Thursday, March 28, 2002

The Tour, 2002, Part 9

March 24, 2002

On the Road Again - - - - -

We drive about 240 miles, no wind to speak of, bright, blue skies, nice, except for all the crazies we see every time we hit the road.  Truckers driving way too close to cars, heavens, we see them with less than one car length between bumpers, very scary.  We stop at a tourist trap called “South of the Border” which is one mile south of the South Carolina/North Carolina state line.  Gas was 30 cents a gallon more at their gas station, I DON’T THINK SO!  We walked around one of the stores, filled with tourist junk, did not buy.  We were going to eat in one of the restaurants, but the line was long, and after a minute in line, we left, went to the trailer and fixed sandwiches.

We are in Selma, North Carolina.  As we thought, the campground is noisy, very noisy.  We have dinner, go out and do a little shopping.  There is a new lawn and garden place near here that caught our attention from the expressway.   They have lots of statuary, plants, bird bathes, lawn furniture.  Very interesting place.  Then we “hit” a outlet type store, found a yorkie T-shirt for both of us, and some books for the twins.  Back at the trailer I did some more input and now it is off to zzzzzzzzz land.

March 25, 2002

Spend the morning doing showers, getting a “to do” list for North Carolina Library and Archives.

Arrive Library and Archives about noon, find the Archives closed, for it is Monday, but I have enough things to check over to work in the Library for the 3 hours we have today.  Man finds my parents in the 1951 directory of Raleigh.  He also finds the name of my dad’s employer, address, etc.  Also finds an obituary for Charlee.  I do follow up work on the Bowen clan and try a lead (that does not pan out) for the Patrick or Fitzpatrick clan.  Also do a little work for Karen.  (Found a marriage for her, at least a marriage that is not on her printout of her family.)

At 3 we head for Durham for an early dinner with my cousins Robin and Linda, Robin’s husband Don, their parents, Charlie and Doise.  We met at a seafood restaurant, and the food was great, and wowie, was there a lot of it!  And the service was good.  We had a nice visit and a nice meal.

March 26, 2002

A full day at the Archives, I hit the floor running, with my “wish” list and that of Karen’s.  Karen got her primary wish, and a couple of other goodies.  I marked off all the entries on my list, and found a few other things as well.  Some of the documents I wanted no longer exist.  They did about 120 years ago when they were extracted from the originals.  Over the next 100 to 120 years, they have disappeared.  Very sad, a huge hunk of North Carolina history, now only recorded in extracted form, in books, and the rest, missing.  Thankfully, someone did those extractions.

I did find proof of Clifton Bowen, Sr. and Clifton Bowen, Jr, his son.  I have never seen any document that stated there were actually TWO Clifton’s.   But I found one!   I did the genealogists happy dance today!!

The staff in the Archives are fabulous, even Man comments several times about how helpful they are.  This has been a great experience.

I do a little email in the library before we leave.

March 27, 2002

Grooming time, Abby and Cappy get bathes, Tilly and Gallagher get combed out.  We are going to spend the afternoon and evening with Karen Dent in her Wilson, North Carolina home.  We get to her place at 2 and have a nice visit, ooo and ahhhh over the dogs, and the puppies.  Her significant other, Jim, home from work, and we go out to dinner at Bill’s Bar-be-que.  Food was good (oh, wow, we are on a roll now, several restaurants in a row with good food!).  We had a wonderful visit, thanks Jim for dinner, thanks Karen for a great day!

March 28, 2002

Time to move to Richmond Virginia.  We are not sorry to leave the campground.  The owner is a very nice man, whose wife is dying of cancer. But the road noise is horrid.  We have never camped that close to a interstate.  I mean we were close.

We drive north on I 95, uncertain of what campground we are headed for, so at our lunch stop we drag out the campground book.  We find a reference to a state campground with 65 full hookup campsites.  This sounds very good, as we prefer full hookups while traveling.  I hope to groom dogs, and clean the trailer, including the shower stall.

We head for the campground, after calling to verify that there are sites available.  It is a pretty place, but we find that the campground book is WRONG!  No full hookups, no sewer.  This means, no cleaning, no dog bathing and we must take showers in the bath houses.

I need to call the Library of Virginia to determine if they are open on Friday (Good Friday), Saturday, or Monday.  I try the phone at the campground office, it will not take the coins, they tell me that means the coin box is full.  Next we drive down to the picnic area of the campground where they tell me there is another phone.  And there is, and it takes my $$ but then it makes soooooo much horrid loud noise, I cannot hear anything but, and I lose my $$ and don’t get through.  Now, we must drive to find another phone.  It, like the first, refuses to take my coins.  By now, I am pissed, to say the least.  Man finally gets out his calling card and finally gets the phone call through, I find that the library will not be closed at all.  That is good news!

We do a supply run at Wal-Mart, which was drastically needed, we were out of a lot of stuff.  Back at the trailer we cook hot dogs and sausages and I start a panic review of what I would like to try to find at the Library of Virginia.  I manage to take the “to do” list from about 6 items to 3.5 pages in a matter of a few hours.  Whew, will print it out in the morning.

