Friday, April 21st, 2017
The first visit was to the “Basic Training Museum”. It is not the largest I’ve visited, but well presented and with a hundred years of history and artifacts. It brought back many memories of my early days in the Army.
On the outside many static displays were present. From Sherman WWII vintage tank to M1A1 Abrams, Desert Storm vintage tank and many other vehicles were to be seen. What really caught my eye was a “B Model” Huey helicopter mounted in the forward air flight position. The Huey was very well restored, but what made me look twice was the “nose art” It was the Vikings logo from a sister Assault Helicopter Company based in Soc Trang, Vietnam. This was the same airfield that I was stationed at. Looking a little further at the tail I noticed the tail numbers. 13,972. I remember distinctly working on a 336th Assault Helicopter Company “Thunderbird” B Model gunship with the serial number 13,977. That signifies that this aircraft was built just five aircraft before the one I worked on. What a small world we live in, for me to come across this aircraft 12,000 miles from Vietnam to Fort Jackson, SC some 51 years ago, halfway around the world!
The Riverbanks Zoo & Garden
Later in the day, we headed across town for our next adventure. The Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, I intended to visit the botanical gardens more than the zoo. Upon approaching the Zoo, we both read the sign that this was the biggest attraction in South Carolina. Just getting there was impressive. They built this bridge spanning a large parking lot and an active railroad line. Once inside the first eye-catching exhibit was the Grizzly Bears. Real big bears feeding in a pond. Did I say big? Ok, now we were hooked on at least looking around at other animals. It was a world-class zoo.
Crossing another bridge across a large brown colored water flowing river, we hoped on the wheeled train to take us up the mountain to the gardens. A note here, usually we would have hiked up the 3/4 mile hill, but today was very hot around 88 degrees with no wind. We didn’t feel guilty one bit!
The gardens were in full bloom! All the plants had names, but for the life of me, I can’t remember any of them except to say all were colorful and pleasing to the eye. In days gone by I use to love gardening, playing in the flowers, and rock garden. Today, being retired you would think that I have all the time in the world to play in the flowers. No, it seems that my schedule is so pact with things to do that time for that never materializes.
Driving back to the campground, we were tired but happy with the day. Tomorrow would be our departure day or would it be, was the question?
That is what we saw and did!