A Biker, a Latte, and a Pizza Place

Starting Mileage: 1823.4

I’m not going to lie: I thought about staying in Charleston for another day.  If it had been as nice as had been the day before, I likely would have tried to stay but the temperature was quite a bit cooler and there had been some rain.  After debating with myself for a while, as I brushed the sand that had somehow ended up in the bed, I finally packed the car up and took the dogs for one last quick walk before we headed out of town.  I wasn’t really feeling the hotel breakfast, I think because I was still full from dinner.

A quick search pointed me in the direction of Bald Monkey Beanery.  I wasn’t sure if I would be able to find it but the building that had “COFFEE” painted across the side was definitely a clue. Despite the drive thru, I wanted to go inside and check the place out.  It was a cute shop and I got the run down of the coffee menu and at the insistence of another woman in there, I decided on a Cinnamonkey.  The woman working behind the counter was dealing with the drive thru when a man came in with his young daughter.  Well since the daughter went and sat at the register, I’m thinking this must be the owner.  I give my order then look at him.  Well the first thing that struck me was the Hell’s Angels T-shirt.  Then were the  tattoos down his arms, many with the Hell’s Angels death head.  I felt my own head drop and that was when I noticed the Hell’s Angels merchandise on the bottom shelf of the display case in front of me.  I thought about walking out but with a little girl there, I just couldn’t.  I’m not comfortable with supporting criminal organizations but I’m not going to raise a stink in front of a little girl.  And they give military discounts so I have to respect that at least.

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Something tells me this is the place

With coffee in hand, I hopped back into the car.  OK it was a nice latte, I’ll give him that.  I had read about Wannamaker County Park, an off-leash park that got great reviews that was on the way out of North Charleston.  It would have been nice if the reviews had mentioned the $2.00 admission fee just to get into the park but I guess locals can get a pass so they don’t have to worry about it.  And from what I saw, it looked like a large park with lots of other things to do.  Too bad I was just there to let the dogs burn off some energy.

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And it would have been nice if they had.  They sniffed and wandered a bit and with a bunch of spare tennis balls, Leo had fun trying to get them all.  But it seemed like no time at all before they all just stood there looking at me.  I wanted to get some pictures but how entertaining is a butt shot?  I’m trying to cut down on those anyway.  I had barely finished my coffee before we were heading back to the car.  It some times blows my mind that they are not out of their skin with energy; but then again the day before had been a busy one.

Since we had taken the back roads into the Charleston, I took a more direct route north, at least for a little bit.  I was in my own little world when it occurred to me: I haven’t eaten yet.  How could that be?!  So a quick search on Yelp had me pointed to a BBQ place in a small little town called Swansea.  And as I pulled up I was excited to have some fresh BBQ and maybe some fried okra yeah that’d be good and…closed.  Closed?  On a…wait what day is this?  This place only opens Friday and Saturday.  Dang!  OK back on Yelp and there’s a cafe down the road.  I got the car down there before I started to chew my arm off.

The Swansea Valley Cafe was open (no website or I’d link to it).  Already I was happier.  I looked over the menu and after questioning the servers about what was good (umm all of it) I decided on a buffalo chicken club (hold the tomatoes) and some swee’tea.  Yes that’s how they say it.  Because this restaurant is a small place, they warn you that your food will take a bit.  I was tempted to grab an order of the pork rinds (mmmm deep fried pig skin) but decided against it and sat out on a retaining wall after I evacuated the dogs from the car to wait for my order.  My sandwich came with a small bag of chips and a few slices of pickle.  So the buffalo chicken club is a fried chicken breast dipped on hot sauce with crumbled blue cheese, lettuce, and bacon.  It was like eating buffalo wings in sandwich form.  The only problem was that it was like eating buffalo wings.  I couldn’t taste the bacon through the hot sauce although I did like the tang from the blue cheese and if I hadn’t seen the coating on the chicken breast I likely would not have known it was there.  It was a decent sandwich overall and with the chips I was glad I had that big swee’tea as the salt sucked every ounce of moisture from my body.

