Our fifth wheel and the truck

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Georgia - The Peach State

Welcome back to the ongoing (mis)adventures of this not-so-dynamic duo. I was reflecting on this amazing journey the other night when it occurred to me that we are very rapidly reaching the end. With only four months to go it seems surreal that we have been here for eight months. We have seen and done so much but there is still heaps to come. In fact we have decided that April next year we will be returning to drive to Alaska with some other members of the 'Class of 2010' and to spend some time in Canada.

Norm and I have spent the last week in Georgia - firstly at Stone Mountain State Park and then at Red Top Mountain State Park. And while they are only an hour apart in distance they are worlds apart when comparing amenities and facilities.

Stone Mountain is quite the playground and while many of the attractions were not yet open for the season there would be lots of things to do once the summer starts. Red Top Mountain is quiet, peaceful and just a gorgeous place to explore.

Norm and I arrived at Stone Mountain late on Sunday afternoon to find many of the sites taken up with very expensive motor homes. There would have to have been many, many millions of dollars worth of motor homes in the park. I might add that by Tuesday afternoon all but a few had departed and the park was quite deserted so it became quite peaceful.

Stone Mountain is a beautiful park set around a very large lake with golf courses, boating, fishing, restaurants, a village, walk trails etc, and it all surrounds a large stone mountain haha!

There are two ways to get to the top of the mountain - one is to hike and the other is to take the skytrain. We decided that the first day that we were there we would hike to the top. So.... with camera in hand, we set out to get to the top. Not a very long hike - only about 1.5 miles (2.4km) in length but it rises about 820 feet (250m) in that length. It took us about 80 minutes to climb - I needed a couple of rests and 45 minutes to get back down. The view from the top was magnificent and certainly worth the effort.

After the hike to the top we visited a covered bridge. The bridge was not an original feature of the park but had been relocated and was in excellent condition. It was while we were there that we got to chatting with a couple from Arkansas and I asked about a tree with really pretty flowers that I have been seeing a lot of since being in Georgia. Turns out it was the dogwood tree and is just so pretty and of course now that I know what it is I see it everywhere!

The next day we visited an area of the park that was the site of the velodrome and archery for the Atlanta Olympics. The buildings had been removed and for many years the site was neglected but recently efforts have been made to try to regenerate the local vegetation and encourage the birds to come back. It was a two mile hike and I guess we were either too late or too early because there weren't a lot of birds around. We did get to see some however.

From the bird walk we went to see the bas relief that Stone Mountain is known for. There is a huge carving into the side of the mountain that depicts three of the Confederate leaders during the Civil War. It is a huge carving of Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E Lee, all on horses. We walked around the pioneer type village where many of the shop owners were preparing for the big opening which will be happening on April 2nd. Of course we will have moved on by then. It would be really interesting to visit while it is open but there are still so many other areas that we haven't visited yet so we can't stay any longer than already planned.

Our next day we went to visit a carillion. The building looks like something out of 'The Lord of the Rings' movie. This particular carillion was part of the World Trade Fair in the 1960's but was donated to Stone Mountain by the Coca Cola Company. There are 732 bells in it and it is played on Saturdays and Sundays so because we were there on Thursday we didn't expect to hear anything however there must have been a tape playing through the speakers because we were able to sit by the lake and listen to it for quite a while. The sounds was just beautiful and just such a peaceful place.

After we left the carillion we visited an old granite quarry on the side of the mountain which was quite interesting. It was amazing seeing how they managed to remove 66000lb blocks of stone without the technology of today. Way back when the workers would put bits of wood between the blocks and then pour water into the holes. The wood would swell causing the rock to move. Now that is hard work!

From Stone Mountain we moved up the road to Red Top Mountain which was just gorgeous. A huge lake with lovely hikes around the lake and through the forest. We decided to take a 4.5 mile hike our first day and set off with lunch and drinks and had a lovely time communing with nature. (LOL) Seriously though, a really lovely way to spend the day. So peaceful and quiet with lots of birds.

One of the really nice things about Red Top Mountain was our friends, the Elams who arrived at another camp ground just down the road. It was really lovely to catch up with them over dinner.

Our plans for another hike the next day were put on hold due to some inclement weather that was making itself felt with drizzly rain and the threat of up to 2 inch hail stones and severe thunderstorms and tornado warnings. Late at night we did get a few thunderstorms and a little bit of hail but nothing as serious as Atlanta down the road. Most of the storm went either to the north or to the south of us. Lucky!!!!

Sunday dawned grey and overcast with fog everywhere as we packed up our rig and took to the road again. We are heading for south east South Carolina for a week or so. The weather stayed threatening all the way to SC and by the time we got to our camp the temperature hadn't climbed over 45F (about 8C) so we the jeans and windcheaters are back out and the doona will be put on the bed tonight. Norm wants to head back to Florida for the sun but there are too many other places that are calling out to us.

In checking out the photos to put with the blog I continue to be amazed at the beautiful scenery, flowers, animals and birds that I manage to photograph. And, as always, I have way too many lovely photos to put on here. I still haven't searched out some sort of online album but I promise (no laughing now!!) to have a look and see what I can do. Otherwise when we get home you will all have to visit and sit and watch thousands and thousands of photos on the tv or digital photo frame. I do promise to feed you though!

Our love and hugs to all our dear family and friends and we trust you are staying healthy, happy and safe. Take care of you and yours.

PS. Thank you for the comments that you have left - it is lovely to hear from you.

1 comment:

  1. YEAH, i have caught up. Unbeleivable. I love your travels. Reading it yesterday and then when i got home to sit and watch the box there was a doco of Katrina. What an adventure, i am so excited for you both. Keep posting your adventures and can't wait to see ALLLLL the pics. Did you get that quilt finished. thinking of you all x3 {{{hugs}}}