Monday, October 23, 2017

County Fair

The county fair was a big thing when I was growing up in Ohio. As a 4-H’er and a marching band member, I was busy. Plus, it was a chance to see friends after a summer apart. I spent hours walking the fair grounds.

We decided to visit the Northeast Florida Fair in Callahan. Uhmmm. Perhaps it is the difference between seeing something as a kid and then seeing it as an adult. Or maybe this was just a small fair. It took us 2 hours to see the fair and that included eating supper, listening to the entertainment, and riding the Ferris wheel (very cool!).

Hey, we still have fun and enjoyed the sunset while on the Ferris wheel.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Part-Timing It

After several years of full-timing, we decided to buy a house and travel part-time so posts will be more sporadic. 

I took a quick trip to Pittsburgh.  I really enjoy the walkway between Concourses A and B at the Atlanta airport. This is a $4.1 million dollar art installation called “Flight Paths”. Sounds like a lot of money, but I always make sure to skip the train and walk this instead. It’s like walking in the forest with lighting and sounds to relax you as you get a bit of exercise (there are moving walkways too). There are always people taking pictures or just enjoying this hidden treasure.

I went out with our group to the Pittsburgh Hofbrauhaus. Which reminded me that it’s been 39 years since I first visited the Hofbrauhaus in Munich! The story that goes along with that one was I was just out of high school and wasn’t used to drinking. The Hofbraus serves pints of beer. After an evening there, it was the first time I ever saw double. This visit was much more sedate!

 Plus, Pittsburgh lights.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Hurricane Irma

We’ve been in the Jacksonville Florida area. Obviously it has been quite exciting. This was our first hurricane.  By the time it got here, it was slower wind speeds of Category 1 (60 mph average with gusts in the 80’s). The highest winds were at night, so we missed watching the storm. However, it rained and kept raining with 9.7 inches in two days. The water was high enough to pond in the grass and we had an egret visit.

The frogs were loud as they traveled into the area.

The area had lots of debris, some trees down, and no power for several days. I’m not sure what I missed most, general electricity, air conditioning, refrigeration, water (no electricity for pumps), internet, or TV. We’ve lived days without most of that in the RV but we had got used to having it all lately.

We were very lucky!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Big Eclipse

Yes, we saw it!  We waited a bit long to decide to see the eclipse. By then, the nearest campground we found was two hours away from the path. After hearing (every day for weeks!) the TV news reporters talk about the crowds and heavy traffic, I made John get up fairly early and leave by 9:30 am to get there in time.  Turns out there was little traffic until we reached the town we had selected (Orangeburg, SC). Orangeburg is pretty small, between the larger towns of Charleston, Columbia, and August, and had several city parks for parking and viewing. Plus the park had a bathroom which can be important as you wait. We spent time talking to people from Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Virginia. Nobody local went to this park. Parking was haphazard as people just parked wherever. There were no vendors selling anything except one lady sold eclipse glasses and that was a very reasonable $2 a pair. It was nice!

Up to the last minute we were worried about the weather. In general South Carolina had lots of clouds and some rain. We were VERY lucky in having only a bit of clouds during the early part of the partial and everything was clear for the full eclipse. As we drove back to the campground, we hit heavy rain. So, as I said, LUCKY!

We had eclipse glasses and I made a pinhole projector. Hey, kids can’t have all the fun!

They say a full eclipse is much more exciting than a partial eclipse, and they are right. It was also nice to have some people around but not crowds. Someone noticed that crickets started chirping as it got darker which I might not have noticed. Plus the cheering, gasps, and comments added to the excitement.

One of the pictures came out with both the sun being too bright and some reflection that showed the crescent below it.

None of our pictures really show how dark it was or how fantastic the view was. We don’t have great pictures, but we have great memories!

Magnolia Springs State Park

We’re a bit farther north in Georgia now. First, yes there is a spring at Magnolia Springs. The bad part is that you can’t swim in the water. Oh well!

There is some interesting history at this park. When the nearby Andersonville Confederate prison had too many people, a new prison (Camp Lawton) was built here. It only lasted one month before Sherman came through the area but 10,000 prisoners of war were housed here at one point. Scary history to hear how many people died every day due to lack of shelter, food, diseases, or sanitary facilities yet it was considered much better than Andersonville.
In the middle of nowhere was this large and unused church called Big Buckhead Church. There were a couple of signs discussing that a church had been here since before the American Revolution and that a skirmish occurred nearby during the Civil War.
John thought I was crazy, but I liked this dog cemetery that was nearby. A rich guy built an area for field trials of bird dogs. His own dogs along with several horses, a cat, and even a couple mules were buried here with epitaphs.
Some were about friendship and companionship like Freckles like being a “Sweetheart”.

Some discussed weird ways to die like “Death by Wasp” and several were “Poisoned”.
Poor luck was mentioned on several stones like “Much Hard Luck” or “A Great Obedient Field Trialer but Unlucky”.

Others were kind of bizarre like “Poor Training Ruined Him”.
My favorites were the ones about bitches.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


We spent an afternoon sightseeing at Saint Simons Island and Brunswick Georgia. An interesting point is that the barriers on this highway have openings at the bottom to allow turtles to cross.

Our first stop was Fort Frederica National Monument. This was both a fort and town created by the British. The settlers traded with Native Americans while the soldiers defended the town against the Spanish. Much of the settlement is gone, but the moat is still there along with lots of large oak trees.
What is left of the fort.

The community only lasted a few years (1736 – 1748) so the cemetery was fairly small.

Christ Episcopal Church was nearby. It was established in 1736 and Reverends Charles and John Wesley served this mission. It started as a Church of England but changed to Protestant Episcopal Church.  John Wesley is known as the founder of Methodism while Charles is known as a major Methodist leader and wrote over 6,000 hymns including “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”.

There is a legend that Native American lovers secretly met at Lovers Oak. It is believed to be 900 years old and is located in the middle of a road in Brunswick.

I’ve never heard of Brunswick Stew (it’s a thick vegetable soup with meat) but apparently the origins are controversial. Brunswick County Virginia claims to be the birthplace of the stew while others say it is from Brunswick in Germany.  However, Brunswick Georgia has a pot where they say the first stew was made.

For some reason, there is a ship moored at Brunswick that was built in 1989 as a charter vessel. It’s for sale!

This memorial is for the U.S. Merchant Marines and the U.S. Navy Armed Guard for service during World War II.

We had a late lunch at a seafood restaurant. Good day!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Wildlife at Crooked River State Park

Add-on: Since I posted this, we found a small frog in the RV in our bed. We were able to capture it and release it outside, but that was a first!

The last time we visited we only saw a single gopher tortoise and it had several disgusting ticks attached. This time I’ve seen over ten and all seemed healthy. Four were in the general area of a nesting section of the park, so maybe this is the time of the year to travel again? It included a tortoise that was smaller than most, though not a baby. 

One has a nest under the 2nd hole of a putt-putt golf course at the park.

This one was crossing the road. You know how they say how they are slow…it is not really true.

The river beach with lots of fiddler crabs. There’s a few things to consider as you watch this one…One: There are more than you see in the movie. As I got closer many had already disappeared. Two: I’m in flip-flops. All the time I’m expecting to feel a crab crawl across my feet. Eek!

The nature center had several interesting creatures like this box turtle.

There are two Diamondback Terrapins, one female and this male. The female is bigger but this male has more striking “diamonds” on its back.

And there is an American Alligator at the nature center. Always cool!

BTW, right before I took this sunrise picture, an alligator splashed into the river near me. If you look really closely, you can see the eyes and nose near the bank. Sorry to disturb you, alligator!