Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Modoc COE Campground. Part II

Click here for the first post in this series.

Today has been an out-and-about day. Hard to leave site # 30, and these beautiful views of Lake Thurmond. But adventure awaits.

This area of South Carolina, right next to Georgia, is chuck-full of interesting places to visit. Some well marked. Others quietly awaiting the notice of more observant visitors.

Visitor Center Front Today’s first stop was at one of the can’t-miss-it places. The Corps of Engineers Visitor Center for the J. Strom Thurmond Dam and Lake.

This impressive building houses the Corps’ administrative offices for the complex, including all of the campgrounds and day-use areas. As well as displays that interpret the surrounding natural environment for visitors. Lots of interesting information here. And room for more!

I stopped here a couple of years ago while camping at Modoc. The displays don’t appear to have been changed or refreshed in the interim. Probably due to budget and personnel constraints. So, even the Corps has budget constraints! Not as severe as the South Carolina state park system. But serious.

Flag Seating A few years ago, someone devoted considerable effort and resources to creation of this Center. Both to the specific displays, and to the building that houses them.

The building and grounds appear to me ideally suited to host waves of school children of all ages. As well as adults. Plenty of parking; plenty of seating and picnic areas for lunch. Even a playground with all sorts of sophisticated playground equipment.

No school groups were around today. But I hope they do visit at other times of the year. It’s a facility full of learning opportunities.

Dam Top The dam, of course, with its hydroelectric generators, is the main feature of the complex. Here’s a view of the dam on the lake side, taken from the porch of the Visitor Center. Be sure to click on the photo to see a more detailed view. It’s much bigger than it looks in the photo above.

Dam LowerThis is a view of the other side of the same dam. I’m not especially interested in large concrete structures. Probably because I know so little about them. But this one is beautiful. It’s hard not to stand and stare at the water from the lake gushing through the gates. While trucks and cars pass along the road at the top of the dam.

Dam Tree Here’s the same side of the dam seen through the trees planted along the shore of the river. Taken from the walking and picnic area maintained there by the complex. Together with the elaborately equipped playground.

A few more minutes viewing the dam, walking the paths, and inspecting the boat ramp that provides access to the Savannah River here, and off to post the previous blog entry.

That meant a drive either south to Martinez, Georgia, with all of its shops, restaurants, and traffic. Or north to McCormick, South Carolina. A town with far fewer shops and restaurants. And quite manageable traffic.

Well, Martinez [pronounced here with the accent on the first syllable!] is nice. Convenient for shopping.

But today I headed north toward McCormick. Up Route 221. More on stops along 221 in a later post.

Subway at McCormick Longtime readers may recall my surprise a few years ago upon finding a WiFi connection at the Subway Sandwich shop in McCormick, South Carolina. Well, it’s still here, providing a strong signal for patrons with computers. As well as excellent sandwiches and personal-sized pizzas. There may be other WiFi clouds in McCormick. But I’ve yet to find one. The far-sighted Subway owners are leading the trend here!

McCormick is one of those old South Carolina towns with a strong sense of history. It will take at least one separate blog entry just to give an introduction. Maybe later this trip. Or the next.

Well, enough running around for today. It’s a shame to waste those beautiful views from site # 30. So back south on Route 221 to the Modoc Campground to spend some quality time outside in the reading chair, awaiting the sunset display over the lake.

Fly Top The sunset display tonight wasn’t all that impressive. But I did have an interesting visitor. Especially for this late in the year. The huge fly you see above. I think it’s what we used to call a horsefly OverHome.

He buzzed the reading chair a couple of times. But took no interest in Elmer Kelton’s western novel. Then over to the Aliner. That too failed to hold his attention, and he landed at last on the front left tire of the car.

Fly Facing Here’s a candid head-on photo of this remarkable creature threatening to punch a hole in my tire!

More on Modoc Campground and the surrounding area tomorrow. Rain is forecast. Heavy at times. So stay tuned.

Click here for the third entry.


  1. That horsefly [deerfly; whatever] was big enough to be Vincent Price. A whopper. But isn't it late in the season for them to be flying around? Poor old party seemed confused and pretty well used up.