05/05/19 Rogersville, AL

DAY #197

Another lazy day in the Tennessee Valley of North Alabama. The rain stopped in the early morning, and by noon the clouds were slowly beginning to break up and unlike yesterday, there was no forecast for anymore rain. The temperature has dropped as well and the humidity, well it’s still here.

It is a very pretty place to be.

Most of the weekenders have left and the park is once again quiet, really quiet. It feels like the area around me is mine alone, now that’s how I like it.

Actually did something. I’ve accumulated quite the collection of bugs on the front of the truck. I had some ‘bug remover’ spray, so I used that along with a bit of elbow crease and viola, the bugs are gone. Afterwards, I found a new (and shorter) route into Rogersville while doing a little meandering.

Kind of neat seeing the corn this high so early in the season.

Not a very exciting day, but some days (or in my case most days) tend to be like that. C’est la vie. (that’s it, that’s all the french I know).

05/04/19 Rogersville, AL

DAY #196

Today was a washout. Woke up (again fairly early, a good sign) and it was raining outside. The rain continued until around noon, and then only the clouds and gloom remained. The forecast was for more rain (at times heavy) to come back into the area by late afternoon.

After spending the morning watching TV (old western TV shows), I headed into Athens. Went to Walmart around 3:30 pm to get a brush that I plan on using to help get the bugs off the front of the truck (and there are a whole lot of them), and some more pods that you put into the ‘black water’ tank to help with odor and to break down the waste.

Coming back it began to rain once again and when I got just outside of Rogersville (about five miles from the campground) whoa, the sky’s opened up and it went from a steady rain to a downpour, it was so intense I had to stop and sit on the side of the road. One good thing about the particular four-lane road I was on is that it actually had a shoulder, something that’s a rare commodity in these parts. Once it let up, I headed out and made it back to the campground.

The rain continued throughout the rest of the evening and it was still raining as of 1:00 am. No leaks noted in the trailer and for that, I continue to be so grateful.

I got my excuse for not doing anything today. Oh well, I guess in life, a little rain must fall.

05/03/19 Rogersville, AL

DAY #195

Spent the first part of the day watching TV (The Peoples Court-twice), and lounging around although I did wake up fairly early (10:00 am). It was a warm, humid (not a big fan of the humidity), and cloudy day, with a thunderstorm rolling through the area in the early morning hours. Along with some rain, there were a couple of claps of thunder that almost knocked me out of the bed, they were soooo loud.

Watching the Peoples Court and Judge Mathis on TV I couldn’t get over all the commercials from lawyers trying to drum up business, all promising big payouts if you’ve been involved in an accident. It was one commercial after another, each one seeming to try to out do the other. I’m beginning to see why our car insurance rates are so high.

When I stepped out in the morning for a quick what’s up, the people across from me were gone and the campground (at least around me) was really quiet.

My initial impression of the campground is positive. The site I have affords a nice cushion of space on three sides although the sites across the road are a bit close. I can’t quite figure out the site across and to the left of me. It’s so close to the road that when the campers staying there put their awning out on their trailer, it goes almost half way across the road.

The bathroom/shower is just up the hill from my site and seems to be in pretty good shape. TV reception is spotty with the cursed fade in and out reception, but at least the Verizon service is decent.

The campsite sits on the banks of the Tennessee river. I got to see a barge floating down it this afternoon.

Not the greatest photo, I blame the weather.

Saw the female cardinal along with a couple of squirrels and a robin. It never ceases to give me a smile just watching them as they go about their business.

Spent the majority of the day working to catch up on the blog. When I add a lot of photos to a day’s blog, it really becomes a slow process, especially since my internet connection using my hot-spot is at such a low rate of transfer speed.

I did go into Rogersville, which is only a couple of miles once you get outside the park and picked up some fast food from the local McDonald’s. When I left to go into town, I noticed that the park had really filled up with the weekenders. Driving the park road both out and when I came back, saw a number of male cardinals (they are so darn cute) and quite a few deer. Coming back I also saw a skunk just rambling along about thirty feet from the road. first skunk (alive) I’ve seen and it was a noteworthy sighting.

