Our blog is to keep family and friends informed of our motorhome journeys.
We have dreamed of this for many years and finally our dream has come true.
We are looking forward to many happy miles ahead.
One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things. Henry Miller.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Arrival Camp Lejeune, NC & tour of Fort Johnston

15-22 March 2018

We departed today for Camp LeJeune Marine Base Onslow Beach Campground an hour from Wilmington, NC. We will be here until the 22nd when we travel to Cherry Point Marine Base and Pelican Point Campground until the 31st.

Too cold for them now

Onslow Beach

Weather Coming In

This is our second time at LeJeune since 2012. The campground is small and a few steps from the beach. Unfortunately weather is not in our favor with rain, wind and cooler weather.There were several things we wanted to do, but our only outing was to Fort Johnston in Southport.

There is a sign at the office that reads:

Welcome Spring
"you can shake the sand from your shoes, but it will never leave your soul". Very true.

23 March
Fort Johnston was originally established as a colonial fort in 1748 and destroyed during the Revolutionary War. It was rebuilt as a Second System coastal defense fort for the war of 1812. The fort was seized by the Confederates at the beginning of the Civil War and later taker by the Union forces in 1865. It was abandoned in 1881, but used by federal agencies until 2005.

Fort Johnston Sign


Pictures of Town and Fort in Museum

Outline of Fort

View of Cape Fear River and Atlantic

The remaining building known as the Garrison House now houses the Visitor Center and Museum. The hospital building is now a private home.

Visitor Center & Museum

Fort Hospital

Southport is a charming coastal village with many historic homes in the traditional southern atmosphere. It is a short ferry ride from Fort Fisher and located at the mouth of the Cape Fear River where it meets up with the Atlantic Ocean. The town was established in 1792. The 4th of July festival attracts 40,000 to 50,000 annually. Several movies and TV shows have been filmed here. The original name was Smithville. I wish we could have had more time to explore, but weather was not good and we were having problems with the car leaking coolant.

Since we are having problems with the car, we stayed in the campground over the weekend which was OK since it rained most of the time. Have not had many walks on the beach. I started putting the final plans on our trip to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Instead of taking the ferry from Portland,ME to Yarmouth NS we decided to drive to St John NB and take the ferry over to Digby NS on the 31st of May with a return ferry from Yarmouth to Portland on the 17th of August.

On the 20th of June we will take the ferry from North Sydney to Argentia NL with a return from Port Aux Basques back to North Sydney NS.

Reference the car repair, John decided to take it to Jeff Gordon Chevrolet in Wilmington. Can't say enough good things about the operation. They managed to fit us in on Monday the 19th and give us a loaner. Our first estimate came in high and after getting a second tech to evaluate the situation, we had a total cost of $1100 to replace the gaskets,seals, oil change and filter. We feel confident in their professional work and would not hesitate to recommend them if in the Wilmington area. Everyone was helpful, courteous and friendly. Maybe we can get another 200,000 miles..hee hee.

21 March

Still raining so went to the commissary and exchange.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Battery White-Belle Isle, SC

13 March 2018

Our last outing before departing Charleston on the 15th was to visit Battery White located on the grounds of the Belle Isle Yacht Club and housing development on Winyah Bay just south of Georgetown, SC. When you arrive at the gate call the number on the keypad and tell them you are here to tour the battery and they will open gate.

The battery has been well maintained and preserved with post markers on the trail depicting the cannon placements, magazines.ramparts etc.

The Battery was built during the Civil War to protect the Winyah entrance  to Georgetown. It contained 17 earthen breastworks and guns. There are still two 10 inch Columbiad cannons in place with two others at the waterfront in Georgetown.
Ice House


Memorial Marker


Winyah Bay

On General Sherman's March to the Sea, the Confederates withdrew from the Battery in order to help intercept the Union Army. As a result when Union Admiral Dahlgren's ships arrived in the bay, the Battery was unmanned. Troops from the "Mingoe" landed to find the guns spiked and powder removed.

On 1 March 1865 Dahlgren took command of Georgetown and on this day he lost his flagship "The Harvest Moon" having been sunk by a homemade bom made by Confederate hero Captain Doggette. This was the only Union ship sunk in Georgetown waters. It is said that at low tide you can see portions of the ship from Belle Isle.

Tomorrow is get ready to go and for a $10 fee, John can wash the Motorhome which is covered with pine pollen.

We have enjoyed our stay at JB Charleston. The campground is well maintained and a good location for touring.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Visit to Historic Charleston Navy Yard

9  March 2018

Today we visited the site of the Charleston Naval Yard Historic district. The Navy Yard construction began in 1901 becoming one of the most significant Naval installations at that time containing around 57 structures. Most of the yard is now in private ownership. At one time hundreds of thousands were employed, 256 ships built. It was closed in 1996 due to budget constraints and downsizing.

