Wednesday, March 26, 2008

This & That Before I Head for Alabama

Gollllly, it’s cold outside this afternoon. We may have a hard freeze Tuesday morning here. Yikes. Sure do love that electric blanket I got for Christmas and is used in the trailer!

I was going to go visit a couple of places today - Chief Vann House and the New Echota Cherokee Capital Historic Site. Chief Vann’s House is listed as a “Showplace of the Cherokee Nation”. The plantation was built in 1804. But, I remembered it was Easter Sunday and they probably wouldn’t be open, so will go Tuesday when they open next. When I go through Rome on my way to the Sequoyah Caverns on Thursday, I want to stop and see the Chieftains Museum and the Major Ridge Home . Major Ridge was a Cherokee leader.

So today, Easter Sunday, I got caught up on email and my blog, did some reading and just enjoyed the sounds of nature around me while soaking up the sunshine. Tomorrow is laundry day (again), then Tuesday will venture north. Wednesday I have no plans yet.

Here are some Notes & Observations I have made: The pine trees like to cover everything with a yellow dust; I’ve seen lots of little girls with big hair bows (reminds me of when I was their age and mom tried the big bow look but my hair was too fine to keep the bows or clips in): I have learned to ignore the road mileage markers because they start over at each county line; drivers are polite here - not just to me because I am from another state - but to each other (speaking from experience of being “out in the country”) and it rubs off on you; drivers are generally not in a hurry and usually stay close to the posted speed limit 55 mph mostly (except on the Interstates I have been on).

My ants returned a couple of days later back at West Point Lake campground. They found one of the back stabilizers, went under the water tank somewhere, thru the passenger side storage area and up to my stove and from there did their exploring. Well, I told those still on board, when it was time to leave, they were in for a ride and a new destination. Have always wondered what they do in that situation. After I set up, a few still on board remembered how they got inside and exited down the stabilizer. I took care of that and today I haven’t seen one. They did get into my open box of Key Lime White Chocolate Chip cookies. Those were good cookies too. They didn’t like my open box of Walker’s Shortbread cookies though, whew thank heavens. I don’t share those with anyone or anything!

TICK SEASON. Monday (3/24) I just took a tick off of me. Looks like he hadn’t been attached to me too long. I did hear them say on the radio, last week, that tick season is expected to start earlier than normal because of the warmer weather. Wouldn’t know that this morning; but, hey it’s spring when you expect the fluctuations. Winter is still trying to hold on and Spring is butting Winter out. What was I just saying - it’s SNOWING outside! Let’s see, I just pulled a tick off of me and it’s snowing outside. Is that a classic oxymoron? And, the Weather Service, from my weather radio, is telling us that this area of the State is prime for dangerous fire weather conditions due to low humidity and high pressure conditions. I also discovered I was bitten by a spider or something to in the same vicinity.

TUESDAY, MARCH 25TH. Oh what a beautiful day to have a birthday. According to the weather folks, it got down to around mid-20’s here last night. Sure like that electric blanket, as I’ve said a number of times. Today I drove up to New Echota and near Chatsworth to see Cherokee Chief Vann’s house. I stopped and had a birthday breakfast at a Cracker Barrel - I just love their sugar ham and potato casserole.

I swear on the way up and back on I-75, I saw more semi-trucks than I see in a year on I-70 that goes through Kansas. Whoopee that’s a lot of trucks!

HISTORY TIME: New Echota was made the Cherokee Nation’s Capital in 1825. (Below: Town Council Building)In October, annual council meetings were held and this council selected its top-level officers. By 1830, the town had been surveyed and a planned community had around 50 residents. The 1835 Cherokee census stated that over 90 percent of the Cherokees lived in small cabins on farms and tilled an average of 11 acres of land. Fruit trees, vegetable gardens and cornfields usually surrounded the typical farmstead buildings.

In 1809, Sequoyah began developing the written form of the Cherokee language. In 1826 it was adopted by the Cherokee Council for use in their new newspaper called The Cherokee Phoenix. and it was printed in New Echota and was distributed through out the Cherokee Nation and parts of the US and Europe. (Picture left:Newspaper office, note papers drying on rafters)

Despite the Cherokee’s progress towards adopting a lifestyle similar to their non-Indian neighbors, conflict with the state and federal government officials increased during the first two decades of the 1800’s. During this time, many Cherokees moved west across the Mississippi River. In 1830, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, authorizing the government to move forward on the removal of all remaining Indians east of the Mississippi River.