It started raining sometime after midnight and I forgot that I had left my window open in the truck. I went outside to shut it and as I reached the truck door, I saw something on the ground next to the truck. I’m not sure what it was since I didn’t have my glasses on but whatever it was it moved and moved fast as I just about stepped on it. I think the only thing that moved faster was me. Curious what it was.

Tomorrow is forecast to continue being gloomy with rain. I’ll adjust my activities depending on the weather. Maybe I’ll have an excuse to do nothing.

05/02/19 Rogersville, AL.

DAY #194

Weather is pretty warm and man, it’s humid. Wind and rain blew through around noon, but it came and went pretty fast and poof, the humidity was back.

I was stretched out on the bed watching TV when outside the trailer came a female cardinal. It seemed she just wanted to check on me and when she saw I was doing OK, off she went. Such a cool sight to see.

I did sleep in late today since I had little sleep the past two days. My sleep pattern continues to be out of sync from the norm, staying up until 4:00 am or later and then not getting up until 12:00 pm or even later. Gets kind of hard to do things when you start the day so late. The last couple of days I got up early and that seemed to help me fall asleep at a decent time last night and woke up fairly early this morning. I just need to get up when I first wake in the AM and not listen to that little voice encouraging me to fall back asleep.

I finally did get up and moving around in the late afternoon, taking a trip into Athens, AL, to do some shopping at Walmart and Publix (Yes, I was so happy they had one). Athens, is approx. 18 miles from the park and it’s a four-lane highway to get there. Going into Athens, you don’t feel (at least for me) like you’re in a rural area what with all the business’s and what not along each side of the road. There’s just enough fields, beginning to show the crops sprouting to make the drive enjoyable (for me). Traffic in both directions was heavy.

I’m getting the feeling again that once inside the park, everything is honky-dorky, outside, not quite as much.

05/01/19 Pine Mountain, GA-Rogersville, AL

DAY #193

Another early start, and another long day on the road (at least for me it seems long). I’m going to miss this place. The area is so beautiful in it’s views and majestic trees. Visiting the FDR complex turned out to be a very moving experience. The area had given me some very solid vibes, and the campground has been everything one could ask for. I’m so glad and thankful that I had the opportunity to visit and spend some time here.

Leaving was uneventful save for one incident. I had stopped to throw away some trash and I decided to just stop on the road since going into the lot (with the trailer) where the dumpster was located would have been more of a hassle. My thinking was, what the heck, it’s 9:00 am and there’s no one else around the campground, and since it’s going to take less than two minutes to do this, I”ll just take the easy route and stop on the road.

No sooner had I got out of the drivers side and opened the passenger side to collect the trash bags when along comes a truck behind me. In addition to the truck, along comes some guy on a bike who proceeds to make the comment ‘nice place to stop.’ Damn it I thought, I could have stopped and sat in the truck blocking the road for an hour and no one would come behind me, but no, stop the truck for a couple of minutes to throw the trash away and these bugs come out of nowhere, it drives me FREAKIN CRAZY. I know that I need to learn to just let it go. As long as I act in consideration to others, I’ve done my part and if they have an issue, than it’s on them and not me. Hey, I’m still learning and it’s a stumbling path right now at best, but I’ll keep trying until I get it.

Afterwards, I’m at the dump site just down the road emptying the black & grey tanks when the guy on the bike rides by me. He makes the comment about no one being there until you stop, to which I responded (and I know I took the wrong tact on this) why did you say ‘nice place to stop’? He said what? To which I asked him again (admittedly somewhat challenging) why he said that. He just waved me off and rode away. Lesson to be learned: Just let it go.

The drive to the next destination; Joe Wheeler State Park outside Rogersville, AL went well. The scenery was immensely enjoyable throughout Georgia, what with it’s winding and twisty roads going up and down hills, although it is more involved and therefore more fatiguing being behind the wheel.

Hit a straight stretch and able to get this photo.

