Last night we said goodbye to our grandson and family. We had a great time and can only wonder how much Aleister will change before we see him again.
Before we departed we made a visit to Stone Mountain, GA, which is one of the largest granite formations in the world. It also has a very impressive monument to three Confederate heroes, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis. This sculpture was started by the same person who was in charge of the Mount Rushmore site. This site of over 3000 acres has been turned into a kind of historical, nature, amusement theme park gathering place. We went for the 25th anniversary laser show, which was very impressive. It was our first real laser show and we will look for others in the future. Aleister seemed to really enjoy these activities including a train ride around the park and the fireworks display. He did alright with the vendors, as well.
We prepared ourselves for departure and also reflected on how much we enjoyed our campground, The Harvest Moon. It had a friendly staff, all amenities including Wi-Fi, cable TV, full hook-ups, free laundry, level pull thru sites and free popcorn anytime the mood hit. What more can you ask.
So this morning we headed south and landed at a membership campground in Unadilla, GA. We found this town to be rather small and apparently has seen better times. Peanuts seem to be the big crop and source of employment for the town. We stumbled upon a small BBQ place while looking for a few groceries and in the spirit of seeking good road food, gave it a try. It was very good and we can recommend it to any BBQ fan.
Tomorrow the plan is to cross the border into Florida and make a stop at the Suwanee River Music Park for a few days.
We are currently at one of our favorite destinations-Resaca, GA. Now this very small town may not be on many (any) tourist destinations lists, but it is the home of our Daughter Gretchen, husband Bo and our grandson, Aleister. As can be expected, there have been lots of changes since our last visit in June. First, Aleister is walking and growing bigger and bolder by the day. And there is steady progress on the house addition that will more than double the size of the original house. There has been perhaps more than the usual delays in the project, with the usual contractor issues, but it looks to be coming very close to completion soon.
It has been a lot of fun spending time in the backyard with Aleister and enjoying his apparently boundless energy and curiosity.
We took a bit of time today to visit a Civil War Confederate Cemetery in Resaca, where 240 confederate soldiers are buried in the first civil war cemetery in Ga. These soldiers fell during the battle of Resaca and surrounding areas during General Sherman’s march south in 1864. The town of Dalton just north of Resaca was an important production and transportation center that was a key target of the Union Army. The battles were bloody and in the end General Sherman rolled past the defenses and proceeded on to Atlanta and the Gulf of Mexico.
These soldiers were originally buried where they fell, many on a plantation that was the scene of one of these battles. This cemetery became a reality due to the efforts of one woman, Mary Green, who wanted to see these soldiers have a proper burial site.
We made, what has become, a regular stop on the way south to visit Anneke’s relatives in Decatur, AL. This time was different, as her Uncle Cor had passed away in August. We wrote a bit about their lives in our 9 Nov 2007 blog. Despite this sad event, we enjoyed visiting Anneke’s Aunt and cousins. Anneke’s cousin Maaike’s daughter, Lisa, recently had a baby and it was a pleasure to meet the newest member of the family.
We had a nice family visit and also enjoyed the enthusiasm of many of our fellow campers for the upcoming Halloween festivities. There was at least one camper who could not forget the upcoming elections.
Since we were going right by Mammoth Cave National Park, we decided to stop in and do some hiking and take at least one tour of the cave. We have been here several times over the years when we were traveling with our daughters. We are staying in Cave City and it is almost like time has stood still here, in some ways. There are no new construction projects or high tech tourist gimmicks to get you to spend your money. There are still the attractions that you might have seen in the 1950’s. Dinosaur Park, old fashioned souvenir shops, classic motels, and even a place that offers to let you sleep in a wigwam.
The park itself holds the world’s largest cave system. It fact, if the next two largest caves were placed within it, there would still be over 100 miles of cave to spare. To date there are known to be 313 miles of cave tunnels and they are still exploring. It is certainly not the most attractive cave, but its sheer size is so impressive, you forget about the rest. We took the historic tour which covered two miles of the cave in two hours and descended some 350 below the surface.
As luck would have it, our ranger guide is the great grandson of one of the first slaves that was employed to explore the caves when it was in private hands. There were many interesting tales related about the use of slaves in the cave and I can recommend more research on this topic for anyone interested in this topic. The cave has had human visitors for at least 3000 years. They know this because they have found physical evidence of their presence on the form of artifacts and some mummified human remains. During the war of 1812 the cave was mined for elements to make black powder and they used a water system using hollowed out tree trunks, which still remain in the cave today.
In addition to the cave system itself, the park is over 52000 acres and miles of hiking and biking trails. It also offers lots of opportunity for waterborne exploration, as well.
We have enjoyed our visit, but did not get to do the hiking we hoped for as it managed to rain all day today and tomorrow we are off to Decatur, AL.
Our last day in the Nashville, IN area was spent at Brown County Sate Park. This park was at one time the third most visited park, including the national parks, in the USA according to our ranger guide. It contains around 16,000 acres and much of it was former farm land that was purchased by the state after the land was depleted by 1800’s farming techniques and the farmers went broke.
We started our visit at the nature center and then a brisk hike on a wooded hilly trail. The fall colors were beginning to come in but will not be at their peak for a few more weeks. We enjoyed walking and hiking to take in these early fall changes.
We noted that there would be a ranger guided nature walk and we reported at the designated time to find a young lady ready to show us around. She was very enthusiastic and as it turned quite knowledgeable as well. We found out that she was awarded the naturalist of the year for the state of Indiana. If I could only remember all that she passed on, I would know a lot about trees and plants.
It was a nice conclusion to our stay, and we head south to Kentucky tomorrow.