Georgia declared Cherokee laws void and annexed the Cherokee land as part of Georgia and passed prejudicial laws aimed at making life miserable for the Cherokee people. Cherokee land was surveyed, divided and given, via lottery, to Georgia citizens in 1832.

In 1835, a treaty was signed ceding all Cherokee lands, giving the Cherokees $5 million for their land and $300,000 for improvements on their land in the new land in Indian Territory (now known as Oklahoma). It was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson in 1836. The Cherokees had two years to vacate their lands. In 1838, federal troops rounded up all remaining Cherokees, placed them in stockades until October and November and then started them on an 800 mile route west through Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois Missouri and Arkansas. They arrived in the early part of 1839. Their ordeal has become known as the Trail of Tears. There is an excellent Trail of Tears Museum in Tahlequah OK, if you ever get the chance to travel that way. My visit today focused on the plight of the Cherokee; but, there are 4 other tribes who had to be moved westward to Indian Territory and they are the Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws and the Seminoles. All five are referred to as the Five Civilized Tribes.

From New Echota I drove GA 225 to near Chatsworth where the Chief Vann House is located. During the 1790’s James Vann became a Cherokee Indian leader and very wealthy. He had a plantation covering 1000 acres. He had a number of businesses along the Federal Road through the Cherokee Nation that supported his lifestyle. (Right: Chief Vann House)

MORE HISTORY: After James Vann was murdered (he was reported to not have been a very nice man), he left everything to his son Joseph, who was 11 years old at the time. Joseph had other siblings at the time, but he inherited most of the estate. He was a better businessman than his father; but he also was a victim of the Indian removal from Georgia and had to give up everything. He, and his family, fled to Tennessee and then to Webber’s Fall Oklahoma. He received restitution from the Federal government and built another mansion, which was destroyed in the Civil War. He purchased a steamboat line that operated on various rivers. In 1844, he was onboard his new steamship, the Lucy Walker - named for a racehorse of his - near Louisville KY when they experienced engine trouble and the steam boilers exploded and he was killed along with 60 plus passengers.

What I found interesting in the Vann House are the colors used inside. When the house was being restored in the 1950’s, the original paint colors were found. They represent the earth tones - blue for sky, red for Georgia red earth, yellow for the sun, and green for the forests. They are found in a variety of combinations throughout the house.

The young man who took me personally through the house was very knowledgeable and it was nice to see that. He told me he grew up in the area, but like we do with attractions in own backyard, we don’t pay that much attention to them. When he started working at the Vann House, be had to learn things as the visitors were asking questions. So he became more interested and said that he really likes this kind of work. I did comment to him about the gourd birdhouses and that I see them all over. He said, that if you’ll notice the openings face north (they are suppose to according to tradition) and that is because the openings facing north showed the runaway slaves which direction to head for their freedom.

Oh what a good day. Sleep tight folks.
PS Thanks to the Georgia State Historical Society for the historical notes I used here.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I've Been Pegged

by a local (at Valley AL) as someone from either Kansas or Nebraska . I have an accent of someone from a Plains state! Me with an accent? We have an accent in the Plains States?

Thursday - the truck has been serviced by a Toyota dealer in LaGrange. What a really nice facility. And, as I was driving to the dealership, I saw an Applebee’s! I’ve been wanting to eat at one so bad for the last three weeks and there it is - so dinner is on my friend Sarah, who gave me an Applebee’s gift card for Christmas. Speaking of vehicles, KIA is apparently building it’s home base in West Point, GA. I saw it from the Interstate as I was driving north and that is one huge spread! It’ll be awhile before it’s completed, but bet the folks around here are happy. I’ve seen a few signs that say, “Thanks KIA”.

And on a related subject, Georgia has some really beautiful roads - Federal, State and County. May have said this before. Somebodies have been doing a lot of Federal legislation for highway money. As a visitor to the State, I will say I am glad they did ‘cause as I said they are really nice roads. My one big complaint has to do with all their “historical markers”. They have lots of them, but no notification that one (or even 2) are coming up and NO place to pull over to read them. There are people traveling through the State or area that like to read those things - why go to the expense of putting them up if one can’t pull over to read them.

