Saturday, June 26, 2010

2010-21 Cades Cove, Tennessee and Kentucky


Cades Cove, Great Smokey Mountains, Tennessee
Lexington Kentucky

Campground:  Camp Nelson, near Lexington Ky.  A Recreation USA campground, $10 per night, full hookups.  Sitting low along the Kentucky river, this campground was completely underwater in May after being hit by the 5th largest storm in the area in 100 years.

My last day in the Knoxville area, I decided to drive through the foothills of the Smokey Mountains and right into the Great Smokey Mountain National Park.  Thanks goodness for gps as there was no straight route getting here.  A know the kudzu vines that can grow 3 feet a day are bad, but to me they’re also beautiful.  Climbing up and over huge trees and the sides of mountains, draping over cliffs and walls, they create the most magical scenery.  Like giant green drapes over the landscape.  Natures own Cristo at work.

My adventure today is about a 130 mile journey to Cades Cover.  A large cove nestled in the heart of the Great Smokey Mountains.  Tennessee and North Carolina started buying up the land in 1927 hoping eventually to encourage the Government to create a national park.  The last resident moved out I believe in 1999, leaving the cove in a permanent state, frozen in time.  A park ranger told us that many of the descendants still come back to the cove for reunions and a few remember growing up in a home in the valley.

Climbing up over into the valley, my eagle eye spotted wildlife right away.  I’ll tell you my secret for seeing wildlife.  First, look for a group of cars on the side of the road.  I immediately stop and get out with camera in hand as the cars will have attracted wildlife to them.  In this case the people and vehicles had obviously attracted a mother black bear and two baby cubs.  The mother bear intent on eating grubs and foraging for food.  The two baby bears played with each other and climbed every tree they could. Occasionally tumbling and rolling down the side of the hill. (I’ve posted two short movies on the Picasa website)

The land continued to rise and the road wound around and over the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains.  The mountains layered in there characteristic blue haze, enhanced by the early morning fog hugging the deep valleys.  Hickory, ash, chestnut and pine trees creating a canopy over the roadway.  I entered Cades Cove and continued along a 12 mile loop road.  A single ribbon of asphalt skirting the mountains surrounding the most beautiful valley I’ve ever encountered.  I felt as if I’d entered paradise on earth.  Note:  most of the chestnut trees were killed by a disease a number of years ago.

 At one of the first stops I was able to pick up a booklet describing all the remaining homes, churches, gristmills, cemeteries and open pasture lands, once farmed here in Cades Cove.  Electricity never came to the cove while the residences lived there.  I didn’t want the slow 12 mile ride around the cove, with mesmerizing views around every corner and turn to end.  A steady stream of vehicles traveled around the ribbon of road.  Lots and lots of pullouts to view the scenery and log cabins.  A number of sites had park volunteers who provided really great stories about each building and life of the settlers.

Hint:  Over 2 million visitors come to Cades Cove each year.  I recommend going early in the day, or much later in the day to avoid the crowds.  Note, the park is closed two days a week, check their schedule before going.

Amazing that Tenn. and N Carolina realized so early on that this place was special and needed to become a National Park.  See Picasa Photos.

I can’t emphasize enough the impact that this most beautiful place has made on me.  I’m sure I’ll dream of it’s magical charm for a long time to come.  That mix of man made fields and pasture lands, the simple log cabins, the stark white churches nestled in a glen, surrounded by the natural beauty of the land.  It appeared to me that well over 80% of the land had never been touched.  The Great Smokey Mountains draped in their blue haze surrounding and protecting the cove.  What a day, what an adventure.
Kentucky.  I’ve been through the state before, but thought I’d check out a few places along the way.  I found a campground that’s part of the Recreation USA group and was able to get a campsite for $10 a night.  What’s interesting though is this is one of the campgrounds that was flooded not more than 6 weeks ago.  When Kentucky had a storm cell stay over the eastern part of the state for days and days and days, creating a deluge.

