Friday, September 22, 2023

Charleston, SC

Saturday 9.16 

Departure day draws near and final preparations are underway. I've been going through weather updates and long range forecasts for the last two weeks along with reviewing approaches and alternates for our flight. 
Sunday 9.17

We are getting Lucy's things together for her boarding. Prepping the dog food, favorite toys, happy pills, and some added meds to help her grooming before she comes home. The boys will have a familiar face checking in on them while we're away so that will keep them content, or at least we hope so.

I ordered 22 gallons of fuel yesterday and completed 3 Tango Charlie's preflight all except the fuel sump which I'll complete on Monday, departure day.

Monday 9.18 Departure Day!
To start our flying day I must stress the most important part of flight planning, ADM, Aeronautical Decision Making. It's now 7am and our planned departure time was 9am arriving just after noon. For now we are on hold until the weather opens up a bit to allow a safe departure and a better chance at returning if needed. The blue shading is icing forecast from 10k to 25k, and the purple shading is IFR conditions surface and above until 9am.

I finished up my preflight with a fuel sump and light check, of course a marker light was out. I checked the hangar and had no bulb in my parts cabinet.  I jumped in the SUV and went up to ocean aviation and secured one new bulb. New bulb installed and checked, we are ready to go!
It’s now 12:15 and that’s fine as the weather was supposed to get better along our route. I called the clearance delivery number on the OXB NOTAM but they gave me another number to call. I could not get my Bluetooth headset to connect so the I tucked the iPhone up under my ear seal and picked up my clearance and release. 
The ceiling was sitting at 900 feet when I launched, turning to a 270 degree heading as instructed upon entering controlled airspace. I broke out on top at two thousand feet and rode along at six thousand on top of the marshmallow fluff all the way to just west of Wilmington SC.
My bride finally woke up now that she had some ground contact to view. Most of the flight required a ten degree cut to maintain the planned course but at least the ride was smooth. 
I was handed off to Charleston approach and the controller turned me to the coast. I was thinking I was going to be vectored for runway two seven but she seemed content to send us out over the ocean. Going feet wet was not working for me and I asked for lower and direct Charleston Executive, then eventually canceled IFR when I had the field in sight. I made a nice landing on two-seven and taxied for the FBO, Signature. 

Our SUV rental was brought out to the plane and it already was cooled off, great job guys. I took on 34  gallons of fuel at $6.83 a gallon, then secured hangar space for, you best sit down, $100 a night. 
With GPS assist we managed to find our way to the Meeting Street Inn. Great location across the street from Charleston City Market.
We checked in and freshened up a bit then went to look for dinner. Just up the street was Meeting at Market restaurant. 
Mary ordered the catch of the day in brown butter with capers along with a salad. 
I had the smashed burger with onion, cheese, tomato and lettuce with a side of sweet potato fries. Both dinners were very good. For dessert we walked up the street to an ice cream shop. 

Tuesday 9.19

It was a long night and I didn’t get much sleep. I’m not sure what triggered my sinus but I wish I had a dollar for every time I sneezed or pulled a tissue from the box. I’m adding this to my blog at 4:20am. When you have to sit up to breathe it makes it difficult to really get a good nights sleep. I figured I may as well work on the blog post. I did take an Advil cold and sinus and that helped. 

After finally falling asleep I awoke around 8am, Mary was just waking up too. I desperately needed something to drink so we got dressed and headed out. The plan was to walk a few blocks to Millers, a real breakfast hot spot that fills up fast.  Instead, as we were walking we came across a small shop called Toast. I said to Mary, look Toast, it has to be a breakfast place. My bride said look at the sign again.
Hmmm, now I get it.  We did have an amazing breakfast and yes Mary honored the “Toast” with a peach bellini, I had my go to sweet tea. 
Eggs over medium with bacon, cheesy grits, and one huge biscuit for me. My bride had almost the same but had fresh fruit instead of grits knowing she would ‘sample’ mine. 

After filling our tummies we walked a short distance to purchase tickets for a carriage tour with  Palmetto Carriage Works.

We boarded at the stable house and we’re soon on our way. We passed many churches, homes of interest, the Market and learned about the local history. Thanks Teddy for all your clipity clop and a great ride. 
St. Michael’s Anglican Church, completed in 1761, is the oldest church building in Charleston. Several historic figures have worshiped in the church including George Washington and Robert E. Lee. 
St. Philip's Episcopal Church, constructed from 1835 to 1838, is one of Charleston’s most photographed churches. The church’s graveyard is home to many prominent people, including colonial governors, authors, and former Vice President of the United States. 
Construction on the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist started in 1890 and was completed in 2010 with the addition of the steeple and bells. The church, which opened its doors in 1907, is built on the foundation of the original 1854 cathedral destroyed by fire. 
The current Circular Congregational Church is the third structure on the site. The church was organized in 1681 by English Congregationalists, Scots Presbyterians and French Huguenots who were seeking religious freedom. The first church erected on the site was known as the White Meeting House, for which Meeting Street was named. The church’s congregation was growing quickly, so the original church was replaced by a larger circular structure in 1806. 

The second church was severely damaged by the Great Charleston Fire of 1861 and then leveled by the 1886 Charleston earthquake. Services were held in the much smaller parish house until a new church could be built. The current Romanesque church, completed circa 1892, was constructed using bricks from the previous structure. The church's graveyard is the city's oldest burial ground, with one monument remaining from 1695.
Charleston Market

In 1788, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney ceded the land to the City of Charleston for the express use as a public market, and he stipulated that the land must remain in use as a market for perpetuity.