Just had my favorite dinner at Applebee’s - Fiesta Lime Chicken, topped off with a Blonde Brownie! Thank you Sarah.

My whole peace and quiet has been disturbed by the newcomers next door - have to remember next year when planning on where I’ll be during various spring breaks from school. I am glad they are getting out with the kids as it was good for my brother and I when we were that age. I am just much older now. It has been a beautiful day and I hope it continues this weekend.

Well, time to start packing things up as I would like to get an early start. I have reservations for Saturday night but not Friday and want to get to the next place early enough to get a fairly choice spot. If it hadn’t been for spring break time I would have just gone and taken my chances. This time of the year there is quite a selection to pick from at the parks.

Said goodbyes to my new friends, Sharon and Joe - the full timers with the Airstream. Am really going to miss them and their two poochies - Petey and Polly. We are going to stay in touch though and someday I’ll hear Joe holler out to me “Hey Emily.”


Saturday morning. Am here at COE McKinney Campground at Allatoona Lake - north of Atlanta and south of Cartersville and off I-75 (I can hear the traffic at night). I was able to get the site I had reserved starting on Saturday , for Friday night. This part of the loop is quiet and there are only two others here and one further east on this same loop, so not much vehicle traffic. The rest rooms/showers/washer & dryer are close and usage is relatively minimal. Was surprised the campground isn’t fuller since it is so nice out.

I am not doing much today, just taking it easy and will be for the next couple of days. My trip here was a bit frustrating for me. I wanted to avoid using the Interstate to get here and so took “back roads”. I obviously didn’t write myself a detailed enough route sheet and lost roads and gained roads I hadn’t listed on my route sheet. But, thank heavens I had learned the different highway numbers and recognized them when I ran across them where I wasn’t expecting them to be. Since I am pilot and navigator, I like to create a “route sheet” that, I can easily look at when driving, that gives me directions to my next destination (including some alternative routes).

I didn’t really get to look at much coming up but did see the northwest outskirts of Atlanta, went through Franklin on US 27, northeast on GA 166 to Villa Rica, NE on GA 61 to Dallas and that’s when I got confused. Somehow I ended up in Powder Springs, then north on GA 176 to Lost Mountain and to Achworth. Then I passed the road that would have taken me to the turnoff to the Campground, so ended up going north on US41 to an entrance onto the Interstate and south to the McKinney Campground exit.

The road to the Campground is a narrow two-laner with no shoulders and it’s very curvy. It occurred to me at some of those “S” curves that one pulling a long trailer would have the tow vehicle going around one curve while the trailer was still navigating the previous curve. Sure hate to be someone going the other way with a long trailer. Am exaggerating a small bit. Eggcarto did just fine staying in line! He even was called “cute” when I was waiting to register in.

Speaking of registering. I have used the “Recreation.Gov” three times now and the easiest way for me is on-line. Been able to do that once and twice via phone. Piece of advice for anyone using (it’s very new and not all campgrounds have it in place yet - this one just started yesterday) have lots of patience. And, if you reserve via phone, do a bit of exploring of available campsites on-line at the campground you are heading to before calling. There are often “notes” about particular campsites you might need to know about ahead of time - length, slopes, shade or no shade. You will be asked if you have some campsite preferences and they can tell you if it is still available. Checking in can require patience too. I was the 6th person waiting to check in here and they had just started the system yesterday, as I said earlier. Friday was a long day.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Life is Interesting

Sunday (March 16), made it through the night okay, wind kept me awake for awhile. I ended up hitching up the trailer and attaching the sway bar, just in case we had some strong winds during the night - only thing I could come up with to add some stability.

Today, I am on my way to “The Little White House” of FDR’s era.