We continued down the road and I stopped at more rest stops than I normally do.  Partly because that swee’tea was massive (if you get my drift) and so the dogs could have several  short little walks.  I was not too happy with the pet areas in most of the rest stops because they were tiny little strips of grass but I guess that’s better than nothing.  I’m not going to lie but a few times we maaaaaay have strayed out of a few of the pet areas to an out of the way corner of the property from view from others.  And I maaaaaaay have accidentally dropped their leashes once or twice and they maaaaaaaay have had a short little run around and play.

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Virginia is for lovers…and apparently a creepy shadow sneaking up on some adorable dogs.

As it got later, it was time to start looking at putting in for the night.  I was getting tired.  Finally I was able to find a Red Roof Inn in Wytheville, Virginia.  I could have gone further but Wytheville is right outside Jefferson National Park so I figured it would be an easy place to get to in the morning.  I checked in and as I was parking the car, I was pleasantly surprised to see a large patch of grass at the back of the lot complete with a bag dispenser and garbage bin and a fairly large hill.  I got the dogs out of the car and we walked up to our room on the second floor.  In a hallway.  As in the only window faces the walkway and a brick wall.  I had to laugh about it.  What a great view but considering that we were just here to the sleep for the night and never really have the curtains open anyway, what difference does the view make?

I took the dogs down to the grass and we had a little run around but then I realized it was getting darker and not everyone picks up after their dogs so we went back to the room, with me gingerly picking around any suspicious-looking dark patches.  By now I was famished and exhausted which is a bad combo when looking for food.  There was nothing really even close by the hotel and with the temperature dropping and somewhat poor lighting, I didn’t feel like venturing outside.  So delivery it was.  I had been trying to avoid pizza but alas, I can only resist for so long and in under an hour, a BBQ chicken pizza from Italian Garden showed up.   I was getting my BBQ no matter what.  The pizza was very good with a soft chewy crust and not weighed down under toppings.  It was lightly sauced which was perfect since it was a very sweet sauce that could have overwhelmed everything else.  I ate half of it while we watched nature documentaries.  And I do mean we.  And then we went to sleep.

A Day for the Dogs

Starting Mileage: 1675.5

No big surprise here but I slept in.  Considering we were up until almost 2:00 am it really shouldn’t be surprising.  I had a busy day planned (thanks to BringFido.com) so we went for a short walk, the pups were offered their breakfasts, and into the car we went.  This day was a day for the dogs.

I decided to skip a hotel breakfast for the sake of getting on the road and with a quick check on Yelp, I found a place that was on the way to our first stop for coffee.  I was following the directions and the farther we went, the more I wondered where the phone was sending me as it was looking more and more industrial.  I was about to stop and make sure that I was going the right way when we turned down Montague Street and I found an oasis in North Charleston: the street was lined on both sides with squat buildings, brightly painted with colourful signs, even an historic-looking clock on the sidewalk.   I was all smiles as I popped into The Orange Spot Coffeehouse.  The shop itself is small and there isn’t much in the way for seating outside, but the picnic table that was there was really all I needed.  I asked if they have a house speciality and was met with confused looks before they told me they make their own flavour syrups.  Neat.  I ordered an iced coffee with a shot of vanilla syrup.  As I was waiting I eyed the baked goods and decided on a morning glory muffin.  With no need for sugar or cream, I took my purchase and rejoined my pups waiting at the picnic table.  I was tempted to share since it was one of the best muffins I have ever had, moist and flavourful, but since morning glory muffins have dried fruit in them, I wasn’t sure if raisins were one of those fruits and I’m not taking that chance.  I watched the steady stream of people walking into the coffee shop and noticed that they were not what you would expect to be the kind of people going into a specialty coffee shop with tattoos and rough clothes coming out with lattes and biscotti.  I love it.

