Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride

Saturday, March 15, 2008 - Rest Day

We stayed in Columbia, SC at the lovely home of a high school friend of Pat's, Alan Shoemaker, and his wife, Sylvia. They took us for a brief tour of the area, including Lake Murray - a large man-made lake we'll be going by tomorrow on our way to Saluda. We also went over the Congaree River, one of 3 major rivers coming into Columbia - the Wateree and Broad being the other two. Then we went into the main part of town and visited the South Carolina State Museum. The Museum had a kid's museum across from it and an interesting statue in the form of a palm tree, the state tree. We also cruised by the State Capitol building, with its controversial Confederate flag in front and impressions of cannonballs in its walls, from Sherman's bombing of the Capitol during the Civil War. We also saw many buildings of the large University of South Carolina campus, including an impressive stadium. Columbia had a lot of development going on, a lot of it associated with the University. It is a wonderfully laid-out, modern city with a lot of southern charm.

We watched the predicted storm come through from the safety of the Shoemakers' sun room. It was over quickly and we're hoping tomorrow will be sunny again, as promised. The Shoemakers' backyard had several beautiful versions of the state tree, the palmetto, and had a bird feeder at which we saw the state bird, a cute little brown bird called the Carolina Wren, as well as bluebirds, goldfinches, downy woodpeckers, cardinals, and others.

Alan is a semi-retired zoo expert and set us straight on the local flora that I had been guessing at. I'll clean up the past entries with the correct names of things, but just for the record: the hibiscus we saw were really camellias (it's too cold here for hibiscus), the apple trees were really Bradford pears, and the purple clover were not clover but some other plant with thinner flowers than clover.

In front of the Shoemaker home - Alan, Pat, and Sylvia

Huge camellia bushes by their home

The South Carolina flag in front of a neighbor's house

Sari, Sylvia, and Alan in front of the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia

An artistic statue of the palmetto, the state tree

Part of the Columbia skyline, including the capitol dome on the right

A palmetto in the Shoemakers' backyard

A close up of the cut palm fronds on the stalk

The Shoemaker backyard garden

White camellia flowers