25 May - 9 June 2016 Georgia

Wednesday 25th May

Packed up the RV this morning and set off east along the quiet county roads, through some very pretty farming country. We picked up the I-85 and continued north-east towards our destination Pine Mountain, Georgia. Nice views of the Chattahoochee River as we crossed the state line.

We arrived at FD Roosevelt State Park just after lunch and set up camp amongst the trees. Beautiful spot.

Took a ride into Pine Mountain which is just a couple of miles from the park. It is an attractive small Georgia town with lots of local owned shops, cafes and boutiques.

For dinner we got the boiling pot out and cooked a chicken and prawn boil with lots of vegetables and andouille sausage.

Thursday 26th May

Woke up to a beautiful morning. Sun shining through the trees and the birds singing. Took a walk around the small Delanor Lake.

Then back to the RV.

The park is getting busy with campers arriving for Memorial Day weekend. Went into the small town of Pine Mountain which is just a couple of miles away.

Friday 27th May

The State Park is full this weekend, therefore we moved into town to the Pine Mountain RV Resort. We have a nice grassy pitch right by the dog park - Sandy is happy.

Weather is beautiful, sunny and hot at 32C, perfect holiday weekend weather.

Tom arrived this afternoon and came over to the RV Park. He is staying in town with friends that he travelled with from Florida, including Jacinta Carroll from Australia. She is women’s world champion jump skier and is competing tomorrow.

Saturday 28th May

Went to Callaway Gardens just outside town to meet up with Tom and watch the waterskiing. Callaway Gardens is a resort and has, gardens, lakes, golf courses, and lodge accommodation.

The competition is taking place on Robin Lake, a nice lake which is surrounded by white sand beaches.

We met up with a couple of other skiers from Hazelwood’s, Will Oliver and his girlfriend Nicole, plus Rob Hazelwood who is competing in the junior championships.

The skiers at this event have reached the pinnacle of their sport and it was fantastic to see these top athletes perform. Both Jacinta and Rob went through to the finals tomorrow.

After a great day at the lake we went back to Tom’s hotel for a drink by the pool.

Sunday 29th May

Back to the lake today to watch the finals.

One of the guys brought his pet lizard, Striker, with him to watch the action.

Rob did well coming second in the junior slalom. Jacinta came through in the jump winning her third Masters title and setting a course record of 188 feet. Congratulations to both.

Got back to the RV and barbequed. Played Bocce.

Monday 30th May – Memorial Day

Packed up and got on the road this morning to make our way east on Georgia highway 18 to Forsyth.

Tom and everyone here from Orlando have gone back today. This might be the last time we see Tom for a while. He will continue training in Orlando for two water ski competitions he has coming up and then fly home for the summer, after completing his first year here at University.

It is a public holiday and the roads were quiet. We went through lots of pretty countryside and small towns. Along the way many houses were flying the stars and stripes for Memorial Day.

Driving through Forsyth we saw a Memorial Day service taking place outside the Courthouse.

We booked in at KOA Forsyth and after setting up camp went back into town for a look around. The courthouse square area has quite a few Victorian buildings. Everywhere was very quiet and most places were closed for the holiday.

Tuesday 31st May

Went into town again today. Everywhere was still very quiet. As we passed the courthouse we saw two prisoners dressed in green and white striped jump suits being escorted by Police down the courthouse steps. They had ankle chain restraints on and were being marched to a waiting police car.

The weather is very hot and humid and we went back to the RV Park for a swim in the pool.

Late afternoon we had to get out of the pool as clouds came over and we had a heavy thunderstorm.

Wednesday 1st June

Our last day in Forsyth. This evening we went into town to eat at the Anvil Bar and Grill. We met Bonny one of the owners who is originally from Virginia. The Anvil is split into three sections in a row of Victorian buildings and as the name suggests, was originally an old blacksmith shop.

The first section has a bar and dining room.

The next two sections have garage doors that open up from the street in summer revealing a further dining area. The third section has a live music stage and beach sand floor.

Here you are invited to kick off your shoes, put on the flip flops provided and chill out.

Thursday 2nd June

We set off this morning to make our way east to Savannah. On the way we did a short detour to Juliette, the small town used as the setting for the film Fried Green Tomatoes. It is indeed a very pretty quaint little town. The Whistle Stop Cafe featured in the film is in fact a café and apparently does sell excellent Fried Green Tomatoes.

A while down the road we came across a snake in the middle of the road. Unfortunately, we couldn’t avoid him and he didn’t move out the way quick enough!

Continuing our journey on I-16 we reached Red Gate Farm RV Park, about six miles south west of Savannah, late this afternoon. As we approached the office we saw several black and white kitchens that appeared to live under the office building.

Katie booked us in and we met her husband Jerry while we waited. We have a very nice pitch with a view across rolling lawns down to a lake.

Friday 3rd June

Red Gate Farm was originally a jersey cow dairy farm run by the Martin family. Today members of the family still own the land but the dairy farm has gone. In its place there are five fishing lakes surrounded by woods, grassland and well-manicured lawns. There is also a horse paddock and horse riding available.