 The owner told me how the river was supposed to stop at the flood stage of 2003.  It didn’t, and kept right on rising.  First the campsites were underwater.  Then the bathhouse, swimming pool and office building. Next came the homes higher up.  At one point a mobile home floated down the river, side swiped the office building, took out the fence on one side of the pool now underwater and landed on top of the bath house.  All the picnic tables which had been stacked and secured, floated away.

Quite a story.  More so if you could see the park and all they’ve done to restore it to use again.  All the campsites have been cleaned up and functional.  The large swimming pool is open and enjoyed much as a community center for the locals, as it is open for their use with a charge of course.  We campers have it included with our stay.  All of the homes on this lower river level have been destroyed.  Windows wide open.  I can see they’ve striped all the walls to bare studs and are in the process of rebuilding.  So much trash had to be disposed of, the county permitted them to have a huge bonfire to burn it.  And even with that they still had a couple dumpster loads hauled away.  And all within the past 6 weeks.  Amazing.

Oh and her son, now 26 got in a wooden canoe along with a 19 year old and paddled out into the raging river at the height of the swollen river.  His Mom calls him an idiot.  I had to agree.  They got dumped out of the canoe, which got caught in a swirling current.  Both guys and canoe were rescued.  People do dumb things.

This is beautiful farm country by the way.  Most of the barns and outbuildings are painted black.  Found out after asking many questions of the locals that the black is creosote and helps to preserve the wood longer. Up to 10 years longer.  A practical solution to ordinary paint.  Another question I had of the locals was, what is the name of all the blue wildflowers along the highways, both here in Kentucky and Tennessee?  It’s chicory.  Most folks didn’t know.  Of course I had to know for my readers… and my own curiosity.  You might remember from a past posting of mine, that this is the area where they paint large squares on the barns of quilt patterns.  How cool.  I understand the idea started in Ohio, but has caught on big around here.  Anyone interested in quilting should love exploring the back roads around here just to see all the quilt designs.

A few more days and lunch with former co-works Nancy and Jerry.  Good people.  We toured Berea, a small artisan town with a college that’s tuition free.  The students work for their tuition in local establishments like the Daniel Boone Tavern.  And more touring, as I drove down scenic byways and ended up at a restored Shaker Village in Pleasant Hill.  Enjoying a walk through history, communal living and an unusual take on religion by the Shaker people.

A final note, just so you don’t think I don’t do any work at all, I spent a day washing the camper.  (note to myself, get a pressure washer) It really needed it and another morning doing laundry and vacuuming the camper.

More pictures available at my Picasa Web site.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

2010-20 Eastern Tennessee

Eastern Tennessee
Oak Ridge (The Secret City)

Campground:  Tennessee Country Rv. A Recreation USA park.  Discount price $10, full hookups w/cable tv.  Discount is only good for two days, but that’s all the time I need in the area.

Campground:  Volunteer Park.  A Passport America Park.  $17.50 per night.  Full hookups w/cable TV.  Swimming pool and country store.  Nice place and no limit on stay.

Another week has gone by on the road and I’m down the road a bit further heading NE on I-75.  I’m in an area called Niota with other towns nearby like Sweetwater, Hopewell, Pleasantville, and Athens.  There are two places I wanted to visit, The Sequoyah Birthplace Museum and The Lost Sea Adventure.

The Sequoyah museum tells the story of a Cherokee Indian who created the first writing language for the Cherokee nation.  The only person to ever create a written language by himself! What a fascinating story.  He never learned the English alphabet but had been exposed to it and what writing could do for a people. After creating the written language for the Cherokee (it took 12 years), he taught his young daughter how to read and write.   On trial as a witch, the Cherokee elders gave him one chance to prove his new writing.  His daughter read what he had written and with months thousands of Cherokee learned the new Cherokee alphabet and became literate overnight.

The next day, after waking up and getting ready to go out for the day which involves what I call putting on my cartoon face.  That being putting on a daub of white Neutrogena Age shield Repair sun block.  One daub on my nose, one on each cheek and one on my forehead.  I can’t help but grin at myself in the mirror before I spread the cream all over my face.  What a way to start my day, laughing at myself.  Gheeez.  But after years of sun damage, one has to put the sunblock on.

