Friday, June 24, 2011

2011-17 Pigeon Forge to Prestonburg Kentucky

London Kentucky

Cumberland Falls

Natural Bridge

Paintsville, Butcher Hollow

Campground:  Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park.  $18 ( 10%Senior discount) Standard site, Elect/Water.  Back in and Pull Thru sites available. Nice mini gulf course at front of campground.  Old Mill and museum on property.

Campground:  Jenny Wiley State Resort Campground.  3 nights @ $18.90, 1 night @ $20.70 w/senior discount.  Standard site, water/electric.  I got a pull thru, though the back-ins were easy enough to back into.  All paved pads and roads.  Lodge, cabins, boat ramp, fishing, gulfing, restaurant, theatre.  Tons of activities for the kids and not so small kids.

I don’t know why I did it, but I headed out of Pigeon Forge, knowing it was going to be a rainy day on the road.  Sometimes I can’t tell myself anything.  Of course I could have stayed an extra day, but whatever, I headed out and got caught in a real gully washer of a downpour.  Pulled off the highway and went to a McDonalds for breakfast and waited a while before continuing on.  Finally made it to my next destination along the way, The Levi Jackson St Park.
Cumberland Falls

The next day with all the rain we had, I knew going to Cumberland Falls would be spectacular.  It was of course, with about twice the water flowing over the falls than normal, but a bit brown from all the dirt being forced downriver.  Talk about erosion.  The drive alone heading over to the Falls was typical Kentucky hill country.  I also went to Natural Arch.  A spectacular stone arch over a deep wooded canyon.  Even though I had a great view from a higher elevation, I took the “scenic” one mile hike down into the canyon and walked right under the arch.  It has a great paved path leading down to the arch with stone steps and all.  Many, many steps I might add.  Great going down, but rough coming back up out the steep side of the canyon.  Not to mention the black flies and mosquitoes buzzing around me.  An improvised branch with lots of leaves helped swat them away.  The arch could easily compete with any in Utah’s Arches National Park.

The town of London Kentucky is a neat little town with a still active downtown area, county court house and all of course.  Lots of trees and flowers lining the main street.  Making for a very inviting town to stop in.

I’m heading east on the Hal Rogers Parkway tomorrow.  It was a toll road a number of years back when it was named the Daniel Boone Parkway.  The Governor changed the name to Hal Rogers when the congressman was able to get 17 million dollars from the U.S. Gov to do away with the toll fees.  Doesn’t say much about preserving the names of pioneering history of the area does it?  You see, two major routes were forged by Daniel Boone to bring easterners to the new frontier.  You might remember the Cumberland gap, one of the routes Daniel Boone discovered.  Two of those routes once went right through the park I’m staying in.

Back at the campground, I was sitting outside reading a book, when a small gray and black painted bird came flying up.  His eyes were circled in black almost like mascara, and the wings had both black and grey streaks.  This tiny little bird hopped from one perch to the next, landing on the steps next to my chair.  Undeterred by his surroundings, he hopped onto my foot, then up to my book looking around, before flying off around the corner of my camper.   I think he was pretty new at this flying thing, as he seemed a bit unsteady in some of his moves.  The cutest darn bird I’ve ever seen.  Felt like I’d made a friend, even if it was only for fleeting moment.

I took that Hal Rogers Parkway, formerly a toll road and it’s only a two lane limited access road by the way.  But I must admit is was a most beautiful drive, wide shoulders, well maintained and what I’d rate a primo route for Rv’ers.  Unbelievable views of Kentucky high country, the Daniel Boone National Forest, large rounded hills and mountains sinking into deep narrow hollows so thick with green trees, well you just have to see it to believe it.  If I get a chance of course I’ll take some pictures, but along the parkway and hwy 80, there just weren’t any pull-outs to get one of those spectacular shots.

