had another treat waiting for us.  Julie, our daughter, had taken advantage of our empty house for the weekend.  She came down for a "Mom's Getaway!"  She has four children, ages 3-10, and deserves at little time off now and then.  So glad she came our way and we had a chance to visit.  We finished all our camping leftovers for dinner and then headed out to the Garden City Fishing Pier.  Julie had been out there last evening and said they were catching fish like crazy.  She even saw a manatee swim under the bridge.  That is really rare in these parts.  She said it looked like a Volkswagen breaking the surf.......just so BIG!! 

Well, there was no manatee but they were catching fish, sometimes two at a time. 
Julie and Bill watching the fishermen

An interesting catch  ---  Flying Fish or Sea Robin
Interesting Hat  --  Gotta get one of those!

Pelicans in the Sun... Beautiful End to a Beautiful Weekend!

Cheraw State Park Camping - Saturday, Oct 16, 2010

Bill and I had an early tee time at the SPECTACULAR Cheraw State Park Golf Course. As you can see on the map, it is a little too far to walk over from the campground. 

Nancy drove us over so the girls would have the car for their adventure later. It truly is a gem not many golfers know about --  a real championship caliber golf course!!
Golf Pro Shop
Here are a few pictures of the views around the course.

We had a great time  --  topped off by me getting an eagle two on a par four, holing out a 130 yard nine iron shot.

While we were playing golf, Nancy and Chris went back to Cheraw to see the Beebop Parade, one of the festivities of the Jazz Festival.  The parade was schedule to start at 11 and they arrived about 10:30, so they had time to walk around and check out some other things going on. One side street was blocked off and renamed Art Ave.
All along the avenue were groups of artists doing chalk murals on the sidewalk.  Some were really very beautiful.  The day was a spectacular crisp fall day and everyone was having a great time.
Around 11am, they walked over to Centennial Park to wait for the parade.  It was suppose to end at this location.
Centennial Park Fountain

While they waited for the parade, a group of high school singers performed on the stage set up for the days festivities.  There were different acts scheduled every half hour throughout the day.
Beaufort High School Jazz Singers

About 11:30, Nancy and Chris went looking for the parade.  I think they were expecting something like a mini mardi gras type parade.  They headed up the street and stopped in the General Store to look around.  They figured they would hear the parade so they didn't worry about missing it.
Love the Indian Statue

Finally, the parade rounded the corner...
one police car, followed by
Six Piece Jazz Ensemble from Fort Bragg,
followed by
Community Youth Group having a great time,
followed by
several golf carts with folks throwing beads to the crowd.

They knew it would be like Mardi Gras!! :o)

By 11:45, they had seen all of the parade and headed back to pick up the boys.
Reviewing EVERY shot!!

The four of us headed back to the campground to get some lunch and just enjoy the surroundings while we rested up a bit.  It has been a very busy weekend!!  But by later in the afternoon, the winds died down and Nancy and I broke out the SEA EAGLE!! 
We carried the Sea Eagle to the boat launch which is right next to the campground.  Just a short walk down the trail.
Boat Launch

The only boats allowed on the lake must have 10hp motors or less.  That really makes this place a great place to kayak. We spent about 2 hours paddling around the lake.

Past the Park Office...
Past the golf course...
Heading toward the Cypress Swamp...
Heading into the Cypress Swamp...
Paddling amongst the Cypress...
So many trees and just a spectacular paddle...
A couple of turtles floating amongst the Cypress...

As we headed back to the boat launch, we passed the campground and Bill Jordan came down to take a picture of us. Next time we will try to get a waterfront site and then we can launch right at our site.
Not often do we get a picture of both of us in the Sea Eagle.  Thanks Bill for this great shot.
Nancy and Bill paddling at Cheraw State Park, SC

Back at the campsite, Bill and Chris told us they had come up with a name for our Sea Eagle... "Serenity Now".  I think it's a perfect name!!  Today's paddle was just so relaxing and beautiful...the name fits!! They also said that Chris had tried a little fishing, but apparently there were too many roots near the shoreline.  Next camping trip here, we will have to find some better fishing holes!!

Well, no camping trip would be complete without a weenie roast.  So Bill Jordan had the honor of preparing tonight's dinner. 
 We added some beans, coleslaw, pickled beets and chips to make for a great meal! After dinner we had one more campfire.  What a terrific weekend camping with friends, swapping stories and enjoying lots of laughs. We didn't get a Saturday Night sunset picture, but we did get a picture from the dam of the lake, boat launch and doesn't get much better than this!!
Cheraw State Park, SC

We can't wait to go Full-timing.  Everytime we go camping, we realize that this is the lifestyle we truly love....SERENITY NOW!!