Then I’m out the door on my next adventure, this one to the Lost Sea Adventure.  The trip is through a huge cavern, down a 140 foot drop of sloping pathways past low ceilings, waterfalls, an old moonshine still and finally to Americas largest underwater lake.  At almost 3 football fields long can you just imagine?  What a fun adventure to get down deep in the earth and see a huge lake underground.  Dim lights just below the waterline create an eerie glow to the water and walls of the cavern.  Our small group piles into the boat and the guide slowly propels us across the dark water.  Rainbow trout swim past us and leap into the air as the guide feeds them.  Silently we drift around the lake, just marveling at the sight of  a whole lake underground.  They tell us that there’s even a bigger lake under an offshoot of one the caverns we are walking through, but the cavern is completely filled with water.  The two divers who discovered it barely made it out alive, as pieces of the caves ceiling started to fall around them.

I’ve been watching the most wonderful fireflies this evening.  I kept seeing flicks of light out my large windows against a black night.  So I went outside and saw the most awesome display of fireflies dancing close to the ground and through the trees.  Big swirls of brilliant white liquid light.  Sharp punches of light blinking off and on, then all is dark again.   And oh so bright.  Haven’t seen a display of fireflies in years.

I’ve headed NE on I-75 just north of Knoxville TN to a campground called Volunteer Park, right off of Raccoon Road.  After setting up on the side of the hill, nice shady cedar trees and picnic table, I headed out to Von’s Market and Deli.  A true country market and deli, after ordering lunch I sat down at one of the half dozen booths.  A fellow retiree sat across from me and I could just tell he was dying to talk to someone.  Jack ended up telling me about growing up in these parts, starting out by cutting grass at age 12 until dark and then running all the way back home, a couple miles down the road.  He’s Me-PA now to his 5 year old grandson and dotes on him so.  Bought him a small goat who follows the grandson around everywhere.  The little guy said he needed a tool box and Jack got him one and filled it with lots of old tools.

 Jack worked a few places before moving back to his roots where on the second day back he was already working at the local electrical manufacturer in the area.  Would have still been working there, except they closed down.  Went back into the lawn care business and within two years had over 150 accounts.  Retired now after a few heart attacks.  Told how one day he was driving home and called his wife and said, would you like to go on a vacation?  She said when?  He said I should be home in about an hour.  His wife was packed and ready to go.  Hopped in their truck with the truck camper and headed out for 3 or 4 weeks.  Exploring the New England states and even into Canada.   His wife has since died, but Jack lives for his grandson.  Not a bad life considering his daughter and son-in-law are lazy %^&$ and out of work.  Though he didn’t quite put it quite that way.

Just up the road a piece is the Museum of the Appalachia in Norris Tenn.  One would at first glance categorize this as just another Discovery Village, Heritage Park or Historic Recreation, but I can tell you, having visited all of the above that this park is so much more than all the others.  It’s main focus is on the people who made up this eastern Tennessee area.  Focusing on a way of life, the music, their skills and what made them the people of Appalachia.  Individual stories are told of the banjo maker, weaver, homesteader. From Harrison Mayes, the coal miner who erected concrete crosses across the country to the Carter Family and all the wonderful music they made.  They even have a frontier home that was used in filming the Tv series “Young Dan’l Boone”.

My last stop here in eastern Tennessee is to Oak Ridge.  The site of the Manhattan Project, The Secret City and development of U-235, used in the development of the first atomic bomb.  The story is told through the
American Museum of Science & Energy and bus tours which go around the perimeter of the K-25 site.  The museum tells the story of WWII and the need to build the first atomic bomb before the Nazis could, so we could win the war.

It’s more than just the story of creating U-235 to build an atomic bomb, it’s a story of the people living the area who were displaced.  Given 30 days to move off of their land that was seized for the war effort.  It’s about the vision of scientists to go where no one had gone before.  A vision that took 75,000 workers to create, in secret enriched uranium, most of the workers not even knowing what they were accomplishing.  Creating the largest buildings in the world to produce the right kind of uranium.  And this was just one of three sites created to build the A-bomb.

