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Charleston, SC (by Bob Axsom)

Sunday we flew to Charleston, SC and we returned yesterday. It is a very
worthwhile place to visit because of its history, beauty, many interesting
points of interest. The city caters to tourists so anyone with the
slightest interest in having a good experience will have one.

We flew into the Charleston Executive Airport that is just south of the
Class C airspace. They have an Enterprise car rental agent right there in
the FBO but we did call ahead with the reservation. The historic downtown
room rates seemed very high to us so we stayed at the Holliday Inn Express
about 5 miles southwest of town on US 17 for just over $100 per night.
There are many parking facilities in the city so the ability to walk out of
our room directly into history was a small compromise.

On Monday we went to the Visitor's Center and took a Gray Line Tour of the
city. After the tour we drove about 10 miles north of the city and took
tours of the Magnolia Plantation. We got there kind of late so we just went
on the conducted tour of the house and walked as much as we could handle of
the flower garden. It was just too large for us to complete the trail walk.

On Tuesday we drove across the AWESOME new bridge across the Cooper River to
Patriot's Point. The bridge is free and it was opened in 2005. From there
we took the tour boat several miles out into the mouth of the Charleston
Harbor and visited Fort Sumter. Fort Sumter is where the first shot was
fired to begin the Civil War in April of 1861.

After returning to Patriot's Point we toured the Carrier Yorktown that
served in the Korean and Viet Nam wars according to the battle ribbons
painted on the bridge. There were other ribbons painted there but those are
the ones I recognized. Tours are mapped throughout the ship but we just
visited the hangar deck and the flight deck. On the hangar deck they have
and F9F Cougar (swept wing) and several WWII carrier aircraft. There are
also two video displays, a fully enclosed theater and a operator controlled
full motion flight simulator for tourist's enjoyment. Jeanine was
surprisingly interested in the documentary about the "Fighting Lady" that
was shown on one of the video displays. In that video there is a very
strong connection made with Arkansas. On the flight deck later aircraft and
helicopters were on display. I worked on the F-4 in St. Louis so it always
commands my attention when I see one but they also had an A-4, A-6, A-7,
F8U, and an F-14 among others.

There is also a Submarine, a Destroyer and a Coast Guard Cutter there for
touring but the carrier was all we could handle.

On Wednesday we went back downtown and walked the historic district.
Jeanine bought a few things in the open market and we toured beautifully
restored homes with priceless furniture that are nearly 300 years of age.

Thursday we flew home.

Bob Axsom