Sunday, April 29, 2012

Entry: Exploring Unseen Charleston (Old Navy Shipyard Part 2)

Today, I decided to take some exterior shots of probably the coolest looking abandoned building on the entire old navy base.  I actually don't know what it used to be.  I've heard that several agencies had set up shop here over the years under the invitation of the Navy and that, even before that, it had been the original naval hospital.

This place would make an awesome set for some kind of horror/sci-fi thriller.  It's like 'Silent Hill' but without the soul-eating monsters (although Pyramid Head would probably love it here).  It really is a shame that, along with all of the other gems on the old base, it's not long for this world.  For those who work on the old base and are curious, it's a block to the northwest of building 198.  

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"ROICC: Resident Officer in Charge of Construction - Charleston"
At least I know of at least ONE office that was in this building.  This was at the entrance to one of the side wings.  It probably accounted for a small portion of the residents.

NOTE:  You may have noticed the paper taped to the top-right-hand corner.  Ignore what it says. For more information, go here.  I've actually found all of the ones around the base by accident.  

It definitely gives off the closed-up-mental-hospital vibe, doesn't it?

A nearby house.

Office building? 

Random picture.

It almost seems to invite you in.  I'm reminded of the old question....
"When you look long into the abyss, the abyss looks into you."
And, by the way, that "entrance" leads nowhere.

A sealed tunnel between the wings?

A nearby school uses this parking area for basketball.

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The boilers.

Any idea what this would be for?  Dear hunting?  Trespasser shooting?  No steps.  No ladder.  Nothing.

An old court between two wings.

An old comms tower of some kind.

Random picture.  I really dig the Spanish tiling on the roof.  (That is what it's called, right?)

Random picture.

Only the best manholes for the Navy!

Two huge anchors adorn the driveway at the front of the building.  Probably not difficult to procure given that this used to be a shipyard.

Random picture.

I sometimes wondered if anyone had been watching me from these windows.  

No idea what this is.

Random door.

I would absolutely LOVE to explore this building.  Unfortunately, it's locked up pretty tight.  Given the trouble that the owners had a few  years back, this might actually be in the hands of the bank.  Worth looking into?  Probably.  :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Entry: Exploring Unseen Charleston (The Railroad Track)

Today's trip is a little different and probably will not interest anyone as much as my other posts.  I enjoyed the heck out the walk and the scenery.  It made for a very good couple of hours.

NOTE:  My camera screw-up for the day was accidentally setting it at a ridiculously low resolution.  These picture are quite bad simply because they're so small and get grainy quickly when you try to zoom in.  Blast it!  Oh well.  Live and learn.  :)

A couple of weeks ago, I went to explore the Charleston promenade.  Today's route took me close to the same area, just with a different destination.  I wanted to determine the potential for getting as close to the pier going to building #2.  The plan was to use this decommissioned railroad track heading north to cross the marsh.  After reaching the wooded area, I'd try to cross east over to the pier.  This was a Hail Mary trip and definitely worth trying. 

Trying to find a place to park my vehicle.  This restaurant was not a good candidate.  Although notice anything interesting about the sign?  Try giving them a call.

Now's probably a good time to tell you about Bebe's kids.  (If you don't get the reference, check here).  I initially wanted to use the apartments just south of the cemetery to park.  It had easy access to the track.  As I pull up in my car, I notice a crowd of about 6 kids...couldn't be more than 8-years-old each.  I park my car and start spraying myself down with the bug spray.  The kids see me and walk over and each put their arms out saying how the mosquitoes are just absolutely killing them.  After sensing my hesitation to spray poison on some strange kids, they then surround my car, rubbing their hands all over it.  They then....and I'm not the doors in the back and start trying to go through it.

I was in utter shock.  What do you DO in a situation like this?  They're 8!!!!    

I closed the doors and immediately hopped back in behind the wheel.  I then kindly told them to close the doors (which they had so kindly opened again).  I timed it perfectly and managed to get the doors locked before any of them could re-open them.  As I'm looking around making sure that  I'm not going to hit anyone as I pull out of the parking spot, the kids are still still jostling the door handles and yelling at me to open up.

Bebe's kids.  They're real.  Know it.

A view of the track at the very south end of the above picture.  

 Same path through the woods I took for the Promenade.  About a quarter of the way in, I decide to take a different route to the track and entered the woods on the left.