Our campsite is near a wet spot, small pond, very pretty.  The sites are not so large here, but there is a huge amount of room between sites.  The “peepers” are peeping here.  Wow, are they LOUD!  They will sing until about 4 AM!

Saturday, March 23, 2002

The Tour, 2002, Part 8

March 19, 2002

Well, we certainly are lazy, after a very slow morning, we finally got away, and went to the library for a while, the email is horrible here, they have blocks on most of the computers and won’t let you use the others for email.  I end up very frustrated with the entire situation, I cannot access AOL at all, but we cheat when Man is on one of the “research” computers and finally get to AOL, nothing important, except for one email from my cousin, Robin, planning a visit in Durham.

We make a short trip to Sandy Dam Church Cemetery to look over the burials of Remley and Grant families.  I suspect that Rebecca Grant might be Rachael, but sadly I will discover, this is not so, so the search for Rachael continues.

We go back to the trailer and just do, well, NOT much! The weather is fabulous, warm, not humid, slight breeze, perfect.  We sit outside for a long time, just enjoying.

March 20, 2002

Warm, well, close to hot.  Clear skies, great weather.  We decide to go to Charleston for the day.  It is “shorts” weather.  And “hat” weather.  We do the Slave Market, lunch at Tommy Condon’s, where we ate last year, walked around, semi-lost (no map in hand, just doing this on memory and sense of direction) and do more market, and then stop so that Man can had have a bowl of “She-Crab Soup”, reportedly only made in the Charleston area.  I had the best root beer float I have had in years.  We purchase some Charleston Green paint for my Charleston bench and find some raw peanuts for Karen.  They are dried, and they told us you have to soak them, then boil them, hope you will be able to use them Karen.  On the way back to the trailer we stop and get a “Bessinger’s” pork sandwich to go, for our dinner.  Not sure, but I think we might have gone to Charleston to indulge in FOOD! I did purchase a doll, a little “mamie, black doll”.  

Back in Walterboro, Paul Mears, married to Margaret Remley, and family researcher stops by for a visit.  Much to my surprise, he brings along a folder of Remley data.  Thanks Paul, we fully enjoyed our short visit.  Paul tells me something about the Remley family reunion, and the gossip (horror story), about the gal who was supposed to publish a Remley family book.  Seems she took the deposit money, did not publish and disappeared.  She is the same gal that I spoke with on the phone (years ago), who was so rude to me.  No wonder!    Paul also tells us about his brother-in-law, Ted, who works as a manager on a plantation SE of Walterboro.  He will try to arrange a visit for us.

March 21, 2002

Ted Remley shows up at our door about 7:30 A.M.  We have a nice visit and get to know each other.  He has had a very interesting life, lived hard.  He has also been blessed with special friends, and now works for Mr. O’Brien, owner of Pulte Homes (yes, that one), managing the 1,000 acre Plantation that Mr. O’Brien purchased last year, for a cool 5 million.  Ted takes us on a fabulous tour of the place, houses (2 of them, only one which will survive the upcoming building of stables, dog runs, barns, storage sheds and a 4,000 square foot home).  Ted showed us the old and still used dikes used to flood the rice fields, a 250 year old barn, which will be fixed up with parts from other 250 year old barns.  He explained how they will plant certain crops to attract birds, deer, etc. for hunting.  This plantation will become a “hunters delight”, with planned hunts, including the linen covered tables with fresh brewed coffee and tea sandwiches.  We had a very interesting tour, and cannot thank Ted enough for his hospitality!  A day long remembered, and hopefully I got a “taste” of what my third great-grandfather, Jefferson Grant, experienced as an overseer at a plantation.  Jefferson’s daughter, Mariah, married into the Remley clan.

Back to the trailer, lunch, back to Walterboro, email and a little more research, back to the trailer, dinner, and planning the next couple of stops on the Tour of 2002.  Finding campgrounds around Raleigh North Carolina turns out to be difficult.  We can see our breath when we take the dogs out for their last potty break of the day.  Discover the hot water heater has a leak, have to keep our eyes on that.

March 22, 2002

BRRR!  Cool this morning, and they say that tonight it will get down to about 20 degrees.  Man gets some propane, showers, and in a while we will go do some laundry.

Later - - - - -

Well, life is full of interesting “stuff”.  The laundry place we found used cash cards, like I use all the time at the libraries.  Put in a dollar, get the card with a dollar’s worth of use on it.  Well, this card takes $2.00 to purchase and gives you NO money to spend.  I was shocked and ticked!  But the machines were all nice.  We did the laundry.  Then we went to the library to do email at the library, where I got a computer that had no blocks on it, but was so slow I could not believe it, it took 5 minutes to just sign on to AOL, and process one piece of email.  Man, it was frustrating.  Then we did a short grocery hit and back to the trailer, where I did my usual, hung damp and wet clothes everywhere!

We were going to leave tomorrow AM, but after a study of the possible campgrounds in North Carolina, near Raleigh, well, we decide to spend one more night here, the plan is, we will save a couple of bucks in camping fees, and I will work all day tomorrow on computer input and organizing my thoughts for the research in the library and archives there.  Besides, we know the campground we are going to will be very noisy, as it is very near I 95.  It is quiet here Walterboro, so we save money and have peace and quiet.