After setting up at the Jenny Wiley State Park, which I might add Kentucky has the most bizarre pricing structure for campsites I’ve ever seen.  Early week, mid week, weekend and holiday pricing along with  standard sites, deluxe and economy sites.  And each state park seems to have a different range of prices as well.  I rambled on a bit there and never got to the after setting up part.  Well, after setting up,  I headed over to Paintsville for a quick bite to eat and then headed out to Butcher Holler, home of Loretta Lynn and birthplace of Crystal Gale.

Loretta Lynn's family home in Butcher Holler

What a fun drive through Van Lear, heading deeper and deeper into each hollow, homes lining the floor of each steep valley.  Streams flowing through each.  The homes progressively getting older the deeper I traveled into each Hollow.  I could tell a number of them were built by mining companies as they all were identical in nature along with rusted out single wide trailers.  Finally a turn up a hill, past a country store and few more miles down the narrowest one lane road I’ve been on in a long time, (it was just paved a few years back) leading almost to the end of Butcher Holler, and there sat the original homestead where Loretta Lynn grew up.

Loretta’s brother usually gives the tours, but today I got one of the neighbors because Loretta’s brother had to go in for a Dr’s appt.  The family consisted of 6 children and Mom and Pop.  The father really was a coal miner and if you haven’t seen the movie, I’d recommend renting it.  Two main rooms, a kitchen and upstairs their was a attic bedroom for the boys.  What a strange feeling to be standing on the porch overlooking the holler (probably called that because you could holler from one end of the hollow to the other end).

Just to experience such humble beginnings of a great country legend.  Glad I took the time to come to this part of Kentucky.

Oh and Kentucky has over 11,000 elk.  They were re-introduced into the area in 1997 after an absence of over 150 years.  Going to show that some major improvements have been made to how we manage wildlife.
A positive sign that we can make changes for the better.

Here at Jenny Wiley State Resort, I’ve found a ton of activities to keep me busy. They have lots of activities for the kids and even some of us more senior people.  Today I had lunch at the main lodge, a really good buffet with catfish, fried chicken, cornbread salad (have you ever had it?)  a brown bean soup (yummy) lots of veggies and desert.  After lunch, I headed over to the Jenny Wiley Theatre for a live performance of the play, “The Dixie Swim Club”.  Imagine, theatre in the woods, who would have expected it.  The set design was easily the best I’ve seen anywhere.  Great performance.  The show followed 5 friends from their high school swim team to old age.  Funny, thought provoking, more fun and a bit misty eyed at the end.

Tomorrow I’ll be going on a pontoon ride around 5:30, but today, back at the campground I joined a small group of kids and adults for tie dying T-shirts.  What a blast.  I got my hippie on and relived a bit of the 50’s all over again.  Cool man, really cool.

I just found out that Summerset Ky is the home to 6 of the 7 major house boat builders in the country.  Imagine here on the eastern edge of Kentucky.  At the marina here in the park are house boats of every size and age including about a dozen in the $500 to $800K range.  With a number of the owners living only a few miles away, they drive down to the marina on weekends to tool around in their 100ft homes floating on the water.  Now that’s living at it’s finest.

I went on the pontoon ride, our boat captain being a just graduated from college young gal who is also steeped in the areas music heritage.  Her dad is an Elvis impersonator and her and her mom used to perform as the Judd’s.  Even met Wynona once, as well as Dwight Yoakum, he’s one of my favorites in the country music world.

And as if that wasn’t enough for one day, I went to the group campfire last night to here the story of Jenny Wiley, roast marshmallows on the open fire and made smores.  I like my marshmallows completely black.  What a fun way to end the day.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

2011-16 Pigeon Forge Tennessee

Pigeon Forge TN


Cades Cove

Campground:  Eagle’s Nest  Campground, Pigeon Forge.  $18, (Passport America) full hookups, 50amp & full cable tv.  Nice shaded sites, most are back to back, but you can pull through the site to set up especially during the week.  Small swimming pool, game room and laundry.  Great tent sites along the creek, lots of grassy and shaded sites.