The tour guide on the bus filled us in on lots of technical stuff, but I was more interested in the people.  One story involved the scientist who leaked the plans for building the atomic bomb to Russia.  Later moving back to his homeland of England after the war, where he was arrested and imprisoned for 18 years.  But worse, after he got out, he sold the plans to China.  One person who spread the most dangerous weapon around the world.

And the story of John Hendrix.  John died in 1915, 40 years before the Manhattan project was conceived.  After his wife left him and took all his children with her, he fell into a depression.  Asking God what to do.  He heard a voice that told him if he slept on the ground for 40 days, it would be revealed to him.

Upon coming out of the woods after 40 days, he told anyone who would listen about his visions.  Bear Creek Valley would be filled with great buildings and factories that would help in winning the greatest war that will ever be.  A city would be built on Black Oak  Ridge, that a rail line would come into the area. Big engines will dig big ditches and thousands of people would be running to and fro.

These are the stories one can only hear by exploring a place and talking to the locals.  It’s about the people who made up this region and their experiences.  I’ll give a link to a poem written by Curtis, one of John Hendrix sons.  You see, the son was affected first hand by what John saw in his visions, as he and his family had to move of their land due to the Manhattan project, 40 years after John made those predictions.  A compelling first hand account.  Hope you take the time to read it. See the end of this report for poem.

Worth seeing the site of three giant interconnected buildings over two miles long.  They are now being dismantled and there will only be the footprint on the land of where they stood.  Other buildings that are still being used or refurbished for new industrial purposes will remain as reminders of the heroic efforts 75,000 people put in at this site.  And the 30,000+ scientists and engineers who are still working in the Oak Ridge Energy Labs creating and discovering new applications that will hopefully improve our lives in the future.

That's another report from my Travels down the back roads.

"Come listen to me, people,
And hear my tale of woe,
And if you feel it tiring,
I'll shut my mouth and go.

"I had a home in Robertsville.
They call it Oak Ridge now.
T'was home for all my younguns
and their chickens and the cow.

"One day a bunch of men rode in
With papers in their hands
And great big shining badges.
They came and took our land.

"They read a lot of great big words
I couldn't understand,
But when it was all over
I didn't own the land.

"I had seen the Revenoors (sic)
Come and search and take the stills,
But I didn't think the government
Would ever seize our hills.

"Of course, we had to get right out
And start to paying rent,
But now, what can poor folks do
Against the government?

"Just sixty acres t'was all I had.
Some rich land and some poor.
But the check they sent me
Wouldn't buy a pure bred bor (sic).

"Now see I ain't complaining.
It's just my blamed bad luck,
On any deal I ever made
I'm always getting stuck.

"Of course the government was right.
They always are, you see.
T'was just the land looked worse to them
Than it ever did to me.

"I moved to Union County,
Once famous for its Stills,
And bought another cabin
and a bunch of slatey hills.

"For I couldn't keep my younguns
And their chickens and the cow
Without a little pasture
And a piece of land to plow.

"But I've done seen me a vision
And it's one I understand.
In the none too distant future
Working folks will own no land.

"There will be a bunch of planners.
Everyone will live by plan.
Plan our work, plan our religion,
Plan our schooling and our play,
Won't even have to study,
'Now what must I do today.'

"The thing to do is win the war
And when we end that strife,
Stop electing Presidents
For longer terms than life.

“Well I guess I'd better hush.
I could have said some more,
But her just let me whisper!
I'M skeered (sic) of Elinor.

"Written by: Curtis Allen Hendrix"

Saturday, June 12, 2010

2010-19 Chattanooga Tennessee

Chattanooga Tennessee 

Campground:  Harrison Bay State Park. $16, $20 and $25 premium sites.  I picked the older camp loop at $16 where sites are paved, but not necessarily level.  Elect/water.  Lots of trees and lake and restaurant.

