Saturday, October 26, 2013

Woodbine, GA 10/21/13 - 10/25/13

Woodbine, GA...was intended as a 'stop over point' on our way to Orlando, but as those that follow our blog know, we find something just about everywhere we travel to. 

We were here a short while and met new friends our first day, which was rainy (and had them over for BBQ ribs).  We traveled to St. Mary's GA one day, visiting this quaint town and also went to their submarine museum while there.  Their submarine museum is the largest in the south and the 5th largest in the US.  It is located near Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base, one of only two Trident Submarine Bases in the world.  The museum is a reunion site for former submariners.  The city of St. Mary's has many well restored old buildings.  As an extra bonus, we were there during their Hay Days,  and enjoyed walking amongst  the various scarecrows, decorated by the local merchants.

Our last full day, we drove to Jekyll Island, GA, where we had an enjoyable day.  Jekyll Island is rich in history, being most notably known for the Jekyll Island club.  Munsey's Magazine in 1904 described the club as "the richest, the most exclusive, the most inaccessible club in the World."  Members, among others, included J.P. Morgan, William Rockefeller, Vincent Astor, Joseph Pulitzer, William Vanderbilt, George Macy, Frank Goodyear, Marshall Field, Cyrus Hall McCormick and Edwin Gould.  The club lasted 54 years, closing at the end of the 1942 season.  The club was a winter resort for the rich and famous.  Most built winter 'cottages'.  Most of the 'cottages' were over 7,000 square feet and had multiple full bathrooms (sometimes over 6) at a time when many in this country did not have inside plumbing.  The cottages also had electricity, although only 10 hours each day, during the time the generators ran.  Almost all meals were eaten at the clubhouse, where they would travel to in their 'red bugs' that went 35 MPH.  While touted as a  vacation getaway, even with most cottages having 12 or more servants, and with the men hunting on the island this still seemed to us as more like an opportunity for the rich to show off their attire and tell their 'rich' stories to those of like class structure.  Eventually the war came which created access to the island issues, including German Subs hanging out off shore.  After the war, the state of Georgia, really wanted the property and managed to acquire the Island, through condemnation of most of the properties.

We toured the museum and also took the tram tour while on the island which included being able to tour inside 3 of the cottages.  No inside pictures were permitted.  These cottages, their size, d├ęcor, modernisms for the day are impressive.  We also learned a few trivia things.  The Rockefeller house had one of the first living rooms.  We learned that parlors, besides being used for entertaining, were also where the dead were put.  Thus, Mrs. Rockefeller wanted a 'living' room.  Most of the cottages also had coffin windows as it was considered bad luck to carry the dead out of your front door.  Some of the cottages had their own servant quarters.  The island also had a servant village, with included dining hall.  There was a church on the island.  Attendance was mandatory, however, a servant could be sent to sit in for you.  Because of the high concentration of the movers and shakers at that time, Jekyll Island was the location of various historic events, including the first transcontinental telephone call.  More information is found at: http://www.jekyllclub.com/about-us/club-history/  and also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jekyll_Island_Club

We also traveled to the north end of Jekyll Island to walk along Driftwood Beach.  Driftwood Beach, we think resembled a tree graveyard (If there is such a thing).  Lots of huge driftwood, everywhere you turned. It really was a neat adventure.

We are headed to Orlando where we will pull things together for our Caribbean dive cruise.  Next posting will be sometime after we return from the cruise on 11/10/13.


Bank of Camden 1911(St. Mary's, GA)
First Bank Catholic Church 1840
(St. Mary's, GA)
Inside St. Mary's Submarine Museum
Dolphins were chosen as the submariner's symbol
because of how the dolphin dives and surfaces
http://www.aboutsubs.com/dolphins.htm
 
We especially liked these two Scarecrows
from the 'Newcomer's Club' in
St. Mary's, GA (very appropriate)
St. Mary's, GA Waterfront
 Jekyll Island - Crane Cottage
Jekyll Island - Indian Mound: Rockefeller Cottage
Jekyll Island - San Souci Cottage
(a first in condo development)
6 cottage for those that did not want to build their own
Bob lost in the Driftwood at
Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island
Lonely Driftwood
Great Egret at Driftwood Beach
Dinnertime at Driftwood Beach
Local Jekyll Island Bird
St. Simons Lighthouse from
Jekyll Island
Maybe you need to be from CA to see the humor.
  Yes, we bought gas here in GA,
not to be confused with CA.
Too funny!
Green!  In GA, it is the new color for caution.
States visited since retirement

 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Good Sam RV Rally at Atlanta Motor Speedway 10/15/13 - 10/21/13

We just completed our first RV Rally and it was both informative and a lot of fun.  We agreed that we would do a Rally again.  We met lots of really nice people.  Campers really are a great bunch!  We attended several classes and picked up all sorts of good tips.