Today while retreating into the cool interior of my camper as the day continued to heat up,  I was think about a vexing problem I’ve been having.  And yes it’s vexing as all get out.  I’ve once again changed time zones and more than likely it’ll change again before long.  So after changing the clocks in the living room, kitchen and dining area I came up with a brilliant plan.  The living/kitchen area will be on Central time and I’ll leave the clocks on the second floor, the bathroom, butlers pantry and bedroom all will remain on Eastern standard time. Now isn’t that brilliant?  After all, the camper is so darn big it might as well be in two different time zones.  I just knew you’d like the wisdom of this decision.

I’ve traveled through much of rural Tenn.  And have landed in Pigeon Forge.  Although I’ve traveled many of the back roads here in Tennessee, I would not recommend them for my fellow Rv travelers.  Most are much hillier and winding  roads with no shoulders and many with sudden drop offs and no guard rails.  Consider staying on the main highways while in Tennessee and only touring in your tow vehicle on those back roads.

Pigeon Forge is one of those vacation destination places.  With lots of  commercial venues like Dollywood,  Titanic Museum, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, many dinner shows, comedy shows, Cirque show, numerous elaborate mini gulf courses with wild themes, white water rafting, tons of good eateries and of course The Great Smoky Mountain National Park and Cades Cove.  And I haven’t even mentioned all the outlet malls and shopping available throughout the area.

I’m staying at Eagle’s Nest Campground, one of a number of Passport America campgrounds in the area.  I I think I’ve picked one of the best to stay at.  They have great pull through sites that become back to back campsites when full up, spacious grassy and shaded tent sites next to the creek, well away from the Rv campers and even a few nice cabins for rent.

One of my first excursions had to be a re-visit to Cades Cove.  I took a loop tour through The Great Smoky Mountain Park to get to Cades Cove.  Thick with forests, wild rhododendrons in full bloom of white fluffy cone shaped flowers with just a hint of pink blanketed many of the hills.  Winding roads that were like driving through a canopy of green.  The cool clean smell of moist soil and green vegetation filled the air.

Driving into Cades Cove, following a slow moving ballet of cars winding their way around the narrow single lane 10 mile loop road of the Cove.  Stopping at areas of interest.  Old churches, homestead log cabins, past open fields once tended by the Cove residences and still maintained to this day.  And there, on the edge of one of the fields roamed a mother black bear and her three cubs.  A bit too far from my vantage point to get any good pictures, so I took out an awesome pair of binoculars and watched as the mother bear foraged for food and the cubs who would stand up on their hind legs, waving their arms, as if to say to all us tourists, here I am, here I am.  Then sink back down and be hidden by the tall grasses in the field.  Popping up occasionally to the oohs and ahhs of the crowd watching.

Back in Pigeon Forge, as I was driving up the main strip, I decided to stop at an amusement park and take a few pictures.  After watching some kids (17 and older) ride around on these sporty little racing cars, I decided to do it myself.  The ride is called the big woody, as the track is all made out of wood as it winds up a corkscrew ramp, then descends over a roller coaster straightaway before taking a sharp turn to the right at the bottom.   I must admit I didn’t go as fast as the “kids” all the time, but I still had a grand time squealing tires and taking those turns.  And I barely banged into one other person.  The whole experience put a smile on my face.

I’m having trouble getting excited about going to Dollywood as I don’t plan on going on any the many rollercoaster rides they have, don’t need to buy anything in the many shops and restaurants, so I guess I’ll be paying just to see the entertainment.  But until then I’ve driven on into Gatlinburg, which is right in the heart of the Great Smokey Mountains.  It’s the older of the towns in the area and everything is close together, no parking on the main street and I noticed a number of shops were closed and empty.  I drove up through town and back into the Great Smokey’s.  I’m enjoying another car drive through some great forests.  I stopped at the Noah ’Bud’ Ogle farm and took a nice loop hike around the old farm, now overgrown so much it’s hard to see where the fields used to be.  An old tub mill sits next to a nice stream and the Rhododendron’s are chuck full of beautiful white blooms. The main log cabin house with a huge stone fireplace separating the two square buildings with porches both front and back along with a barn with it’s individual stalls for cows or horses.  Nice to be able to wander around an old piece of property maintained so well by our National Parks.  You know there is no charge to get into the Great Smokey Mountain park system, making it a great destinations for all the eastern residences.