I left Rome Ga using my Droid phone GPS directions.  It took me through Rome and up US 53 to I-75 and onto my campsite just outside of Chattanooga.  You know, I gave my Tom Tom GPS away, as my Verizon Droid phone works just as well if not better and the maps are always updated free by Google.

It’s been raining almost every day for the past couple of days.  Had quite a downpour while setting up at the campsite.

Just a note, I’m averaging over 300 visits to this Blog weekly.  So a big shout out to all you visitors.  Feel free to e-mail me any comments or suggestions at:

Chattanooga is home to Rock City, Ruby Falls, Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga Choo Choo rail museum and lots more.  I made it to two of the local attractions so far, the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park and Rock City.  The first, the National Military Park, has a wonderful view from a mile up overlooking all of Chattanooga.  It’s where a critical battle took place during the Civil War.  Union soldiers climbed to the summit one mile up and took control thus ensuring a critical supply line thru Chattanooga for the Union troops.  Countrymen fighting against countrymen to free slaves.

Later, after driving around the top of lookout mountain with it’s stately homes nestled in a thick forest setting, many perched on the edge of this steep mountain ridge, forming a unique community in the clouds, I drove down to a lower elevation and just over the Georgia/Tennessee boarder to Rock City.

We’ve all seen the signs for Rock City from Florida to Michigan and beyond, advertising, See Rock City.  You’d have to live under a rock not to have see the signs.  Well I finally did.  It is of course one of those true old time road side attractions that continues to draw tourists today.  About $18 to enter this world of trails leading one through a unique world of rock caverns, slot canyons (some where I had to walk sideways to get through), swing bridges over deep passes, and awesome cliff views overlooking 7 states.  It is touristy and yet charming in it’s own right.  Nature meets the Barnum and Bailey of the outdoor attractions.

Daily late afternoon rains have kept everything sparking clean and green, after a couple of years of horrid drought, the entire south eastern U.S. has recovered and overflowing with full rivers and lakes.  This morning I awoke to a misty world of fog.

Well today was one of those just about perfect days out on the road.  So let me describe what to me is the perfect day.  First off, I got up and had my usual coffee and instead of a bagel, I had a banana, read my e-mails and decided to go into Chattanooga  for a boat ride.  On the way I stopped off at the local post office and picked up my mail I had sent General Delivery a few days earlier.  Since this was the beginning of the River Fest downtown, I had called ahead for info and was told if I could find a metered parking spot, it would be free on the weekend.  Didn’t take me long and I found a free spot, so I saved about $10 on parking.  You know me, that was a great way to start off my adventure.

As I walked down Broadway, one of the main streets downtown, passing a homeless person, I noted all the new buildings and refurbished older building that have been turned into shops, coffee shops and restaurants.  I decided to try Peppers Deli.  What a good choice.  Had a super Cuban sandwich with the best potato salad I’ve ever had.  It’s a small chain of restaurants in the south and if you happen to go past one, stop on in.  The food is awesome and with a great atmosphere and really cool music.

After the early lunch, I headed down to the Aquarium and Visitor Center where I got my ticket for the high speed catamaran boat ride.  Since I had time and was just outside the aquarium area where they were having free performances throughout the day, I was able to enjoy a couple of really great music acts.  One, a local swing band with really great singers and then a couple smaller groups.  One of the big band singers sounded just like Mike Bublea.  A solo artist performed some great blues music.  And did I mention it was free.  Gad the day was just getting better and better.  Even though it was hot out, I found a few shady spots to sit and listen to the music and even joined the kids and parents as we all soaked our toes in these wonderful concrete rivers throughout the beautifully landscaped park setting.  Stepping stones across the winding river and fountains with lots of great places to sit and wade at the waters edge.

I talked to a number of locals and told them how Impressed I was by the downtown area.  Everything is so vibrant and alive.  They told me about 15 years ago you’d never see anyone downtown, except bums and hookers.  The city put in the huge Aquarium along the river walk and that started a downtown revival that has continued.  With new shops, apartments and condos.  What a come back for a super nice city.