We went to microwave cooking classes, a convection cooking class (now Teri wants to replace our microwave with a micro/convection oven in our rig), a class on our particular GPS (which takes in account the height, length and weight of our rig when routing), a class on tips to using Picasa, a few different classes on the best way to clean your rig, a class on using Velcro (kid you not, but new ideas), as well as some things on RV Full Timer insurance. Every class we went to, we brought back something new (some more new things than others).  We also did a couple of cooking classes with  Food Network host Bob Blummer.  You can check him out at: http://www.bobblumer.com/ While he was giving his presentation, he mentioned that he did another show where he got to ride his bike around the track at Daytona and wished he had his bike here.  So Bob Werner went up after the class and offered Teri's bike to Bob Blummer and the two of them rode the Atlanta Motor Speedway track (but not without security in their golf cart getting after them).  But once on the track, the only way off the track (by the time the security in his golf cart caught them in the opposite direction) was to complete the speedway lap.  Once told to get off the track, the two left security in their bike dust.....the security guard in his golf cart just could not keep up.

There was entertainment three of the evenings, including the Beach Boys, Vince Gill and the Vogues.  All were good, most especially Vince Gill and all nights, even with over 5,000 people in attendance, we had seats that were center within the first 3 rows.  And on the second night we were also treated to an amazing fireworks display.  During the day, we were entertained with the K9 Kings Dog Show.  http://www.k9kings.com/  Never a dull moment for sure.

We especially enjoyed visiting with Kathy and Joe and also Rich and Darla (and Pickles too...their Dachshund).  We would each head off for the day to classes, vendors and tours of the various new rigs and then compare notes with each other in the afternoons or evenings.  Rich even got himself a remote control helicopter with camera (warning for those who live next door to him).  For us it was a new flag pole (24 ft.) and a new, small vented Tupperware dish for the microwave.

We had 5 very full days and look forward to when we do the Rally thing again.

We are headed to Woodbine, GA for a few days as a stopover on our way to Orlando, FL where we will be for 2 weeks prior to shoving off on our cruise.



Mike Love
The Beach Boys
(sorry, cell phone quality just not the same)
Vince Gill
Bill Burkette
The Vogues
K9 Kings Dog Show
The Fireworks
Bob Finishes up
a Great Rally

 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fair Play, SC 10/1/13 - 10/15/13

Fair Play SC was a launching place for us to various other places in the area including Clemson, Westminster, Walhalla, Seneca and Pendleton.

Clemson, SC:
Our first lesson....bright orange, tiger paws and purple are the desired attire (people, businesses, you name it).  Even many of the sidewalks had orange tiger paws lining their paths.  Next observation, students camp out on the Clemson University campus in tents for over a week (trading their tent positions with fellow students so they can attend their classes), all in the quest to attain the almighty Football tickets (Clemson University Football, which by the way, this year is ranked #3 in the Nation). We witnessed hundreds of tents and most seemed to be having a good time with this adventure.

We, however, were not there to get tickets.  We went to Clemson University to see both their Botanical Gardens and also visit Fort Hill.

The South Carolina Botanical Gardens, located on Clemson University grounds is quite amazing.  What began in 1958 as a small Camellia reserve has grown to over 295 acres of both natural and landscaped trails.   Some of the gardens had sustained some serious flood damage but there was still lots to see, including the Bob Campbell Geology museum.

In this museum was an extensive collection of both minerals and fossils of the area and also the only saber-toothed cat exhibit in the Southeast ( technically known as a Smilodon).  The museum housed many fossils that are millions of years old (sort of difficult to get your arms around, you think?).  We show, on this blog, just a couple of pictures of many that were in the museum.

The gardens had many unusual plants and we were amazed at how successful their cactus display was in an area that gets a fair amount of rainfall.  Teri particularly liked the 'Black Magic' plant with its very large and dark, almost black leaves.

On the Clemson University campus is also Fort Hill, the home to our 7th Vice President in the US, John Calhoun.  He was Vice President under both John Quincy Adams and also Andrew Jackson.  Citing political differences with Andrew Jackson, he would become the first Vice President in the US to resign from being Vice President.  After resigning, he returned to South Carolina to fill a vacant Senate seat. 