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Not a bad breakfast.

We walked up and down the street while I finished my coffee, grinning like a fool at this hidden gem of an area.  An elderly gentleman asked me if I wanted another brindle dog since his dog was too high-energy for him.  I’m not going to lie but I briefly (VERY briefly) thought about it before politely declining and continuing on to the car for our next stop of the day.

In no time, we pulled into Magnolia Plantation and Gardens.  I picked this spot because it allows you to walk your dogs around the gardens and from the reviews that I had read, it was a great place to visit.  From the minute I turned down the driveway, I was blown away by how beautiful everything was.  I had never seen spanish moss before except in craft stores and movies but as I crept down the drive, sheets of moss hung from the trees.

I parked the car, making sure I had a big bottle of water and the dog’s bowl as it was already quite warm out.  As soon as we joined the line-up to buy tickets, the dogs were getting all kinds of attention which they were more than happy to put up with.

Having the dogs with me meant that I could not ride the tram or go into any of the buildings but it was so nice out that wasn’t a concern.  There are also several other gardens to visit with the purchase of additional tickets.  I decided to stick with the general admission of $15.00 and if we wanted to do anything else, I would deal with that later.

If you are anywhere near Charleston this is a place you have to visit.  It was GORGEOUS!  There were hidden pockets off the trails with statues, magnolias and azaleas rising high overhead, spanish moss draping from tall live oaks, a peaceful and (dare I say it Zen-like) bamboo garden.  Two days ago I had scraped snow off my windshield and now here I was walking among flowering trees and shrubs.

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I couldn’t resist playing with this image.

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Such a pretty bridge.

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The bamboo garden

We slowly walked through the shady path, stopping frequently for photos.  There were several ponds and rivers with bridges arching over them.  Jack especially wanted to go swimming in the water but I knew that alligators lived in the area and the many signs posted warning people not to approach or feed them (which really shouldn’t need a warning but…) confirmed it.

We were walking along the nature trail when I looked out over some water and had to stop for a double take.  There, sunning itself barely a bus-length away, was a gator.  As I was pulling out my camera, I noticed another one.  And another.  Suddenly I became a lot more alert with that scene from Jurassic Park popping into my head.  You know the scene (“clever girl”).  Fortunately with the heat, the gators were more interested in laying there and not us.  But I’m sure they knew we were there since Jack was panting away and he sounds like a train chugging along.

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A bit warm is it?

We kept walking around the various gardens and I don’t think I looked at my watch once the entire time.  Even though there were plenty of other people, we felt like we were the only ones for stretches of time but the few encounters we did have, they were special.  I had posed the dogs for a photo in a spot off the main path when a group walked by.  One woman looked at us then broke away and walked over.  As she came closer I saw she wore a name tag with “Make-A-Wish” on it.  I could see that she was fixated on Leo and asked if she could pet him.  Of course I said she could and when she knelt down I watched tears stream down her cheeks.  She explained that she had just lost the Boston Terrier that she had owned for 14 years and she missed her so much.  She apologized when she stood up and explained they were at the plantation planning a fundraiser.  She seemed to be embarrassed and apologized for holding us up and all I could say was that if she sees us again, she can snuggle with him as long as she wants.  After she left, I knelt down and gave them all a hug for being so wonderful.

A little while later I had sat the dogs for a photo when a woman came up and asked if I wanted a picture with them.  How could I say no?  Of course she got in a few snuggles before she left.

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Gang’s all here.

We were almost back to the lot and walking down a path next to a pond.  I had stopped to take photos of a statue on a little hummock in the pond when I noticed something in the water.  It wasn’t moving and but I had the feeling that it was coming closer.  There was a branch sticking out of the water and with that for reference I was able to tell that yes it was indeed getting closer.  It was a smaller alligator than the ones I had seen sunning themselves but this one actually cared that we were there.  It never got close enough that I was worried about it but I sure was careful to keep the dogs away from the edge of the water.  There were some girls that were walking towards me and seemed irritated that I was just standing on the path.  When I pointed out the gator, they squealed and hustled away.

