Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Atlantic Ocean, Jekyll Island and Snowbirds

Location: Walkabout Camp & RV Park (el 10 ft); Woodbine, Georgia

all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 cell phone
click pictures to enlarge

I arrived at this campground in the early afternoon of Wednesday. It was a 240 mile tow which is longer than normal for me since I like to stay under 200 miles on moving days. I am only able to stay here for 2 days because everything is booked up. In fact, the next campground could only give me 3 days after I requested 7 days. All of the campground owners are saying it is due to the "snowbirds" going back north. The migration should be over by the end of April at which time all the campgrounds will be almost empty until they return in the late fall. This migration is largely confined to the Atlantic seaboard, so after the next campground, I'll be heading more in a westerly direction.

This small fifth wheel belonged to a
nice older couple from upper New York.
They were camped next to me at
Eastbank Campground. They have
been snowbirding in that camper for
23 years. 
The last sunset over Lake Seminole

Sunset from the last night at Eastbank

Campsite at Walkabout. It is very tight and cramped compared to the last campground.

I took a day trip to Jekyll Island today. It is a barrier island on the Georgia coast. It is famous for several things and has been on my list of things to see for a long time. Between 1888 and 1928 the island was the winter homes of the rich and famous. 
Lots of Spanish Moss draped trees on the island

I found this beach access point from the local soccer complex. I think it was part of the staging area for the movie Glory.

Nearing the end of the boardwalk

Almost deserted beach. The chairs belonged to a man and young girl. They were digging in the sand near the waters edge.

Deserted beach

"to the oceans white with foam". From the song God Bless America. The foam is formed from churned up dissolved organic matter. Doesn't sound good uh?

Another beach boardwalk on the north end of the island

The northern beach is a little more active

Even bicycles on the beach

One bench

Second bench

I could picture the rich and famous wandering around these trees long ago

One of the reconstructed house from the by gone ages.

The island was also the location of a secret meeting of the "First Name Club" which was 6 men who went to the island disguised as duck hunters. Their purpose was to put down on paper a new plan to organize the banking and monetary policies of the country. After a week they had developed the plan and submitted it to President Wilson and the Congress. Congress turned it down but Wilson used major parts of it the next year in his proposal to develop the current Federal Reserve System. It was approved by Congress and is essentially the same system in effect today. I won't go into the arguments for or against the FED and only mention it as an interesting fact. The Great Depression and World War 2 brought an end to the fancy life of the rich Yankees and Jekyll Island. The State of Georgia first condemned the island and then turned around and bought it for $675,000.00 in 1947 so they could turn it into a state park. 

It has some pretty beaches too which were almost deserted today.

Tomorrow is moving day. I'll be heading to a campground north of Savannah for 3 days.

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Playing With Time

Location: Eastbank Campground (el. 80 ft); Chattahoochee, Georgia

all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 Cell phone
(click pictures to enlarge)

I extended my stay at Hilltop until Monday morning due to the widespread rain on Sunday. It was a wise decision because the hosts here at Eastbank Campground said the weather was very bad on Sunday. The tow was 180 miles of easy interstate driving. I got a very early start and was on the road by 8:30 as I was anxious to be moving. I've been staying in places way too long over the last month and that doesn't seem to fit my style. I'll be moving more frequently from now on. To reward myself for such an early start, I stopped at a Cracker Barrel around 10:00 to enjoy a nice "sit-down" breakfast. It was good.

I got lucky with a very nice campsite
right on the waters edge

This is on the other side of the
campground. The sky was great after
all of the rains.

Looking out on the lake from the dam

Looking back at the campground from
the road along the dam. If you look
closely, you can see Liberty

Downstream of the dam. Only two
gates open. That is the powerhouse
to the right where the electricity  is
produced. The bank and steps were
lined with people fishing.

This is taken from the hill on the
western side of the dam. The spillway
is to the right and lock is in the middle.
There was a place with a clear view,
but I thought this looked cool with the
tree. :)
This is a very nice campground built by the U.S. Corps of Engineers. It sits on lower end of Lake Seminole with the Woodruff Lock and Dam just across the way. I was surprised to find out there is a navigation lock alongside the dam. I didn't realize the Apalachicola River was commercialized enough to warrant a lock. I was not surprised to see the electrical powerhouse with the dam. The dam was built during the late 1950's and just about every dam built during that time was a hydroelectric dam.  

This campground is in the extreme southwestern corner of Georgia right on the FL/GA state line. The boundary between eastern and central time zone runs down the middle of the lake so technically I'm in the eastern time zone now. But my cell phone, which is my official time keeper, keeps bouncing back and forth from eastern to central time. I guess I am camped within the margin of error of the GPS location. It's a good thing I don't have anything to do on a tight time schedule or I would be early or late, depending on which time my phone said it was. 