March 23, 2002

What do they say about best laid plans???  Yep, that would be it, I wake with a headache, making work difficult and slow.  Man takes me out to a buffet lunch place and we stuff ourselves with good southern cookin and afterwards I feel much better.  Back at the trailer, I start putting stuff away for the move tomorrow and do more computer work.

Monday, March 18, 2002

The Tour, 2002, Part 7

March 14, 2002

Morning spent doing showers, I stopped long enough to do my nails, well, not a good job, but did manage to get some polish on.  Man went back to the outlet stores and found some tennis shoes and a cover for the couch in the trailer.  We have worn the fabric out, holes are showing up everywhere, it is icky to look at, so we will cover it for now.

After lunch we went back to the library, I had high hopes of finding obituaries, I had my list, my dates, I was ready!  BLAH.  Three were not to be had, no paper, for about 20 years.  Two others, found zippo!  Sigh.  Did find one, Susan Blanton, sister of my great-grandmother, did not tell me much, but I have it.  Found a very nice county history that told me a little about the “Ridge”.  Did some email.

While I was working, Man was working too, on finding another seafood restaurant.  Right across the street from the library!  Yes, we did go, found it to be a bit pricy, so had a hamburger and onion rings and crab cakes, and are pleased to say, food was pretty good.

Then we went for a ride back past the Ridge, north on 99, towards Sapelo Island area.  There is a nice visitors center there, you have to take a ferry out there, visitors can only go on Wednesday and Saturday, and with prior arrangements.  A very beautiful area.

Back to the trailer we are now trying to come up with a master plan for the next couple of weeks.  We have discovered we may have to “adjust”, as I wanted to go to Savannah, but it is St. Patrick’s Day this weekend, and I fear we will not be able to get a campsite, Man is out trying now.

I need to groom dogs, so, will put the puter away for a while, and set up a grooming table for a few hours.

Later - - - - - - - - - - - -

Oooh, my gosh, Man just got back and we have a reservation!!  Hip hip, hooray, Savannah here we come!!

Groom all, the boys get baths, the girls get a comb out.  Put away a lot of stuff, as we want to get an early start tomorrow.

March 15, 2002

6:30 AM, FOG! Bad fog!  Yesterday the news was filled with the reports of 125 vehicle accident, due to fog,  in Ringgold Georgia, just inside the Tennessee/Georgia line.  We stayed in Ringgold on the way down.  We will not leave until the fog has lifted.

Man promised me Waffle House this A.M. as there is one just across the street, we walk over, walk in, no seats in the non-smoking section, and the cook informs us that people are smoking everywhere in the restaurant anyway.  He is trying to get us to sit down in the smoking section.  He made quite the noise about it, and so did we, as we announced just as loudly that there was NO way we were sitting there, and turned and left.  Saw one of the waitresses shaking her head in disbelief.  Well, believe it honey, I don’t eat where I cannot breath!  We walked back across the street to McDonalds, which was very crowded, but a totally non-smoking establishment.  We had to wait and wait for our meal, and part of it was cold, and the coffee was weak.  Usually the coffee is good at McDonalds, all who know me, know I like it.  Well, this was watered down or something.  Hot tho!  It is this kind of experience that has us eating more meals in the trailer this year than out.  We have noticed a substantial drop in the quality of service and quality of food over the last year or so, at home and on the road.  BLAH!

As we sat there, the fog lifted, was something to see, it burned off in 7 minutes.  Back at the trailer we quickly feed the dogs, pack up, and hit the road.  We are in Savannah by 10:20!  Holy cow, we even surprised ourselves!  HA!  At first we were told our campsite was occupied, as check out time is noon.  Then just a few minutes later, they told us we could go set up.  COOL!

Set up, quick showers, I make a call and find that the Georgia Historical Society Library is open till 5 PM (in downtown Savannah).  Lunch, and we are off.

At the library I find a few things, the most interesting and satisfying is the obituary for my great-grandfather, Joseph, who died just one month after I was born.  In his obituary they mention, “survived by one great-grandson, Carol ..., of Norfolk” Oh, boy, did I have a great laugh!  Got a copy too.

While I was researching, Man took a walk, scooping out the festivities for St. Patrick’s Day, big stuff in Savannah.  I finished what I could do in such a short time frame at the library, we moved the truck, to get closer to the river front, and got out to experience St. Paddy’s in Savannah.  Bought a beer, and just like all the local’s walked around the streets drinking a beer, taking in the sights.  There are a lot of street vendors, on wheels, selling t-shirts, green beads, green hats, green wigs, green STUFF!!  We overheard the vendors saying they had to keep moving, I suspect that they have no vendor’s license, but are tolerated, as long as they move on, move on, move on.

Happened upon a parade, the police officer called it the “Little Parade”.  Little, I GUESS!  HA HA, could not have been more than 8 or 10 units.  Several Scottish units, KILTS and all.  (Yes, Anne, there were a couple of really cute guys, and NO, I did not ask them to pull up those Kilts, although I would have liked to see what was under them!)

Found a very nice restaurant on Bay Street and had dinner.  Unlike many of the places we seem to find lately, the service was GREAT, the food was GREAT, and the prices were reasonable.