Oh such a beautiful drive up to The Little White House. I stopped at Pine Mountain for lunch and headed this way. The Museum about his life is so interesting. I was just 3 when he passed away, here at the Little White House. He was sitting for a portrait at the time, complained of chest pains and passed away shortly thereafter. He did so much and after learning about his early life and life here at Warm Springs. I can understand his feeling for wanting to start his New Deal programs. One note of history that surprised me was the size of his shoes - they were 13-1/2 quad A’s. A very narrow and long foot. I bought a coffee mug that lists all the Federal programs he was responsible for starting - CCC, FCC, FDIC, FERA, FTC, NLB, NRA, REA, SEC, SSB, TVA, and WPA

When I came out of the Museum entrance, there was a Casita sitting in the parking lot and the license tags were from Maine. I know a couple I met in Monument Valley, AZ were on their way to Florida and waited to see if it was them. Nope, it was a Mr. Weeks on his way back to Maine. We chatted for a few minutes. Got home to a beautiful sunset, sat out on the deck, turned on my “blue lights” to give the campers a treat and waved as they went by. Good night.

Monday, March 17th - Went to Callaway Gardens over by Pine Mountain, GA. If I had been a couple weeks later, the azaleas would be in full bloom; but they are getting there. It cost $13.91 to get in so I thought this had better be worth it. It was, except the Gardens Restaurant I wanted to have lunch at wasn’t open. If all the school kids and screaming toddlers hadn’t been there I might have been in a better mood at first; but once I got away from them it got much better. What I did get to see is beautiful- azaleas, dogwoods,forsythia, some flowering tree Japanese Red Maple’s.

My favorite place was the Butterfly Enclosure. I watched butterflies emerge from cocoons. Unfortunately, my batteries were slowing down so a lot of my pictures didn’t turn out very well, but I did get a few. I noticed there were banana peels around in pans and the butterflies really liked them. Will have to try that at home this spring and summer.

I came home through LaGrange and expected a small community - NOT. For supper I was going to try a Mexican restaurant in Valley, AL. Instead, I went to WalMart to pick up some groceries, including some makin’s for tacos and nachos. (Wow, a cell phone with a dial tone, I just heard). I had tacos last night and will have nachos tomorrow night.

Tuesday - I had a reminder on my cell phone to remind me to send a friend a birthday card. I had forgotten about that reminder (and I had already sent the card) and at midnight I was suddenly awakened to this “buzzzzzzzzzzzz” sound. Man that startled me, what the heck is that? Am I being attacked by a large bee? Oh, it’s the cell on its “manner mode” and is someone calling me at this hour - oh I hope not. I pushed all the buttons to get it to quite. Finally! I put it back on its regular ring and five minutes later, it rang again. Grumble, grumble, I guess I didn’t shut the dang thing off altogether. HAPPY BIRTHDAY JEAN, IN IDAHO!

Today is an “almost do nothing” day. I did have laundry to do. And, then it is just get caught up on my blog and pictures, read (am reading The Maze by Catherine Coulter) and make some nachos. Thursday morning I take the truck up to LaGrange to get an oil change at the Toyota dealership (I know I could go to WalMart - NOT yet at least), then get some groceries and a prescription filled and get things packed up to leave Friday morning for I don’t know where at this time. This little guy entertained me while I was doing laundry.

There is a sound I hear at night that takes me back to my days in Flagstaff Arizona. There are some trains that go through this area and when I hear the whistle (horn or whatever they are called), it reminds me of hearing that same sound thru the forests of northern Arizona. It is a rolling, clear and melodious sound that I only hear in forests. I live near a railroad that has 10-15 trains a day going through and they are flat sounding, even though there are some musically inclinded engineers playing with that whistle/horn. Even off in the distance they don’t sound the same as they do in a forest. After going to bed, I wait for those trains to go through before I go to sleep.

Our temperature yesterday (3/18) and it's raining today.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Interesting Day - Elsewhere!

Saturday, March 15 - This is the first morning, since I left February 1, that I didn’t need to turn the heater on before getting up. It rained for a little bit around 6 a.m. (think that was EDT - or it could be CDT) and the clouds have been passing overhead all morning with the sun popping out every now and then.

It was a short drive up here from the RV park at Opelika - about 30 minutes if I took the Interstate, but alas I didn’t. I drove US 29 instead (which did include a few miles on the Interstate) and wound thru the hills. So consequently, it took me around an hour or so. I do like the country I am in - this time of year, not when it’s hot and humid.