While visiting the Old Pigeon Forge, built like in 1830, I met a white haired, wrinkled faced older woman working the cash register.  We chatted about always needing money for this and that, when my debit credit card wouldn’t work.  Hmm, come to find out later in the day from my credit union that 13,500 debit cards had been compromised and they had to put a hold on everyone’s cards.  In the mean time, I used my other Visa card and our conversation continued.  This little old white haired lady told me as her husbands health continued to fail and of course he couldn’t work, she always made sure he had money in his wallet so he could take the grand kids out for a treat anytime he wanted too.  A woman still working well into her 70’s, her husband since passed away, having such compassion for the one she loved.  Just an example of how money can be used in a most thoughtful way.

And there’s some discontent here in Pigeon Forge as I’ve see protesters out in front of both the Lumber Jack show and Dollywood protesting wages and working conditions.  Since there was a bit of discontent, it put me in the mood to go see the Hatfield and McCoy Feud’n and Feast’n show.  I opted for a morning show.  If your in the area, ask about their morning or afternoon shows as well as the evening shows.  You might be able to save a few dollars.  The show I went to featured the Blackwood Brothers Country and Gospel singers along with a great comedy duo.  Now there were only a few original Blackwood’s in the group, but the singers they incorporated into the show were all 1st rank singers.  Fun entertainment and a breakfast all for about $30.

and as always, more pictures at:  PICASA

Friday, June 10, 2011

2011-15 Tennessee


Manchester-Coffee County

Old Stone Fort Archeological State Park

Lynchburg, Jack Daniel Distillery

Falling Creek Falls State Park

Campground:  Old Stone Fort State Park.  $20 30amp Elect/water.  Heavily wooded sites, paved roads and camping pad, concrete picnic tables. Lots of shade, perfect for those hot summer days.

Campground: Falls Creek Falls State Park.  $25, 50amp/full hookup.  $20 for elect/water sites.  This is a huge park and has the look of a National Park setting, golf course, Lodge, cabins and conference center. No Verizon signal.  Free wi-fi in the lodge/restaurant.  Spotty Tv access.

I was thinking back the other day, when I first started full-timing 7 years ago what a great life I have.  I had many friends asking what I’d do without a home base?  Wouldn’t I feel lonely and odd without having roots somewhere that I could go back too?  Well, I’m now in my 7th year on the open road and I have to tell you, I would hope to never go back to a home stuck to the ground.  The freedom I feel every day, knowing I can stay in an area as long as I want to, or move on down the road has given me a life I’ve always wanted.  And not having to follow a schedule, time table or a rutty routine is so liberating.  So here I am, back on the road, telling you about another adventure on down the road.

view from a wayside park on an island in the river

I enjoyed the 3 days at the free resort in Georgia but as usual was looking forward to heading back on the road.  I took two major highways, hwy 40 and hwy 75 right on through Atlanta.  I usually don’t like to take these main arteries as they are usually very crowded with traffic.  Luckily I was traveling on Sunday, so I took the chance and it wasn’t too bad though much heavier traffic than I‘m used too.  I’ve learned to always stay in the middle lanes while traveling though heavily congested areas to avoid needing to change lanes and avoid merging traffic from on ramps.

After an overnight stay in Chattanooga, I headed north to Manchester where I plan to stay at the Old Stone Fort State Park.  Bonnaroo music festival begins later this week, and hopefully I’ll get out before it gets too bad.  They expect about 80,000 festival goers.

But for now I’m here at the Old Stone Fort.  Ist off, as many named historical sites in the U.S. the name does not reflect the true nature of the site.  This was never an actual fort.  It is an historical 2,000 year old site with stone walls surrounding a spit of land that is surrounded on three sides by two rivers.  The land high above the river bed was a natural protected site.  After the Woodland Indians created the stone walls with earth and rubble filling the interior of the walls as well as two conical mounds at the entrance, they had created a safe secure site.