Besides the campground being along my eastern route, I thought there would be some good sunsets on the lake. Last night was a so-so sunset and my hopes are that tonight will be better. There wasn't anything special that I came here for except the campground looked nice on Google Earth. I will be moving on down the road Wednesday morning so tonight will be the last chance for a good sunset before I leave.

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Rain, Rain and Moving Day????

Location: Hilltop RV Park; Robertsdale, Alabama

This will be a short post. Mostly it is a "bookmark in time" for the blog. 

Tomorrow is moving day, Maybe. 

I have reservations at a Corps of Engineers Campround near Chattahoochee, Florida beginning tomorrow for 3 nights. I'm not sure I will make it though because thunderstorms are predicted for today through tomorrow evening. The cold front that passed through 2 days ago that brought heavy wind and rain has decided to back up and is now coming back through this area as a warm front. It seems like it has stormed every other day for the last month or so with some being pretty big hitters too. I've been lucky in that all the hail storms and tornadoes have missed me. The wind, although rocking Liberty at times, has not cause any damage. I don't remember a time when there has been so many passing storms.

I've towed Liberty in bad weather several times in the past but don't like it. I've traveled in between two weather fronts with storms in front and back of me all the while keeping an eye on the weather radar. I've outraced bad storms and won each race with one being too close to call. Fortunately, there are no high winds or tornadoes predicted for tomorrow, just rain at varying intensities.

I like the rain. To me, it is natures way of cleaning the air and land. Even heavy storms with thunder and lightening is fine with me as long as no one gets hurt. 

I will check the weather in the morning and decide if I should go or stay. I hope it is a go even if it is a little "edgy".

I leave you with a picture from one year ago. It was my first day on the Oregon coast and it was filled with many "wow" moments. There was a storm brewing out to sea on that day as well.  

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.  


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Alabama; Battleships, Beaches and Forts (part 2)

Location: Hilltop RV Park (el 150 ft); Robertsdale, Alabama

All pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 Cell Phone
(click pictures to enlarge)

I'm still in Alabama and will be here until this weekend. I'm having more difficulty than usual finding campgrounds that meet my needs along the path to Charleston. A lot of the campgrounds are still filled with snowbirds. I was lucky I was able to get into the one I'm camped at now since it completely filled most days. I've talked with the office people and they say the snowbirds will begin to filter back north beginning in April. I have called looking for reservations to several parks but they had no vacancies. I was able to find a Corp of Engineers park for 3 nights beginning this Sunday. It is located on the Alabama/Georgia border. A blog reader named Steven posted a comment to the blog recommending the campground, Thanks Steven. The next place I have reservation is in south-east Georgia but instead of the 4 nights I wanted, they only had 2. I jumped on those 2 nights. I'm still looking for something around Charleston and I'm sure I'll find something soon. 

I drove along the beach road in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. There are several spring breakers visiting the area but not an extreme amount. Mostly they were walking along the roads and enjoying the beaches. 
This is one of the public beaches in Gulf State Park

This is another beach in the same State Park.
The temperature was in the upper 60's but
people were still enjoying the beach.

The beach is next to a long fishing pier.
I bet these beaches are jam packed in the

One place I liked due to the large amount of people watching was the Gulf State Park Pier. This pier was built in 2009 after the original one, which was built in 1968, was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. At 1540 feet long and 20 feet wide, this new one is 700 feet longer and 16 feet wider than the original one. I arrived a just a little bit after 12 noon and the place was busy. The parking lot was probably 90% full so I thought the pier would be overloaded with people but I was wrong. The parking lot also serves the public beach area either side of the pier. There still were a lot of fishermen trying their luck but I only saw about 2 or 3 fish being caught in the couple of hours I lingered around. The cost for a non-fisherman on the pier is $3.00 but as I was pulling my money out of my pocket, the lady asked if I was active military or a vet. I said yes to the vet part so she surprised me by responding with "then it is free". I told her I didn't have proof and didn't mind paying but she said it didn't matter, put a stamp on my hand, thanked me for serving and sent me on my way. It was a nice surprise.
This made me a little sad. The two kids sitting on the pier are obviously bored silly. I'm not sure those are going to be pleasant memories to look back on when they get older.

This is from the end of the pier looking back towards shore. Most had fancy, I don't know what to call them. Maybe "fishing wagons"? Each was a little different with their own special things. 