Finally it was time to go on the catamaran, which had indoor air-conditioned seating for about 75 passengers on a sleek new powerful boat that travels at speeds up to 55 miles an hour.  We traveled down the Tennessee River to the gorges where we could go outside and take pictures from the top deck before going back upstream for the return trip.  A fun ride, though nothing terribly exciting to see.

Listened to a bit more free music before stopping by the coffee shop on the way  back to my truck and got an iced coffee, which for me is so decadent as I’m not really supposed to have caffeine with my blood pressure.  But it was just so darn good and just a great way to cap off a fun day.

So that to me is a perfect day of fun and discovery.

Until I describe the next adventure, have a great day of discover yourself.

PS lots more photo's on my PICASA web site.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

2010-17A A Bonus Report, The Little White House: Warm Springs Georgia

I've traveled from Macon to La Grange Georgia so I could visit the Roosevelt Little White House in Warm Springs Georgia.  I could have stayed at the FDR state park, but they now charge $28 a night for an Rv site which is just a bit much for my budget.  As a full time Rv’er, that equates to $840 a month in camping fees.  I know it sounds like I pinch my pennies, but I do have to watch them, as the cost of camping can quickly get out of hand if I don’t.  

This should be on any travelers itinerary.  The Site includes the Little White House, a home FDR had built while he was Governor of NY and was running for President.  He started coming here in 1924, when he contracted polio as the warming spring waters eased the pain and hardship a bit.  A first rate museum as well as the restored original pools are available for tours.   

The museum has the 1940 Willy roadster that FDR drove while down here along with story boards describing his accomplishments as well as Eleanor Roosevelt’s.  Though the museum and house are really about his life, challenges and triumphs.  The guide inside the little white house told me that the locals in the area did not like Eleanor, as she began supporting education for all the black children in the area.

One of the story boards said how he was always Optimistic, something I try to be most of the time.  For some reason, that along with the story of his life grabbed a hold of me.  Visiting the Little white house, a  simple pine paneled 3 bedroom cottage, with two out buildings, one for the servants quarters above the garage and the second as a guest house, exuded charm from every angle and vantage point.  

This is the first presidential home or museum that I must admit, I got choked up about.  From the minute I walked into the small kitchen and read the handwritten note: “Daisy Bonner cook the 1st meal and the last one in this cottage for the President Roosevelt” written above the stove, next to the panty entrance, I was hooked.  The house was left almost completely as it was the day he died in the cottage.  The simplicity of the only house President Roosevelt ever built for himself has enough charm to warm the coldest heart.  

So as I wandered through the main living area, dining, out onto the patio over looking the sloping wooded terrain, I could almost feel his presence.  A man who led our country through the great depression and WWII.  His fire side chats, the new Deal, the Civilian Conservation Corps, Rural electrification and the Tennessee Valley Authority all came about by his hand.  A man who understood the common man and his struggles and did so much to help them out.  

This will most likely be the highlight of my summer travels.  The small town of Warm Springs is filled with shops and restaurants along a compact two block district.  Weekends you will find a farmers market and local flea market sales on the corner.  The adjacent Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute which was founded by Roosevelt is still active and available to those in need of healing and rehab.  

This is truly a world heritage site if I’ve ever seen one.  Though I don’t think it has that designation yet.  Glad I could feel the power of this man and walk though the home he cherished.  With a bit of a moist eye, I leave the place as others explore and discover some of what I felt and saw that day.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

2017-17 Macon Georgia

Macon Georgia

Campground:  Al Sihah Shrine Park.  A passport America park, $14 per night, elect/water.  Semi level grassy sites, no shade.  No picnic tables.  Basic, but clean, neat and locked at night.

I left the southern town of White Springs Florida.  As I turned the corner in the park, heading out towards the entrance, one of the ladies in Kelly Park stopped to say goodbye and invite me to stay longer the next time.  A quick hug though the open door window and I was off down the road.

I usually take the back roads but decided to venture onto the big highway, I-75 heading to my next destination Macon Ga.  It was a smooth fast trip, as even with some road construction, they are completing the 6 lane highway with new thick concrete lanes, the traffic was not too heavy.