Archeologists have determined that it was probably a ceremonial enclosure as no artifacts were found indicating domestic living took place here.  There are so many questions I want to ask about sites like this that will never be answered.  Small clues tell us that the Woodland Indians of the area had developed farming and with hunting good in the area, they were mostly sedentary, not traveling from site to site.  This gave them more time to build these labor intensive sites and develop a more structured society.
only the mound indicates the hidden stone walls

Another interesting thing in the area at least to me, is US 41.  It’s the same highway that runs through my hometown in Northern Michigan, Houghton.  When ever I cross paths with hwy 41, I feel connected to my hometown of Houghton.  It runs north/south from N Mich all the way to southern Florida.

I’m listening to some Willy Nelson music on my sound system in the camper after a fun day exploring the country side and hollers of middle Tennessee.  Passing rounded hills, each topped with a gorgeous home, the sloping hills manicured pastures that look like fine grass lawns.  The surrounding land a thick forest of some 350 different varieties of trees.  Down the road on hwy 55 I finally come to the small community of Lynchburg and the home of the Jack Daniels distillery.  It’s in a dry county of all things.  One of the best known whiskey makers in the country and they can’t sell a drop in the county.  Well that is until recently, when Jack Daniels company went to the state legislature and had a law enacted that permits them to sell the whiskey on the distillers property.  On the tour, we get a chance to see the making of fine sour mash whiskey, the original building Jack Daniels once ran his distillery from.  Never married, but having many a filly waiting in the wings when ever he’d a mind to playing around.  But never had any children and when he died, everything went to his nephew.  The nephews picture is prominently displayed on a few walls, a huge smile on his face.  Wouldn’t you be smiling too?

We walked behind the white clapboard building where the natural spring comes gushing out of a cave on the side of the hill, that pure water that has been used for years to make whiskey.  Lots of interesting stories told about the founding of the distillery, once owned by a Lutheran minister who had to make the choice between making good whiskey or preaching.  The minister chose God and Jack bought the business of making sour mash.  I think they both got a good deal.

Odd to go into the small town of Lynchburg (pop. 350) with all its’ signs touting Jack Daniels, souvenirs of every kind with the name and logo, but not a drop of the real stuff for sale.  You know, most of the people probably work for the distillery.

Planned to sit outside this afternoon but with the occasional blood sucking mosquito and ticks in the area, I decided it was safer to sit inside and enjoy a good book.  The mosquito’s I could handle with bug spray, but the ticks (Lyme disease) are much more difficult to control.  Does bug spray keep ticks off a person?  I don’t think so but I’m not sure.  And it’s been such a nice day to be outdoors.  Such is life in the great outdoors sometimes.

About an hour and a half down the road and I’m in Falling Creek Falls State Park.  A huge state park by any standards that has the look of a National park.  Wonderful waterfalls, hiking trails, a lake and rec. center.  I’m paying for a couple of days for a premium site, full hookups and nicely paved pad.  The ride east from Manchester to Falling Creek was more of a north, south, north, south and finally western route.  It was a crazy quilt route that brought me through the heart of Tennessee.  Lots of smaller farms on those hills, valleys and hollers.  I’m not sure but my GPS might have been playing tricks on me with the route it took.

My friends Chris and Tom have named their GPS, maybe I need to put a name to mine as well.  It’s a part of my Droid phone of course, so if you can think of a great name for the phone/GPS system let me know.
Haven’t officially named the new camper either, so see if you can come up with a good name for the Montana Mountaineer 5th wheel.  I think I’ll be keeping this one for quite some time.  My last one was named “La Casa Grande, Del Sol, De Doug”.

And as my good friend Mary wrote in her jottings “if you’ve managed to read this far, then your doing well…but at least you know I’m alive and well and keeping up my end of communication.”