I am at the R. Shaefer Heard Campground on West Point Lake, GA/AL. I think I am in Georgia - doesn’t really matter to me. This is another Corps of Engineers campground and it is, again, a very nice place. The loop I am on has wooden decks at the sites, that include the picnic table, benches, grill and a fire pit. On this particular loop, the slope to the waters edge is steep, so they have built decks. There are 117 sites and all are at waters edge, with very nice bathrooms and really nice showers - fairly new I’d say and includes handicap accessibility, which I don’t remember at Cottonhill. So far, I like this Campground a little bit better than Cottonhill and I really liked Cottonhill.

The rain didn’t show as forecasted. I had a challenge getting the front end jack set up as the ramp the truck was on was steep enough to put the bottom of the trailer tongue about 6-7 inches from the ground; and, I couldn’t get the trailer wheel or my cone underneath. So I had to back the truck up enough to raise the hitch. Many of the sites on this loop have steep backup ramps to the pads, some very long ramps to the pad. Then, then the water faucet (the red kind you have to pull the handle up on) wouldn’t work. Thank heavens for cell phones (never thought I’d say that)! I could just call the campground office and let them know and someone was here in 15 minutes to fix it.

Since I had stopped at a Cracker Barrel in Opelika and had a huge lunch (eggs, biscuits and gravy, a ham slice, sausage, bacon - know am not suppose to eat that much pork since I am allergic to pork - their potato casserole, fried apples and grits - still haven’t developed a taste for grits), I didn’t have much for supper. I did take a walk around this area of the Campground after my supper of a bowl of cereal and found the showers. Finding out how nice they are, I hurried back to camp, grabbed my shower stuff and went and took a nice hot shower, then crawled into bed and read for awhile.

Today, is my “rather do nothing” day. Listening to some ZZ Top, Dire Straits, and Creedence Clearwater while writing this. Oh, there’s a little Ventures and VanHalen in there too. Been visiting with some folks who are full-timers in their Airstream. We’re sharing campgrounds we’ve been to among other subjects. Made reservations at the campground where the folks from this part of the country are having a gathering at the end of this month- near Valley Head AL I believe.

Oh no, I just discovered ants in my trailer. Guess what am doing right now? Okay, let’s see where my notes are about keeping them out? Opps, let the electric cord touch the ground! Makes a good pathway for them little critters. Oh well, the floor (wood floor) needed sweeping and rugs needed shaking out anyway. Sweeping to “Proud Mary”.

As some of you know, who have seen my little trailer, I have rope lighting inside. A previous owner, who must have been electrician, put rope lighting through the cabinets and through PVC pipe where there are no cabinets. It makes for nice lighting watching TV or a just an ambiance light. Well, it also is in the bathroom. It runs through the “shower curtain rod”, down the black tank vent to where it enters a cabinet just behind the bathroom on the driver’s side. At night, the bathroom light gives off an erie orange glow thru the bathroom window as well as the vent cap on top of the trailer. Just for the heck of it, I turned it on and last night the effect caused quite a stir among the campers - there was a steady parade of walkers and vehicles going by here. I could hear them make comments. After I turned it off, one family walked by and I heard a little kid say, “ But, mom I want to see the orange light.” “Hush son,” said Dad. Just wait until I turn on the blue rope light around the center seam tonight!

Oh, Bob Seger and his “Old Time Rock and Roll” . The bouncing of the trailer will drive those ants out! Now it’s “Travelin’ Band” by Creedence. Neighbors are probably wondering what that old lady is doing!

Weather is muggy now, been getting phone calls about how close I am to Atlanta where downtown had a tornado go thru. Knew last night when I saw the big thunderheads southeast of here, someone was in for a stormy night somewhere. We just have clouds blowing over, sun every now and then and a mild breeze.

Sunday, made it through the night okay, wind kept me awake for awhile. Today, I am on my way to “The Little White House” of FDR’s era.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Hurry before it rains again!

I decided to stay one more night at Cottonhill Campground and used the extra day to do some exploring. I went to Oglethorpe to check out the county campground and see some sights. I toured through the little town museum at Andersonville. It was neat walking through where history was made many decades ago. Am glad I didn’t take the trailer as the streets are narrow. I saved going through the Andersonville Prison Museum to Wednesday. I went through Plains - another place I would explore on Wednesday.

My trip took me through Americus, which is the international headquarters of Habitat for Humanity. Driving in from the west thru Americus is very impressive. The main street east and west is one-way. Eastbound you immediately gain a sense of the noble south. The buildings are 3 or 4 stories high, they gave me a sense of the Old South, of folks who cherished their heritage, their location, and their history. Unfortunately, I didn’t get that feeling when I was westbound through town - in fact I don’t really remember it.