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I was standing here…

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While I was taking a picture of this…

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When I noticed this…

Convinced that I was burned crispy since I hadn’t thought to wear, never mind bring, sunblock we went back to the car.  The dogs were hot and after they finished their drinks (they had had been offered tons during our walk even though they would have rather gone for a swim in the ponds) we left for another spot.  And this spot was just for them.  After a quick stop for me.

Another place that I had heard about from “Feasting on Asphalt” was on our way.  Apparently Jack’s Cosmic Dogs is a local institution so I had to check it out.  Jack’s is not a fancy place but what would you expect from a hot dog joint?  With a menu considerably more extensive than ketchup, mustard, and relish, it took me a while to finally settled on a blue galatic dog: a hot dog topped with chili, cheddar cheese,  blue cheese slaw, and sweet potato mustard.  Then on a lark I also ordered an astro dog which is just a hot dog with ketchup and mustard.  The food was ready by the time I brought the dogs out of the car.  I poured them a bowl of ice water which they ignored to stare at me.  I think I had higher expectations for the hot dogs but in the end they were just hot dogs in nice soft buns.  It’s the toppings that made these tasty.  And yes the dogs got some of the astro dog.  Of course they did.  And then back in the car.hotdogs

Now I had expected that my map would take me to a parking lot.  But once it told me I had arrived, all I saw were signs on the street that said “No parking”.  I slowly wound my way down streets and even the signs that did say “Parking” did not appear to be anywhere near a spot to park.  Finally I found a spot and pulled in behind another car.  I brought the dogs out of the car and pulled off my shoes before we walked across the street and down a narrow track towards Isle of Palms beach.  The beach has off-leash times and we just happened to be right on time.

As soon as we emerged from the vegetation, Leo dropped onto the sand and rolled his way down the dune, wriggling his way to the bottom before he jumped up and ran as far as the leash would allow back up the dune before he rolled again.  It took me a while to grab him to unclip the leash but eventually I was able to free them all.  The first thing they did was run straight to the water and began to splash in the water.  They ran and rolled and splashed and played.  We walked up the beach for a while until the dogs stopped running and were content to stroll around next to me.

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Beeline for the water.

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Baywatch baby!

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This makes me think of an album cover.

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Playtime!

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Piper makes a new friend.

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Pack selfie.

It made my heart melt as I watched them.  I struggled to think of a way to put how I was feeling into words and I just can’t.  Words alone cannot express the sheer joy of watching them.

With coats soaked and full of sand, especially Leo, we made our way back to the car.  I’m glad I had brought a towel and dried them off as much as I could before loading them back into the car.  We had one more stop to make.

Page’s Okra Grill is a dog-friendly restaurant and we were soon seated on the patio next to a tiny puppy and across from a chow chow.  As we were seated near the exit, there was plenty of attention given to my pooped out puppies.  I wanted the true southern experience so I put myself at the mercy of my server.  Soon a plate of shrimp and grits with andouille cream sauce was placed in front of me followed by a quartet of sides: sweet potatoes, collard greens, fried okra, and succotash with some biscuits.  On a side note: I LOVE FRIED OKRA.  The food was so good and so filling I was too stuffed to even think about dessert.

It was well after dark by the time we got back to the hotel room and I had briefly thought about giving the dogs a bath to get the last of the sand out of their coats but I was so tired I basically passed out as soon as I sat down.

Southward Bound

Starting Mileage: 994.0 km

I had a very good sleep.  When I woke up I had Jack on the pillow next to me, Leo had slipped under the blankets and was tucked up against my legs, and Piper’s head was laying on my chest.  Somehow we almost always end up snuggling and when I try to get up, Piper pushes me down with her head and sometimes puts her leg across me as well.  I try to oblige the cuddles for as along as I can but eventually the road, and a rumbling tummy, forces us up.