I’m staying at a Shriner facility, you know the group that has all the Shriner hospitals for kids.  Their main building is up front, with an old large barn facility for large gatherings along with the campground.  I stopped in the Georgia Music Hall of Fame to pick up some CD’s, but they didn’t have the artist I was interested in.  I’ll order it over the internet.

I’ve been driving around town and looking at all the gorgeous residential areas with their huge home on acres of land covered in huge magnolia trees, spreading oaks and gardens blooming with flowers.  Along College Ave, I saw row after row of Italianate, Roman and Victorian homes.  Grand white columns and porches.  I’ll be touring a few of them including the Canon House, Hall House, the Black museum and a few others.

I stopped in the H&H, a true country restaurant and had fried pork chops, three vegetables and bread pudding, all for $10.  No pictures please.  Hmmm, why would they not permit pictures of the interior.  This is the restaurant that the Allman Brothers used to eat before they became famous.  They live and practiced right down the street and would come in and order two meals to feed the entire band.  Memorabilia and photo’s hung all over the walls, simple square tables with vinyl table clothes and a juke box with all the local Georgia favorite singers on it.

Back at the camper I’ve been nursing a festering spot on my face where I had surgery for skin cancer.  Come to find out, the nurse who removed the stitches didn’t do a very good job.  Eventually the skin broke open and I used a tweezers to remove two yucky pieces of stitching.  Someone staying at Kelly Park for the festival had asked me were there any downsides to traveling fulltime.  A very good question and I told him that making Doctor’s appt. across country can be a bit taxing at times.  Like this current scenario.  If I had been back in Orlando, I would have gone back to the Doctor and had them remove the stitches properly.  Of course they would have charged me as well.  In any event everything came out all right so to speak.

Back in Macon, I did visit the Tubman African American Museum, which featured black inventions.  Sorry to say, the museum is under funded with poor displays, tiny print placards so low to the ground I thought about just sitting on the floor to read them.  Small inventions like the ironing board, the lunch box, the traffic light (yes you can thank a black person for the traffic light) and numerous improvements to other inventions along the way were featured.  But no mention of the cotton gin, peanut butter and so many other note worthy black inventions along the way.

The Cannonball House was the only structure in Macon to be hit during the civil war, making Macon an historical city of the south still fully intact.  Not worth the tour to go inside particularly except to hear the sordid story the 70+ year old judge who married a 30 year woman (his third wife) so he’d have someone to take care of him.  And how after his death, the wife was not permitted to take care of her own finances and was eventually married off to another man so that her brother wouldn’t have to manage her estate as well as his own.  Ladies, this is only 100 years ago.

I made it to the hay house the next Day.  It’s listed as one of America’s Castles.  I was the only one on the tour, but there were a covey of workers and restoration experts throughout the house.  It was built for $100,00 back in 1855, when the most expensive home in Macon cost around $17,000.  Lots of faux finishes that my Friend Jimmy Marquis would have loved to see.  Only about a third of the house has been completely restored, but still well worth the tour.

And you know me, I had to see the Ocmulgee National Monument.  A large complex of earthen Indian mounds and a restored earth lodge.  Evidence of native habitation going back over 12,000 years ago.  So after touring all those places and more, I was ready to head on out into the country.   This time I’d be taking the back roads to La Grange GA.  It’s called the west coast of Georgia because much of the area boarders the large and winding West Point Lake.

The trip was along country roads, 80, 41, 85 and 109.  Like hop scotching across a quilt pattern of roads over hilly, wooded country settings.  Hamlets and cross roads with one gas station or country store.  Turned onto a 4 lane road for a short bit.  Trucks whizzing by to get around us slower travels, then a small red truck in front of me suddenly veers to the left sharply.  I’m next in line.  It’s a blond dog about knee height walking in a daze down the middle of the lane.  I swerve with my full size truck and 10,000 lbs of camper.  Not an easy thing to do, but I miss the dog.  The dog continues walking slowly down the lane.