Turned out to be a fun and successful day (research wise).  Back at the trailer later, I did a little input, and yes, Joseph’s obituary is typed in!  Was before I ever left the library!

March 16, 2002

Today we will run over to Statesboro in Bulloch County, so I can do research.  I have reviewed my “to do” list and am ready to go.

Later – –  –

Took the scenic route over, drove through Bryan County, where my great-great grandmother was born.  Bryan County is now mostly Ft. Stewart.  Sometime (I think about 1950's) the federal government condemned thousands of acres of land to take over as a military base.  There is a book at the Statesboro Regional Library that lists the court cases involved in this action and the number of acres listed is astounding, one case alone covered land amounting to over 76,000 acres.

At the library I do email and start on my “to do” list.  As is usual, I find some, miss on some.  I needed deeds from Bryan County, and I thought I remembered that some of the deeds were filmed and were in the Statesboro library.  I remembered correctly, and I got what they had, but one of them was not available, and I think it was probably the most important.  I will have to get it somewhere else.  Found an obituary which I later was able to tie into my Bowen lines.  Found some census data I was after, did not find a batch of marriages I was hunting for.  Good, bad, normal!

While I was working Man had the truck washed, it really needed it!  The bug shield was cracked, the washing resulted in the cracked section totally breaking off.  A little super glue later, and the part is back on.  Time will tell if it will hold.

Lunch at the Western Sizzler.  I go back to the library, Man goes in search of a Wal-Mart to try and find a container to put on the floorboard in the truck, between driver and passenger, for maps, purse, etc.  I am real tired of stuff flying around, no place for my feet, maps, ick!  He is successful, ends up with a dish tub, fits perfect, and will not slip around!  AHHHHHHHH!  Sigh of relief, some days, just the smallest of victories feels so good!  HA HA!

The research was fairly successful, back at the trailer, I do, input, but of course.

It is warm, and muggy, we turn the air conditioner off for the night, but the humidity makes sleeping hard, but, hey, it ain’t cold!  (Sorry, those of you still in Michigan, don’t mean to rub it in, just reporting the facts!)

March 17, 2002, St. Patrick’s Day

Warm, it really is warm today!

Ends up that someone said it was 91 degrees here today!  WOW!  Not sure that is correct, but, it was really warm!

We stayed home today, well, mostly, did some input, did some laying around, did some cleaning, made a large pot of hamburger pie (OK, Son # 1, control that gag reflex!).

Later in the afternoon we did wander out for a couple of hours, went to Wal-Mart (one of the Super Stores, where they have groceries) and got supplies.

Tried to find raw peanuts for Karen, sorry, after 3 stores, could not find any, they said they would have them after April 15th!  Sorry Karen, we really tried for ya!

Back at the trailer we stash the goods, have dinner, ummmmm, that hamburger pie really tasted good, and we have leftovers!

Turn the air conditioner in the trailer off, the noise gets to ya after a while, open the windows, there is a lot of pollen out there, (Man’s clean truck is now covered with yellow pollen), and it is muggy, but we decide to brave it.

March 18, 2002

Oh, the pollen got me, knew it would, sigh.  Stuffy head, sticky eyes, sore shoulders.

Today we move to Walterboro, another easy ride, only about 70 miles.  Next anticipated move into North Carolina will be about 270, a long day.  These short little hops will spoil ya, lazy tourists, that’s what we are!

Time for breakfast- - more later - - - -

Get to Walterboro in time for lunch, get a nice site in the same campground we stayed in last year, only this year we asked for a site with no concrete patio.  Nice site, several palmetto palms around.  Lunch, showers and then into Walterboro for a few hours of research, email, etc.  The email is now limited to 30 minutes per day, and the computers are old and just don’t work so good, stall, crash, blah!  Trying to check our charge accounts and such was just as hard, they finally put me on 2 different computers, jeeeesschhhhh, you would think I was back in Tipton with AIX-LEN.NET.  Argghhh!  Also reminds ya at just how good the internet is in the Georgia libraries.  At least in the ones I have been in.  Here is ole poor Georgia, trashy (still trash along the roads) Georgia but man, they got that internet thing down!  Someone in Georgia has done them good when it comes to public libraries and internet.

Anyway, I went into the historical room hoping to find some new books, new resources.  Not so, even tho I really tried!

Made an early evening of it, back to the trailer by 6ish, had a beer, had some of that hamburger pie leftovers, I did input trying to clean up “notes” I made in Statesboro.  Man laid on the couch watching TV and by 9ish I got tired just looking at him, so fed the dogs, laid down with a trashy novel and read.

The day had been really hot, we stopped at Welcome Center (South Carolina) and the heat took our breath away, by 9 P.M., it is cool, we have the doors and windows open and sleep with them that way, it drops to about 60 degrees, great sleeping weather.

Wednesday, March 13, 2002

The Tour, 2002, Part 6

March 9, 2002

Warm, ok, close to HOT. Shorts weather, we go over to the Okefenokee park before lunch, check out the visitor’s center, and then back to the trailer for lunch.  After lunch, back to the park, where we visit a home on the premises and take a long leisurely walk on a board walk.  At the end of the board walk there is an observation stand where you can see wild birds, and of course, gaters!  We walk about 2 miles.  I have a headache all day, due to allergies and all that kind of icky rot, but we manage to have a nice day in spite of it.  Back at the camp we visit with the camp hosts, who just happen to be from Michigan, and Barb, just happens to do family history.  A nice slow day, some extra rest time, needed by all.