To fulfill this requirement, the low buildings—sheds—that stretch from Market Hall to the waterfront were built between 1804 and the 1830s. These sheds originally housed meat, vegetable, and fish vendors; each booth rented for $1.00 per day, or $2.00 if the booth had a slab of marble used to keep the meat or fish cold. 

Once we walked the Market from end to end we decided on the Charleston Aquarium for our next stop. We had valet parking so the car was brought to the hotel entrance and from there we plotted our course. 

Mary and I always enjoy aquariums and the local zoo. We enjoyed reading about all the exhibits and seeing some of the other critters close up. 
As we walked out of the Aquarium we had a clear view of the  USS Yorktown across the Cooper River at Patriots Point.  On the way to our rental SUV we planned for an early dinner but first a quick picture shoot only at patriots point. I had walked plenty today and I didn’t feel like doing all the stairs to tour the Yorktown, maybe tomorrow.

F4 Phantom on deck
Time for Eats!

It was time for a late lunch early dinner so we headed back over the bridge to the waterfront to eat at the Fleet Landing restaurant. I had a fried flounder with red rice, Mary had cod with red rice and green beans. This was a first for me eating a whole fish that was fried with bone in. I learned quickly that you can’t saw into it or cut pieces off, instead, use your fork like a snow shovel and each side (squares) fall away from the bones. 

Dinner was excellent and so was the service. We each ordered key lime pie to go for the hotel room later this evening.  We’re both beat and my hips are a bit sore from all the walking. Time to call it a day and head in for some down time. 
We did get a few pictures and video of Lucy playing with the other dogs at the new to her boarding facility. She seems to be having fun exploring and making new friends. 

Wednesday 9.20

What the heck! It’s 4:05am and the garbage truck is banging around dumpsters complete with a back up alarm beeper. 

Yes, that was our wake up call. Thankfully we both fell back to sleep and managed to sleep in until 7:45. Mary asked me, was that a garbage truck this morning? Yes babe, it was really a truck at 4am. 
We are up and out the door for a quick breakfast at Toast. I decided to have bacon and cheese on one of the gigantic biscuits with a side of grits.  Mary somehow ordered all sides; eggs, grits, fruit, and rye toast. The sides came out in large bowls, my brides expression was priceless, a win for me since she shared the fruit. 
I am sore from all the walking yesterday so we decided to drive to different shops starting with antiques. Most of the shops in the historic district are very ‘proud’ of their items. We did check out a Polish pottery shop, there was many beautiful pieces on display. 
We tried to find a few of the sweets shops but could not find parking.  The two we wanted to visit most were just a short walk adjacent to the market shops across the street from our hotel. 
I handed over the keys for valet parking and headed up to the room, Mary went to check out a few shops in the market. 

I should add here while driving near the college some students wander along texting, you have to be very cautious. What was worse as we drove along the market shops I came up to a stop sign and there stood a middle aged man, face buried in his phone, right in the middle of the road. I know the Mercedes SUV is quiet but I had to beep the horn after sitting there to get this guys attention. Oh how I wish I was in my ML320 with my train horns. The dumbing down of America is a scary thing.

We hung out at the hotel until dinner. It was just a short walk to Hymans Seafood but much of the menu was fried, so we passed. Instead, we went back to the first nights selection and enjoyed our meals. 

Thursday 9.21

Rise and shine, I get to fly today. We were up early and packed, only needing to check out and put fuel in the rental. 
The TAF is calling for morning showers in the vicinity until 11am. The MOS weather shows rain ending by 8am, we shall see. My route home will be pretty much the reverse of the flight south. The rain ended by eight and it was a dry drive to the airport.
I decided to depart VFR and pick up my clearance in the air if I needed it. I did amend my route prior to departure on Foreflight, eliminating the fix CUBBY and instead going direct CRE to avoid the Charleston Class Charlie.
I could hear the radio chatter and Myrtle Beach was IFR so when I was handed off from Charleston to Myrtle I opened up my flight plan, or so I thought. The controller cleared me to my filed altitude of five thousand but I had said 5.5 when she asked. When I replied to her instructions I said maintain five thousand and she did not correct me. When I watched the video I heard myself ask for 5.5, When I was handed off to Wilmington approach they asked if I was VFR or IFR. I responded IFR but he had me in the system as VFR. With that swap of info I was once again cleared as filed maintain five thousand. I have to say that was a first for me. My take-away is that I was not clear enough in my communications and the controller was very busy.
I was watching the clouds build ahead of me and the ADS-B was painting ugliness too.  I requested direct KOOKE to skirt around the west side of all the red cell activity. The plan worked for the most part, plenty of IMC with light rain and a very smooth ride.
I logged .7 IMC, finally breaking out into VFR as we approached the CVI VOR. It felt good to relax a bit, at least until we crossed the Chesapeake Bay. Hovering over the CCV Cape Charles VOR was a line of building clouds. I asked to deviate east to do an end around and it worked. 
Eventually I was handed off to Patuxent approach for the ride north east up the Peninsula. Once I had the weather at Ocean City I canceled IFR and let down for home. 

The AWOS winds changed three times in ten minutes. Winds were 080, 110, and finally 100. I ended up crossing midfield, entering the left down wind with a circle to land runway one-four. It’s good to be home! Time to pick up Lucy and then head to the house to see the boys. 

Just an added FYI
We were scheduled to fly to Myrtle Beach for a Thursday through Saturday stay on the beach at the Wyndham. I canceled that stop prior to leaving home on Monday. The tropical storm just forming made its way to the east coast for this weekend. Thankfully we are home to ride it out.