The Habitat building fits in with the 4 story buildings next to it architecturally; but, to me, the gray color was foreign. It set the building off and apart from the other structures around it - it was out of sync. Which I thought was an odd message from Habitat. Oh well, maybe it’s just me. I now wish I had taken a picture to show you what I mean. But, Americus is obviously a growing community - a lot of new building taking place.

I did stop to have lunch in Richland GA at a place called Our Place Family Cafeteria at the junction of US 280 and something - right at the stoplight. It is a buffet place and I had the most delicious meat loaf - it just melted in my mouth and had the best flavor. I also chose some southern veggies - and again I have no idea what I was eating - and I went away from that place just stuffed and having enjoyed a really good meal.

Oh, I did stop at a little airport to see where Charles Lindbergh made his first solo flight.

Tuesday, I drove up to Providence Canyon State Park. It is billed as one of Georgia’s 7 Wonders. and Georgia’s Grand Canyon. Due to poor farming habits of the 1800’s, soil erosion started the path downward to the creation of the canyons. With the red Georgia soil on top, the contrast is striking. I also met a delightful gentleman, named Don. He gave me all kinds of information about what to see in northern Georgia. He was originally from Texas but lives here now and is obviously proud of his adopted State.

After getting back to the Campground, I did another load of laundry, started packing as much as I could the day ahead. Wednesday, morning after dumping the holding tanks I was on the road around 10:30 a.m. I did stop in Plains Georgia and had a good lunch at a place called The Old Bank Cafe - lots of Jimmy Carter things inside, including a birthday quilt for Rosalynn Carter. There is the National Headquarters for Carter’s campaign in the railroad station, across the street is brother Billy’s gas station. The compound is on the west side of town and you drive right by it. The Carter boyhood home can be visited. The Museum and Visitor Center are located at the former Plains school where both Jimmy and Rosalynn went to school. I liked the Museum, not glitz and glass to detract you from the information. A school building that would remind a lot of us of those years many, many decades ago. Worth a visit.

From Plains I went to the Andersonville National Prisoner of War Museum. The Civil War prison area is still preserved and there is a self-guided tour around. The Museum is dedicated to all POW’s starting with the Civil War and currently through the Iraq war. It was very moving for me and I had to take some time to compose myself before getting in the truck and leaving. The narrations from POW’s sometimes gave me a big lump in my throat. Visit it when you have the chance.

I spent the night at the Whitewater Creek (Macon) County campground near Oglethorpe. There were 3 or 4 other trailers there besides mine. I had a hard time deciding where I wanted to park as it was virtually open. I hope the pull-thru I used was really a pull-thru. I was visited by the Camp supervisor's yellow lab. He apparently greets everyone to the Campground.

From there I drove to Opelika, AL to spend the night in a private RV campground with WiFi, so I could get caught up on everything. I am now getting ready (and guess what? it is raining) to drive 25 minutes down the road to West Point and my next stay for 5 nights. So am hurrying up to get this posted.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Daylight Savings Time? I was just getting use to regluar Eastern Time

Cottonhill Campground, Walter F. George Lake, GA

Slept late this morning - until 8 a.m.

The sun coming in the south window woke me up and I witnessed fog being created from the surface of the lake. When I first looked out there wasn’t any but the portion of the lake here was as smooth as glass - not a ripple - obviously not even a breeze. As the sun rose, fog started lifting on the far side of the lake. As the fog was being created, it moved to this side of the lake and as it did it broke the glasslike surface and created little ripples and a slight breeze moved the fog westward. The fog got so thick I couldn’t see the shore on the other side - about 1/2 mile - but I could see the tops of the trees. As I was sitting there watching this, a man in a trolling boat appeared out of the fog moving very slowly. He and boat were all dark and he had a hooded outer garment on - like the headless horseman, except a boat instead of a horse. He came out of the fog and soon disappeared back into the fog. What a fascinating 40 minutes.

