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Columbia, South Carolina
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August 21, 2003     The Columbia Star
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1 8 * A u 0 u S T 2 1 . 2 0 0 3 THE C o LU M B i I   i; i !i!i:  ,(i  :   ? i: il,)il  :  The first wagon train:;: stopped at Independence Rock on July 4, 1830. William Sublette, the wagon master, chris- tened the rock in honor of the birthdate, of our nation. Linda and I set out on our Honda Gold Wing trike from Casper, Wyoming, fol- lowing the Oregon Trail south along the North Platte' River. We stopped at Independence Rock as over 500,000 pioneers had done during the Great Migration west. The emigrants from the East hoped to make the rock before the Fourth of July, hence Independence Rock. This was the halfway point in the 2,000 mile trek from the Missouri River to the west coast. If they reached the rock after July 4, it was doubtful they would be able to cross the Rockies before snowfall. Thousands of travel- ers climbed the 136-foot monadnock and carved their names in it. By :0.!.e rock had been j,' The Register of :: the'Desert." The earliest sture still remaining on thdefoding surface is that of M.K. Hugh, 1824. Just west of Independence Rock is Devil's Gate, another land- mark on the Oregon Trail, where the Sweetwater River cut a chasm through the mountain 330 feet deep and 30-feet wide at the river level. Here the pio- neers turned west and fol- lowed the Sweetwater River across the desert and into the Rocky Mountains. The Happy Trikers decided to continue south along the North Platte River, a decision made without adequate weather information. Within a few miles, we ran into the Wild Wyoming Wind, a continu- ous 40-50 mph gale. Luckily, our steed had three wheels and could keep a forward bearing. A two-wheeler would have been in a constant battle to stay upright. We crossedthe Cdntinental Divide in a  hailstorm that came and went before we!ould don our rainwear, lifty miles: from nowhere we stopped at Grandma's Care hoping to find refuge from the windand hail. Grandma Independence Rock stands level and is 136 feet high. The base of the rock is 5,900 feet, and acres. Linda sits atop the Gold Wing Trike in front of Devil's Gate, a landmark on the OregOn Trail. in southcentral Wyoming. handled the grill and which I pulled up snug granddaughter waited against the dumpster. The : Casper, the Big Horn Basin, :tables. While we ate our Wild Wyoming Wind never the Wind River Basin, and sandwiohs, we dodged the  let,Up. .,: ',' :!:i0rn Coloradc :I -, srpoke from crusty dusty  M wonderful wife  Lincoln Highway, the first - ,!!i!:rs bed us ahl : ld I setaior dinners ,'i:; .: aninental:  ,z : W, *" ::-:balls from two cow- :,  m front of us. ;!:iilAt 0 p:we arrived : .lvIins, therbon ' Coty'seat, and:ed into the Best Western. It took me 20 minutes to tie down the cover on the trike Travel the The HungryMiner Care that night. Senior means half the amount at half the price --a really good deal for us low-carb eaters. Rawlins was estab- lished in the late 1800s as the railhead between o00uth To escape the Wild Wyoming Wi at Grandma's Cafe located 50 :ran through the city in !913, and today 1-80 con- nects the city with the ! world. The reason we decided to stop in Rawlins was its greatest tourist attraction - The Old Pen. In 1886, Wyoming's territorial legis- bers, served  until became today it visitors a Simpsonville Charleston Aiken, Augusta Simpsonville festival Food, fun, and excitement for the entire family can be found at the 29th Annual Simpsonville, SC, Labor Day Family Fun Festival August 30-September 1. Saturday afternoon begins with a Youth All-Star Baseball Tournament, beach music, carnival games, and rides. Sunday and Monday offer arts and crafts, live entertainment, carnival games and rides, great food, dunk tank, and loads of family fun. Sunday night will provide musical entertainment by Clay Crosse. Monday's activities begin at 9 am and will also include a petting zoo, carni- val rides, great food, and live local entertainment. It is one of the largest Labor Day Festivals in this area and boasts a popular antique and classic car show on Monday. Over 100 cars participated last year. The cars shown are true antiques and classics and draw a crowd to Simp- sonville each year. Join in the fun or just relax in the City Park, site of this event ...... Simpsonville City Park just 15 miles south- east of Greenville off 1-385. For more information call 864-963-3781. Planters Inn, Charleston Planters Inn, the historic boutique hotel in the heart of Charleston's famed City Market area, is the only hotel in the Southeast named as one of five Top US Boutique Hotels by the readers of Departures. In addition to receiving recog- nition in Departures, Planters' nationally cele- brated restaurant, Penin- sula Grill, was just named as one of America's 50 Best Hotel Restaurants in the May 2003 issue of Food & Wine for the second consec- utiveyear. Peninsula Grill was one of only two such magnets in SC cited by the state-by-state guide. For more information or reser- vations, please call 800- 845-7082 or 843-722-2345 or visit www.plantersinn.com and www.peninsulagrill.com The Wilcox, Aiken In the seventh annual "Hot List" produced by Conde ]Vast Traveler, featuring the year's 80 top new hotels (May 2003), The Wilcox in /Liken, SC, is one of 16 hotels chosen in the US. This should come as no sur- prise, really, to those famil- iar with the Wilcox's sister properties, The Point and Lake Placid Lodge, both in upstate New York and both regulars on Traveler's annual "Gold List." The Willcox was chosen as one of only five US hotels in the "Rural Chic" section of the list, and praises went to The Garrett Group, owner of all three properties, for its sensitive refurbishing of the 100-year-old hotel. For more information, please call the Willcox at 877-648- 2200. The Partridge Inn, Augusta The Partridge Inn contin- ued its showcase of south- ern culinary talent on July 24, when Chef Gerry Klaskala of Aria restaurant in Atlanta prepared his award-winning cuisine at the historic hotel in Augus- ta. Voted "one of the top five restaurants in Atlanta" by the 2002/2003 Zagat Survey and ranked among the city's "TOp 50 Restau- rants" according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitu- tion, Aria has received praise from critics and guests since its opening three years ago. Chef Klaskala is the latest notable southern chef to be featured in the hotel's inno- vative six-month culinary series, which continues once a month through November. During each event, a visiting chef will prepare an elaborate, four-course gourmet meal of signature items from his own restaurant. The July 24 dinner featured out- standing wines from Gallo Winery. The meal began when The Partridge Inn's Executive Chef Philippe Chin's passed hors d'oeu- vres of applewood smoked salmon roulade with Ten- nessee paddlefish caviar and Asian BBQ duck and asparagus tips. The hors d'oeuvres were served with Maso Canali Pinot Grigio. The cost of each dinner during the culinary series is $59 per person and includes a cocktail recep- tion with hors d'oeuvres that begins at 6:30 pm and a delectable, four-course dinner with wine pairings that starts at 7 pm. For reservations or more infor- mation, contact The Par- tridge Inn at 706-261-1111 or 800-476-6888. 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