Around September 13th, Jon was scheduled to leave for his work at sea. Due to a delay with the ship, Jon got to enjoy another weekend in Charleston – even though he was itching to get back to work. I, of course, was glad to spend more time with him – even though I know the later he leaves, the later he returns.
On Saturday, we had these wonderful goals for the day. Go on a day trip, explore some little town, have a quaint little lunch, perhaps find a little hike or adventure.
But it didn’t happen. Every place we thought we would like to visit was more than 2 hours drive, and we didn’t want to lose the day in the car. So, we just got in the car to see where we would find ourselves.
Driving out of Charleston, we headed over towards an area called Awendaw. Francis Marion National Forest has a rifle range in that area called Twin Ponds. We decided to take our guns and check out the range.
Francis Marion National Forest is large stretch of land with an array of outdoor activities. Our first visit was to the northern area of the forest back in the spring, and Jon and I took a hike through part of the The Swamp Fox Trail. We had a good time, but we came out covered in ticks! It was grassy, deeply wooded area that seemed a bit unkempt. However, it was a bit reminiscent of our woods in Virginia, and we had a good time exploring. There is a ton more of the forest to discover.
But, as it was – we were discovering the rifle range on this day. After driving waaaayyyyyy back on a pot-holed ridden dirt road, we pulled up to a beautiful little cove of huge, green pine trees. The clacking and echoing of the rounds being fired as we got out of the car let us know that we were not the only ones who thought it was a lovely day to go to the range.
Now, after having worked at the NRA, I tend to be on the nervous end of range safety – however what we came upon was even bothersome to Jonathan. Only a 100-yard backstop, with some shooting tables, this range was a bit small for some of the rambunctious firearms being shot. There was not a great deal of safety or respecting your firing neighbor. There were grown men shooting at golf balls about 20 ft from the table wall, not only a highly dangerous choice, but dirt and dust kept flying back into everyone’s faces. One neighbor of ours shot off a gun that sent his sshells right off into our heads as we were trying to shoot.
The kicker for me was the 2 redneck men, each with a young son en tow, who brought a 3 flats of can Cheerwine soda and what appeared to be a Mossberg pistol grip shotgun. Yes, they had chew in their cheeks, oversized jean “shorts”, and black “wife-beater” t-shirts. These fellas would unload rounds aimlessly as one of the boys would throw a can or two of the Cheerwine out to be shot. That’s when we agreed it was time to venture on.
Furthermore, I had not shot my Ruger .22 in about 2 years – and my sight needed major adjustment. I have had my eyeglass prescription changed 3 times since then, so it was too fuzzy for me. Jonathan had some trouble with his Century Arms .308 – the shells were getting stuck in the gun; this was distracting and troubling for him. I think he took the entire gun apart 3 times.
So off we went to check in on this town we saw online that was just about 5 minutes from the rifle range. It is called McClennanville.
A old, country, shrimping town that apparently holds a lot of history from the indigo and rice planters dating as far back as the late 1600s and the settling of French Huguenots. We drove through the town and it was very charming. Old narrow road sweeping around old planters homes and old angel oaks full of spanish moss. The little, rickety docks with shrimp boats parked along side; it was really very lovely. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to get out of the car for — only one restaurant and no shops open. It is probably a place I might revisit while Jon is gone to sea to try to get some photographs or tour an old home.
By this time it was a bit after 1:30pm. After 2 and a half hours, we were not winning on our activities and none were what we hoped. We just made our way home; I was bummed and hungry.
But, as Jon reminded me, we were out of the house and at least doing something different. More importantly, he said, “and Sarah – at least we are doing these things together.” Yes, sir…very true! We were together!
Suddenly, things turned around!
We drove by a huge, wooden, brightly painted sign with a laughing Pirate and a Winking Parrot – “Black Beard’s Cove”!! “Ohh, Boy,” we exclaimed!
This Family Fun Park is pretty awesome. First, there are a bunch of grown men and women fully dressed in pirate attire. These are not just cheesy costumes – these are like the rein-actor types with realistic garb, weapons and goblets of drink. Secondly, there is Paintball, Putt Putt, Arcade, Climbing Wall, Jump Land, and Water Wall. Finally, and most importantly, there is Go Karts!!
We played a round of putt-putt, we rode around in the go-karts, we played air hockey, and just had a great time! We laughed and laughed on those go karts. We just really enjoyed ourselves and the fun we had at Black Beard’s Cove! The only negative — I was covered in bug bites!!
After this day, we worked up an appetite!! We went home to cook a wonderful meal, sharing a delicious steak, a couple snow crab clusters, and lovely salads.
Turned out to be a grand Saturday after all. I was very appreciative of the time we shared, and all the laughs we had. But the weekend wasn’t even over yet!