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Fur-cation: Charleston, SC

September 13, 2009

From our Motel 6 home base in the neighborburb of West Ashley, we spent Friday night driving around, and accidentally ended up pretty much driving routes 30 and 40 of CARTA (Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority) in search of a Starbucks, from West Ashley through the downtown peninsula and into the Buckhead-like (stripmall-filled) Mount Pleasant. (And, this system map makes Charleston look like a peen!)

We totally unexpectedly went over the ARJ Bridge and my driver was really excited. (My driver. Hah.) I recognized the route similarities today, when we caught the 30 on the side of the Savannah Highway. On CARTA, you can buy a day pass from the driver. How cool is that? We didn’t really even need to go to the transit center (next to the visitor center), but we did anyway (because we are).

Maps in hand, we took the south-ish bound 211, a DASH (Downtown Area SHuttle). DASH might be the thing in Charleston that most inspires conflicting feelings. The 4 DASH routes are circulars, like MARTA’s discontinued 100 and 101 tourist loops. And yes, DASH is often used by tourists. In fact, everyone else on the trolley (a trolley!) was over 60 years old, wearing Hawaiian Print something, or nervously shuffling through visitors guides, sometimes all of the above. It’s a slap in the face to see your future riding alongside you.

Now, about this trolley part, it’s not really a trolley, but a regular diesel bus tricked out like ye olde times (my companion calls them “bullshit, most of the time.”). I adore this aesthetic choice, even though my companion considers it to be “trading shocks for useless nostalgic style.” Yes, the roads are a bit bumpy and the seats are wooden, but they’re so cute! Meep-meep!

We spent most of the afternoon walking around the peninsula, taking pictures of houses that we liked, as well as pictures signifying respect for alternative transportation, like this demarcated no parking area in front of the bus stop!

My companion got distracted by a pawn shop with Peavey guitars. We decided to go back to the hotel to get the car before sunset. We were heading to a very special place called the Super Stop.

Not so super, actually.

Then, we went to stalk Jenny Sanford on the islands, but had no luck. A lot of people don’t leave their interior lights on in the middle of the night. But some do, those good old rich exhibitionists.

Hopefully, there will be more of them tomorrow when we travel down US 17 and hit Savannah, GA!

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