Snowy Range Pass

Snowy Range Pass

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Aleister turns two

We arrived in Adairsville, GA last Sunday to visit with our daughter Gretchen, husband Bo and grandson Aleister. Luckily, this is also one of our favorite RV parks, Harvest Moon, with level, wide sites and all hookups that are logically arranged. Plus they have reliable free Wi-Fi, cable TV, laundry and free popcorn on demand.

It addition to our regular desire to see everyone, this time the big event is Aleister’s second birthday. We understand that visiting Aleister on roughly a six month basis is a little like living the movie “50 first dates”, where you have to reintroduce yourselves each time. We arrived a day earlier than planned to avoid forecast weather and our unhappiness with the last campground. Shortly after arrival we had our first excitement, when I noticed that a small fire seemed to be spreading near the back edge of the campground. I dispatched my able assistant to the office and almost immediately a fire engine entered the campground. It seems that they were not as fast as I first thought, since we talked with the occupant of a camper next to the fire, who had called the fire department directly.

Since we arrived a day early, Gretchen and family came by for a visit that first evening. Aleister just loves big trucks and cars and immediately was taken by the size of the motorhome. As soon as he settled in, he found his favorite spot.

Needless to say that Aleister has changed a lot since we seen him last. He is now a high energy driven boy who can walk and run at high speed. It also seems that he is getting ready to hit the terrible two’s hard. He remains a happy and cheerful kid-as long as we all do what he wants and he is allowed to do what he feels like. Since that cannot happen, mostly for his own safety, he likes to test the limits all the time-loudly. For example, he loves to be outside and run around and climb stairs and more stairs. Unfortunately, he climbs them well, but thinks he can walk down like and adult and would crash and burn every time without help. This and keeping him out of the areas where dangerous spiders or snakes might lurk, makes watching him outside a full time job. There was, in fact, one three foot plus snake spotted by a contractor during our stay and brown recluse and black widow spiders have been found on more than one occasion.

Like most lucky children with loving parents and grandparents, he is a bit spoiled and has way too many toys. I spent quite some time cleaning the official play area of the back yard, where I notice he spends less time than climbing the dreaded stairs. Of course, the highly successful birthday celebration only added to this excess. We all had a great time and ate too much cake and ice cream, but what the heck-that is part of what makes a great birthday party. So Happy Birthday Aleister!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Madison, GA

While touring the town of Greensboro, we heard about the town of Madison 20 miles west of Greensboro. What makes this town particularly interesting is the number of antebellum homes that survived the Civil War and General Sherman’s devastating march from Atlanta to the sea. This happened when a local prominent citizen and former member of Congress rode out to meet General Sherman in his camp and asked, as a matter of generosity, that he not burn the private residents of the town. It seems that he was a friend of General Sherman’s brother and perhaps that this influenced Sherman to agree. In any case, General Sherman did not enter the town, but rather sent one of his General’s, who occupied the town for several months. A number of businesses and other buildings were destroyed, but none of the residences.

Today there are still 60 of these homes and many of them are still occupied by the descendents of the Civil War owners. There are only two if these homes that are not lived in and they are owned by the historical Society and are available for public visits. These are the Heritage Hall and the Rogers house.

We visited both of these homes and had a very informative tour of both with our guides. The largest of these is the Heritage Hall, which was built by a doctor at the young age of 22 and added on numerous times over the years. It contained a number of interesting pieces of furniture include one I had not seen in our travels and visits to this period of homes. It was called a hunting table which was very tall, especially considering the average height of people during this period. This table was designed to display the game taken during the hunt and was also taken out into the lawn before and after the hunt to provide refreshments for those on horseback without them having to dismount.

The Rogers house was more modest and was a few years older, having been built around 1809, and is located directly behind the rebuilt County courthouse. Located on the property is the relocated Rose Cottage, which was built by one of the first freed female slaves in the area. She worked several jobs and managed to save enough to build this home where she lived most of her long life. After her death, her daughter donated it to the historical society and they had it moved to its current location next to the Rogers house.

The downtown area was well maintained and has a number of post Civil War structures still in use.

This is a place well worth the visit, especially for those interested in Civil War history and well preserved antebellum homes.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Greensboro, GA

After leaving St. Augustine, we made a three day stopover in Greensboro, GA enroute to visit our daughter Gretchen and family to celebrate grandson Aleister’s second birthday. Greensboro proved to be a very charming and friendly town. The town was first settled in the late 1700’s and had a troubled history with the Native Americans. After a one sided treaty was completed in 1786, the Creek Indians attacked the village in 1787, burning the village down and slaying almost all the residents.

The town was rebuilt and continued to prosper with many plantations and economic growth. The Civil War brought the second round of destruction, when General Sherman passed thru the area on his famous (infamous) march to the sea. He burned the town and most of the residents to the ground. As a result, today there are only a few antebellum homes in the area and all the downtown buildings post date the Civil War. The good news is that many of these 1800’s building have been preserved and continue to be used today.

The oldest structure in town is the county jail built in 1807. This includes a trap door on the upper floor where the condemned prisoners were executed. I would think that this type of confinement must have had a great deterrent factor to those considering any crime.

We came to this town because it has a membership campground in our system nearby touting itself as a luxury resort. It was a very nice property on Lake Oconee, but like a number of others we have visited the combination of poor design execution and lack of maintenance keeps it from being a real resort. They have old railroad cars for office, meeting and recreation, along with a number of the cars used as rental cabins. The railroad car used as the resort exercise room says a lot about the general condition of the resort. High on my list of dislikes is extremely unlevel sites and soft ground for moving heavy motorhomes around. It seems very likely we will not return to this “resort”.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

St Augustine, FL

We have spent an extended week in St Augustine, Fl to visit with friends and explore an area we visited only very briefly in November 2007. Several blogs covered this visit with the last being:

We explored the St Augustine area including the lighthouse and beach. The lighthouse is one of the oldest in the area and has guided mariners during times of peace and war. We climbed the 219 steps to the top of the lighthouse and were rewarded with a great view of the city and ocean. Our day at the beach was very windy but we enjoyed the sounds of the surf and watching folks trying to control their various airborne beach toys.

The Lightner Museum is one of the acknowledged gems of the area. We spent several hours going thru the exhibits and I particularly enjoyed looking at the descriptions of what rooms were used for during the period it was owned by Mr. Flagler, known as the Hotel Alcazar and Spa. What is now a grand hall was once the pool. The steam room and shower area is still apparent and shows what luxury was like in the early days of Florida tourism for the rich and famous.

We visited friends from the Toledo area, fellow Winnebago travelers, as well as our friends living in St Augustine. Ted and Sharon again invited us to a holiday dinner, this time for Easter. In 2007 we enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with them. They also joined us for lunch during the week and arrived on a very powerful motorcycle.

We are now in our second day of extended stay, awaiting improved weather. Strong storms have rolled across our area including tornado warnings and across the area of our destination. The decision to wait was a good one. Tomorrow we leave Florida after nearly six months in the state. Next stop Greensboro, Ga.