The home, originally built as a 4 room house in 1803, was later named Fort Hill (after Fort Rutledge) when the Calhoun family, in 1825, moved in.  The Calhoun Family would eventually enlarge the house to 14 rooms and this would become an 1100 acre working Cotton Plantation.  The house was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960.

We found the furnishings in the home to be more plain in design than some other historic homes we have been in.  The tubs were interesting, in how their design allowed one to sit on the edge with the water flowing back in when one would rinse.  Also of note, was that the plantation homes we visited here seemed to all have changing rooms, all of which were only used by the females in the home.

Westminster, SC:
Next we visited an old general store.  The England's Store, began operation in 1908 in Westminster SC.  The General Store Museum is set up like the original general store and houses the remaining original contents of England’s General Merchandise Store.

Lots of detail to look at.  Few pictures do not give it justice.  The visit was both interesting and fun.

Walhalla, SC:
Walhalla began as a settlement of German immigrates, (all arriving in the US on the same ship).  We began our Walhalla visit at the Oconee Heritage Center.  Housed in the 1892 tobacco factory the Oconee Heritage Center is a museum with many Oconee County artifacts.  The museum did a good job of explaining the Civil War time history of the area, the very slow process of rights for blacks, and the history filled with Carpetbaggers, and Scalawags (whites supporting the reconstitution ideas of the Carpetbaggers).  There were lots of things to see in this museum.  We found the Shoe Fitting Fluoroscope particularly interesting as we had not seen one of these prior.

The Shoe Fitting Fluoroscope was used from the 30's - 50's.  One would put their feet in the machine wearing the shoes they were trying on.  They would look through the viewing ports to see an x-ray of their feet  in the shoes to determine if the fit was correct.  Of course, eventually, the safety of this was questioned and the practice was abandoned.

Still in the Walhalla area, we were off to Stumphouse tunnel.  The Stumphouse tunnel, had it been completed, would have been 1.1 miles long.  The tunnel, one of 3, was begun in 1852 by the railroad as an attempt to connect Charleston to Knoxville and eventually Cincinnati.  Built by Irish immigrant workers living in Tunnel Town, the entire tunnel was built by hand with the use of black powder placed into holes that were hammered into the granite (no dynamite was used).  Many people died in the construction and it is said that the top of the tunnel is a burial ground for those workers killed, with only piles of rocks to mark each grave.  Lack of funds, and the war prevented the completion.  Only 1,617 feet of the 1.1 miles was ever completed. During the 50's-70's Clemson University used the tunnel to grow blue cheese.  The tunnel is a constant 50 degrees year round, and it was discovered to be the perfect temperature and humidity for this purpose.  In the 70's, however, the University duplicated this environment on their campus grounds and moved their Blue Cheese production.  We, via flashlight, walked the inside of the incomplete tunnel that was cool, dark and had much water leaking through the granite walls.

On the same grounds as the Stumphouse tunnel is the Issaqueena Falls, a beautiful 200 foot cascade.  Legend (very abbreviated) is that a Cherokee maiden, Issaqueena who feel in love with a white man, Allan Francis warned the white men of an impending attack.  To escape capture and punishment from her own tribe she fled and made it look like she jumped into the waterfall.  Her tribe believed that the waterfall was filled with evil spirits and left her for dead.  She would eventually marry Allan Francis and raise a family with him.

Also in the Wahalla area is Oconee Station consisting of a Military Outpost, known as the Blockhouse(1792-1799) built to guard against attacks by the Cherokee Indians and also the Indian Trading Post (1795-1809).  This Blockhouse was the last one in South Carolina to be decommissioned.  The trading post, built in 1805, is believed to be the first brick built house in the Northwest corner of the state.

Seneca, SC:
In Seneca we went to the Oconee Nuclear site and also toured Duke Energy's World of Energy education center.  The center has various interactive displays and basically takes the visitor through Duke Energy's various energy capturing methods, including water, coal, solar, wind and nuclear.  The displays are well done and work hard to gain acceptance of their nuclear plant in the community.  And the rest of the story, not told on our rosy tour can be read about at the following link. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/philip-radford/will-repairs-to-the-ocone_b_3208859.html

Pendleton, SC:
We went to Pendleton to go on the Woodburn Plantation ruins tour which is a hike through the remains of the outbuildings and lands on the Woodburn Plantation.  We were the only ones on the tour and our tour guide, a young college student was energetic and knowledgeable.  While the ruins tour was very interesting, at the end, our guide surprised us by offering us a very personalized tour through the house and also through the various other buildings on the property including the carriage house, cook house and slave/tenant cabin.  This was truly one of the best tours we have been on. Our guide was so knowledgeable and shared so many details and was willing to talk and share with us as long as we wished.