...and that's where I ran into the folks who were living there.  They had a  nice sturdy tent set up.  Bikes.  Crates.  The works.  I didn't see them but surmised that there were at least two given the number of bikes parked there.  I tip-toed (as if that helps in the woods) trying not to seem like I was snooping or anything.

Random picture of that area.

This was a weird thing to come across.  I'm kicking myself now for not adjusting the band to see the symbol that it was covering.  Anyone know what it's supposed to be? I found my entry point to the tracks and immediately saw this.  THIS is the part of the bike that gets stolen while the wheels remain behind, chained to the stand.

A shot of the track from the beginning.

Random shot.

I kinda like this picture.

I noticed a couple of these on the tracks.  Interesting.

A view of the cemetery from across the marsh.  I have never noticed the Italian flag before.  

Looking in at and across the promenade.  This time, I was across the marsh from it.

Random picture.

So....I tried to make a really killer panoramic shot here.  Unfortunately, being the photography expert that I am, I screwed up the lighting.  Man...that would have been an awesome shot, too.

Random shot.

Even the parts of the track that were completely overcome by trees still had paths around them.  Convenient.

Random shot.  Remember that salt water is 10 feet on either side of this shot.

Random shot.

Random shot.

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Does anybody know why they welded these steel cables between the track segments?  Is it for grounding?  

Ah yes...the part I was expecting not to enjoy.  Before going out there, I'd consulted the tide table to make sure that I was going to be hitting this at low tide.  It actually wasn't that bad.

The track was still suspended across the way.  Although it was under water, it was still well up off the ground and thus saved me the pluff mud exposure.  I leisurely walked along it and used the posts for balance.

A picture of my foot in the water.  Notice the strength of the current even though I'm only in up to my ankle?  The con of going at low tide was that the water was rushing toward the harbor so it would not have been in my best interest to slip.  

Coming up the other side.  Now, I've been told that you don't want to get cut on these shells.  This supposedly isn't because they'll cut you deeply, but because they're covered in some bacteria that'll mess you up.  One of my dive buddies told me that once when we were diving the Cooper.  Anyone know if it's true?  

A view going forth from the other side.  And yes...someone HAD hung their clothes up...presumably to dry them (and leave them??).  

No power for you.

A good view of building #2.  Was I going to be able to make it?

Hmmm.  Sign up ahead.

And be sure to feed and groom your train afterward.

My heart sank when I looked toward the wooded area and noticed the fence.  Drat!!

"Nobody will EVER find my scooter if I park it behind this here bush!"

Random picture.

I took the track as far  north as I could before I had to approach the pier from the north.  I left the track (right) and proceeded south (left).  


Got a better picture of the scooter on my way back.  I wonder if he'd ever fall for the ol' banana-in-the-tailpipe trick.

On my way back down the track (from whence I came), I decided to try to trek through the woods parallel to the track.  Maybe I could see a way through there that wasn't fenced.

...and immediately had to step over the crab (?) trap.  Interestingly, it'd caught nothing but a sardine can.

The muddy track in the woods.  The track is up on the right, parallel to this.

In the end, the woods were too dense.  This picture doesn't really do it justice.  I was also feeling REALLY bad about stepping on so many fiddler crab holes. These two things combined with the fact that I'd be completely disadvantaged in this environment should I inadvertently meet up with some animal of the tear-my-limbs-off persuasion pretty much made up my mind to axe the attempt.  

I took this picture to show you the posts out in the middle of the marsh between here and the pier.

Doing some research, I realized that there used to be TWO piers.  I thought that building #1 had been part of the promenade but, in fact, it had been connected via a long pier just like the other.  Hopefully you can see the remains of the pier parallel and to the right of the white line.  I wonder why they got rid of it.  Looking through archived aerial photography, I figured that the pier was removed sometime between 1941 and 1960.

Time to cross back over.  Oh, wait.  There's a sign over on the other side up against the bushes that I completely passed earlier.  Oops.  Hope it wasn't something important like "Trespassers will be raped".  

Oh...good.  :)

Random shot.  Is it just me or does it look like someone goes driving out here?  Are those tire tracks??

So...all in all...good trip.  I didn't make my destination, but at least I know more than I did yesterday and I got to see some good views.