Record #382 DATE: 9/27/2015 DAY: Sun ST: FL NAME: Suwannee River SP LOCATION: Live Oak This trip is off to the GA mountains. The last week of Sep-1st week of Oct has been a frequent time for me to travel to get out of FL and the heat. Back before the kids, Ross & I always did this trip tent camping. After kids, but before they were in school, they went along sometimes. Fortunately, my parents took pity on us, and took the kids for a week. I always remember how much that meant to me. One of the reasons Greg & I try to have our grandkids, so Chuck and Karen can get away by themselves. The traffic was reasonable, and I made several stops at the rest areas along the way. That helped me to not get too tired driving. The CG was half full, so I had several sites to pick from that were not reserved. Any weekend would be a different story. All the sites would be filled. This is something that I must plan for on the return trip home. There are two blocks under each of the back passenger wheels to level the camper. The weather the entire day was extremely overcast. It finally sprinkled a bit at 3:30pm. I walked all the trails in the CG. Along the Suwannee River Trail, saw the spring gushing out of the river bank into the river, and went to see 'Balanced Rock'. Well, the rock is no longer. This year with the heavy rains, the rock fell into the river. Reminded me of the trip to NH to see the 'Old Man', and discovered that it had fallen down. One of the trails led down to the remains of the sawmill, and the town cemetery. The train bridge looks a bit more rusty, but the rails clearly indicate lots of train traffic. Of course, not on Sunday! On the way back to the CG, I passed a parking lot for the local visitors. There were 5 young, Orientals that were making a lot of noise which was why I noticed them. One of them throws a Coke package that had held cans of soda on the ground in front of their vehicle. He did not see me until I called over to him to please pickup the trash. With lots of laughing and gesturing, he picks it up. I continue on, and look back a couple minutes later, and see him walking to another area and tossing the package into the bushes. That was when I called out again. After a standoff, and me making a clear visual motions that I had my cell phone up to my ear did they pickup the trash, jump in their car, and hi-tailed it out of the park. I was never very close to them and not in any danger, but good grief, it just makes you mad to see people litter.
Record #383 DATE: 9/28/2015 DAY: Mon ST: GA NAME: Petersburg CG-US Corps of Eng LOCATION: Augusta A 6am train was the alarm clock this morning, but I drifted back to sleep until almost 8am. Well, at least, I am well rested for a long day of driving. Pleased to manage to eat breakfast of cereal, apple, and OJ, disconnect the electric cable, back camper off of blocks, walk around the CG loop, and depart in an hour. It just takes forever to drive the total length of GA. Interstates are on the east and west side, but not up the middle. It was a very, very long day in the truck. Add in a few missed turns because of lousy signage, and a bridge out that caused a detour of ten miles. The final straw was Modoc CG was already closed for the season, and I had to turn around. Fortunately, I knew that this CG is open all year. It was a ten mile ride back. Site 50 is out on the end of the point overlooking the lake. What a wonderful campsite. The weather continued most of the day to be extremely overcast with some light misting rain. The campsite is perfectly level, and the temperature is 78 degrees with a light breeze. No electric was hooked up. I have gone on a couple walks around the CG. After dinner with Puccini CD playing, the local flock of CANADIAN GEESE made a noisy fly by. I finished reading "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth" by Col. Chris Hadfield. Time to sign off, and look at the maps for where to camp tomorrow in the mountains.