We learned about how the house was built mainly to be a summer getaway from the Charleston heat. We saw what are known as jib windows (1/2 window, 1/2 French door) that provided access out to the piazzas.  The Master bed was interesting too.  If you look at the top where the material is gathered, there are two layers of material, one layer is mosquito netting and the other layer when dropped is pure silk to help hold in the heat in cold weather for those sleeping in the bed.  Our guide also shared much about the renovation process.  One such thing is how the structure is wood and muslin would be put on the wood to then put the wall paper on top of.  According to our guide there are few in the world that know how to employ this technique.  Also explained was how the house was meant to be a casual get away for the wealthy family.  On those occasions when formal attire was needed, the young boy's French outfit was common as a dress up attire for their son.  In the slave quarters we were shown how there was a very small rafters area, where the slaves slept(above a very small living area (maybe 6' X6') as heat rises and this made for a warmer place to sleep. There was so much information shared and once again it was a great surprise to get this personalized tour through the house as well.

We are headed to Atlanta, GA for a week to participate in a RV rally.  There will be lots of fellow campers to meet, various classes to attend, vendors  and entertainment too including the Beach Boys, Vince Gill and the Vogues.  It should be a lot of fun and educational too.

Clemson: SC Botanical Gardens, plant
called 'Black Magic'
Clemson: Smilodon at
Bob Campbell Geology Museum.
Clemson: Sea Scorpion
420 Million years old (like Wow!)
Clemson: Just a mere
49 million years old
Clemson: Calhoun Bedroom
(notice it is their living area as well).
Clemson: The Calhoun Parlor,
Anna Marie Calhoun and Thomas Clemson
were married here on 11/13/1838
Clemson: Fort Hill Additional Bedroom
(wall Paper and chair rather modern for the day)
Clemson: Left is a 'Sitz tub' (with back rest) and
on the right is a  'hat bathtub" 
The hat bathtub, one would sit on the edge
and the water would drain back into the tub.
Westminster: Cash Register at the England's General Store
Westminster: Old Steamer trunk at the England's General store
Walhalla: Shoe Fitting Fluoroscope at
the Oconee Heritage Center
Walhalla: Stumphouse Tunnel (from inside looking out)
Walhalla: Issaqueena Falls
Walhalla: Blockhouse
Walhalla: Trading Post
Seneca: Oconee Nuclear Facility
Seneca: Butterflies at the Nuclear Facility
Seneca: Butterfly at the Nuclear Facility
Pendleton: Woodburn Plantation
Pendleton: Woodburn Jib Door
Pendleton: Woodburn Master Bed
Pendleton: Woodburn Parlor with Square Grand Piano
(common in this area)
Pendleton: Young Boy's French Outfit
States Visited Since Retirement 


 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Yonah Mountain (Cleveland) GA 9/24/13-10/1/13

We arrived in Georgia on 9/24/13.  Our first day here it rained all day.  After the first day, the weather has been absolutely beautiful.  This area is beautiful with lots of hills, green trees and some early sprinkles of fall colors beginning to show.  There are so many waterfalls in the area.  We hiked up to several of them and they did not disappoint with their beauty.

The first waterfall we hiked to here was Anna Ruby Falls which is located next to Unicoi State Park in the Chattahoochee National Forest.  Anna Ruby is actually twin waterfalls located where the York Creek and Curtis Creek meet at the base of the falls, forming Smith Creek.  York Creek drops 50 ft. and Curtis Creek drops 153 ft. The falls are named after the only daughter (Anna Ruby Nichols) of John Nichols, a wealthy resident that owned most of the land around the falls in the late 1800's.  Not only are the falls beautiful, but the trail to the falls are as well.

Next we were off to the local Alpine Village, Helen.  Helen is located along the Chattahoochee River.  Formerly a logger town in decline, the city decided to rebrand themselves as a Bavarian Alpine town, only located in the Appalachians instead of the Alps. Most of the town is gift shops with European wears and restaurants. While here we visited Charlemagne's Kingdom.