March 10, 2002

Cooler today, but bright, sunny, clear, wonderful.  I still have that allergy headache thing going on, so we decide to take it easy.  After a slow breakfast we decide to clean the trailer.  I mean really clean it, so we drag the vacuum out, pick up and move everything, scrub the floors, sweep, the works.  The activity helps the headache, at least for the time being.  After we cook and eat lunch we decide to try and get a boat ride in the swamp.  We got really lucky with this, the next boat leaves 15 minutes after we get there.

2 hour ride, lots of alligators.  Interesting plants, a  interesting guide (degree in biology, past zoo director, somewhere, forgot where he said, world traveler, oh, and yorkie lover).  Man enjoys this more than words can describe.  Maybe the high point of the last month for him!  We have extended our stay here for 3 more nights, tomorrow we will try to do email, groceries, laundry.  Now I have to feed the dogs, so, later -------

March 11, 2002

Errands day, first to the library, email and check bills.  Then laundry, then groceries, and the day is already winding down.  We sure have short lazy days in the trailer.  Weather is very nice today, pleasant, not hot, not cold.  We have laundry hanging all over the trailer, which takes a while to dry, as it is humid.

March 12, 2002

We hear today that Man’s mother is in the hospital with respiratory troubles and irregular heart beat.  Son # 1 calls and asks us to keep a cell phone on all the time.  Which we will do.

Wow, miles galore today, we go to Jesup, almost to Madray Springs, Wayne County, Georgia, looking for Bethesda Primitive Baptist Church, where my great great grandfather is buried (his wife as well, her grave is not marked).  We find a marker on 169 going north out of Jesup for the church and turn.  We blast past the church because it looks much like a house.  Reaching the end of Bethesda Road, realize we missed.  Turn around, find another church, and find some workers there, they have maps, I take a look, the workers seem to think the church is on the next road, I have my doubts, so tell Man, DRIVE SLOW!  Coming back at the building and cemetery from another direction it is easy to see that it is indeed a church.  Total different view.

I take the right side of the cemetery, Man takes the left.  I walk straight back and right to Hezekiah’s grave.  Photos taken, but of course.

Next back to Jesup, to try and discover the grave sites of two of Hezekiah’s grandchildren.  The only listings of burials is not at the cemetery, but at the city hall, I request a lookup, which is promised, now I can hope!!

Trick we used several times today, find a funeral home (easier to find than cemeteries) and ask directions.  Hint: stop at a LARGE funeral home, not the little hole in the walls one, like the one Al spied.   We stopped, I knocked on doors, some were locked, some open, but no one answered a very loud “Hello”.  One in the back was partially open, only, only, only,

OK, warning: don’t read next part if you are squeamish.

Only, no one answered and we discovered it was the embalming room!


Thankfully room was UNOCCUPIED!!

Next we drove to Blackshear, Pierce County, Georgia to try and find the burial place of Matthew Bowen, one of Hezekiah’s children.  Stop at a funeral home, ask directions, only to discover that there are TWO Pine/Piney Grove Baptist Church cemeteries.  One is black, one is white.  I am not sure, but I think they said there is only a cemetery at the white church.  So, we get directions, as usual, I have a little trouble understanding the directions, not the accent, just the “localisms”.  In this case it was the “overpass”.  Well, there were several overpasses, one did not take us to the correct street.  The other did, after we went a little further down the road.  Found the church, but no cemetery.  Found some local fellows that knew where the cemetery was, found it, but did not find many markers.  It would appear that the cemetery could hold about 200 graves, maybe a few more, did not count the headstones, but a wild guess is about 50.  One was metal, totally rusted out, could not read a word.  A really old stone had been broken off, and some one had enclosed it in a metal frame of sorts, said frame, being of course, rusted, could not read much of that stone either.  Actually saw 2 or 3 remnants of what could only be wooden crosses marking graves.  If Matthew was buried here, there was no marker.  Must consider that he is over at the other church, which is black now, but was black in 1917??  Then again, maybe I was simply in the wrong county???  Heavens, who knows!  Follow up research will be required!

Next to Waycross, just cause Man wanted to go there, no real reason, just cause.  We stopped there at a Walmart and picked up a few things and then back to Folkston.  Long day, we are tired.  Rains about 8 to 9 this evening, hard.

March 13, 2002

Warm, nice day, sunny.  We pack up very slowly, reluctant to leave here, it has been a pleasant stay.  Nice campground.

We are only jumping over to Darien, McIntosh County, Georgia, about 70 miles, give or take.  We arrive there by 1:30, set up, have lunch, take off for town.  Find the city hall, get directions to the cemetery where my great-grandfather might be buried.  (Sources vary, some say here, some say Brunswick, down the road a piece).