We moved to another RV pitch today. The spot we have gone to is lovely, all on our own overlooking one of the other lakes. What a view we have from our front door.

I was in the laundry this afternoon and met Wendy who is from Filey in Yorkshire. Wendy and husband Jeff have been travelling around the US in their RV for six months per year for last three years. In the winter the RV goes into storage in Florida.

The weather is very hot and humid, I know what is meant now by the ‘steamy south’. We were glad to go for a dip in the pool this afternoon.

Saturday 4th June

This morning we went into Savannah to take Old Savannah Tours trolley bus around the city. Our driver and guide was Tammy who is originally from Tennessee but she is very knowledgeable about Savannah. We had an interesting and entertaining couple of hours with Tammy, lots of fun and plenty of jokes.

General James Oglethorpe arrived here from England in 1733. Oglethorpe and his engineers designed and planned the city around a series of twenty four shady squares, of which twenty two still remain. The original trade of the area was rice growing but once the cotton gin had been invented cotton was the main crop. Today the economy centres around the seaport and tourism.

Most of the city squares have old Live Oak trees covered in Spanish moss which look wonderful and give some very welcome shade. Around the squares there are beautiful large 18th and 19th century buildings.

As we progressed around the city actors dressed in period costume hopped on the bus at various stopping points to bring to life the historic figures that had lived in the town. First, there was Martha, a lady that set up the first African American girls school here.

Next, was Alice Riley an indentured servant who arrived from Ireland in 1733. The plantation master she worked for was particularly cruel and one night she and a fellow servant murdered him. Alice then became the first women in Georgia to be hanged.

Last, was Equin Daya a member of the Gullah peoples that came here from Africa as slaves to work in the rice and cotton fields. The Gullah speak a mixture of English based Creole language and are particular to the Lowcountry island areas of Georgia and South Carolina.

After our trolley bus tour we looked around City Market

and went to the Social Club for a light lunch. They have a large outside patio where we could sit with Sandy.

Back at the RV Park we had another welcome dip in the pool to cool off, whilst there we met Laura and Fred. They are part of the family that owns the land and live on site. As well as the RV Park, there are two event venues on the site The Mackay House a large southern style white building and the Barn at Red Gate which is a large red barn. Laura and Fred live at the The Mackay House and look after all the events, such as weddings. Laura was born on the farm and had known Fred since school days. It was interesting to hear about the history of the farm and how things had changed over the years.

Sunday 5th June

Another hot day. Jeff and Wendy came around for drinks. We had lovely evening talking about our travels.

Monday 6th June

Rain stopped play today.

Tropical Storm Colin came through the area and it rained heavily all day.

There are plenty of animals about the place, including chickens, peacocks, ducks and geese.

Tuesday 7th June

Went into Savannah to walk around some of the lovely squares and streets we had seen on our trolley bus tour. In parts it is very reminiscent of the small square parks built in London.

Chippewa Square is where Tom Hanks sat on a bench at a bus stop talking about his life in the movie Forest Gump. The nearby church is where the feather floated past the steeple.

In some of the squares there were notices prohibiting ‘panhandling’ and asking for the public to contact the police if they see anyone doing so. This prohibition must have worked because we saw no one begging for money.

We headed down to River Street where back when cotton was king the ships would dock to pick up bales of cotton.

The cobbled streets here are made up of the stones that were used on the ships for ballast.

The stones come from all over the world and were off loaded into the streets to allow for the cotton to be loaded.

The iron gantries leading from the Cotton Exchange building are still in place. The merchants would stand on the gantries to view the wagons full of cotton bales that passed underneath. This is how they graded the cotton before it was sold and loaded onto the ships.

Two canons captured from the British during the Revolutionary War.

Finished off the day with some light refreshments at the Moon River pub

Wednesday 8th June

This morning we went to have a look at the shopping area along Broughton Street. It was nice to see an old fashioned main street with plenty of variety and quality shops.

After the shops we made our way to Tybee Island, a beach area about eighteen miles from downtown.

We stopped off at the Crab Shack for a seafood lunch. This is a quirky place at the side of the water with its own alligators.

Next down to the beach for our first look at the Atlantic for a while.

Thursday 9th June

Took another ride on the trolley bus today. Big E was our driver and guide and we had another very interesting and fun trip. Big E is also a standup comedian and the jokes were good. At the Pirate House, an inn since 1753, of course a pirate jumped on board to tell us tales of being shanghaied and life on the high seas.

We got off the bus and had another stroll along Broughton Street. Tony bought swimming shorts from Tommy Bahamas.

Sandy had a new lead and collar from the Woof Gang Bakery in City Market. A luxury pet store selling unique products and delicious looking cookies and food products. Apparently, most of the cookies are human grade and can be eaten but we didn’t try any. Sandy came away with the gift of a doggy frozen yogurt treat to help cool her down. Unfortunately, she wasn’t very impressed and wouldn’t eat it.

Our last day at lovely Red Gate Farm.