Notes from the Road – The Gas Hog Tour 2008 – Day 9, July 18th Off to pick up Judy in Columbia, SC and then head down for the Edisto gathering with Jack & Judy Williams and crowd. Enjoyed my stay in Cherokee and will miss the cool down in the hotter summer climes of rural South Carolina. I was concerned about getting out of the mountains on the gas remaining in the tank so, despite my resolve about gas prices beginning with a 4, I put five gallons in at $4.08 – ok, I stopped at $20 so not quite five gallons. I just couldn’t take it anymore with the sale amount numbers spinning madly while the gallons display just crept along. Left Cherokee the same way I came, past the Harrah Cherokee Tribe Casino then on through Maggie Valley. I needed to be at the airport in Columbia at 3 pm, a 4 hour drive, and having left at 10 am I had plenty of time so to try to conserve fuel I set the cruise control at 60 and ambled along I-40 towards Asheville then took I-26 south towards Spartanburg. Just northwest of Spartanburg I saw a sign for gas at $3.76 per gallon – hot damn!! Jumped off and filled the tank ignoring those pesky admonitions about not “topping off” the tank. I got every drop of that “cheap” gas in there that I could. I made another stop shortly thereafter at an Engles grocery to restock the fridge, etc. and then cruised on to Columbia hitting the airport right on time. I pulled up to the Spirit passenger area and Judy was waiting at the curb. Apparently a 24’ camper rolling through the airport there is somewhat unusual as folks were stopping and starring a bit. And, I think they were even more mystified when the comely Miss Judy sashayed over and hopped in the grungy looking rig driven by an old, bald, white bearded guy. Eat you hearts out boys. As we neared Orangeburg, SC we hit some pretty serious rain – a real gully washer. But I could see that it was coming from the river and that likely it would already be past when we arrived. Sure enough it was dropping its last as we pulled into the family encampment on the Edisto. Our hostess, Mary Lib, met us in her truck and had us park along the entry road until she confirmed where her son Neil had planned to put us. We walked on over the river shore area to greet Jack & Judy and the other early arrives. They had roasted a whole pig, split in two, and everyone was greedily picking at the melt in your mouth tender pork. To hell with hellos, let’s eat!! Lots of old friends here and Florida is well represented – Tom and Aimee Shed, Chuck and Pat Spano, Bill and Barbara Derby (they’ve moved to Georgia, but we still count them as ours) and Hannah’s Whirl, Paul and Tami from Tampa. Lis and Lon Williamson will pull in sometime tomorrow, so the Sunshine state is on board. Daniel and Ellen Bolling are here from New Mexico, Ronnie Cox and Eric Schwartz from California, Dana Kurtz from New York and so many others. After eating some great food, Neil directed me to my spot right in the middle of things by the main cabin facing the river and we got the camper squared away. By then I was drenched in sweat so we changed into swim trunks and plunged into the icy waters of the Edisto – Ahhhhhhh. Jack and a motley crew had set off with tubes to go up river and make the mile and a half float down. We dropped our chairs in the shade, I fixed myself a libation and we enjoyed the evening breeze as the sun began its descent. Once the Williams flotilla returned, Jack grabbed his ever more worn and beaten up Martin and headed for the dock to get the music rolling. The dock was soon overflowing so everyone moved to the pavilion where a circle was established and we began to play old tunes of one sort or another on into the evening. Danny Harlow, brandishing fiddle, mandolin and tenor guitar, was, as always, the crown jewel in the arrangement adding color and texture to every guitar. Judy and I cashed in early, around 10:30 and headed to the trailer. Lots more music tomorrow here on the Edisto.