Category Archives: Transportation

Ravenel Bridge, From The Cooper River

The sky looked a bit ominous as we passed under the Ravenel Bridge, but the storm was on its way out. We had just passed under the bridge, this is looking towards Drum Island.

The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge
Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge

The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge over the Cooper River in South Carolina, US, connecting downtown Charleston to Mount Pleasant. ~ Wikipedia

Baby Pelican Cruise with Coastal Expeditions, leaving from Daniel Island on the Wando River side down to Charleston Harbor and the New Crab Bank just off Shem Creek.

Other posts from this adventure 

Charleston Harbor, SC
June 23, 2023

Birds of the Mechanical Kind

There are 41 massive C-17 airplanes stationed at Joint Base Charleston which sits just across the Ashley River from Magnolia Plantation, where I take many of my photos. I’ve seen them coming and going many times, sometimes singly and sometimes in groups.

A few weeks ago when I was on the dike three of them flew in together and circled around a few times before landing.

C-17s Circling
C-17s Circling

Circling is a long process for these giants, and they give the illusion of being awfully close together.

C-17s Circling
C-17s Circling

It was five minutes from the time I first spotted them until they dipped below the trees to the runway.

C-17s Circling
C-17s Circling

From Boeing’s website, the C-17:

Wingspan to Winglet Tip 169.8 ft (51.74 m)
Length 174 ft (53.04 m)
Height at Tail 55.1 ft (16.79 m)

Compare to a Boeing 737

Wingspan 117 ft 5 in (35.8 m)
Length  110 ft 4 in (33.6 m)
Height  41 ft 3 in (12.5 m)

Stumphouse Tunnel

The Blue Ridge Railroad was hoping to bore through Stumphouse Mountain for a line extending from Anderson, South Carolina to Knoxville, Tennesee.  Started in the early 1850s, 1,500 Irish miners cut through blue granite with hand drills, hammers and chisels, and black powder in this and two nearby tunnels. Their efforts came to an end in 1859  when no more funding could be procured to complete the work and subsequent efforts to restart the rail project over the next several decades failed.

Stumphouse Tunnel
Stumphouse Tunnel – top

Even though the ceiling was quite high, 20 or 25 feet ( 6 or 7 meters)  right here, I’m not a fan of underground spaces and stayed pretty close to the entrance. Ted was a bit more adventurous. You can go further, but would want better shoes and light, be prepared for bats, and have water protection for your camera.

Stumphouse Tunnel
Stumphouse Tunnel – Ted looking back to the entrance

There was less green growth on the walls just a short distance from the entrance. Two streams of water a few inches deep flowed on either side of the floor and water dripped from the ceiling. The cool air flowing out of the tunnel was welcome on this hot day.

Stumphouse Tunnel
Stumphouse Tunnel – those are Ted’s footprints in the mud

Stumphouse Tunnel is managed by the City of Walhalla, SC as part of a recreation area.

Big John Deere

The SC Department of Natural Resources keeps the unpaved roads and paths that wind through the Wildlife Management Areas  we frequent mowed which allows their staff easier access to remote areas. It’s a bonus for this photographer who isn’t interested in wading through tall grass that hides all manor of reptiles and bugs.

The sun had just come up creating a nice light and reflection as this tractor and mower headed out from the DNR garage on a cold March morning. The driver was warmly ensconced in his heated cab high off the ground where I expect he sees lots of interesting wildlife while doing his job.

John Deere Tractor
John Deere Tractor

B-29 Superfortress FIFI

The Boeing B-29 Superfortress saw active military duty from 1944 through the late 1950s.  “FIFI” was acquired by the Commemorative Air Force in the early 1970s and after extensive restoration travels across the US for air events and to share a piece of history.

Commemorative Air Force Fifi
Commemorative Air Force’s FIFI in Charleston – click image for larger view

FIFI flew into Charleston, SC this week where she is on display for tours and rides are available for the brave. I’ll be staying on the ground!

Commemorative Air Force Fifi
B-29 FIFI’s nose – click image for larger view

The most well known B-29s were the ones outfitted to drop atomic bombs at the end of World War II, including the Enola Gay.

Commemorative Air Force Fifi
Commemorative Air Force FIFI- click image for larger view

The size of this airplane’s parts is impressive. I was standing fully upright below one of the propellers for this shot:

Commemorative Air Force Fifi
B-29 Propeller – click image for larger view

After several days of rain we were also treated to some blue sky today, adding to the B-29’s presentation. You can see the feet of folks waiting their turn to climb up into the cockpit area in the shot below.

Commemorative Air Force Fifi
Commemorative Air Force FIFI, B-29 – click image for larger view

“The CAF was founded to acquire, restore and preserve in flying condition a complete collection of combat aircraft which were flown by all military services of the United States, and selected aircraft of other nations, for the education and enjoyment of present and future generations of Americans.”

Will It Fit?

I always take a breath when I see cargo ships pass under the bridges around Charleston. The prospect of not fitting is an optical illusion at certain distances from the bridge.

Loaded Cargo Ship Leaving Port
Loaded Cargo Ship Leaving Port -click photo for larger view

MSC Karlskrona loaded and leaving port, has passed under the Ravenel Bridge on a gorgeous spring day. The SPA Wando Welch Terminal is visible in the left background.

Charleston, SC 05/05/2017.

Birds on the USS Yorktown (CV-10)

The USS Yorktown (CV-10) is covered with attractive nooks and crannies if you are a bird. This includes the twelve historic aircraft on display on the flight deck.

Grackle Sitting on Helicopter
Grackle Sitting on Helicopter – click photo for larger view

Grackles were particularly abundant this week, using all openings for their homes.

Grackle Nesting in Aircraft
Grackle Nesting in Aircraft – click photo for larger view

An Osprey nest is perched in the tower. I hope it is a little sturdier than it appears here, at the top of the ladder.

Osprey Nest in Top of USS Yorktown – click photo for larger view

A small flock of House Finches was perching off the edges of the flight deck on safety netting. I wasn’t able to see where they might be nesting as they zipped back and forth, somewhere below the edge of the deck.

House Finches hanging off USS Yorktown
House Finches hanging off USS Yorktown – click photo for larger view

The USS Yorktown (CV-10) is the centerpiece of Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, Mount Pleasant, SC. Towed to this spot in 1975 the Yorktown itself is a museum and additionally houses a number of exhibits associated with its history dating back to World War II.