Snowy Range Pass

Snowy Range Pass

Sunday, April 03, 2016


Peanuts that is. On our way home, we stopped in Plains, GA,  the home of President Jimmy Carter.  He started his presidential campaign from here with his headquarters in the old train depot.  It is a very small town and the downtown main street is nearly completely all about President Carter.  You can visit the campaign headquarters and imagine what it must have been like during those early days of the campaign for the White House.  Stroll the short main street and get the feel of how important President Carter still is to this community.  The president and his family still live in town just a few blocks from the center.  Of course, it is not accessible to visitors but you can drive by, if you are so inclined.

Billy Carter's gas station is still there and you can stroll around that area, as well.  A stroll thru town will not take very long but we did find it very interesting.  It did reflect the character of the man, as he portrayed himself during the campaign.  That is always refreshing in politics.

Just a few blocks away is the largest part of the PresidentJimmy Carter National Historic Site.  It is in the former Plains High School which is now a historical museum dedicated to the Carter family and the town of Plains.  The other two sections of the historic site are the train depot, which we had already visited and  President Carter's boyhood farm home.  The high school has been restored and contains memorabilia of the Carter family along with some local history.  Many of the events in the Carter family's lives are revealed in letters and quotes from the Carter's themselves. We came away with a much better understanding of their lives and motivations.

For those interested in presidential history, this town should be on your list.

Friday, April 01, 2016

FMCA rally and Civil War history

We attended the Perry GA FMCA  rally.  This was our third FMCA rally and certainly the biggest of the FMCA rallies we have attended.  There was a total of around 2800 motorhomes.  The fairgrounds is a very large facility and it was about a mile walk from our coach to the events area.  There was lots to do with two buildings of vendors and a long list of seminars.  Most of the motorhome manufacturers had their newest models available along with various customized units to explore.  I found the wildly updated 1974 Winnebago very interesting.

We enjoyed ourselves but found the logistics of the operation a bit cumbersome.  Compared to the entertainment we have seen at other rallies, the threesome of Lorrie Morgan, Joe Diffie and Mark Chestnut seemed uninspired.  I had the feeling they were not really into their performance.

Of course, the really fun parts of these events is the people you meet, including folks we have met over the years and get a chance to reconnect.  Our FMCA club, the BATS, had a good turn out here and we enjoyed spending time with them.  Our happy hour event was a good way to catch up with everyone.

The Civil War has been an interest of mine for many years and while we were full timing, we have visited many sites across the country.  So it was a natural next stop to visit the Andersonville POW camp site located with the National POW Museum and a national cemetery just a short distance away.

This POW camp was perhaps the most infamous of the Civil War POW sites.  Its history is worth studying in detail, to realize just how cruel mankind can be.  A short version of this history is that the camp was started in Feb of 1864 and was abandoned at the end of the war.  It was nothing more than a wooden stockade that in the end covered just over 26 acres.  It had no shelters or any other provisions for the prisoners.  They were exposed to the elements year around.  Little food or supplies was funded for the camp.  The only available drinking water came from the  spring fed ditch that ran through the middle of the stockade after first passing through the barracks for the guards and other contaminated areas.  In dry spells there was no water and in heavy rains , it flooded the camp with contaminated water.

The camp was originally planned to hold about 15000 prisoners, but after the two sides stopped the common practice of exchanging prisoners, it swelled to over 45000 men.  Of those, nearly 13000  died. 

The commander of the Prison,  Lt Henry Wirz, was charged with war crimes after the war and was hanged in Washington, D.C.  No one else was charged for the atrocities that occurred there.

After the war, a former prisoner of the camp personally visited the burial site and with the help of Clara Barton ( who started the Red Cross) was able to identify many of those unknown victims.

Also on site, the National Prisoner of War Museum relates the history of US prisoners of war throughout our countries history.  In the museum, there is a short but powerful movie about Andersonville that should not be missed. 

Where these prisoners were buried in mostly unmarked graves is now a part of the Andersonville National Cemetery.