Record #384 DATE: 9/29/2015 DAY: Tue ST: GA NAME: Tullula River CG LOCATION: Chattahoochee NF It rained off and on lightly during the night. I was glad there was no rain while I topped off the water tank, and dumped the other tanks. Only did this because there will be very limited opportunities to do this in the mountains. There was light rain during most of the drive today. Fortunately, no rain on the last 30 minute drive to the CG. Before leaving on this trip, I downloaded from the National Forest Service information about GA mountain CGs. The information on this CG was right on. I found it without any surprises. The first 4 sites were open along the river, so picked the one I could back into more easily. However, I was in and out of the truck at least 10 times checking to make sure I did not hit anything. I miss my navigator and ground crew. Had a nice walk around the CG and decided site #3 was a really the best spot overlooking the river. I had never been to this CG which I find surprising in all the years the family came up to GA mountains tent camping. I rained about an hour around 2pm. The late afternoon skies cleared, so I walked farther outside the CG along FR70 (which is paved) up to where the Coleman River flows into the Tullulla River. In between several walks around the area, I was able to sit outside and just enjoy watching the river flow by. Which it is doing pretty fast. The water was very muddy in appearance with all the rain. By the time dinner of Kielbasa and broccoli was eaten, and cleanup was over, it started to rain again. So I am in for the night. In spite of the rain, it has been a good day.
Record #385 DATE: 9/30/2015 DAY: Wed ST: GA NAME: Tate Branch CG LOCATION: Chattahoochee NF It turned out to be a blanket kind of night. It was 61 degrees this morning, but no rain, and lots of sun. There was no hurry to get moving, since the next CG is only 3 miles away. Sure cannot beat eggs, bacon, and a blintz for breakfast. Hot tea and OJ rounded out the beverages. The next 3 miles of the FR70 was not paved, but still in great condition. The only issue was it became much more narrow with less and less pull-outs. Two miles down and one to go, when around a corner, "Oh dear, this is not good!". A tree was across the road. Not one of the huge trees; just one that still blocks the way. Put the flashers on, walked back down the road to see where the last pull-out was. No way I was going to back that far. Now I am really getting worried. Back to the truck, and paced off how much space there was to turn around. One foot to spare is not a wonderful thought. Finally, two cars from the other direction arrive. Great people, friendly guy asked me if I have a chainsaw. No it is in Florida, but I have an ax and handsaw. He manages to hack and saw part way through 5" tree limb. Then we both push until it breaks. Road cleared, and everyone is happy. This CG is another great place along the river. Absolutely no one was here. The first 3 sites I backed into were not level. Since no one was here watching all these attempts, I gave it another try, and the 4th spot was perfect within 1 bubble level. Great, no blocks to deal with! The weather is beautiful and up to 70 degrees. The river water was now clear, since it finally stopped raining. Gee, what about a dip in the ice cold creek. I checked out where to possibly enter the water and how deep the water was. Found a couple great spots. Darn it, on the way back to the camper, I did not see a hole, and fell. Down I went hard, cut both knees (but did not rip my pants), bruised the side of right knee, and palms of both hands. Good grief, I am disappointed, but at least I did not break anything. Now the ice cold dip was mandatory to help with the pain and swelling. The "swim" was beneficial, but I could only stay in for several minutes since it was so cold. Spent the rest of the afternoon outside reading, relaxing, bird watching, and walking every hour to keep my wounded body moving. 4pm thunder in the distance, but it has not rained here.
Record #386 DATE: 10/1/2015 DAY: Thu ST: GA NAME: Andrews Cove LOCATION: Chattahoochee NF The temperature was 64 degrees this morning, and a sky that looks like fog but is not. I was craving corned beef hash and eggs for breakfast, which I yielded to. The drive out on the narrow FR was without any traffic which I was thankful for. When the turn arrived for US76, there was a large area to pull off. After a check on the cell phone, finally a couple bars, so I could call Greg. Drove into Hiawassee to gas up, and afterwards, pulled off to a lot next door. Sure enough there was internet connection but only 2 bars. However, it managed to download 40 emails. By the time I looked at them, sent a camper log, and had sent a few email responses; it was getting late. I need to find the next CG. As it turns out, no need to worry if the CG had any spaces open. The entire CG was empty. Most of the sites are for tent camping, but 4 would fit the camper. I said fit, not level. Ended up with 2 blocks front and back on the driver side, and 1 on front passenger. Bubbles within specs. I am not going to try 3 high. Sun came out in the afternoon for only an hour, but I took advantage of sitting outside at the picnic table overlooking the creek. Finished reading "Rails around Durango" by Allan C. Lewis. This book was a birthday present from Greg that he gave me right before I left on this trip. Towns of Durango and Silverton have wonderful memories for me of riding the train, and exploring the area. I keep walking around and around the CG loop. I hurt from yesterday's fall, but figure I will hurt more by not walking. As the day turns into night, I am still the only one here at this CG; just like last night. I don't know where the campers are. Maybe because the weather not being really great, and the trees have not turned color yet. It is ok by me to not have a crowd. Still have to find a campsite tomorrow that I can stay Friday & Saturday, because there will certainly be more campers on the weekend. Hopeful CGs to come will be Desoto Falls, Lake Winfield Scott, Cooper Creek, Deep Hole, Dockery Lake, and back to Suwannee River. Home on Friday, Oct 9.
