Monday, September 30, 2013

2013-33 LaGrange & West Point Georgia


La Grange Georgia
West Point Georgia

best campsite of the season
Campground:  R Shaefer Heard, Shaefer Heard Park Rd.  West Point Ga 31833.  This is an Army Corp campground on West Point Lake.  $14 senior rate, 50amp & water.  $12 senior rate for 30amp. Sites.  Sites are large with deep back in sites and a few pull-thru sites.  Most along the waters edge.

Distance traveled:  108 miles

Rome to West Point Georgia

Now that’s the kind of traveling I like to do between campsites,  108 miles.  Doesn’t sound like much driving as I took highway 27 through this western sections of Georgia, bypassing Atlanta and the horrid hwy 75.  You know, that north south interstate that is always heavily trafficked.  Actually, because I waited to get on the road this morning, and speed limits were on average 55-65 mph with sparse traffic on a 4 lane divided country highway it still took over three hours to drive 108 miles.  Ok I did stop for lunch and re-fueling.

Which got me to the campground at a perfect time of day.  I got a campsite in the first small loop around the lake.  My site backs up to the waters edge.  Literally feet away from the water on a small cove that wraps around the campsite.

Without any big plans for the area, I’m going to just putts around.  R Shaefer Heard park is pretty large and of course was created by the Army Corp of Engineers as a part of the dam project.  It’s called a demonstration project and by that they mean they’ve put in just about everything one could want in a park.  Great campsites of course, tennis courts, a large outdoor amphitheater, basket ball courts, playgrounds, boat ramps and swimming areas, you name it.  I did drive over to the dam and took a self guided tour of the hydro dam with it’s two turbine generators.  It has the capability to add one more generator in the future.  The room with the generators like so many others I’ve seen around the country is spotless.  I talked to the cleaning lady and she said she cleans one of the five floors each day.  The dam was completed in 1975 and it’s created West Point lake with I believe 9 other parks around it.  The lake itself is the fullest lake I’ve seen in years so I’d gather the rains this past year on the east coast have been very helpful in filling it up.

At the campground, sitting outside, the air is a warm 80 degrees with a nice breeze coming off the lake.  Shafts of sunlight piercing through the trees warming my legs as I lounge under the campers awning.  A thousand shades of green shimmer as light shines on layers of leaves, branches and trees.  The sound of crickets, birds and critters scuffling through the pine nettle layers on the ground.  The subtle smell of pine needles drying out after damp foggy nights.  These are the ingredients of a campsite deep in the woods of a Georgia lakeside park.  I add my own sounds with music from the Dean Martin era of music, old country tunes from the likes of Patsy Cline and Gene Autry adding the soundtrack from simpler days bringing them into the present.  A good book to enjoy.  And that’s pretty much my ideal of camping.  Then a neighbor across the way turns on his leaf blower, whirring it’s high pitched sound as dried leaves going flying from his campsite.  Some folks just can’t let nature take it’s course. A short while later silence descends.  The cawing of a crow high up in the tree tops signals the sounds of nature have returned.

I visit with a middle aged couple next door camping in their 39 foot 5th wheel camper, a real dozy of  a camper.  It’s there third camper and they finally made a list of everything they wanted and ended up with this really big camper.  She calls it her retirement home, though I think they both have quite a few years to go before retirement.

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I was going to take some pictures of a statue in the center of LaGrange, but when I got there they were decorating the whole town square in pink.  Felt kind of sorry for the distinguished looking statue with it’s glittering pink ribbon over one raised arm.  It just didn’t look very dignified, even though it is for a good cause.  Later as I drove past on my way back to the campground, I noticed they even dyed the water in the fountain pink.

Changes have been coming to this area of Georgia.  A new Wal-Mart distribution center has recently been built adding more jobs.  Have you ever seen how large those warehouses are?  And a new Kia car manufacturing factory has been built.  Now talk about big.  It seemed to go on forever sitting right along side Interstate hwy 85,  bringing lots of good jobs to an otherwise downtrodden area.  I tried to get a tour of the facility, but because it is so new, they haven’t started giving tours yet.  I noticed that the old clothing mills are being torn down in the towns of Lanett and West Point.  Once the factories of the region, they have been empty for years.  Imposing brick structures.  Many were easily 4 and 5 stories high with multi paned windows and water towers.  Railroads once ran next to them delivering raw cotton and shipping out final products to stores across the country.

the old clothing mills are being torn down

yucky laudromat
I did go into West Point over the weekend to do laundry and ended up at the worst looking Laundromat I’ve ever been too.  Some of the machines were outside, no tables for folding your clothes and mostly ancient machines.  Exposed pipes and backs of washing machines exposed like something from a bad grunge movie.  Mostly black clientele with some of the cutest looking little kids I’ve ever seen and blue collar workers.  Felt bad that this is all they have available locally for cleaning their clothes.

I even made it over to Callaway Gardens.  It was pretty much what I expected.  The gardens are really more of a wooded preserve with a couple nice building in between.  A “Discovery” center that acts as the visitor center as I didn’t really see much to discover.  A butterfly exhibit and a Horticulture building with arid and tropical plants.  It’s not what one would expect of a garden in that they only have azaleas and rhododendrons in the early spring and summer.  No profusion of flowers.  Callaway Gardens surrounds a manmade lake and they’ve added a large but not very inspiring golf course, homes are now for sale within the park and I believe rental units as well.  I wouldn’t put it as a top destination for travelers.  

along the tour route inside Calaway Gardens


my favorite new toy
Well if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know how I love electronic gadgets.  What’s neat is that they all seem to be getting really small and compact, making for an easy move into the Rv (limited space) lifestyle.

Previously I purchased the small Rabbit USB device that permits me to access tons of TV shows for $10 a year on my laptop computer as long as I have 4G internet service.  The only problem was, was that I had to connect my laptop to the TV so that I could watch those programs on a bigger screen than the laptop.

Well, I just got my Chromecast USB device in the mail the other day, and with very little setup, I can now port  TV shows or anything I’m looking at on the internet to my TV without wires.  What a great little device.  Now it does require use of Google’s Chrome to be able to port the internet to the TV, but I’ve been using Chrome instead of Microsoft Explorer for a number of years so it was no problem for me.  I currently don’t have 4G service, only 3G, but I was still able to set up Chromecast and view my Picasa pictures on the TV without the need to connect my laptop physically to the TV.  Chromecast uses the wi-fi interface.

So this is basically how it works:

I use my Droid phone as my Internet wi-fi Hotspot.  If you have a high-speed internet connection at home that would work even better.
The Chromecast device in plugged into the back of the TV in one of the HDMI ports.  (It stays on all the time)
I then turn on my laptop and look for a movie or TV show.  Google Chrome has a little icon in the upper right hand corner that looks like a small video screen.  I click on it and tah-dah, it shows up on the TV.

Chromecast also is integrated into Netflix and YouTube and they say they will be adding more programs in the future.

What a great little device to port internet stuff to ones TV with just the click of a button.  And no wires is even better.  Oh, the cost:  $39

Not much of a report this week, but that’s what’s going on in my life on the open road in Georgia.

PS: I should have some really great news for next weeks report.

more photos on PICASA

1 comment:

Kathy Schnedler said...

I loved your report thanks for the info! where did you get your ChromeCast? Kathy