Enjoy your own adventures and thanks for coming along on mine.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

2011-14 Georgia

Hazlehurst GA
Vidalia GA
Greensboro, GA

Campground:  Towns Bluff Park and Heritage Center.  $12.50 per night (Passport America rate) 30/50 amp elect/water.  Nice washrooms and  a washer/dryer 75 cents each. Nice county park with nice campsites both pull thru and back in with lots of space with grass and tall pines. 6 over the air digital TV stations available.

Campground:  North Shore Resort, Greensboro GA.  I was able to get 3 days FREE by taking a 90 minute tour.  Full hookups.  On Lake Oconee, two swimming pools, train car cabins, large Rec hall, tennis courts, shuffle board and mini gulf.  This is a well kept but older tired park.  The transient Rv sites are close together and many not very level.

Campground:  Camping World (Chattanooga TN) . $25 full hookups w/cable tv.  Old campground part of Camping World. Ok for one night.  Swimming pool and laundry room. Close to interstate for easy access.

Blog info:  If you haven’t looked lately, check out the resources I developed on the right side of this blog.  There are some good links in My Favorite Websites to help you find campgrounds, what digital TV stations are in an area and lots of other great links.  I’ve also added links to All the state parks in the contiguous U.S. with hints as to discounts many give to seniors.  As an example, Georgia gives half off the price of a campsite to anyone 62 and older both residence and non state residence.  That’s one heck of a good deal.

Stories from Mayo

I was talking to my neighbor campers the last couple of days.  These are true Southern Crackers.  Tom has worked for the lumber company.  He was telling me that he started out 34 years ago making $2 an hour and he and his wife were living like kings.  Now he makes $27.50 an hour and the money goes faster than he can make it.  At the lumber company they make cellulose  for paper products and use 52 million gallons of water a day that is then somewhat filtered in settling ponds and then dumped out into the river and Gulf of Mexico.

They say in Perry, if you smell that odd pungent smell, yes it’s the paper mills, but they prefer to say “it’s the smell of money”.

Went to an antique shop called the Dust Catchers.  The owner moved up here with her husband 35 years ago and eventually bought the building the shop is now in.  Did pretty well even after her husband got a divorce (maybe too much collecting?).  But when two dollar stores moved into town, her business has dropped dramatically in the past year or so.   The locals don’t need to go to her shop for dishes, glassware or gifts when they can go to Family Dollar or The Dollar General for new stuff cheap all made in China of course.  The name of the shop really says it all, Dust Catchers.

Back on the Road.

Well after driving across hwy 90 the original east west road in North Florida, I headed north on 301.  But somehow (GPS was not turned on) I ended up bypassing Kings Bay on the east coast of Ga.  So instead of going to the Navy Submarine base I’ve ended up at a county park in Jeff Davis County Georgia.  A super nice and quite park that will do rather nicely for a couple days stopover.

Drove around the Hazlehurst area today and discovered there are a couple of lumber mills in the area.  Huge piles of pine trees debarked, stacked one on top of the other.  Some are being sprayed with water, others are trimmed cut and stacked into planks and 2 by 4’s to dry and cure.  Surprising they can keep going with such a slowdown in the housing industry.  I’ve seen quite a few trucks hauling those trees as well.  Big industry in these parts.

While driving through Alma Georgia, I came across this unique George Jettson Bank.  Still in operation.  I did not take the picture (don’t ask me why) but was able to find a picture on the internet to share with you.
What a unique building.  If I’m ever back that way, I must get a few shots of it myself.

In Greensboro Ga while staying at the North Shore resort, I took their 90 minute tour designed to get me to buy into the Ocean Canyon Properties.  After finding out about me of course, they were trying to become “friends” you know, the tour continued via gulf cart around the property.  The company owns about a dozen resorts in the South East, all former private campgrounds down on their luck, which enabled the owners to come in and buy them on the cheap.  Fix up each place a bit and now sell ownerships in the properties.
North Shore Resort
It’s an interesting piece of property on a lake with cabins made out of train cars and cabooses positioned precariously along the sides of the sloping hill leading down to the lake.  After the tour we discussed price.  Which began at the gold level, $11,995, the charter membership at $11,995 but with special one day bonus offers included.  Wow, how could I refuse.  Then it was decided I could get a 1st day incentive of $2,000 off the price, plus another $1,000 off for having worked for the military.  Bringing the price down to $8,995. Now really, how could I refuse such a generous offer.  Finally after more discussion, it was determined that the Bronze membership would be more suited to my needs at only $6,995.  Gad, the bargains kept getting better and better.