Coming into Alabama and especially the Decatur, AL, area, the landscape slowly began to transition. While still hilly and tree covered it felt more industrial and more developed. Decatur especially with it’s large complexes and chemical operations. I think being on the Tennessee River had a lot to do with that. For me, I was getting a less rural and more urban vibe.

I made it to the campground or so I thought. I found a campground where the app said there should be one, but it was not the one where I had made my reservations for. This one was located just after crossing one of the dams created by the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority). fortunately there was a very nice women (not sure if she was a campsite host, kind of seemed like it) who directed me to the correct campground which was about ten miles away.

Found the right place and checked in. The site was nice, it was tucked in to the side of a hill with lots of old growth trees, and a pleasant view of the river. The sites were pretty much on par with other campgrounds as far as space went. I was satisfied with what was going to be home for the next eight days.

Verizon service was decent, and while there were a number of OTA stations, the reception on the majority of them would fade in and out. Hey, I’ll just have to rough it (what a light weight).

Yea, I think this is going to work out quite well.

04/30/19 Pine Mountain, GA

DAY #192

THIS DAY IS CURRENTLY WAITING FOR SUFFICIENT UPLOAD CAPABILITY. STAY TUNED.

Last day at F.D. Roosevelt State Park, and the last day on the journey in Georgia. The park has been a wonderful place to base for the last week and driving/exploring through the mountains of this region has just been so special. Georgia has somewhat surprised me. I had always envisioned it as a land of flat landscape filled with cotton, and peanut fields, interspersed with peach and pecan groves. Instead what I found was lots and lots of trees along with rolling hills.

Today I headed to a place that maybe would give me a little of what I thought the state was about. I headed down to Plains, Georgia to see what it had to offer and to visit the farm that Jimmy Carter grew up on. Before getting to Plains, I did a side visit to Camp Sumter, also known as Andersonville, an infamous Confederate Prisoner of War camp.

Andersonville was in operation from February 1864 to April 1865. The encampment was meant to hold 10,000 prisoners but in actuality it held as many as 31,600 solders at one time. All together in the twelve months of operation, 45,000 solders spent time at the prison. Of that number, over 13,000 died there. There is a national cemetery adjacent to the prison that holds the graves of those who died.

A re-creation of what the shelters were like.
The area between the prison wall and fence is the ‘kill zone.’ If you crossed into that area you would be shot dead.
Home to up to 30,000 union solders.
The posts closest to the road showed where the walls of the prison were. the inner posts signified the dead posts from which you could not pass.

04/29/19 Pine Mountain, GA

DAY #191

Got up and went outside this morning and whoa, thought the crowds had thinned out yesterday, today I felt like I was the only one in the campground, which isn’t a bad thing.

Today was designated laundry day so after gathering my things, I was off to Manchester and the nearest laundry. Found the place and did my laundry, pretty uneventful chore. Afterwards I thought I’d take some more cash out of the ATM since tomorrow is the last day before the card expires and dies. Stopped at the same place as yesterday and surprise, it did not work. I thought what the heck (maybe not the word I used) is going on and preceded to call the number that I had saved from the other day (when the card was blocked) and asked what was going on. The woman on the phone was really nice (which made me feel somewhat foolish since I wasn’t as nice), after checking, she assured me the card was still working and perhaps the ATM just didn’t have enough cash and suggested trying another one. I thanked her and decided to make it as productive as possible by combining errands. I needed to get some groceries so off I went, destination Columbus, GA, Going to Columbus was a forty minute drive where I could stop at Publix (I must really like this place to drive that far) and hopefully another ATM machine. It was another super day, even a bit on the hot side with the temperature in the upper 80’s, and I saw it as an opportunity to check out some more of the area. Columbus is a pretty big city so I only stayed on the fringe of it. It was getting into rush hour and I’ve learned that’s not a good time to drive around seeing the sites.

Finally was able to find a ATM. At first I checked for one on the iPad map app and it showed one only 600′ from my location. Great I thought, I can do both things in one swoop. After looking (and I really did look thoroughly) I couldn’t find the damn machine, so I looked up and found another one 1.6 miles away and away I went. Eureka, not only did I find it but it actually worked. Once again, I was at peace with the world (at least until the next time something doesn’t go exactly my way).