Find cemetery with no trouble, and find it to be one of the most beautiful cemeteries we have ever visited, lots of azaleas in bloom, live oaks with spanish moss hanging from them, palms.  Very well kept, and large!  We have no idea what section of the cemetery we need, so we take the walkie talkies and split up.  Man finds the Blanton burials first, relatives to Joseph and Minnie Maud.  Joseph and Minnie are reportedly buried in the same plot.  No markers.  Take photos of Blanton stones and of the cemetery.  A truly lovely place.

Drive around, find a historical marker for the “Ridge”.  I will have to find out what that means, where the term came from, etc.

Back to Darien, find the library, do email.  As I am sitting there doing email I glance up and find there is a sign “Genealogy”.  Done with the email I wander over and have a look.  Not a bad collection for a small library.  Not bad at all!  I find several references to the Blanton clan, and get some dates and such that I did not have.  Find out they have old newspapers on film, which I will look at tomorrow.  Maybe I can find some obituaries.

Next we go to the Outlet shopping plaza out on 95, very near our campground. Do a little shopping, couple of things for the trailer.  The weather is wonderful, pleasant, slight breeze, not muggy, nice evening to be out side!

Back at the trailer Man installs road atlas program on the computer and that is about it for another day.

Friday, March 8, 2002

The Tour, 2002, Part 5

March 5, 2002

A moving day, lots to do, breakfast, email before we leave, pay some bills, pick up and clean the trailer.

And, let me tell you how COLD it is!  Oh, my!!  New record lows have been set all over Florida overnight.  I put on the winter coat this AM, and boy, oh, boy, did it feel GOOD!!  It was about 41 degrees this morning when we got up.  And windy.  They had wind chill warnings up till 9 AM.  Sorta like our fog warnings.   HA HA.

We drive up to St. Augustine, stopping for a grocery fill up along the way.  We had managed to put a good dent in the supplies, especially that of the refrigerator.

Our campground is on an unnamed island NE of St. Augustine, just over a bridge.  The Intercostal Waterway is on one side of the island, the Atlantic on the other.  The campsites are so buried in the local trees and greenery that no trailers are seen from the road.  Each campsite is very private.  We cannot remember camping anywhere quite like this, it is quite beautiful.  

It reminds me very much of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and personally I like this more than anything I have seen in Florida.  Trouble is, well, it is cooler here all winter, their high season is during the summer, just like the Outer Banks, and unlike any other campground we have been in during our stay in Florida.  All the other campgrounds have their busy season during the winter and by April they are almost empty.  This place is just the opposite.

We set up, take a walk, talk to a couple from Nova Scotia who have stayed here most of the winter, and say it is a bit cool, always.  Dinner, and then relaxing.  Tomorrow we will do the tourist thing in St. Augustine.  Lots to see.  We have already extended our stay here one more night, not sure we can get more, but we may try.

The weather and news reports we have been seeing say that it is very cold and some snow and ice in Michigan.  It was 18 this AM in Raleigh North Carolina.  Full winter weather in March.  BLAH!  BUT, the good news, the azaelas are in FULL bloom here.

Oh, it is “Biker Week” here in Florida, one feels out of place if NOT dressed in black leather with HOG or Harley Davison printed all over it!

March 6, 2002

Today we tour St. Augustine.  After breakfast we head for downtown.  It is mild by Michigan standards, but there is a very cold wind off the Atlantic.  Need the ole ears covered.  We buy tickets for the “train”, it takes you all over town, you can get on and off at your pleasure, ticket is good for 3 days, and you get free parking.  First we ride about half the tour, then jump off for lunch, Barnacle Bills, you know, seafood, you know who!  Oh, the food was very good, Man purchased a t-shirt, he loves those seafood t shirts (not quite as much as the food, but a LOT!)

We visit the “Fountain of Youth”.  No, we did NOT drink any of that sulfur water.  ICK!  We then walked the grounds and read all the monuments.

Back on the tour bus, we eventually jump off on St. George Street, which is closed to motorized traffic, lots of shops, shops of all kinds, clothes, toys, food, art.

Along the way we hear of Osceola, Seminole Indian and his part in history.  This of course grabs my interest, as Sallie Darden, my great-great grandmother has a brother named Osceola.  I have only one Osceola in my data base, and it is he.  An unusual name, I wonder if there can be some link that may prove interesting.  Like, did Sallie’s father have some interest, did he serve during the Seminole War?  With the names of several books, the search for them is now included in our visit to St. Augustine.

Back at the trailer we have a drink and a pizza and crash.  We are tired from the wind, and the walking.  My allergies kick in, a little, with stuffy nose and sticky eyes.  Not bad enough that I have to take meds, and for that I am thankful. 

March 7, 2002

Back to St. Augustine, we start our day at the Fort, a national park.  After a long look, we walk over a few blocks to Columbia, a Cuban/Spanish eatery.  Food is good, coffee was GREAT!

After lunch we take off walking again, down St. George Street again, popping in and out of stores we did not visit yesterday.  Eventually we make our way all the way across town to the Oldest House, and find that the St. Augustine Historical Society Research Library is not there, as we had been told, but is back a few streets.  By now my legs are feeling the effects of 2 days of tourism, not so much the walking, but the standing.  The old knees are screaming.

Find the library, snoop around a little, find that there is a “Henry Darden” in the 1840 census of Florida, which is interesting, Charles Henry Darden.  Hmmmm???

