December 12, 2020-South Carolina Road Trip-Day 3

(click here for today's pictures) 

When Robby went to the bathroom at 6:50 this morning, I told him the time and I think that he was a bit disappointed. We both do sleep well, but I think that he wakes up more-constantly wondering if the kids are hot or cold. Unfortunately, for the kids, though not for me, I don't think a thing at all about them once I am snug under my covers.

Last night we used the little heaters to keep everyone warm. They did their job because once when Robby did his check he found that Anderson was completely uncovered. Robby turned the heater off only to realize on his next check that the temperature was quite a bit cooler. 

We all ate our breakfasts and got ourselves ready to head out around 9 this morning. Our first stop was downtown Columbia. They have a weekly street craft fair/food fest called Soda City Market. It took a bit of research before I realized that Columbia's nickname is Cola hence the name Soda City. 

This market was at least 3 city blocks long full of vendors selling everything from soaps, candles, clothes, and lots of food. There were people singing Christmas songs, and the trees were decorated with crocheted yarn decorations. We did partake in some food-Cinnamon Toast Crunch and S'mores Mini Doughnuts. They tasted a bit like funnel cakes shaped like doughnuts and topped with toppings. They were delicious!

The weather was pretty perfect today. It was warm in the sun-the boys all had on shorts. It was also cool in the shade-I had on pants and a jacket all day. Either way it was comfortable. Though right now I am typing this portion of the blog outside at a picnic table, and I am a bit chilly.

I am also a bit unnerved by the geese that keep getting closer and closer to us. I have already told Robby that if they come any closer I am heading in. I hear those things are vicious-not nearly as vicious as owls! 

After walking around Soda City, we headed about 30 minutes to Congaree National Park. I know you are going to ask how many National Parks we have now been to, and let me tell you. That does involve me getting up from my current spot-on the couch covered up with a blanket. There are 62 National Parks in the US. Now the combined National Park System has well over 400 different park sites including National Monuments, Historic Sites, Battlefields, River, Historic Trails, etc. 

Of the 62 (that was how many there were on my current list), Robby and I have been to 46 of the National Parks. Now I could get up again to count how many of the 400 National Park sites that we have been to, but I currently don't really care that much! 46 of 62 is pretty good. Actually it is 74 percent. Now there are even a few that Robby and I have been really close to but didn't make it to-in Key West we opted not to ride a float plane and I believe it was Michigan where we chose not to take an 8 hour boat ride to get to a park. We do plan on completing them all-some day!

Congaree seems to be a smaller park-now they do have a huge trail system, but it seemed like all of the trail heads started from the single visitor's center parking lot. Obviously, covid is a fun killer so the visitor's center is closed, but the gift shop is not (must not be able to catch the rona in a gift shop.)

We were still able to get our stamps for our books along with a Jr. Ranger badge. I printed out the booklet while at home and had everyone work on it on our way here. Then I just had Whitman turn it in-really, what do we need with 6 Jr. Ranger badges. I hang up one badge from each place on a map in Robby's office, and then the other badges are collecting in 2 gallon size ziplock bags in a drawer. Wonder if I could sell them on ebay?

We even bought an ornament for the tree along with a sticker for the camper. And it has an owl on it! Ha! The owl podcast that we listened to wasn't even from here, but owls are common here and the pictures of the ones from here look mean!...mean enough to kill.

The easiest trail was on a 2.4 mile boardwalk. It was a pretty walk through a swamp landy area. Each little bit the landscape would change some, and we would see some different types of plants growing.It was all very interesting. 

By the end of the trail, Keaton was complaining that her legs were getting sore, but Whitman did keep on a trucking. From there, we headed back to the campsite. I did run into a grocery store on the way home-well, the campground said that they were going to have bingo but we needed a candy bar to enter. They didn't, but I bought the candy bar. The campground also said that they were going to have a marshmallow roast. They didn't, but I bought the s'mores ingredients! We think they are already off for Christmas break!

Back at the campsite, we unloaded form the day. Robby quickly rolled the car on the ramps, and we were soon hooking it up. We are getting better at it-maybe more confident. (Not overly confident though). Then we took a little walk to the river. The bikers (everyone but Reagan) went with us. It was a nice little trail past some fishing ponds, and then to some type of little flowing water. Maybe it was a river.

Anderson stopped and was sitting with his legs hanging off of a bridge until he thought about alligators so he quickly pulled his legs up. The bike riders had to work hard on the way back since most of it was uphill. Robby and I saw the bridge that we would cross on the other side-but the bridge was flooded so that left us to go through the two fishing ponds....that all sounded and looked so easy. 

The mud in Congaree was said to be 6 feet deep-thankfully the mud we went through wasn't 6 feet, but it was deep. As soon as we came home, everyone had to leave their shoes for Robby to clean with the water hose. Our shoes were so nice looking, but they were so filthy when we got back. 

Robby cleaned them all with the hose. They were now stuffed with newspaper sitting in the van so they will hopefully dry out by tomorrow or really even dry out by the next day would be good as well. Soon it was 4, and the campground did keep to their schedule to open their big bouncy blob.

It is like a big inflated trampoline to jump on. All of the kids jumped for a few minutes and really seemed to enjoy it. Campbell jumped longer than all of the rest, and she probably would have stayed longer if her brothers and sisters stayed with her.

After jumping for a bit, we decided that we were hungry and put our chili in the pot to heat up. It didn't take long at all. Quite a few Dennie kids have said that chili is their favorite camping meal. It is near the top for me for sure. 

We ate, and then it was laundry time. We are right across from the bathhouse so Campbell, Anderson and Graham had showers over there. Reagan and Whitman had showers over here and Keaton skipper a shower. As people finished, Robby threw a load of clothes in the washer, and we started our first load of laundry for the trip. This is strange for a Dennie road trip-usually we do laundry every night so this being the third day and our first load of laundry is just odd.

Around 8, we fired up the microwave and heated up our s'mores. You really do have to have s'mores when you are camping-even though we forgot about them and had to buy the ingredients. After our snack, I played the dice game with Flash with Graham, Campbell, Keaton and Whitman. It is a fun, quick game, and it is probably a bit too noisy to be playing in a camper with 20 dice hitting the table at a time. 

Right before bedtime I did take my shower for the evening. I have found that if you plug the heater in in the bathroom then it becomes like a sauna. It is pretty nice-maybe even a bit too warm, but it beats the cold. I did walk 18 thousand steps today so I that is almost like a Disney day!

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