The Dragon Wagon

The Dragon Wagon
The landscaping changes often.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Fort Sumter

From April 10th to April 14th we camped at James Island County Park near Charleston, South Carolina.

During our visit to the Charleston area we visited Fort Sumter at the entrance to Charleston Harbor.  The shelling of Fort Sumter by the Confederacy is considered the beginning of the Civil War.

The fort was constructed on a shoal near the entrance to Charleston Harbor, beginning in the 1840s.  At the beginning of the Civil War, Fort Sumter was uncompleted and undermanned, allowing the Confederate forces to easily capture the Fort.  Originally a three story masonry fortress, heavy bombardment by Union forces later during the Civil War reduced the top two levels to rubble.  In 1899 as a defense during the Spanish-American War, a large concrete gun emplacement called Battery Huger was constructed in the parade ground of the fort, and the first level was filled with earth.  In 1948 Fort Sumter was decommissioned and turned over to the National Park Service.

Approaching Fort Sumter from Charleston

A view from inside the fort

While under Confederate control, there was an explosion in one of the powder magazines.  The explosion killed several Confederate soldiers and blew the roof off the magazine.  The magazine only held 150 pounds of powder at the time of the explosion, as compared to several thousand pounds when fully stocked!   The explosion tilted the thick walled entry arch back as shown in these images.

A neat looking tugboat in Charleston Harbor

The Arthur Ravenel Jr. cable-stayed bridge over Charleston Harbor, with the aircraft carrier Yorktown in front

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Fort McAllister

April 7th to April 10th was spent at Fort McAllister Historic State Park near Savannah, Georgia.

Fort McAllister was the southern-most of the Confederate defense works around Savannah.  Fort McAllister saw little involvement in the Civil War until it became General Sherman's last major obstacle on his army's "March to the Sea" after the sacking of Atlanta.  The fort was an earthen work with several emplacements of large canon to control access up the Ogeechee River.

The fort was surrounded by a dry moat filled with a palisade of sharpened posts.
We also took one day to drive into Savannah to visit its historic district.
The historic district has several lovely  public squares.

Off of one of these squares is the Olde Pink House Restaurant.  The restaurant is in a house whose history stretches back to pre-revolutionary times.

Another landmark in the historic district is Leopold's Ice Cream Shop.  This shop was founded in 1919 and still uses much of the original equipment.

Another popular tourist area is River Street.  This area along the river has lots of old buildings filled with restaurants, galleries and gift shops.

I found it humorous that this tourist paddle-wheel boat used thrusters to maneuver  at the dock.

We thought this World War II memorial by the river was very neat.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Okefenokee Swamp

April 1st to April 4th was spent at Stephen C. Foster State Park in the western side of the Okefenokee Swamp.

A view of Okefenokee Swamp from the boardwalk near the state park marina

Some wild iris flowers along the Suwannee River

Of course there were lots of alligators

A little bit of video from our rented motor boat tour

Some visitors to the campground near our campsite

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

St. Augustine

We spent March 30th and 31st at Faver-Dykes State Park near St. Augustine, Florida.

We had not really considered visiting a place like the St. Augustine Alligator Farm, but after reading about the wild birds that have been nesting there, we decided to visit.  This turned out to be a wonderful experience.

Baby alligators
These little guys were less than a foot long.

A rare albino American Alligator
(with his turtle pals)

A welcoming smile!

Roseate Spoonbills
We really wanted to get closeup views of these.

The Great Egrets were in full mating plumage.

The Snowy Egrets also

A Great Egret with a nest building stick

A Tricolored Heron in breeding plumage

Some  of the "security force" that attracts the birds to this rookery

One of the other crocodilians on exhibit

St. Augustine is one of the oldest cities in North America.  It was founded in 1565 by Spain as part of the Spanish Empire in the New World.   To defend their interest, the fortress Castillo De San Marcos began construction in 1672.