The bonuses kept pouring in.  A free cruise and 1st years dues would be paid if I paid cash.  1st years membership in Coast to Coast, RPI, ROD, AOR and ICE.  They were practically giving away the stuff.  But, alas, I did not bite.  I did not put down any money and walked away with my free gift a 7” Netbook PC.  And 3 days free at a VIP hotel of my choosing.

Besides, it’s scorchingly hot here in the middle of Georgia.  I couldn’t even imagine spending an extended stay down here.  Thank goodness I had a second A/C put on the camper when I purchase it and I have 50amp service to run the two of them.  I’ll wait till the sun goes down this evening before going for a swim.

An interesting note, most all of the workers up in this part of Georgia smoke.  Haven’t seen that much smoking in years.  They are constantly walking outside to light up a cigarette.

WPA Painting in Post Office
I did take a quick tour of Greensboro after having lunch in town.  Stopped into the local Post Office to see two painting done by the WPA program during the depression.  Now behind glass after someone threw eggs at them a number of years ago.  You see, the painting depicted the history of the area including blacks picking cotton and the fighting between the Native Indians and the European settlers in the area.  The post mistress said when she was a child, she had picked cotton and it was really hard work.  It took a lot of cotton picking to fill a bag.  Imagine, meeting someone before the cotton gin came into existence and cotton was still picked by hand.   I also went into a shop that had items all made in Georgia.  A really nice shop.  I’ll post some pictures on the Picasa site.

Greensboro GA

After a $3.75 all you can eat pancake and bacon breakfast, I headed out to Eatonton Ga to visit the Uncle Remus Museum.  Made famous by the author Mr Harris.  You know the stories of Tar baby, Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox.  Uncle Remus and the little boy were real people that the stories revolved around.  The stories were thought to be lessons for black children growing up in the south, but quickly became popular stories in their time throughout the country.  Now I checked on the computer to see if the museum would be open on Saturday and sure enough it was….. That is, until I arrived on Saturday and the town was having their 2011 Dairy Festival.  The museum with it’s sign stating “open” was closed tighter than a well you know what.  So you and I will have to go to the Uncle Remus web link and visit it virtually, though I did see the outside of the reconstructed log cabin, built from the remains of three slave cabins.  The web link has 37 complete stories worth reading if you can get into the southern-eze speak, which I find hard to follow, though the stories are all very good.
The Eatonton Ga Dairy Festival

Who knew there would be a Dairy Festival in town.  There’s a heavy mix of black population, about 65%.  I enjoyed the mix of all these southerners as it was a real people watching experience. Especially with all the hip young kids with their baggy pants slid down around their knees, boxer shorts in full view for the world to see.  The girls a bit more conservatively dressed, though a few were wearing some pretty snug fitting outfits that showed perhaps a few too many bulges and curves were emphasized a bit more than they should be.  Everyone was super friendly. I think what surprised me the most was that so many blacks were not wearing hats.  Now realize, it’s about 91 and a steamy heat with the sun bearing down on everyone.  I would think that darker skin would heat up even faster than the sparse head of hair on this ol white boy.  Though I could tell just about everyone who moved more than 2 miles an hour had a good sweat on.  Since it was a Dairy Festival, free ice-cream and milk were being handed out.

I had my free ice-cream, picked up a few freebees, listened to some local musical talent, but when the sound guy continued to do a really poor job of mixing the sound, I left in search of an air conditioned truck to take me back to the resort.

Left Georgia today and will stop over in Chattanooga for one night before heading north.  Spent $100 today filling up on diesel.  Really hits home when you see how much you've spent at the end of the day

Next stop, another adventure at a state park…. To be continued.