Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Savannah - Skidaway Island State Park

Before coming to Savannah, I had asked my friend Dawn for a recommendation of which place to use for our "camping" site. She recommended Skidaway Island State Park. Not only was it convenient to get into Savannah, it was also beautiful!

Our campsite
Patti checking out stuff on her phone while Dwayne was balancing on top of the picnic table to take a picture...
On the Big Ferry Trail

This time Dwayne was up on the observation tower while taking a picture of Patti in the marsh area
Sand crabs in the marsh

Close up and personal with a hermit crab - these guys were only about 1-2 inches across, Dwayne had his super telephoto lens

This is the same crab showing his left hook!

Marsh grasses

"Patti, Turn around so I can take your picture!"

Across the marsh

Dwayne taking pictures of the hermit crabs

Dawn Atkins Stanford Savannah Tour Company, Inc

In the past few years, I have reconnected with some childhood friends through Facebook.  Some of them are folks that I went to school with in 2nd-7th grade, when I attended Chickahominy Academy. This was a school that our parents started in the year that Jimmy was in 4th grade and I was in 2nd. The first two years of the school, it met at Rivers Edge Plantation over on the James River in Charles City County. They then built a school, I think it may have been barely into Henrico County. Jimmy and I both went there until we completed 7th grade and then each of us transferred to York Academy.

The group of folks who started out in that plantation house have some shared memories that make us close, even though it has been years since we've been together.  One of those folks was Dawn Atkins.

I let her know that we would be coming to Savannah, and asked her recommendation between a few parks - I'll do another post on how beautiful the park is where we're staying. But, she also offered to provide us with a "tour from someone who moved here and has come to love Savannah as home." WOW - what a tour!

The first place she took us was Isle of Hope - the street right along the waters edge is just breathtaking - no pictures to do it justice - suffice it to say that you need to take La Roche Avenue to W Bluff Drive and take Bluff all the way around to the end at some point when you visit Savannah - the water to the left and the houses to the right are gorgeous.

Then we made a quick stop at Wormsloe - Unfortunately we didn't see the sign telling us not to take a picture of the trees until I had already taken it -- so this is an illegal picture.... uh oh!  (I may need to join the witness protection program with Marty (Carl) and Irene (Mary) -- see "Cousins" post).

Wormsloe State Historic Site
 We then went into "Majestic Oaks" - and wow was its oak majestic! I think it took up a whole suburban lot. It reminded me of Banyan treens in Hawaii.
On Majestic Oaks Circle
On Majestic Oaks Circle
Then we got to visit with Dawn and Kelly's daughter, Savannah, at the best bakery in Savannah.  We got treats to go and had them after we got back to our motorhome in the evening - YUM!

We drove down Bull Street, allowing us to enjoy many of the squares in the city - so beautiful. We ended up on River Street for lunch. We found parking on one of the side alleys, and walked to Spanky's -- home of the original chicken fingers - for lunch. Another YUM! We saw some of the tugboats from the company that Kelly works for on the river while we were at lunch.

Huge yacht at the Marriott across the river

One of our neighbors at the campground had told us that the cobblestones in Savannah were from the ballast that British ships used when coming over to the US before the revolution - the ballast was thrown out on US shores so cotton could be carried back. The colonists used it for paving; the British wanted to tax them for recycling the trash.... another reason for the American revolution (it was over tea and recycling....).

Grade school friends!

Pecan Park Flea Market

Next door to the RV park where we were staying was the Pecan Park Flea Market. We decided that we should go over to check it out - it was an amazingly large flea market (we didn't take the cats - we didn't want them to bring back any fleas!). There was quite an assortment of "stuff" - I was able to stock up on items for next year's Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes!

Jacksonville and Jacksonville Beach

On Sunday, we had the opportunity to visit First Baptist Church Jacksonville, where our former FBC Dallas pastor, Mac Brunson, is now pastoring. It was great to hear him preach. His wife, Debbie, is currently in Moscow with her brother as he goes through a MS treatment - it sounds fascinating - you can read about it here: http://devoresingms.wordpress.com/

We also had the opportunity to meet up with another of my former co-workers and employees, Bob Bernard, and his wife, Chere'. We went to Gumbo Ya Ya's - which was delicious! Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture with them there!  Chere' has promised to send me a photo of the two of them soon, and I will add it to this post.

