Archives for posts with tag: backroads

Awwww. It feels so good to be back in my home state and first love, Georgia. You know you’re back in the real South when a man waits for more than a few seconds to hold the door open for an approaching woman. So, when one of Ava’s best friends decided to come my way for a visit, my focus was to “learn” her some “Southern” was of major import, I determined there is no better place to start than Jekyll Island where the millionaires of yesteryear played (Rockefeller and Goodyear to name two), huge Live Oaks lined lazy pathways and roads and a quiet, white sand beach to explore.

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Millionaire Row…playground of Rockefellers and Goodyears of yesteryear.

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Awwww. The Live Oaks lining the streets. Never can get enough of this.

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As I had been trained by my father at an early age the language of birds, I heard a mother bird chirping loudly above where I was seated at one of her chicks. It was as if my dad was whispering to me that she was trying to teach her baby to fly. I looked up and that’s exactly what she was trying to do. My hands weren’t quick enough to catch the whole scenario but I remember it because it mimics what we all have to do with our own chicks…encourage them to fly. The interesting part was that each time the baby bird flew away…even if only inches…the mother bird called it back to here and did what appeared to be giving it a kiss. She was probably giving it an “atta girl” treat of some juicy bug but this continued until she chirped no more and the chick was not to be seen. It felt so good to experience not only the Jekyll Island of my childhood in this way but to have my father guide me through this incredible journey of letting go.

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Hidden white sand beaches next to marshlands.

 

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Pathways lined with Live Oaks. You don’t get better than this!

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Marshlands by the white sand beach!

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Then, it was time to get back on the road again headed for her next lesson in Southern. On the drive to Savannah, I explained to her that she must drop “g” from every word ending in “ing” and gave her some critical colloquialisms like “I’m fixin’ to,” “cattywampus,” “cattycornered,” and, of course, “buttah.”

The only place to learn my kinda Southern is in my all-time favorite area in Georgia – Savannah’s Historic District. If you stay in this area and park your car and not take it out until ready to go home, you won’t be disappointed. It’s so easy being here. Its friendly, customer oriented, down home “glad ta see ya'” kinda easy framed in a comfortable, slower paced, stimulation unique to it. Being a history buff, the only place to stay here is in the area claimed by King George II through Oglethorpe in 1733.

First on the must-dos is to visit the history center and then take a trolley tour of the Historic District. It’s the only way to steep yourself in the local color and atmosphere I so dearly love. Then walk along the Savannah River, which adds it’s own flavor to the the River Historic District of restaurants and shops which have been here for decades providing great places to explore and juicy stories of yesteryear complete with murder, ghosts, famous people and great food with lots of buttah,

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23 K Gold Dome Savannah Courthouse

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The Cotton Exchange for the World!

 

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Being a major port city means Savannah was also a major Railroad Hub for importing and exporting goods. After all, it was the heart of the Cotton Exchange for the World!

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Oglethorpe had drawn out his plans for the 24 sections of this city before he ever left England. Each section had a park in the center surrounded by a church, business, homes, etc. Some of these homes survived the numerous fires of the 1700’s…but some didn’t. As they were rebuilt, bricks and rock and other materials were used. And, the more iron work you had on your property, the wealthier you were purported to be.

 

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The Pirate House luncheon buffet is the BOMB! If you haven’t had REAL Mac N’ Cheese in decades, you have to come here! They got it, baby! Yeah! And Fried Chicken, Collards, Buttah Milk Biscuits…YUM! And, they have some intereesting history!

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Part of the house was built in 1734 and the restaurant was established in 1753! If they don’t know how to cook with buttah, nobody does!

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Walking back from our big lunch at the Pirate House along the Savannah River, we happened upon this huge cargo ship headed out to sea! So cool!

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River adventure is never complete without the help of a Tug Boat!

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Getting past the bridge looks tricky but they make it look easy!

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Tomorrow? Bonaventure Cemetary, Ghost stories, Riverboat Tour and more!

Happy Trails…until we meet again!

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I had such an amazing experience this past summer traveling the West, Northwest, Canada and Northeast that I decided to buy a travel trailer and “gypsy” it up a bit and get back on the road! Like my BFF says, “If you can’t run with the big dogs, get off the porch!” Well, I’m officially OFF the porch and running the the big dawgs now!

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A little gypsy is a good thang!

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And more is mo’ bettah!

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Running with the Big Dawgs!

Crossing Tennessee and Arkansas just about wore me out and that ain’t an easy thing to do! I got wind, rain, mountains, more wind and 18-wheelers by the millions trying to blow me, my truck and stuffed Wolf Pup off I-40 but I wasn’t going to quit! I made it safely to the lovely Ivy’s Cove RV Park in Russellville, Arkansas. If you’re planning on doing this kind of traveling, I recommend picking a place ahead of time to arrange for a spot as soon as you know what day you’ll arrive. It’s helpful to be specific with where in their RV park you want to be placed…near the bathroom and a pull through…etc.