As the Travelodge had a free breakfast, I did not have to go looking for food but I know from experience that hotel coffee is usually horrendous.  So I collected the dogs for our morning walk which somehow took us down the road to the Chocolate Moose.  As we walked past the embankment from last night, I had to shake my head.  It looked so much worse in the day light.  And then we were past the slippery slope and soon found ourselves at the Chocolate Moose.  Not only is it a coffee shop, but there’s also a climbing gym and mini golf.  Awesome.cm

I stood and stared at the menu for a while making small talk with the gentleman that I can only assume is the owner.  Finally I decided on The Mothman.  One sip and I knew I was hooked.  For life.  Coffee and chocolate and cinnamon and cayenne and whipped cream and OH MY!  I greedily gulped it down as the dogs sniffed this way and that on the way back to the hotel.

Oh and the back door that I had mentioned the night before?  Still unlocked.  The latch was embedded inside the lock so it could not be secured even when I hauled on it (which I had done last night as well).

I poured food out for the dogs then went to the breakfast area.  It was actually slightly better than I had expected but still your standard breakfast set-up: a waffle station, cereals, muffins, bagels, oatmeal, spreads, and juices, coffee, and tea.  I was disappointed that the only fruit offered were apples so I had to forgo my standard peanut butter and banana waffle-wich.  Oh well.  I made up a waffle, grabbed some grape jelly and an apple, then went back to the room.

On a side note: I love the waffle machines that hotels have.  You dispense a measured quantity of batter into a cup, then spray non-stick spray onto the waffle iron.  Pour out the batter, flip the iron and wait for the beep.  That beep tells you that your waffle is golden brown and waiting for whatever toppings you have.  For some reason, the flip makes it fun.

As I ate, I charted our route.  I’ve never been to Charleston, South Carolina so I figured that this trip, I would change that.  When I left home, I hadn’t decided if it was our end point but it would definitely be a stop that we would make.  I had heard of an app called BringFido, and for some reason, this trip was the first time I actually remembered it.  It lists dog-friendly hotels, restaurants, attractions, parks; all kinds of things to do with dogs.  So when I looked up Charleston, I noticed that there were plenty of things for a girl and her dogs to do.  One item in particular called to me and I booked my spot for that evening.  I also booked a hotel for not just one night but two.  We were going to stay put for more than one night!  And in a city!  How out of character.

With food in our bellies, I packed the dogs into the car then went to check out.  Remember that bit about the door?  OK here’s where it gets important.  I’m checking out with the assistant manager and first mention that when I booked the room, there was both a pet fee and pet deposit listed.  She told me that it was a fee.  I suggested that someone should fix that and she seemed confused until I explained that it’s conflicting information.  And then I mention the door being left unlocked.  Well she insists that it’s always locked.  Noooooooo and then I tell her that it’s open right now.  Well she calls the maintenance man to tell me that it’s locked.  I’m thinking to myself (thank goodness for the inside voice although I guess typing it now is kind of an outside voice) that it’s unlocked now and she can go and check if she wants.  No she insists that it’s always locked.

Well the maintenance man comes around and says that it’s unlocked until he locks it with a key.  This goes back and forth for a while because I think we’re all trying to explain something different.  Then finally he says that it’s unlocked until around midnight but he wasn’t working last night so he can’t say for sure but the person working last night would have locked it.  Then assistant manager makes it sound like that was what she was trying to say all along and I just shrugged my shoulders and left.  Was it a horrible place to stay?  No.  Would I stay there again?  After the song and dance routine I had to go through I would rather avoid it.  Granted if someone really wanted into the hotel, they will find a way but let’s not make it so easy.