Water Park

Home Coming Statue

Map of Yard

View of Cooper River

Besides the Yard there was the hospital district which is mostly in disrepair. There are some buildings being privately used for different businesses. The area consisted of 32 buildings. A prior hospital constructed in 1917 was demolished in 1922 with the existing structure built prior to and during WWII. The hospital continued to serve the base until 1972.

Hospital Building

We spent most of our time exploring the Officer's Quarters Historic District located at the intersection of Everglades and Navy Way. In 1895 the City purchased lands that were part of the Turnbull and Retreat Plantations and a public park was designed named for the Chicora Indians on the Cooper River. In 1901 the Navy purchased the property and housing for the officers consisting of 28 structures was developed. It seems today that many of these structures are being restored and sold to private citizens. Driving into the park you pass this magnificent home that was once the headquarters and commandant's residence.

Signage of Some of the Houses

Headquarters and Commandant's House


Officer Housing

Officer Housing
Housing Signage

Thursday, March 8, 2018

A Day of Forting on Hilton Head Island

7 March 2018

Our touring today took us to Hilton Head Island to tour several forts located on Port Royal, Hilton Head & Palmetto Plantations. We booked a tour thru Coastal Discovery Museum for the ones on Port Royal Plantation as this is only access.The tour is $12/ea and departs from the Port Royal Clubhouse on Wednesday at 1000AM. Forts Walker/Welles, Sherman and Battery Dynamite were included in the tour.

On 7 November 1861 a fleet of 71 ships with 155 guns under the command of Samuel DuPont, plus 12,000 troops and a labor force of 1,000 under the command of General Thomas Sherman attacked Fort Walker. It was the Union's purpose to blockade the Confederate ports and to serve as a training and supply base. In March 1863 Hilton Head was designated the Headquarters of the South for the US Army and called Port Royal. Walker was renamed Welles after the capture in 1861.

The battle of Port Royal was one of the earliest amphibious battles of the Civil War. The sound was guarded by Fort Walker to the south and Fort Beauregard on Philips Island to the north.

Our next stop on the tour was Battery Dynamite located 200 yards from site of Fort Walker/Welles (1890-1910). It is now in ruins.The Battery was deactivated in 1902 and the guns and carriages salvaged in 1917. The gun was powered by compressed air. The explosive used was dynamite.

View of Philips Island from Dynamite Battery

Our last stop on the tour was Fort Sherman (1862-1866), a 14 acre landward defense earthwork abandoned in 1868. It became the inclusive name for all the Union earthwork defenses, barracks,quarters etc within the 800 acre military reservation of Hilton Head Island.

Leaving the tour, we went to Fort Howell (1864-1865) which is now located in a public park on Beach City Road. This is an earthenware fort built by the Union Army. 500 members of the 32nd US Colored Infantry were assigned to the task of the building. The fort was constructed in the middle of a large cotton field to protect Mitchelville, the first freedmen's village of the South. The fort was designed for 27 guns, 11 field pieces and 16 siege guns.Walking through the park are cutouts and signs of the troops stationed here.

Soldier at Fort Howell

Replica of 1864 Union Flag

Reading Mail 


Guard on Duty

Also on the walk is a sign about Harriett Tubman who was a slave, scout, spy, nurse, abolitionist and conductor of the Underground railroad. She successfully guided the raid on the Combahee River in 1863 disrupting the supply lines of the Confederates and freeing 700 slaves.

We then went to Fort Mitchel located on the Hilton Head Plantation. At the gate just tell them you want to visit site of the Fort and they will give you a pass. We had wanted to have lunch at the Fort Pub, but they were closed until 4PM. The fort is next to the pub. Fort Mitchel (1862-1865) was a Union earthwork battery on Skull Creek. In order to build the fort, all trees were removed and the earthen wall built on top of palmetto logs. There were 5-6 cannons pointing downstream, Pinckney Island and Port Royal Sound.


24 Pound Howitzer


Old Fort Pub

After lunch at Main Street Cafe, our final stop was Leamington Lighthouse (1879-1932) the location of Camp McDougal (1937-1944) located on Palmetto Dunes Plantation. Again, just get a gate pass when entering. The lighthouse is also known as Hilton Head Rear Range Light and still stands on the golf course.It housed a Fresnel Lens with light generated by oil lamps.

The lens had to be washed with wine every two months. Light from here could be seen 15 miles away.A hurricane in 1893 made a direct hit and water around the Lighthouse was 3 feet deep. The keeper and his daughter worked through the night to keep the lanterns burning. Unfortunately he collapsed and died. His daughter died several weeks later from exhaustion and the loss of her father. Legend is that she still haunts the Lighthouse.

In 1937, the Lighthouse became the site of Camp McDougal, used for training by the Southeastern Shore Patrol and an extensive US Marine Training Station during WWII for anti-aircraft units and defense batalions.

It was a very productive day even though very long as we left around 630AM and returned 12 hours later.