James Island (Charleston) to Huntington Beach (Pawley’s Island)

The is just a little short bleep about the drive up the coast. I was never here in the past so I can only imagine how it was; what I imagine and see the occasional ruins of is so far different from the here and now that it might be a different planet. So it goes.

The first trick is getting across the peninsula. Take Folly Road to US-17, hang a right and stay on it. If you have a good GPS it’ll help but otherwise the turns and ramps are clearly marked well in advance. You’re going to be on city streets and expressways. The bridge over the Ashley River is just a preliminary; the Ravenel Bridge is plain spectacular. It’s probably good that it was misty and rainy otherwise Mom would’ve had four cats and two cows. It’s that high.

Down off the bridge and a few blocks further and we come to Houston Northcutt Boulevard, where we find Melvin’s Legendary and pig out.

Fortified, we waddle back onto US-17 whereupon we enjoy traffic and traffic lights for another 12 miles. It’s not heavy traffic at noon and the traffic lights don’t catch us too often, but it does exist and our average speed was around 40 mph.

Once into the Francis Marion National Forest it’s smooth sailing for 30+ miles. We’re on a US highway and there’s no traffic. Eventually we come to Georgetown, which is an unremarkable little mill town boasting a paper mill and a steel mill and we don’t care that it dates to 1734, we just want to get across the Pee Dee and Waccamaw Rivers and get out of town.

And all of a sudden we’re onto Pawley’s Island and plowing through housing development after housing development, strip mall after strip mall. The good side is that there’s a grocery store, liquor store, Walgreens and CVS on every corner; the bad sideĀ  is that there’s a grocery store, liquor store, Walgreens and CVS on every corner. For miles. These developments are all “The Something or Other Plantation” and they’re all just beachfont and coastal McMansions.

Chirrens, the Grand Strand ain’t so grand any more. Nothing that a Hugo-level hurricane wouldn’t fix.

Editorial aside, we passed out of purgatory into Huntington Beach SP land. For about two miles on one side of the road is the state park and on the other side is Brookgreen Gardens. Peace!



Comment is closed.