After lunch, Dwayne and I drove down to Jacksonville Beach just to look - it is a beautiful beach. I took a few pictures there:


One of our reasons for visiting Florida was to bring the genealogy research materials that we had brought from Aunt Libby's to Texas, to my cousin Marty (aka Carl) as he volunteered to be the curator of genealogy for our family (he is such a WONDERFUL cousin!). We had a great visit with him and his sweet wife, Irene (aka Mary):

and their sweet kitty, Lady (who also had a couple of names - I don't remember them!):

Since they have so many names, do you think they may be in the witness protection program???

Monday, October 27, 2014

"You know you're in trouble..."

As we drove from Columbus to Jacksonville, I was remembering when Dwayne and I met up with Mom in Orlando many years ago. We had arranged to get a timeshare trade there, and she drove down to meet us and stayed with us.

We went to the grocery store after Dwayne and I flew in; as we walked into the store, Mom said, "Now, I'm going to pay for this."

I thought, "Yeah, right..."

So, when I got to the checkout line, I gave my credit card to the checkout lady before Mom had a chance to do it. When she realized that I was paying for the groceries, she said, "Patricia Ann!!!"

The checkout lady said, "Uh oh - you're in trouble now."

When moms use both of your given names in a stern voice, you know you're in trouble...

Sunday, October 26, 2014


One of the things that I am looking forward to the most in our travels is being able to visit friends and family across the country. I mentioned that my former co-worker, Ed, lived in Columbus, so I contacted him and told him that we planned to go to Callaway Gardens, and asked if we could get together while Dwayne and I were in Columbus. It turned out that he and Melaine came up to have lunch with us at the Country Store, which overlooks Callaway Gardens and has a beautiful view.
We had such a nice time visiting and it was great to finally get to meet Melaine after hearing about her for so long.  She said that she would have recognized my voice from conference calls that she would hear while Ed was working at his home office!

Callaway Gardens - Birds of Prey show

One of the shows that was going on while we were at Callaway Gardens was their Birds of Prey show. They have a number of birds of prey (raptors) that are commonly found in that area of Georgia. For the show that we saw, there were two owls and a red-tailed hawk.

I think the first owl we saw was a "Barred Owl". She was in the care of Callaway Gardens because she had been raised by humans and had been "human imprinted" (so she would not know how to survive as an owl in the wild.

The next star of the show was a red-tailed hawk.

He flew fast and low over our heads multiple times, but neither Dwayne nor I got a picture. The hawk is at Callaway Gardens because he was injured by being shot by a chicken farmer who was protecting his chickens (which is evidently illegal...).

Finally, we saw what I think was a Barn Owl.

The tufts on the top of his head are just feathers, not ears.

He also flew right over our heads - compared to the hawk, he was nearly silent on the wing. I can't remember why he is at Callaway Gardens - all of their birds of prey are there because they cannot live in the wild.

Callaway Gardens - part 2 -- and memories of Chessy

While in Mr Cason's Garden, we came across information about persimmon trees. It reminded me of my pony Chessy - he was given to me when I was eight and taught me a LOT!

He LOVED persimmons. The farm I grew up on had a large persimmon tree in the middle of the "long pasture". When the persimmons were ripening, Chessy could always be found under that tree - I don't think any other animal on the farm had a chance to get any!  Chessy would have loved the big persimmons that I found in Mr Cason's Garden.
Information about persimmons

Fruit on the tree

Another shot of fruit on the tree

One that I picked up that was on the ground
I have to take a few moments to share some memories of Chessy.

When mom was pregnant with Jimmy, a man in the county told her that if she had a boy, he would give him a bottle of whiskey, but if it was a girl, he would give her a pony. I guess Jimmy got the bottle of whiskey, but when I was 8 years old, I got the pony, Chestnut, nicknamed Chessy. He was not a chestnut color - which is a reddish color with light mane and tail (like Secretariat). Chessy's coloring is hard to describe - in the summer, he would be a dark grey, but his winter coat was quite shaggy and lighter in color as I recall.