Cheraw State Park Camping - Friday, Oct 15, 2010

We woke up Friday morning to a bit of a chill.  The weather was almost perfect the entire weekend.  I say almost -- the sun was out everyday, but the mornings were a little on the chilly side - low to mid 40's.
Early more chill off the lake!!
(Be sure and click on photos to see larger version)

It warmed up to the 70's during the day --  almost perfect!!

Bill and I got out real early and hiked about 2 miles (green line in photo) to an abandoned group camping area.

It was a nice quiet walk, but we never saw much wildlife.  Thought we would come into contact with a couple of deer, but nothing! 
Abandon Camping Cabin at end of trail

By the time we returned, Bill and Chris were in the process of setting up their screen room.  It is a real neat little screen tent which opens much like you would open an umbrella.
Since this is their first camping trip, everything is new to them and they wanted to practice taking the tent down.  Well, it didn't want to cooperate. The directions said, just pull the tab in the middle of the top and it will collapse.  Well, they pulled tabs and pushed buttons and it would not collapse.  Finally, Bill Mills got inside and pulled or pushed something and it collapsed with him inside.  We all had a good laugh over that one.

We spent the rest of the morning talking and tinkering at the campsite.  We got some lunch and then decided to head into Cheraw to go geocaching which is a fun way to do some sightseeing. 

Cheraw's most famous son is Dizzy Gillespie, the famous jazz trumpeter and this weekend Cheraw was hosting their annual Jazz Festival.  Keep in mind that Cheraw is a very small community.  We thought parking and crowds might be a problem, but it wasn't an issue.  We had our choice of parking any where we wanted directly behind the old Tobacco Market.
Side View of Tobacco Market

We walked up the side of the market to the main street and headed towards our first geocache location. 
Front of Tobacco Market on Main Street

Our walk took us past Town Hall which is across the street from Gillespie Park, our first geocache location.
Town Hall

Gillespie Park

We never did find the geocache.  Caches are rated 1-5 as to how difficult they are to find.  This one was rated a 5, so we didn't feel too bad that we didn't find it.  It is the search and spending time in beautiful places that really attracts us to geocaching. 

Nancy here...
OK, that is Nancy's version of geocaching.  Bill's version is a little more intense...hunt and kill would probably be a better description of Bill's approach to geocaching. So we had the hunt, but didn't make a KILL at this location! So we needed to move on and find a new prey!!

Our next cache was located near Old St. David's Parrish.  It was not on the grounds, but near the sign outside the fence.
Bill found the cache near the base of the sign.  It is a micro cache so it was not easy to see.  The two Bills had a difficult time getting that little canister open. 
They work on it for quite some time to get it open.  There was a log inside that little case. After registering the "KILL", we wonder around the Parrish grounds and cemetery. 
The cemetery was VERY old!

Looks like a pumpkin is stuck in this tree stump!!
Little bit of history on this grave marker.
Another VERY old marker!

Never got a picture of the outside of the Parrish, but snapped this photo through a window of the inside.

Next stop........RIVERSIDE PARK
Off we went in search of the third geocache.  It was a great day for a walk and we didn't have any crowds or traffic to contend with.
The GPS took Bill and Chris to the location where they should be able to locate the cache.  But they could not find it. 
There were 3 local residents on the landing looking at us like we were crazy. Once Bill told them what we were doing, they joined in the search.  Even with all the extra help, we never located that cache either.  However, we saw a beautiful park and a nice view of the Pee Dee River.

We decided to head back and tour a little more of downtown Cheraw before heading back to the campground.
Short-cut across the tracks -- who are those HOBOs anyway!

Like we said...not very crowded!!
But what a pretty little town!!

There were a lot of fancy restaurants for such a small town.

Back at the campground, the weather was beautiful.  Bill Jordan and Nancy took a walk to the dam.  Nancy snapped some beautiful photos.
No wind makes for a great reflection on the lake.

 They hiked down the side of the dam to get this great photo!

Exposed tree roots caused by some major erosion!
Perhaps that is why the dam was built.
Beautiful view of the lake from the bridge!

Back at the campsite, it was time to break out the champagne to toast Bill and Chris' first camping trip. 
Here's to many more camping trips!!

We started a campfire, made some smores and drank champagne. 
Chris and Tess enjoying the campfire.
It just doesn't get much better than the day we had today!!
Friday Night Sunset