It’s still a bit nippy out - my thermometer outside says 60 degrees with a slight breeze. But, being out in the sun is warm. Since I had to leave under adverse conditions on Friday and yesterday was primarily spent in Eufaula, AL getting prescriptions filled (more on those two days in a bit), I didn’t really have a chance to clean and reorganize the back of the truck, so I did that this morning. My activities today include getting a small load of laundry done and hiking a nature trail, which I want to do before the mosquitos get busy. So I am going to fix a small lunch to take with me and go do that in a little bit.

Back from the nature trail walk. It was around 1.5 miles and took me thru all kinds of terrain, across bogs. The trees are just starting to bloom out. The Bradford Pears are in various stages of blooming or leafing out, as well as the red bud trees. I saw my first blue bird too - oh, such a vivid blue. There were some ducks (kind of looked like Wood ducks - very pretty) on the pond you walk around. Will have to look them up when I get a chance, because they are not the kind of ducks we see back at home. Very showy ones. I also “stalked” some kind of Heron (large and gray color) this morning with my camera. Another bird to look up. Need to invest in a bird book or program - as well as a tree one, especially if I keep doing this. I just love the monocle my son Jim gave me for Christmas. It is so much easier to handle than a binocular.

The nature trail had numbered markers, but when I asked the camp host at the gate if there was a guide for the nature trail, she just looked at me and said “nature trail?” And, when I asked her about the nearest WiFi spot available, she said “Wifi?” and looked at me with a confused look on her face. I do have to give her some room as the couple has only been here a couple of days. But, lady you should at least know what WiFi is,, even if you don’t know where it is. I’ll find it.

Since someone else was using the washer and dryer, I took a shower (oh, it feels good to be able to stretch out when showering) and came back to putter around. One project I started, is to label all the cords I have - adapters for this and that, 12V plugs for this and that. Still have a few I am scratching my head about.

Was listening to the weather forecast for this area on my Weather Radio; and, a storm system is possibly heading this way thru central Alabama and eastward below I-20. Doesn’t sound bad at this point, but am deciding how long to stay here, or should I head north Tues. or Wed and get settled in at my next spot before the rain hits. Sounds like the stormy weather is going to be around for 3 or 4 days in length. Am not breaking camp in stormy weather again! The spot I am currently in is reserved starting Friday night - I could move to another spot or head north. The mystery starts - what will she do?

Well, the mosquitos are beginning to hang around (they seem to like the laptop screen for some reason) and want to go see if the washer and dryer are ready. We have had a concert all afternoon by the crows. In the morning we are awakened by the Canadian Geese and serenaded to by the crows in the afternoon. What more can one ask for.

Oh, leaving Eastpoint FL on Friday, 3/7 was not a good day - rain, thunder & lightening, wind. I have had several incidents in my life with lightening so whenever I hear thunder I don’t stay outside. So with the combinations, it took me 2-1/2 hours longer to get ready to leave. I would get a little done when the rain would let up, then sit in the truck or trailer while it poured, out again to do a little more. After a while, I put my poncho on and with the wind blowing that was an event too. The back of the poncho would blow over my head and get my back wet and the rain would slither down my spine to an unnamed destination. Then the front would flip over my face. Where is a belt when I need one - used a bungee cord instead. At least my head was dry!

Finally, I was ready to go at 12:30 p.m. still soaking wet, I just wanted to get going - wet or not. I am not the most pleasant person to be around when I am frustrated. I ran out of the rain about 20 miles north and was able to change into dry clothes. I had just gotten to the point where I was throwing hoses, blocks, you name it into the back of the truck and the first job at the new camp will be to clean out the back of the truck and reorganize. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

I did get to say goodbye to Geri and Chuck before leaving. She really has a nice shop and does a beautiful job of framing. Her business has increased tremendously without even advertising.

My experience getting my prescriptions refilled was a long one - 5-1/2 hours and I ended up buying and buying, went out to eat, got gas. Apparently, there was some kind of stomach virus/flu going around and everyone was getting their prescriptions filled - plus they had 3 people in the pharmacy out with whatever was going around.

One of the things I am learning on this trip is that those free WiFi spots are not as free anymore. I am finding more and more motels, that one could sit outside and use their internet access, is changing with many giving their paying customers passwords/codes for access. My son emailed me that coffee shops with free WiFi he use to go to in Albuquerque now require a signup. So beware.

More later.

