Win Some, Lose Some!
It’s December 5th, and we are still here in Columbia, South Carolina. A generator issue has delayed us and we wait patiently while the Cummins tech-rep decides why our particular unit runs rough when it runs at all. The good news is that we’ve had some other adjustments made with great success and accessorized out Firestone Airbag system to include a larger air-tank and a few fittings so on-board compressed air is always available. The crew at Provan always brings their A-Game whenever we have questions or need an adjustment. In any process there is always a weak link, always room for improvement, in this case, it’s a vendor. So while we wait for our generator issue to be resolved, we get to explore the city of Columbia. Why not? After all, when given lemons…
We stay at the Comfort Inn & Suites in West Columbia during our generator issue, and even if we had our truck available to us for transportation, taking a quick Uber ride into the city is the way to go. And we do…often. Nine dollars buys you a ride in about 5 minutes and takes you to some of the greatest food and one of the friendliest cities you can imagine. Every Uber ride in this town is a spectacular reveal of personality and driving prowess. The Vista section of Columbia is riddled with great food in the $$-$$$ range. Choices from award-winning Shrimp and Grits or a quick walk gets you a bowl of super tasting Ramen. Or how about Shellfish any way you like. Italian, Greek, Japanese, and more all within a short walking distance of each other. Great oyster bars pop out everywhere like Magnolia blossoms.Speaking of walking, there are plenty of areas of the city accessible just by walking or biking. A recently renovated historic waterfront river walk is most impressive, with newly arrived Canadian Geese taking a break in the Congaree river sharing resting places on the rocks with the local turtle population. Rocks which determined the birth of the city by marking the end of further travel upriver. Spanish tree moss (think “Old Man’s Beard”, only nicer) hangs from lanky old oaks along the river in long waving strands. It’s Sunday, and the temperatures are warmer than normal, so everyone is walking, biking or running. Over 40,000 students enroll at the University of South Carolina, so their presence is felt here, but not nearly as much as what we see and hear back home. “Yes sir”, and “Yes mam,” are very common here and here’s a newsflash, apparently manners are important. And, dare I say it, common courtesy is…well…common here. Refreshing, to say the least.
But a day of walking for four hours at some point results in a lost phone. My fault. Putting aside the pleasurable feeling created by a perfectly crafted gin martini, I use Yvette’s phone to get us out of the predicament I’ve created. Her phone is down to 30% battery life, and she has no app for an Uber. A quick call to Verizon (phone was insured) and then download the Uber app on her phone. Within 10 minutes, an Uber driver picks us up in his…wait for it…a Jaguar XJ? Not complaining mind you, just wasn’t expecting that. Nor were we expecting a Santa Uber in a mini van?
On the 16th, we are ready to go, but our vehicle registration plates have yet to find us and we decide to leave for a dry camp opportunity in the town of Whitmire S.C., 60 miles north of Columbia. During the overnight stay, we will test the furnace in hopes the gremlin which Provan has fixed has been fixed once and for all. We arrive just before dark and there is only one other camper in the small 10-acre facility.
Very clean, nestled in a mix of pine and very old oak, the air is clean. We spend our first night with a newly adjusted furnace, and it works flawlessly. It is raining a bit, so we spend the time reading and making a few trips to Newberry for supplies and taking care of a quick software update on the truck.
We will spend the next few days staying in camp most of the time or heading to town for supplies and other logistic chores that must be done, including signing up for the vehicles “OnStar” system. (I’ll go into in detail on the next blog).
We also have to hit the local Walmart Supercenter for much-needed supplies, including water. Apparently, CAMO is HUGE here! It’s so cool to see husbands and wives dressed in camo out for a day of shopping. And, I’m pretty sure it’s the first time I’ve seen a pair of stiletto camo shoes. You go girl!
We will be heading to a great camp spot in Georgia as soon as all of our paperwork, plates and any other issues are completed. We may have a house sitting gig over the Christmas holiday which should be interesting, so stay tuned!