We have to wait quite a while for the “train” to come pick us up, all the trains that come by are full.  Arggghhh!!  Being soooo tired, this wait is more than painful.  Man tries to find a beer “to go”, but fails.   Finally seated on that little red train we ride back to our car.

On the way back to the trailer we ride around a little on the beach where we are staying.  Lots of building going on, probably the result of the “new” bridge.  We joke, only half way, that property values probably jumped from $1,000 an acre to $90,000 an acre when that bridge was completed.  Someone built a “castle” out here, really, does not appear to be lived in, but looks like a castle and is called that.

I groom Captain Hook and Chantilly, and comb out Gallagher.  Sandwiches for dinner, by 10 my shoulders and back are burning, and I give up the chores and grab my heating pad!

Tomorrow we leave, wish we could stay longer, it is very beautiful here, St. Augustine is very enchanting.  Very much like Savannah, Charleston, and the beaches are very similar to the Outer Banks.

Thoughts on leaving Florida:

There are a lot of old people here, sorry to those readers who are older.  The warm weather draws them, it is a break from the cold and from the aching bones.  Understand that part.

So many wheel chairs.

Many with blank looks on their faces.

Slow walkers.

Lots of golfers.

They love to wear shorts even if the weather is cold.

On the west coast they drive slow, in Ft. Lauderdale area, they drive like maniacs, don’t stop at stop signs, pull in front of you, cut across 5 lanes of traffic in only moments.

Lots of ambulances, several pulled into campgrounds we stayed at.  Conversations overheard at campgrounds often centered around, who was sick, who had died, who was out of the hospital.

The dog people are nice here, even after all the trouble we initially had finding campgrounds to stay in.  We have practiced “selective dogs” here in some of the campgrounds, at Ft. Lauderdale they did not tell us that they only allowed 2 dogs.

Map they give you at the Florida Welcome Center had no Exit numbers, not so good.  Understand that soon they will have exit numbers and mile markers at each exit.

Florida is NOT always warm!  

Florida is the origin of “road rage”.  (We do not know that, we suspect it!!)

The explorers of ole did not discover gold here in Florida, but if they were to come back here today, they would find the gold, dripping out of the pockets of so many of the folks that spend some time here each winter.  Holy, moly, expensive houses, expensive RV’s, expensive clothes and jewelry, money dripping out of pockets everywhere.  Of course, this brings along some snotty nosed attitudes, YUCK!

Onward and forward.

March 8, 2002

Our last day in St. Augustine and we are very reluctant to leave this campground.  It is warm, very warm, close to 80 degrees.  Checkout time is 1 P.M. and we stay till about 10 minutes before the hour.  We have a slow morning of packing up, Man calls and finds a campground at our next stop, which is to be the Okefenokee Swamp, in Georgia.  We have lunch, and then get ready to unhook the water, electric and put away the last of the gear, including the sewer hose.  Man has put the cover to the sewer connection inside of the bumper, something he does not usually do.  So, forgetting that he had done that, he tries to jam the sewer hose back into the bumper and proceeds to push that little cap into the middle of the bumper.  Oh, NO!!!!!  Now, he wants that sewer cap, really really bad!  His first try is the broom, which does not work.  After I clean the broom handle he decides to try a coat hanger.  He gets a hanger from his closet, cuts it, creates a hook, and the ole sewer cap is retrieved.

Our drive takes us past Jacksonville.  There are two routes we can take, one is through town, the other is the bypass.  We usually chose the direct route, and usually this proves to be a good choice.  Well, not this time.  The traffic is really bad, and it is only 2:30 in the afternoon, ok, Friday afternoon, but wow, this traffic has to be seen to be believed.  Lots of cutting in at the last minute when lanes give out.  Lots of lane changing.  Just plain ole messy!  Glad to put that behind us!  Especially Man!

We arrive at our next campsite, only 13 sites here, right across from the entrance to the Swamp, and I mean right across!  The owners appear to be Hippees from the 1970's, that said, they are very particular about their campground and have sorta strange rules.  They have owned the campground since 1997, when they purchased it, the grounds were a dumping ground.  They have cleaned it up.  It is quiet and we like it here a lot.    We set up, have dinner and lay around.

Monday, March 4, 2002

The Tour, 2002, Part 4

February 28, 2002

I awake about 7 A.M. and do input for about an hour or so, making progress there, trouble is, the TO DO list is growing and growing, I do believe it has taken on a life of its own!!!!!!  I am afraid to look at how many items are on the TO DO list.  Groan!!!

Breakfast, feed the dogs, pack up and get ready to head for Ft. Lauderdale.  Pull out at 11 A.M.  Head for Alligator Alley.  Yikes the toll is $4.50, sigh.  It is a boring ride, lots of bull rushes, some bird life, no gaters sighted.  We stop at a rest area and have lunch, so that we are not hungry trying to drive into Ft. Lauderdale.

Find the campground OK, we are in the middle of PEOPLE, town, buildings, traffic, ICK!  But it will serve the purpose for a couple of days.

