December 4, 2016


“The problems of victory are more agreeable than the problems of defeat, but they are no less difficult.”  Winston Churchill

Carol writes:  From Atlanta we headed northeast to Roebuck, South Carolina, for a visit with a very special family in our life.  We were delighted to spend an evening with Matt, Yvonne, Jillian and Jackson in their lovely southern home.  We had fun catching up and meeting the newest family member while sharing a wonderful family dinner together. 


From our campground in rural Roebuck, we also looked forward to some sibling time with Al’s sister, Rhonda, and her husband, Bill.  The four of us had a very special time together the day we made the trip up to Kings Mountain and Cowpens Revolutionary War battlefields.  More Revolutionary War battles were fought in the state of South Carolina than in any other colony.  The Battle at Kings Mountain was pivotal in that this Patriot victory turned the tide toward victory in our war for independence.  As a native South Carolinian, Kings Mountain

had great personal significance for Bill.  Five (or so) great-grandfathers back, a man named Preston Goforth fought and died in the battle at Kings Mountain. Indeed, the name Preston Goforth was memorialized on the monument!  Not surprisingly, the name Preston was used by several successive generations of the Goforth family.

During our hike to the top of Kings Mountain, we were truly in awe of the beautiful autumn day.  Fall colors were positively dazzling! 

As for our day on the battlefield honoring some of the very first American patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice at Kings Mountain… to my way of thinking, that was the perfect place to spend Veterans Day.

On the way home we took a swing by Cowpens, another Revolutionary War battlefield where American Patriot forces defeated British troops in January 1781.

At the time of the battle, Cowpens was frontier pastureland known locally as the ‘cow pens’ because it was used for wintering cattle on their way to market in Charleston.

During our stay in Roebuck, dozens of wildfires broke out in eastern Tennessee. Tragically, as the weeks played out, spread of these fires ultimately caused massive devastation and tragic loss of life in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  Toward the end of our stay in the Roebuck campground, smoke from the wildfires was beginning to affect air quality. Nevertheless, we decided to brave a trip into Greenville to look around.  Smoky air almost made us turn back; however, we were glad we persevered, because Greenville was worth the effort.

Once a textile center along the Reedy River,

present-day Falls Park, a lovely urban oasis in a revitalized downtown, is the centerpiece of Greenville.


Our last stop before reaching the Atlantic Ocean was in Columbia, the capital of South Carolina.  Unseasonal warm, summery days followed us, and there wasn’t a drop of rain to be found. 

Tours of state capitol buildings can be great opportunities to learn a little about a state’s history, and so it was in Columbia at the South Carolina State House.  Earlier this summer, on orders from Governor Nikki Haley, the Confederate flag was removed from the grounds of the capitol.  On looking closely, you could discern an area of slightly faded grass where the Confederate flag once stood.

Today, the capitol grounds continue to pay honor to George Washington, whose statue still holds the broken cane that was vandalized during the Civil War by troops under Union General William Tecumseh Sherman.

Bronze stars marked the spots where Sherman’s Civil War cannons damaged the blue granite exterior of what was then the new State House.

Inside, the South Carolina State House was a beauty with its creative use of colors which resulted in a unique southern style.

Paintings depicting the Revolutionary War battles at Kings Mountain and Cowpens occupied prominent positions on the wall.

Battle of Kings Mountain

Battle of Cowpens

Only a block from the South Carolina State House was an entrance to the grounds of the University of South Carolina.

In spite of the fact that the Gamecocks had a home game that day, we we had no trouble completing a great walking tour of the campus.  The most interesting part of the campus was the historic over 200-year-old Horseshoe, USC’s original campus.

Our stay in Columbia also gave us an opportunity to check out the neighborhood where Al’s parents once lived during his father’s final years in the Army at Fort Jackson, just before retirement and their move to Florida.  As a newly engaged couple in 1977, this was the house where I first met Al’s parents. However, the Bendemeer house didn’t look anything like we remembered.  So many of the trees were gone… and the neighborhood was fully developed…

Finally, while in Columbia we couldn’t pass up the chance to visit Congaree National Park, one of the few remaining national parks that we have never visited.  At Congaree it is all about the trees and the protection of a rare old-growth bottomland hardwood forest.

With just the right amount of water and light, Congaree’s loblolly pines have grown into record-setting giants.

The ranger-led walk

led us through swamps dotted with bald cypress trees and their characteristic knobby ‘knees’.

Recently, Hurricane Matthew wreaked havoc on Congaree and closed access to a popular section of hiking trails, but we felt fortunate to see what we did since regular seasonal flooding often closes the part of the trail we were able to hike.  Sometimes your timing is just right…

We had sure enjoyed an 11-day stay in Upcountry South Carolina followed by 3 days in the central capital of Columbia.  Visits with special people,,


...and a new national park—couldn’t ask for more in our lifestyle.
As I reflected back on our travels in 2016, I thought about the fact that we had left the Pacific coast at San Diego in March.  Nine months later, by way of Michigan, we were just a short drive from the Atlantic coast at Charleston.  It was in Charleston where we planned to meet up with our daughter for a belated Thanksgiving dinner and some precious time together.  Would Charleston have anything else in store for us? 

 “We got to stop the tree cutting.  They’re cutting the ‘Redwoods of the East’.”  Carol Kososki


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