Took a leisurely drive back to the campground and found a few campers had come in during the day, not quite so alone anymore but still very quiet and peaceful.

The master bedroom (OK, the only bedroom).

I should mention the frogs singing at night down by the lake. It’s like a symphony of nature, so cool to hear.

04/28/19 Pine Mountain, GA

DAY #190

Slept in late today (gee, that hasn’t happened before has it?) and when I went outside, the place looked deserted. It seems everyone who had come for the weekend had headed out. It was kind of a strange feeling seeing the campground so quiet, so suddenly.

The big adventure today was going into Warm Springs to take a few photos, and then off the Manchester, GA to take out some more cash from the ATM. The other day when I tried to use an ATM while in Valley, AL, the damn thing won’t work and I had to call to get the block removed, I am thankful that I was able to get it unblocked.

On the way to Manchester I was able to get off road again for a short ways, got to see Georgia in the raw.

Didn’t need to worry about losing touch with civilization, came across a couple of places where people had dumped their garbage….SMH!
As much as I enjoy going down these roads, it is a reassuring feeling when you hit pavement again.

After successfully using the ATM (yea), I decided to take a meandering way back to the campground. Along the way I went through a couple of small towns and through the ghosts of the old buildings, catch a glimpse of what life was like once upon a time.

Some shots of Talbotton, GA
Talbot County Courthouse.

Another glorious day in the hills and forests of Georgia.

04/27/19 Pine Mountain, GA

DAY #189

Another super-terrific day at the campsite. the weather was just about perfect and I was enjoying it immensely. Quite a few more campers than during the week but except for the screams of a few kids (and hey, kids will be kids), it still remains a splendid place to hang out.

I just marvel at the size of these trees. These lucky kids have escaped the ax and chainsaw and have grown to be magnificent examples of all they can be.

I wanted to head over and check out the warm springs treatment pool that FDR used after contracting polio, finishing up my Roosevelt experience.

How the pools originally looked.
This first pool was originally covered by a glass roof.
View from the middle pool.
The spring that would fill the pool with 88 degree water.
The far pool
The changing room/
An iron lung. Not related to the pool but a device that many polio victims were all too familiar with.

It was an interesting place to visit. You need to let your imagination loose but once you do, you can envision what the pool was like in the day.

I think spring is fast becoming my favorite season.

A couple of photos taken from the area on the trip back to the campground.

Another full and satisfying day in the book, I can’t say it enough, I’m a fortunate guy..

04/26/19 Pine Mountain, GA

DAY #188

Day two of the visit to FDR’s ‘Little White House.’

The ‘Little White House.’
outside the entrance to the kitchen.
Icebox
Should have taken a photo of the note posted (Oops). Something to look forward to if you visit the residence.
The chair in which the President was sitting when felled by a stroke.
Looking out from the front door of the residence.
It’s said that the scratch marks on the lower woodwork to the right of the door was caused by the Roosevelt’s dog.
The doorway to the veranda
The view looking out from the veranda.

What impressed me so much in visiting the ‘Little White House’ and the compound, was how modest it was/is in it’s accommodations. This was a wealthy man, the President of the United States, yet this residence was/remained such a simple place.

From the FDR residence, it was off to view some exhibits centered around Roosevelt’s last day, his death, and his legacy.

This is the flag that was flying over the compound on the day FDR died.

FDR’s final speech.

Switch board.

The final steps I took in the compound was the walkway of state stones and flags.

Being from Minnesota, this stone and flag stood out for me.

I enjoyed immensely my time at the ‘Little White House.’ While FDR was in no way a perfect person (he had his flaws as we all do) he led this nation through difficult and trying times. First, through the Great Depression and then the Second World War. He was more than a politician, he was a statesman, someone who got things done. This visit only heighten my respect for the man, and left me feeling honored that I was able to get a closer glimpse of his life.