This will satisfy as the "thinking bench" picture. :)

There was a pelican that interacted with the people on the pier. The first interaction I saw was when the bird came gliding in for a landing on the handrail. He sailed right along the pier over the people. Of course he didn't use the public restroom available on the pier, instead he bombed a guy. After seeing the guy take it in stride and start to laugh, all the people around him joined in. The pelican was looking for some free food and received some. 
The guy without a shirt is the one who the pelican bombed. It was a good reflection on him that he took it in stride and laughed about it. There are a lot of people who would have cut up and showed their a$$ if it had happened to them.

The pelican was waiting for this woman to catch another fish since she had just caught one. He waited for a little while and the lady just ignored him. I think she was used to him doing that.

He gave up waiting on the woman and decided his luck would be better by the fish cleaning station. 

One fisherman too pity on the bird and gave it one of his fish. The pelican immediately swallowed the fish in one gulp. 
More rain is predicted for later in the week and this weekend. I hope I don't have to hitch up and move in the rain, but the percentage is looking at about 40%. 

I tried going to Fort Morgan but there was water everywhere from a storm that I had recently passed through. I don't know if I'll try again before leaving this area. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Alabama; Battleships, Beaches and Forts (part 1)

Location: Hilltop RV Park (el 150 ft); Robertsdale, Alabama

All pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 Cell Phone
(click pictures to enlarge)

I was set up in the campground by the early afternoon of last Wednesday with enough time to find a grocery store. I had a hankering (for my Yankee friends, substitute 'craving') for a good steak. I found out long ago that finding a good steakhouse depends on having gone there yourself or based on a recommendation from someone you trust. Since I'm on the road and don't know anyone within 100's of miles, the best steak I can find is one I cook myself. 
Zucchini and mushrooms are
in the skillet with some olive
oil/butter and different kinds
of Mrs. Dash spices. One
steak is marinating in a red
wine vinegrette which was
a first for me. I couldn't tell
the difference between the two.

The grocery store I was lucky enough to find was an old-style Piggly Wiggly in the little town of Loxley, about 5 miles away. I forgot to get any pictures of the outside or in the inside, but based on its appearance, it has to have been there for 50 or more years. It is a "Cost+10%" store which is rare this days. I found a package of two New York Strip steaks for $8.00 and no, they were not on sale. I liked knowing that I was paying a fair "mark-up" on the items I was buying instead of wondering how much profit the store was making. Too many times, in too many stores I get the feeling I'm being taking advantage of, and not in a good way.

Although there have been thunderstorms here the last couple days, I was able to go the the U.S.S. Alabama and its memorial park on Thursday. I may should have waited because the humidity must have been 100% in advance of the storms. After climbing up and down the ships ladders I was sweating like a crooked politician on election day.

I was surprised by the quality of the different memorials in the battleship park. I climbed all over the battleship but it wasn't as exciting as it should have been. Maybe that is because of the time I spent on ship during my time in the Navy. I thought the ships ladders would have been bigger on such a large ship. Some were a little small for a fat overweight husky fella like myself, but I was able to get through OK. 
She was commissioned in 1942.

This is from the stern looking forward. Those
are 3 of the 16 inch guns.

This is from the bridge area looking down
on the bow. Those are 6 more of the 16 inch guns.
This is one of the armor piercing shells for the 16 inch guns.
It weighs about 2,700 pounds and when shot, can travel 21 miles at a speed of about 3X the speed of sound.
I got this picture and the next one from the Internet, thanks to the Navy. Gives new meaning to the term, "guns a blazing", uh?

This picture shows all 9 guns being fired at the same time. This was not normally done, because the air turbulence created by adjacent shells would affect the accuracy of the firing. Notice the side-ways wake of the ships bow. Sir Issac Newton would have been proud in that the picture proves his 3rd law of motion in that "for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction".

The memorial park surrounding the battleship was very nice. It was a little hard to follow since there wasn't a smooth flow from one memorial to the next. 
This plaque is to all the submarines and their crews that that never came home and are "still on patrol".

World War Two memorial

War memorial with the battleship in the background

The memorial on the right is for fall of the twin towers during the 9/11 attack.

The Alabama version of the Vietnam Wall with the names of the Alabama people lost during the war. I was honored to be able to see The Wall in Washington D.C. and it is a humbling experience.

I have seen a lot of war memorials all over this country, but this a first for me. It is for the War Dogs and their handlers who were lost during action. Excellent !!

Nice bench to end the tour. From the view on the bench you can see the War Dogs, The Wall, Air Superiority, and the big Battleship. 
It was a good day even with the high humidity. I didn't go onboard the submarine that was on display because I have done so before.

I think I'll head to the beaches today to see how they look after the storms that have been passing through. There should be a couple forts too.

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.