Record #387 DATE: 10/2/2015 DAY: Fri ST: GA NAME: DeSoto Falls CG LOCATION: Chattahoochee NF It poured all night, and was still raining at 7am when the alarm went off. I had set the alarm, because I knew it would be so dark, I would never wake up by sunlight. Sunlight never made an appearance all day. Packed away the leveling blocks in the rain, and pulled out of the CG onto the highway of rain and fog. This was not going to be a picture perfect kind of day. Drove into Helen, GA and parked. Had cell phone and internet service. Enjoyed a 17 minute conversation with Greg. He started the final painting of the clouds for the WVN backdrop. I cannot wait to see them. I know they will be great. He filled me in about the weather, and it looks like rain for the next couple days. Hope Sunday will be nice! Surely the weather has affected the number of campers. I am not alone at this CG, but almost. A WILD TURKEY ran across the campsite when I arrived. Site 23 was open and I managed to back onto a level spot, no blocks. Scared me that I discovered I did not notice a tree. Guess you could say I missed it by 3 feet, but the point was I never saw it. I could give the excuse it was pouring with rain. Several times during the day when it was not raining quite so hard, I had the rain gear on and umbrella, and walked around the two CG loops. No way will I try to walk the trail to the falls. Too dangerous to slip. Surprise, no cell phone service, but I have internet. Go figure. I finished "Bad Luck and Trouble" by Lee Child. It better start being nicer weather soon, because I only have one book left to read. I guess I could dig up the old camper logs to read.
Record #388 DATE: 10/3/2015 DAY: Sat ST: GA NAME: DeSoto Falls CG LOCATION: Chattahoochee NF Another all night rain, and I mean pouring rain that continued into the morning. It was 59 degrees when I got up at 7:30am. Hot tea was nice to sip on while looking outside at the rain. Around 9am, the rain let up a bit, so out I went for a walk. My main objective was to check out the water level in the creeks. There are two creeks that run through the CG. It was scary, but exciting to see the raging water. The creek behind my campsite was 1 foot higher than yesterday. This was a Saturday morning to relax and indulge in a super breakfast of pancakes, fruit, and OJ. Add in listening to "The Best of Richard Elliot" (Christmas present from Greg). I just love the sound of a saxophone and Elliot's rendition of "When a Man Loves a Woman". At noon, I wanted to check the creeks again to see what 3 more hours of pouring rain had done. They are higher. I took some pictures. I am not alone here at this CG. Two of us are on the upper loop, and two on the lower loop where the CG host is located. Any dangerous flooding ahead, he will call out the alarm if we have to move to higher ground. There is a long way to go to flood level which I doubt will happen. But, I am paying attention to what is happening outside. It has been easy to pass the time these last couple days at this CG since I have internet service. I should have checked what emails were on the web before I clicked on download - 10MB yikes! Every time I go outside, I wished I had put up the blue tarp off the back of the camper to shield the rain for entering and exiting the camper. However, I probably would have gotten more wet putting it up than the times I would need it. Cajon chicken with black beans satisfied my desirer for a spicy dish for dinner. Greg & I exchanged emails before bedtime. He confirmed that at least another day of rain. So, to error on the side of safety, I will stay here at this CG for another day (Sunday). Who knows what the conditions are at the other CGs.