Charlemagne's Kingdom was constructed by Willi Lindhorst, who came to the US from Oldenburg, Germany in 1963.  The display is a miniature Germany, in HO scale, representing Germany with accurate landscaped topography (including the Matterhorn, rising 22 ft.), from the North Sea to the Alps.  The display area covers 20 ft. X 50 Ft. with both floor level and overhead viewing areas. The attention to details was impressive.  Not only do the trains move, but so do many other areas of the display. Naming just a few of these moving items, windmills turn, industrial area cranes move, the cars travel along the autobahn, the ski lifts are in operation, the swimmers in the pool swim, the bungee jumper is jumping up and down, and the balloons are drifting overhead. 

From Charlemagne's we planned to head up to Brasstown Bald.  This got delayed for another day, however, because as we were headed there, we ended up picking up some scraped up road cyclers that were unable to stop their cycles riding down the 15 % Hog Pen Gap and took dives off their bikes to stop.  These two were training for the 'Six Gap Century Ride' being held on 9/29.  We gave their damaged bodies and damaged bikes a ride back into town. They assured us, however, that they would have their bodies and bikes back together in time for the ride a couple of days later.  This ride includes 11,200 feet of vertical climbs over 100 miles.  We looked up the ride they were headed to do and could see that it involved some serious climbing: http://dahlonega.org/index.php/six-gap/three-gap-bike-ride.html

We did still make it to Brasstown Bald the next day.  Brasstown Bald at 4784 feet, is Georgia's tallest mountain.  At the top of this mountain, on a clear day, you can see 360 degrees including parts of Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.  The views are spectacular.  Not too far from Brasstown Bald, we headed out to hike to another waterfall, Dukes Creek Falls. Along the way we got local peanuts and could not resist taking a picture of one of the cute 'visitors' the vendor had set up that waved hello and good bye to you. 

The Hike to Duke Creek Falls was a bit of a climb down but well worth it upon reaching the 150 Ft. high falls.  Like Ruby Falls, Duke Creek Falls has a twin fall also. The trail was full of switchbacks, which kept the falls within audio range, but we had to wait to get there in order to see all the beauty of what we could hear.  Along the trail, some of the trees were beautifully bright with Orange Peel Fungus.  On our way back we met up with a 5 ft. Black Rat snake, that refused to yield 'his' trail to any hikers and made us walk right next to him.  He was not scared of us humans a bit.

On our last couple of days we discovered that Georgia has their own list of the 7 wonders (in the state) and that 2 of these were a short drive from where we were staying.  So, you guessed it, we were on the road to see.

The first of these 7 wonders was Tallulah Gorge.  The gorge is 2 miles long and nearly 1000 feet deep.  Famous tight rope walkers have crossed this gorge.  The tower used by Karl Wallunda (read about Karl at :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Wallenda )can still be see at Inspiration Point (a place we hiked to).  Inspiration Point is also an excellent place to see lots of Peregrine Falcons soaring above.

The second Georgia '7 wonders' that was located within driving distance to this weeks 'home' was Amicalola Falls.  Here we saw the falls, did the 300 + round trip stairs to the bottom and up, and generally enjoyed the beauty.  On the way back we noticed an old truck, stuck in the trees.  We tried to research on the web but found nothing.  If you look, the tree has begun to grow around it.  Here at Amicalola Falls there is a hike in inn and we plan to do this on a return trip. A 5 mile hike in, a couple of single beds, shared showers, and two family style meals for less than $150.  Sounds like a fun  thing to do and its, on the return list.

We are headed to Fair Play South Carolina for two weeks.  Bob is flying to Cleveland, OH on 10/3 for a week to do guys Golf with his father, and bother's-in laws and then we will have another week in Fair Play to explore.


Layout of the Land
View of Yonah Mountain (our home for the week) from "Hog Pen Gap"
We made it to the Appalachian Trail
Anna Ruby Falls
Trail to Anna Ruby Falls

Morning Dew at Anna Ruby Falls
Flowers along the Anna Ruby Falls Trail
Helen (Local Alpine Village)
Charlemagne's
Charlemagne's
Moving Bungee Jumper
(Charlemagne's)
Moving Swimmers
(Charlemagne's)
Soccer Field
(Charlemagne's)
View from Brasstown Bald of Lake Chatuge, North Carolina
(approx. 30 miles away)
Local Vendor's 'visitor' waving
Dukes Creek Falls
Black Rat Snake along Dukes Creek Falls Trail
Orange Peel Fungus growing upon a tree on Dukes Creek Trail
 Tallulah Dam, Completed in 1913
La Dore Falls at Tallulah
Peregrine Falcons at Inspiration Point at Tallulah
 Amicalola Falls
An Old Truck on the Amicaloa Falls trail (we never discovered the story)
States Visited in our Rig since retirement