"Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses and disappointments, but let us have patience and we soon shall see them in their proper figures."
– Joseph Addison
Hello. We are in sunny Kinards, South Carolina which is halfway between Greenville and Columbia and right in the Sumter National Forest. What a nice area. We had a very relaxing week in some ways and a frustrating week in others, not unlike some of yours I am sure.
We began our week with a journey into the past. We visited Musgrove Mill State Historic Site. This mill was a private residence owned by the Musgrove family, but was taken over during the Revolutionary War by the Loyalists for use by the British army. This mill is located on the Enoree River, which would afford the British a method by which they could transport goods north and south, thereby resupplying their troops in the field. Here is some information from their website that explains the battle that took place here:
"Musgrove Mill State Historic Site’s peaceful setting in the Piedmont woods stands in sharp contrast to the bloody struggle waged there on Aug. 19, 1780. A group of 200 Patriot militiamen rode to strike what they thought was an equal number of Loyalists at Musgrove Mill on the Enoree River. Instead, they found themselves badly outnumbered, the Tories having been joined by 300 provincial regulars from the British post at Ninety Six. Retreat was impossible, a frontal assault suicidal. So the Patriot forces took a strong defensive position and lured the Loyalists into a fierce fight that turned into a near rout after the British attack collapsed."
Steve and I did some geocaching as we walked along the interpretive trail. We came across a memorial to Mary Musgrove, the daughter of the owner of the gristmill who served as a spy for the patriots. Some say she hid a patriot soldier from the British in the rocks of Horseshoe Falls (see the gallery for a picture of the falls). It was really interesting to walk through the woods and imagine how the soldiers (both foreign and domestic) lived and fought there. We enjoyed the 3-mile hike and the geocaching. Nice day.
Our next venture was to Harris Springs Sportsmans Preserve in Cross Hill. Steve took me there so that I could learn to shoot clay pigeons (and bunnies). WOW. Was that a great time. Steve is an exceptional marksman. I don't think he missed more than 2 or 3 the entire time we were out there. I, however, was not as accurate with my shot but by the end, I was picking off those clay targets pretty well. I did end up with quite the bruise on my right shoulder from the kickback of the gun, but I will clearly live. I thoroughly enjoyed that experience and if you want to see the YouTube video of our experience, see the blog post below.
The next day we had yet another bad situation with our black water tank. For those of you who are not familiar with RV lingo, the black water tank is where the waste water from the toilet is stored. There are gate valves that control when the contents of those tanks are dumped into the sewer lines that we are attached to. Unfortunately for us, that valve did not work and would not close. You can imagine what that means, right? So Steve and I (mostly Steve, let's be honest) spent the day flushing and cleaning the tank so that we could take our rig into Columbia for repairs. What is really frustrating about this situation is that this is one of the issues that was supposedly fixed when we were in Marion, North Carolina, the previous week. Our warranty dude at Redwood is a total gem so working through the issue with the manufacturer of our trailer was no biggie, which we greatly appreciated. We still had to take Big Red 47 miles down to Columbia for repairs. So we dropped off our rig (RV speak for "trailer") and we headed into downtown Columbia to do some exploring.
I had done some investigating of our potential entertainment options and came across the Three Rivers Greenway. The Greenway is a series of parks and trails along the three rivers that flow into Columbia - - the Saluda, the Broad and the Congaree Rivers. In the 1820's, Columbia built a canal along the Congaree River which allowed them to use the water from the river to move goods and people up and down the waterway. On the bank of the river runs a 8.5 mile paved trail that Steve and I enjoyed as we rode our bikes along the canal. We stopped for a water break and saw some interesting wildlife - a green anole lizard and a 5 lined skink (see the gallery). We both really liked downtown Columbia and will definitely make this place a stop when we are back on the East coast of the U.S. (probably not until 2014).
Our beloved Big Red was being worked on at Tony's RV in Lexington, which we must say was an excellent service provider. Not only did they replace the gate valve on our black tank, but they also replaced one that was difficult to opperate on our gray tanks too. George, our technician, was such a nice man and both Steve and I left Tony's believing that we had received excellent care. Steve wrote a nice note to the Redwood organization letting them know that Tony's would be an excellent organization to add to their service provider list. We also learned that the previous repair that was done was not as complete as we were told, even though the previous repair facility billed Redwood for an entire replacement of our valve system. HMMMM. Doesn't that disappoint you?
Well, we closed our visit to Kinards with a visit to the First Baptist Church in Clinton. What an awesome service that was. It was a contemporary service in which the worship portion was lead by a young man with a very powerful voice. The message given by the pastor was on Jeremiah 18 and Isaiah 64:8. Both of those Scripture passages discuss clay in the hands of the potter. We learned that clay used by potters must first go through a difficult process called "wedging" wherein the clay is pounded and kneaded in order to be properly prepared for use. Proper preparation is important so that all the unwanted aspects of the clay are removed before it can be put through the molding process (i.e., our trials and tribulations in life, no doubt). Another important point about the shaping process is that the clay must be centered properly on the potter's wheel or else it will spiral out of control and become marred during the forming process. Don't you feel like you're an uncentered lump of clay spinning off-balance sometimes? I know that I do. But, as the pastor pointed out, marred clay can still be used by the potter. He simply forms it into another pot. Thank God for that, right? I don't even want to estimate the number of times this lump of clay has been re-formed in my 52 years of life, but I know that I still have many more times to come. the pastor pointed out that as long as we are breathing, we are still on the potter's wheel. I am just thankful that God gives us the opportunity for second and third (and 154th) chances.
Alrighty then. We are off to Charleston tomorrow. Everyone we've spoken to tells us that we will just love that city. There is a ton of history there, not to mention great culture and FOOD! We anticipate mucho pics in the gallery next week so stay tuned.