Fighting the urge for another Mothman, I jumped back onto the interstate and headed south.  I had business in Charlotte you see.  Anyone who has been reading my blog for a while will know that I LOVE Alton Brown and his series “Feasting on Asphalt”.  If you haven’t watched it, you have to watch it.  Long story short, there are two seasons to the show: the first where he and his cohorts drive across the United States to see if authentic road food still exists.  The second season, they follow the Mississippi River.  So in the first season, one place they stopped at was the South 21 Drive-In in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Well we were going through Charlotte so I figured it as a no-brainer.

After taking a quick peek at BringFido, I found a dog park in Charlotte so the dogs could have a romp and we ended up at Frazier Park.  There are two spacious, and fenced, areas.  In fact, one area was huuuuuuuge.  There were a few other dogs in there and I brought then dogs into the space between two gates and let them sniff through the fence to see if there was going to be any tension.  Piper can be a bit…let’s say…difficult sometimes when meeting new dogs.  With lots of tail (and stump) wagging and excited licks through the fence, I let them loose.

If you’ve never watched dogs run loose in a new area, it is something that will make you smile.  They ran and jumped and chased around.  OK Jack didn’t really do that.  He waddled but it was still fun to watch him explore this new area.

I walked back and forth a few times until the dogs stayed close to me.  Jack pretty much went to where the gate was and waited for us to get close.  There were lots of balls left in there and I threw them for Leo and once he picked one up, I would grab another to throw and he’d chase after that one.  It’s a game that gets him tired quickly.

Just as we were getting ready to leave, a new dog came into entry area.  She was a little pitbull with the most stunning colour pattern I have ever seen: like a tan harlequin but different.  Anyway, when the owner opened up the inner gate a bunch of dogs rushed in, Piper being one of them.  The poor new dog ended up getting squished between the gate and fence and she protested, and rightfully so.  Well Piper decided to yell back at her and when Piper barks and kind of pounces, well she looks vicious.  When I saw the crush of dogs, I started moving to the gate but I wasn’t fast enough to call Piper back before the tiff started.  I was worried that with so many dogs in such a small space it would escalate into a full-on dog fight.  Fortunately it did not.  I tried to chat with the owner of the other dog but she wasn’t having any of it.  I get it and I don’t blame her.  On another side note: I love pitbulls.  They are wonderful dogs that unfortunately have gotten a bad name because of some bad owners.  Yes they can be aggressive and yes there are a certain kind of person that will bring out all of the negative aspects of the breed  And yes part of what makes them awesome is also what makes then (potentially) dangerous.  But I have never met a pitbull that was aggressive to humans or dogs.  I’ve been bitten by lots of other breeds from tiny chihuahuas to German Shepards.  In fact, my brother has a massive scar on his face when he was bitten by a Doberman/German Shepard cross.  I have one from a St. Bernard cross right underneath my eye.

So once everyone calmed down and had one more lap around the park, I took the dogs back to the car.  It was hot.  It was so hot.  I was glad that I had worn my convertible pants as I unzipped the lower legs and changed from my Blundstone boots to short socks and running shoes.  So this is what summer feels like.  I had forgotten what summer felt like.  Hello summer my old friend.

With clothing all sorted out, we drove to the South 21 Drive-in which was less than 15 minutes away.  I’ll admit that I had never been to a drive-in diner before but it was just like I had seen on TV: car stalls with little speakers and a tray table. Some of the stalls had picnic tables in them.  Perfect.