Record #389 DATE: 10/4/2015 DAY: Sun ST: GA NAME: DeSoto Falls CG LOCATION: Chattahoochee NF I fell asleep at 10pm with rain, and was awaken at midnight with pounding rain. Then something fell on the roof at 12:30am, and then heard my campers 3 spots away, have something fall that sounded metallic; I decided to get up and look out the back door at the creek. It was hard to see through the rain, but the flashlight lit the creek bank and I did not see water overflowing. Ok, stop worrying, go back to bed. Found it difficult to stay asleep. Negative dreams would keep waking me up. Finally about 4am, it stopped raining. I actually woke up to some sunlight at 8am. Not a lot, but up from zero is a big deal. No rain and the wind was blowing from the north, but no clear skies. The creeks are back down to where they were on Friday morning - about a two foot difference. Walked around the entire CG and picnic area which was pleasant without it raining. Fried up some bacon, added a couple eggs, topped it with lots of spinach, and covered the pan to finish the cooking. I wanted to take advantage of being outside, so took off walking the CG again. On the way back, my campers 3 spots from me were breaking camp. I had met them yesterday - two widows in separate RVs parked side by side. I joined them and helped them take down their large tarp. Good people who have lived their entire life in the GA mountain area. I am back to being the only camper in the upper loop. The sun was out at noon, so I geared up to go hiking the Lower and Upper Falls. This hike is a tradition for me. The first time was back in 1974, and over the years with the kids. I took Greg here in 2003. My 68 year old knees sure did not like the hike, but I had absolutely no issues of running out of breath. The 1/4 mile hike to the lower falls, and 3/4 miles to the upper falls looked no different than all the years in the past. Took pictures at each falls, and look forward to finding old pictures to compare. On my return to the CG, the sun was still out, and 69 degrees. Picked up a towel, soap, shampoo, and wash cloth, and headed to the camp shower. Not the hottest shower, but still felt good. I am so happy I had decided to spend another day here before moving to another CG. I really enjoyed the day.
Record #390 DATE: 10/5/2015 DAY: Mon ST: GA NAME: Lake Winfield Scott CG LOCATION: Chattahoochee NF I had another night of negative dreams, not nightmares, just the kind of dreams that you cannot get anywhere no matter how hard you try. Finally had a really pleasant dream to wake up with. Guess it had some sexual references. Ha, ha - Guess I must miss my lover! So enjoyable to take a before breakfast walk around the entire CG in 65 degrees, sun, and blue skies. (This information will be for Greg. He will ask me about the battery usage. After 4 days in camp, the camper battery was reading 12.35. It took one hour to drive to this CG with the switch set to "both". On arrival, shut off engine, turned switch to camper. Waited 10 minutes, and the reading in the camper was 12.65. I started the truck a couple hours later on main, then turned it to camper and ran the truck in camp for 25 minutes. Again waited 10 minutes, and the camper reading was 12.85. It is now after dinner, and I am finishing up using the computer and the reading is 12.40.) After I filled out the camping fee, it was off for a long walk through the CG and up to the other camping loop which is for reservations only. However, you can camp in any spot not marked with today's date since no one reserved it. Then it was a walk along the lake, to the dam, and continued around the lake that led back to the campsite. Took some pictures, but the leaves only have some of them turning yellow. Sat outside for a couple hours reading. I keep walking around to enjoy the outdoors. I will admit that my left knee wishes I would stop it. The campground host was a real workhorse. He blew leaves for 3 hours. To counter that noise during dinner, I played at full volume "1812 Overture", "Hungarian Rhapsody", L'apprenti Sorcier", "Saint-Saens Symphony No. 3 Organ", and etc, etc. You get the idea. He finally finished blowing leaves at 7pm. Good grief. An after dinner treat was some of the chocolate Leah gave me for my birthday. What fond memories I have of Leah & I eating chocolate on our bike tours in Italy, Austria, and Holland. Saw RABBIT and CHIPMUNK today. They are so cute.