This and That before Leaving Here

Hi, it's my last week here before moving on - either because it was the plan or because of Juno's news from her biopsy.

Last Friday evening, Geri, her friend and I went over to St George Island for a silent auction activity preceding the Chili-Cook-Off. Since I wasn't driving, I got to see the beautiful sunset over the Bay (and two dolphins playing in the water) from the St George Bridge. Unfortunately, the dolphins are below the bridge railing so you can't see them.

Saturday afternoon we went back over and participated in some of the Chili Cook-Off activities - mostly tasting chili samples (Juno & Jim, I like mine better.). I had one beer and one funnel cake. You couldn't have asked for better weather for the event.
Great weather for strolling too, huh Geri?

After I got back, I took a nap. Decided I needed a few more groceries and coming back I was so glad that I did. The sun, in its just above the horizon stage, took on the most beautiful hot pink, or hot rose color. I am not use to seeing such a magenta based colored sun going down, or even if I have ever seen that color. As it was going down, the white striping on the side of the highway turned a pink color. There probably are those reflective pieces in the paint and they picked up the color. As the sun went down further, it became more of a purple/blue based globe. I had to pull over to the side of the road between bridges to watch it. There were a few people taking pictures of it and I wished that I had had my camera. But, I didn't think a quick trip to the grocery store would produce such a beautiful sight.

Monday - Today daughter goes to Wichita for her biopsy.
Only thing I am doing today is to get a propane tank filled. I'll probably finish reading my book by Joanne Fluke - this one is Key Lime Pie Murder. I just love her books because she includes the delicious recipes in her books; and, in this book there is a sumptuous Key Lime Pie recipe and since I am in Key Lime Pie country (should be the Florida State Pie, if it isn't) I am going to try the recipe.

Tuesday, The good news is in my previous posting but bears repeating - No cancer! Oh, the day was such a good one. I went over to St George Island and just sat on the beach after the area storm had passed by. The waves were still rolling in from the storm and they gave me such a good feeling - the energy from them. I celebrated the good news and went to El Jalisco Restaurant in Apalachicola.

Wednesday, today I started getting ready to leave Friday morning. Weather for tomorrow night and Friday looks like it is going to be a wet one with strong possibilities of rain at night and during the day. Am trying to do as much as I can now before the rains start; and. hopefully the rain showers are intermittent.

I have really had a restful time here. My tailbone is doing good and each day it seems a bit easier to climb in and out of the trailer. Geri has been most helpful with giving me ideas of places to see that have heightened my interest in the history of this part of the country.

I have loved laying in bed at night listening to the wind blowing through the pine trees. They aren't like the pine trees that I am use to - Ponderosa, Spruce Pines, pines of the western states - with branches all the way down the trunk to the ground, but the Slash Pines are fast growing, tall, slender and seem to shed their lower branches as they grow so they look like they have a tuff at the end. And pine cones, they must produce those things fast as they are always dropping whenever the wind is blowing.

The local folks are so friendly - this must be the real Southern hospitality. Most people don't seem to be in a hurry - why? is their question. I don't know?

The number of For Sale signs is mind boggling. Imagine if all the houses in your neighborhood area, except 2 or 3, had for sale signs out in front and all you see is a "sea of for sale signs" looking down your street. And, some put the sale price out on the sign. One I saw said "Marked Down to $999,990". Could have had a shorter sign by adding $10 and just putting up 1 Mil! Normally, when there is a large supply flooding the market, it's a time to scoop up as prices seem to drop - that doesn't seem to apply here. The foreclosure sales "on the courthouse steps" are starting to increase. It's sad when you can watch a "how to obtain foreclosed property" on TV.

Okay, I have left Eastpoint, but wanted to finish this up and get it posted since I have the ability to catch up right now. It's 3/13 and am in Alabama for tonight and then back over to Georgia. I'll be back with my tales of leaving Eastpoint and the subsequent stay at Cottonhill campground at Walter F. George Reservoir. The tale continues later tonight.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Thank you, thank you

all for your thoughts and prayers for daughter Juno. She just heard that the "suspicious" spot is not cancerous. She is a 2 yr plus breast cancer survivor. The surgeon's office called to let her know the result and Dr Kelly will review the findings and let Juno know what it is later, as today is surgery day for Dr Kelly.

Thank you all again for your thoughts and prayers.