The first time I rode Chessy, we were in the "long pasture" (the one where the persimmon tree was), and as I recall, the whole family was there. I think we were about done for the day, and I rode Chessy through the gate from the long pasture into the barnyard area. I don't know what caused it, but Chessy decided to take off with me - he got the bit between his teeth and took off running, behind the "old house" (the Poplar Springs house where Jimmy and Regina now live), up the hill and down the other side. I was pulling on the reins with all of my eight-year old strength - I didn't know that I needed to "saw" the reins back and forth to get them out of his teeth. At some point, he decided to stop (no clue why he decided to stop either). I got off and started the long walk leading him back up to where the family was - sobbing as I walked. As I recall, Dad met up with us behind the Poplar Springs house - running after the pony and me. He saw me sobbing and demanded, "Are you hurt?"

"My pony ran away with me...."
"No but my pony ran away..."
"Get back on that pony."
"No Daddy, he ran away..."
I got back on Chessy and Dad led us back up to the long pasture. He knew that if I didn't get back on, I would always be afraid - so it was the right thing to do, even if my eight-year-old brain didn't think so!

When we got back to the long pasture, Dad got onto Chessy.  Chessy was a pony - small - Dad could probably touch the ground with his feet when he was astride Chessy.  Dad took him back through that same gate, and Chessy tried to take off again. But, Dad knew how to stop him (heck, he could have put his feet down to stop him!).

That was the first of many lessons Chessy taught me - ponies may be small in stature, but they are wily critters.  He would brush next to tree trunks to try to scrape my leg off his side. He would go under a large evergreen in our yard that had branches about a foot higher than his back to try to scrape me off. He took off with me many more times (though I eventually learned how to get the bit out of his teeth and get him stopped). Maybe partially because they are usually only ridden by inexperienced riders, ponies learn to get away with a LOT of stuff.

Another memory I have of Chessy, I can't really blame him for... when I was a kid, I was very allergic to poison ivy. Of course, there was a lot of it in the woods, and Chessy would get into it. I rode him bareback one time when he had evidently been rolling in poison ivy - I had on shorts - I ended up with a massive case of poison ivy on the insides of my legs -- ARGH it was bad!

Chessy lived out his years with us - I think Mr Lee brought him to us because the family who had him had outgrown a pony and he was not being well taken care of. After I was too big to ride him, he was still on the farm. The Kilduffs, our neighbors across the road, had a mare who wanted horse-companionship, and she would jump their fence to come over to visit ours. Nothing seemed to dissuade her. I think I was away at college at the time, but the decision was made to see if Chessy would satisfy the horse-companionship need - and he did! He kept the Kilduff's mare happy on their side of the road to the end of his days.

I was glad to see the persimmon tree at Callaway Gardens to remind me of Chessy!

Columbus, GA - beginning of Callaway Gardens

When I worked for IBM, one of my co-workers / employees, Ed McCain, lived at Columbus, GA. He would tell me about visiting Callaway Gardens, and it sounded so wonderful. So, we decided to stop for a couple of nights at Columbus, meet up with Ed and Melaine, and visit Callaway Gardens.

The RV park in Columbus was really nice - they were quite full as it was the weekend, so we could only get the 1/2 price Passport America rate for Thursday nigh, and we got the 10% off Good Sam rate for Friday night.

Miss Kitty really likes to enjoy the sunshine when it is coming in at our back window.

We went to Callaway Gardens when they opened to get good sunlight for pictures. We started at Mr Cason's Vegetable Garden.
Mr Cason's Vegetable Garden and the home of Victory Garden South

Some of the gardens

Chrysanthemums were all in bloom
We saw some folks working their plots

Garden areas

Evidently Victory Garden South is filmed here

In the Victory Garden South area

In the Victory Garden South area

In the Victory Garden South area

More of the community garden area

This appears to be the seed of the magnolia tree

More chrysanthemums

Patti took a break to study the map

Beautiful spot