I hurriedly studied the menu that was posted and then pressed the button to place my order.  I thought that a Super Boy (double patty with no tomato or onion and yes I would like cheese please), an order of onion rings, and a chocolate milkshake, oh and a big cup of ice water, would be a good way to experience this establishment.  I brought the dogs out of the car and was just getting their bowl when the food appeared.  I dumped out some of the ice water into their bowl before I tucked into my burger.  It was good in an old-school diner kind of way.  And what I mean is that it is like the giant fast food chains but it actually has flavour to it.  Now I have quite the appetite so I hardly felt that it was “A meal in itself” as the menu had promised but it was good.  I will say, that while the milkshake was thick and chocolately, the best part were the onion rings.  I was a little disappointed that there were only, like, six to an order, but they were a very good six onion rings.  I’m sure they were fried but there was none of the greasiness that usually comes with fried food.  If I didn’t know better, I would have thought they were baked.  And of course the dogs had tiny pieces of the patty just to see if they liked it.  They did.  Then back in the car.

Because we didn’t have to be in Charleston until later in the evening, I decided to take the back roads between Charlotte and Charleston and it was almost 8:00 pm before I checked into the Red Roof Inn in North Charleston.  The dogs had some water and were offered food, which they ignored, and we took a quick stroll.  Some places have designated pet areas with poop bag dispensers and garbage cans.  Some just have a sign on a grassy place for pets.  This had neither.  Narrow strips of grass surrounded the property and in some parts, you could barely see the grass through the poop.  It’s not the hotel’s fault but it is unpleasant and makes me mad that people can’t clean up after their pets because it looks bad on the rest of us.

Back in the car for the drive downtown.  I plugged the address into my phone and let it tell me where to go.  The directions were simple but for some reason, what the phone calls streets and what the signs on the streets say are sometimes different.  And I missed a turn somewhere.  I wasn’t sure about it until I noticed that I was driving through a somewhat sketchy area.  Hmmmmmm dark parking lot and several high-end cars parked in an industrial area…It took me a little bit to figure out where to go but soon, we were in downtown Charleston.

My first impression?  Gorgeous.  Historic buildings, clean streets, just lovely.  I parked the car and since we had an hour to burn, we walked around a little.  I was a bit peckish and was looking for somewhere to grab a snack.  Then I got distracted looking at the scenery and forgot I was hungry until it was time to go back to Washington Park for our Ghost Tour.  That’s right.  We went on a Ghost Tour.

Our walk was through Old Charleston Tours and was 90 minutes of walking around downtown Charleston with our guide, Mike Brown, who also has a podcast series.  It was highly entertaining and he is a very engaging speaker.  For $20.00 USD, it was a great way to spend time with the dogs.  And they were so well behaved, sitting or laying down at our stops, when they weren’t getting attention from others on the tour or passersby.  We didn’t see any ghosts but we did have a wonderful time.

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Jack is not possessed. I hope.

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Did anyone tell the ghosts that?

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I love iron fences.

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No filter needed.

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Yup iron and trees.

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A theatre we passed.

After the tour, I walked around for a few more minutes to take some photos.  I was surprised at how empty the streets were even for a Tuesday night.  I think we were the only ones left out.  I drove back to the hotel (without taking the scenic route) and realized that I was STARVING.  I set out trying to find something within walking distance that was not a chain restaurant but to no avail.  Turns out, there was a diner back down the road that we had passed on the way to the hotel.

So back in the car we went to Nick’s Gyros and Philly’s.  I decided to go through the drive thru and when I got to the speaker, I ordered the chicken gyro.  Anything else?  My brain said a salad but my mouth said “shrimp po boy” before I really even knew what a shrimp po boy was.  Well it’s a sandwich roll with provolone cheese, lettuce, and sauce.  Oh yes.  When I pulled up to the window, the man working there saw Leo looking out the window and started talking to him: “hey buddy this isn’t for you” with a big smile.  OK anyone who talks to my dogs like they’re people gets big respect from me.

I tried eating the gyro in the car but it was a bit soupier than I normally like.  It was still almost gone by the time I got us back to the room.  I wasn’t sure if the po boy was a good idea but after the gyro, I was still hungry so I was glad that I got it after all because I was stuffed by the time I finished.

With the dogs sprawled out around me, I slid and twisted my way under the blankets after a very long and fun day.