Saturday, July 18, 2015

What we did--and did not--see

July 17--The way we planned this trip, we would have almost two weeks before we had to be in Bloomington, Ind., for my 50th reunion of the Peru Group 1965. Jim and I agreed that we would take our time--just travel a little bit, stay a night or two in an area, and sight see.

That was the plan. And it was working--sort of.

Georgia divides itself up into nine geographic tourist areas. Jim mapped out a by-way route that would take us through several of these areas, each of which had local attractions.

From my previous post, you know that we wanted to watch the trains in Folkston, a mere hour from Jacksonville. Didn't happen. (See my previous blog.)

From there, we drove up to Vidalia (as in onions), and visited the Vidalia Onion Museum. Did you know that the onion growers associated themselves with Shrek the Ogre (because Shrek talked about peeling onions and eating them in one of the movies). With that ad campaign, kids started eating Vidalia sweet onions! And did you also know that you can make a sweet onion pie? I think I am going to try it when we get home.

From Vidalia, we were going to hit a few more places in the Magnolia Midlands (as the area is called), but that is when we started to have overheating problems. We found a campsite at the Shriners lodge site outside of Macon. Jim did some work on the RV, cleaning the radiators, and hoped for the best.

We left Macon (and have not experienced any more overheating). and headed toward the Historic Heartland, where we anticipated visiting a number of local sites. Our first stop was Uncle Remus Museum, in Eatonton. You may remember Uncle Remus' Tales in Song of the South, the Walt Disney Movie. I remember (vaguely) reading them as a child. The author of those stories was a white man by the name of Joel Chandler Harris, who was from Eatonton. The museum is full of artifacts from the 19th century, housed in three original slave cabins that were moved to the museum site.
Jim is looking at one of the out-buildings at the Uncle Remus Museum. The museum has three slave cabins, as well as this out-building.

From Uncle Remus we wanted to visit something called the Rock Eagle Effigy in Eatonton. We drove around the historic area of the town, passing the address several times, but we were unable to find the effigy, which is described as "a stone effigy built by Native Americans and shaped like a prone bird." There was supposed to be a 5,000-year-old monument as its centerpiece.

On our last leg round to find this effigy/monument, Jim turned up a street to go around the backside. Uh, oh. Not a good idea. The street was more like a driveway. He could not back down (impossible with the car in tow). We found that the drive did have a street exit--if he was able to make the turn without tearing down the corner of a house.

The occupants of the house stood outside and watched me guide Jim safely around the corner. He made it! But we never did see the effigy/monument.

We drove on to the next geographic area--the Northeast Mountains. (These places sound far apart, but they are actually less than an hour apart.) Our first stop was the Georgia Guidestones, sometimes called the Stonehenge of America. Built anonymously, the Guidestones call out to the viewer 10 basic guidelines for living--in eight languages. It actually is quite impressive. Of course, we almost did not find it. It is built on a small hill just off the highway outside of Elberton.

The Guideposts are pretty impressive...but not this impressive. They do not stand on their side! The picture importer for this blog did not allow me to turn the photo vertically. 

Since we were in the area--which is renowned for its granite--we wanted to visit the Granite Museum. We found it; it was closed. So much for that attraction.

We then made a decision: Find an RV park and stay for a couple of days and do our sightseeing by car.

The next day we drove up to Taccoa, still in the Northeast Mountains area, Our first stop was the Curahee Military Museum, 14,000 square feet of artifacts dedicated to the U.S.'s first paratrooper training facility during World War II. As we drove into the town, it looked like a lot of other small towns across the country--the usual big-box stores and strip malls. Then, following Garmina's directions (she is our GPS), we crossed the railroad tracks and were in for a surprise: The "real" town was across the tracks. And unlike so many struggling small cities, it seemed to be enjoying prosperity. We saw very few empty storefronts. Although we did not take a walking tour (map provided by the visitors' bureau), we drove around and enjoyed the old architecture and history.

Our next stop in Taccoa was the Taccoa Falls, which is located on the campus of a college. They charged an admission, but because Jim was a veteran, he got in free, and because I am over 65, I was charged only $1.

The Taccoa Falls were very pretty. At 186 feet, the falls tops Niagara Falls by 26 feet. The water looked refreshing. Despite the "no swimming" signs, many college kids were cooling off in the river water.
The Taccoa Falls are really quite impressive. However, they do not fall sideways. Like the previous picture, my photo importer for this blog did not allow me to turn the picture vertical. Sorry!

Returning from Taccoa, Garmina started giving us some bad information. I wanted to stop at a Big Lots store and get a 2 amp car charger for my cell phone. We plugged in the address, and Garmina kept taking us in the wrong direction, even wanting us to drive up some alleys or no-through streets! I finally asked Google for directions on my phone, and we found the store (and the charger).

This morning we decided to leave Commerce, where we had stayed in a very congested and frankly ugly RV park for two nights and head to our next stop, R-Ranch in Dahlonega. We made reservations through Passport America for two nights, programmed our GPS, and headed out.

That is when things got interesting.

Garmina got confused. Several miles into our trip, she demanded we take a certain by-way. Then, a few miles down, she told us to turn right. The problem? Her command would have taken us into a gated community! Ignoring her, we continued until she finally reassessed where we were and told us to make another turn. Jim did--and we ended up on a dead-end street. We did not have sufficient room to turn around, so he had to unhitch, back out, then rehitch.

I fired up my Google GPS, and between the two we finally were on our way to the resort. However...

We got to an intersection; Garmina said turn left; mine said turn right. We decided to trust mine. It was correct (we found out later), but we apparently needed to take another immediate left to get to R Ranch, which was only minutes away. Instead, because we had missed that turn, we ended driving UP a mountain, around the mountain, and down the mountain--more than an hour's drive--to get back to the exact spot where we had missed our turn before! Of course, we missed it again. Confused, I called R Ranch. The receptionist clarified where we needed to go. We finally got there--by the back door.

That drive up and down the mountain was challenging. It was a two-lane highway with many tight S-curves. Fortunately, Jim is an excellent driver. Me? I am definitely a flatlander. I like to look at mountains, but I do not like to drive in them, even these relatively tame mountains in this part of the Appalachian chain.

I have more to report--mainly about of electrical woes. But enough for now.

Until later,

Your Reluctant RoVer,


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