As a GoodSam RV Elite Member, I have access to their wonderful website to get all the information I need to contact any of the parks (in or out of their system) to help me make my arrangements so I’m not stuck at a truck stop (like I’ve found myself doing back in 2008) sleeping in my truck. I must say that every truck stop where I’ve resorted such measures was years ago and great experiences as long as you tell them upfront you’re alone, tired and to look out for you. Now that we’re in the age of magical access to internet via our phones, there’s no real reason to have to do the truck stop thing, however, it is an option. I also hear Walmart still allows parking lot parking but I haven’t confirmed that.

I’m so very surprised to find that there is such a great demand for these RV parks! I noticed back in 2010 when I had my pop-up that there were whole families living in these places. I assumed, maybe incorrectly, they were forced to live there in travel trailers because of the recession. I’m thinking now that it’s more of a lifestyle decision as more and more families are home schooling their children to find alternative lifestyles and I’m loving that!

After getting over the giddy feeling of sleeping my my travel trailer for the first time around 1:00 AM, I rested better than I have in months! I was raring to hit the road again  to cross the rest of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

As for Arkansas, I love the fact that they have “Toad Suck State Park” and the most amazing Great Country station 107.3 which got me across half of Oklahoma. Yup. Willie, Hank Jr. and Sr., Johnny (Cash) and all the good ole’ boys from yesteryear had me dancing in my seat!

As I travel, I love to find “mom & pop” places to fill up both my car and stomach! I found I could do both at Exit 270 on I-40 West (and East) in Checotah, Oklahoma at Campbell’s BBQ & Country Store. Turns out they have 100% gas and the best beef brisket with sides of slaw and pork-n-beans! It kept me going all the way to Amarillo! Yeah, baby! Tell them “Howdy” on Facebook (Campbells Country Store)!

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Campbell’s BBQ & Country Store at Exit 270 West!

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Deal of the century and the best brisket West of the Mississippi! 

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And, then there’s the chair!

All I can say about Texas: brutal cross-winds, a billion 18-wheelers, intense gas-guzzling white-knuckle driving and exhaustion. I actually watched the needle on my gas gauge drop rapidly as I limped along toward Amarillo! I just barely made it to a truck stop with the gas warning light staring back at me for those last ten miles. It was weird. The best part of that day was pulling into the Amarillo Ranch RV Park and the wonderful people who helped me get registered even with their internet down and get me outta there this morning! Now I’m fully trained (compliments of them) in black and gray water disposal! Hahaha!

As I do, I jumped off the interstate onto the backroads at Amarillo and headed for Eagle Nest, NM. I do love me some New Mexico and the only reason I didn’t stay in the Santa Fe and Taos areas were due to inclement weather issues. I need to get to Colorado, visit some VIP’s and get back south before weather turns nasty. Heck, there’s still snow remnants in northeastern New Mexico! Anyway, next time I’m this way, I’ll find a place where I can stay for longer when weather is more appropriate for my rig! LOL

As for now, I’m in R&R mode and catching my breath before heading for Colorado.

Happy Trails…until we meet again!

There’s no greater thrill to me than to have someone as special as my daughter’s dearest friend with me on this healing journey. She has been with me on this adventure of pain, sorrow, grief, recovery and healing now for 5+ years. I love her dearly and our bond of friendship, understanding and trust grows as we help each other find peace with Ava’s decision to leave this planet. Thank you, Ava, for giving Jenni and I each other to share these most intimate of grief moments with each other and to help pull each other out of the mire.

For me, I always felt traveling was an important part of my retirement years; however, after Ava’s passing, I couldn’t even leave my house to get groceries until last year when I forced myself to go West to visit my favorite people and places again. I’d promised Jenni I’d take her on a trip to see the redwood forest where God lives and we did that very thing last year. This year, I’d promised to take her to all my favorite National Parks with the best for last…Flaming Gorge, WY and Glacier National Park, MT. and that’s exactly what we’re doing and loving every second of the backroads drive!

Today, we started at Bryce Canyon (not one of my favorites) because it’s not far from where Jenni lives and she needed to see what beauty was in her own back yard.

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Rainbow Overlook (last stop)

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Great geologic anomalies unique to Bryce

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Caves?

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Depth of the view is breathtaking

Then came the heart pounding part for me. I was most excited to share this with her just knowing she was going to feel the presence of a higher power and glory in these backroads headed for Flaming Gorge through Ashley National Forest and beyond where the roads continuously seem to disappear and reappear magically with every turn; where terrain, vegetation and geologic wonderment are around every bend in the road.

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Roads appear to disappear

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And come back with a BANG!

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Then leave again

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Wonderful little towns with surprises like this family rending a caboose for a vacation in the middle of nowhere!

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Then changes

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Jenni & I were so excited to find this view around the bend!

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Pretty magnificent!

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Then back again!

Tomorrow? Flaming Gorge, of course, and I can’t wait! It’s in my top two! I’m saving the best for last!

HAPPY TAILS (Montana is certainly with us on this trip), TALES OR TRAILS!

 

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Montana sure enjoyed being in the mountains!