More later---------

Drove around, getting a feel for the town, we were going to buy a good map, but decided no need, as I found Andrews Avenue where the nursing home is.  Drove up A1A, turned dark, but saw huge houses and huge boats.  One boat was probably 100 foot long, maybe more, we forget living in a state with so many inland lakes that they make boats that large!  They must carry a hefty price tag!!  After a couple of hours we stop to eat, prices are high, so we settle for a Wendy’s.  Back to the trailer, we wonder if we will be able to sleep due to the road noise.

March 1, 2002

Cool, a little muggy, clouds, a little sun, windy, real windy!  We did not sleep that well, all the trucks, traffic, NOISE, all night long.  Did the shower, breakfast, feed the dog stuff and then went in search of a phone to call the nursing home.  After a few minutes they bring Gramma to the phone and surprise her with the announcement that we will come see her in just a few minutes.  She promptly calls Eloise.  Gramma is sitting in her wheel chair in the doorway to her room waiting for us.

Eventually Eloise shows up at the nursing home and we decide to go out to lunch and to Lighthouse Pointe to see Gramma’s apartment.

The day passes quickly.

Gramma’s memory is very good, she speaks softly, making it difficult to hear her in the noisy nursing home.  She gets around pretty good with her walker and the wheel chair.  Her sight is very limited and her hearing is bad.  She still has a gorgeous head of hair, now totally white.  She is 96 years old., errrr, make that young.

March 2, 2002

Today is much warmer, muggy, still windy.  Sun, clouds, sun, clouds.

We go back to the nursing home to see Gramma again, Eloise does not come along.  We take some photos of Gramma.  We stay for about 4 hours, then say our farewells.

We have lunch, go to the beach for a few minutes, have an expresso.

Back to the trailer, process photos from the digital camera, do email, go to the community room to access the internet, feed the dogs, input for Carol, and the day ends.

Tomorrow we leave Ft. Lauderdale.

March 3, 2002

HOT, HUMID, we turn the air conditioner on at 8 AM, so we can shower, and pack in some comfort.  We on are the road by 10:30 or so, only going to Kennedy Space Center area, about 200 miles, give or take, so, we are in no huge hurry, laid back they call it.

About 11:30 to noon, we stop at a rest center for lunch and rest and to give the dogs a long walk.  Man is complaining that it is 87 degrees in the trailer while we eat.  Ahhhhhhh. 

We pull into our next camp at about 2:30.  It is a nice place, heated pool, and you can go in 24 - 7.  We set up and have a beer with the couple in the 5th wheel parked next to us, they are new to the world of Rving and are living in their rig.

After dinner, we take a walk around the park and have a lengthy discussion with the campground owner, very interesting, he owns this one, and one in Indiana, he will go north around May 15th.

They have an ice cream social, a HUGE scoop of ice cream for 50 cents.  Mmmmmm, good!  A couple sits down at our table and we discover they are from Farmington Hills, have a big motor home.  We sit and discuss “RV war stories” for about an hour.  We all have favorite stories.

Back at the trailer we feed the dogs, relax a little, open all the windows, Man watches a movie, I take a book and go read.  It is still muggy and warm, but not overbearing, but by morning?????

March 4, 2002

Brrr, by 5ish in the AM, it is getting cold, the windows get shut, the electric heater gets dug out of its storage spot and TURNED ON!!

By 7:30 AM, when I take the dogs out (I am dressed in shorts, first thing I could grab), and oh, my!!  It is real cool.

We make bacon and eggs, get dressed, now in tights, long pants, and a long sleeved top, we leave for the Space Center.  When we get there, it feels really cold and I put on my winter coat, and I am glad all day for the choice!  I wear my ear muffs while outside ALL day long.  Lordy, yesterday, I was cooking, today I am freezing!  I hear stories that the weather in Michigan is really horrible, snow storm??

The Space Center was interesting, but crowded.  Cost $26.00 per to get in the gates, we must go through security to get in, just like in the courthouses or airports.  We see two Imax movies, several other movies in visitor areas.  A space shuttle is on display and they have fixed it so you can walk inside it on two levels.  They take you via bus to an observation station about 1 mile away from the launch pads.  The lines were LONG, and slow, neither one of us enjoys the cattle episodes, but they must be endured.  In the most part, everyone is well behaved, but some still insist on smoking while in lines, and that is annoying. We watched in amazement as people would come into the Imax theaters and then jump over seats to get to the row in which they wish to sit.  The amazing part is that no one fell trying to “jump”.  We end the day with a visit to the souvenir store and break down and buy one piece of (as my friend Charlee calls them), “Shitty little things”, a small space shuttle on a stand, which we will add to the collection of shitty little stuff we have in the trailer in the “front room”.

An interesting day, but oh, man, oh man, do my knees ache.  Back to the trailer, sandwiches for dinner, and I have a Manhattan, hoping to dull the pain in my knees.

Tomorrow we move on, to St. Augustine.  We have reserved for 2 nights, but are considering extending for a few more.  We have heard you need two days to see the town, and then we will use a day or so to catch up on domestic chores and errands.  If we cannot extend, we will try to find another campground and stay for a few days.  Or something!

We have been on the road for 2 ½ weeks, have been on the run every day, or so it seems, either traveling or visiting.  We can hardly believe that much time has already slipped by.  WOW!