Monday, June 1, 2015

Chapter 3 - Savannah to Stone Mountain to Nashville

Savannah to Stone Mountain:
Our drive to Stone Mountain from Savannah was uneventful and took us just over five hours but here again the traffic seemed to be unusually heavy. Who knows, perhaps it just seems that way as I am getting older and definitely not accustomed to driving a car that feels like it is dragging an elephant. Our RV spot at Stone Mountain Park was reserved in advance so that there was no need for us to rush although human nature is such that we were always in a hurry to end the stress of driving. Once we arrived however, we quickly realized that it was a good thing that we had made reservations as there was a fifteen minute wait just to get through the main gate into the park where they were happy to collect from us a $15 entry fee. This fee was somewhat unexpected but upon entering the park we understood the need for the access fee.  Stone Mountain Park was huge, immaculate, full of activities, and it was beautifully landscaped and obviously well maintained.  In addition to the camping park, there was a 36-hole golf course, a hotel, amusement rides, restaurants, hiking trails, a scenic railroad train, and a cable car ride to the top of a huge stone mountain that rises 825 feet above the surrounding area.  On the side of the rock mountain was a huge carving of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis. If one had to rough it at a campground, this was sure the place to do it.

The photo to the left shows our little travel trailer nestled under the trees within the Stone Mountain Park with Cabo in Kathy's arms resting comfortably under our awning.  This is the life.  No worries, right? Unfortunately for the author of this blog his only worry was that the internet service in the park was circa 1990, that is, much too slow to download photos or much else, plus I later discovered that all of the photos of the park that I took with my old camera could not be downloaded.  Hence the photos in this portion of the blog have been stolen from the internet. Nevertheless they clearly show what a scenic place is Stone Mountain Park.

We spent Saturday morning, May 30th (which just happens to be my birthday) driving and walking through the park with the highlight of our morning being our standing on the viewing lawn looking at the side of the mountain and the massive carving. The sun was shinning and the sky was blue and it was just incredible to realize that back in the 1920s a group of men hanging on scaffolding on the side of the mountain had carved such a spectacular monument to their southern heritage. It does not have the notoriety of Mount Rushmore but it is every bit as inspiring. We were delighted to have had the opportunity to see such a sight.

I mentioned earlier that there are two fabulous looking 18-hold golf courses here at Stone Mountain Park and each time we drove to and from our campsite we drove by some of its fairways and greens. Finally it was just too much for me to endure so we stopped our car at the clubhouse and Kathy ran in and picked up a score card. A poor souvenir I agree for a course that I never played, but this will just have to do since without clubs and the necessary time, no other choices were available. The photograph to the right shows a very common site within the park; the stone mountain dominates the views from almost every angle even from the course. When we ran out to pickup a few things from the local Walmart, we could easily see in the distance the large stone mountain climbing high into the sky. The next morning, Sunday May 31st, we packed up early and around 7:30 AM before almost everyone in the park had risen including the many little kids, we drove out of the park headed for Nashville, 260 miles to the northwest in the direction of Oregon.

Stone Mountain to Nashville:    
It was natural for us to assume that a Sunday drive on the Interstate would mean fewer cars and fewer 18-wheelers on the road.  We were right on this assumption - there were around 10% fewer vehicles which was hardly a noticeable difference.  Still crowded.  There were also two separate accidents on the road to Nashville although each accident delayed us only around 10 minutes or so each. The first accident involved an overturned truck that was hauling tomatoes. The delay was caused almost entirely by slow moving rubber-neckers who were staring at the tomatoes that were scattered all over the side of the road.  The second accident involved a burning car also off the road and here again every car had slowed down to gawk and watch the action. After all, how many of us have seen tomatoes everywhere and a flaming car all within an hour. The drive through the mountains south of Nashville was beautiful much like the view we remembered from our Blue Ridge Georgia home. Eventually we arrived in the country music capital of the south, Nashville, and thanks to our Garmin we easily located our new home at the Two Rivers Campground located about two miles north of Gaylord Opryland Resort ("Home of American Music") and Opry Mills, Tennessee's largest mall. We immediately promised our dog Cabo not to worry.  We would not be visiting either location and leaving him at home alone. Kathy and I had visited Nashville in the past as I had supervised the construction of a large apartment complex here in the city around 15 years earlier and we had visited most of the major tourist attractions and we doubted that much had changed. The above photo shows our travel home parked at its latest location.  Our plan is to spend three relaxing days and nights in Nashville which will afford us some extra time to restock our supplies and do the laundry.  More about our Nashville visit to follow in our next chapter.

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