August 8, 2008
- John's Mountain Overlook
no legendary creatures)
For a little end-of -week stress relief, Daddy
wanted to take a ride in "Willy B" the Jeep with the top down.
John's Mountain is just a short ride for us, but it helps remind us how
close to a wilderness area we are, so off we went. I'm not sure if
it's the time of day, the temperature, or what, but we saw three snakes on
this ride (two of which were rattlers). I hope it helps remind us all
about the dangers of sticking your hands in dark places when we're out
hiking. The second picture below is of the larger Rattle snake we saw
(and, sorry Steve, killed). Needless to say, Mommy wasn't keen on the
papooses playing around the deck at the overlook. You can see from the
pictures why Daddy likes the overlook. The sunset is pretty intense
most everyday, but if you catch it when the clouds are right, and there is
some dust in the atmosphere, it's like the sky is on fire. The
view is West across the Armuchee valley.
August 16, 2008
- Holly Creek and Fort Mountain
no legendary creatures)
Daddy's been working hard on the house, and
we've taken few breaks this month, so when Super Dave invited us to go for a
ride up in the
Cohutta Wilderness, we jumped at the opportunity. The
Tribe, along with Super Dave's clan and Marky Mark and Olivia, took a ride
through the dusty woods. We ended-up at
Fort Mountain State Park where
we visited Pamba, Calbert, Junior, and Parker John who were camping there.
When we got there, the temperature on the mountain was 71 degrees (keep in
mind this is August in Georgia).
Parker John had a camp fire and we all wished we were camping as well.
We also saw Ranger Ruby
and her husband Don (who was playing guitar and harmonica in the picture of
the bluegrass band below). Ranger Ruby sings with them too. As
you can see from the last picture, by the end of the day, we crashed.
29 thru September 1 (Labor Day), 2008
- Cleveland, GA and surrounding area
Friday, August 29:
We headed for Cleveland, Georgia after Mommy and the rest of the Tribe came
home from school. Our plan was to meet Super Dave and Parker Jon and
their clans in Cleveland. It's not a long drive (distance wise), but
there are a lot of curvy roads along the way. We were heading for
Gold N Gem Grubbin', a commercial
mine just west of Cleveland. Daddy did some research and found they
had a campground on the property with full hookups. There was very
little information about the campground on their Website, so Daddy called
them to ask more questions. The owner, Brian Devan, went to the
campground and took pictures with his phone and emailed them to me. I
was still a little wary, but my worries were gone when we got there.
Some "RV Park" campers" might find the campground a little too rustic.
The inner roads are not paved and there's no cable (boo hoo). There
had originally been 16 sites, but they eliminated every other one doubling
the space for each camper. So, with only 8 sites, it's like we had our
own campground. There was a lot of room with our campers almost
circled (sites 5, 6, 7) around a campfire and picnic area. My only
negative with regards to their campground is that there was no more
information on their Website. Mr. Devan explained that they weren't
really trying to make a run at being a commercial campground. The
intent is to provide an amenity for their mining customers. One thing
is for sure, Lee Thomas, Heath, Lainey Grace, John Micah, Dianna, Carson,
and Cal sure enjoyed playing the games we brought in the wide open space of
Saturday, August 30:
Our plans for today involved playing in the dirt and the creek. We got
up, ate breakfast, loaded-up and drove over to the main office/gem shack.
Mommy and Daddy were pleased with the personal attention the Tribe received
from Stacy. Daddy spoke with one of the owners,
Brian Devan (this guy has
quite a story), briefly about the campground before we all loaded-up and
went to the creek for some gold panning and gem grubbin'. This, to
Daddy, was the best part of the trip. All the kids looked for rocks
and gold while getting downright wet and nasty. We found very little
gold, but Lee Thomas found a fist sized amethyst, and Mommy found two almost
perfect quartz crystals. Everyone found something to take home, but
most of all, they had big fun. It cost this family of 6 only $37.00
for four hours of entertainment. That's a pretty good deal (keep in
mind that three of our kids were free because they were under 7).
here is a link to their
creek mining prices.
Sunday, August 31:
We decided to take the top down on the Jeep and go for a ride. We
really had no definite destination (remember, it's an adventure), but we had
a general idea of which direction to go. We initially headed for
Hiawassee by way of Helen, but
that idea was nipped in the bud when we were stopped by bumper to bumper
traffic a good 2 miles from the little tourist trap (seems everyone else
knew it was a holiday, go figure). We turned right at the intersection
of hwy 75 and 17 only to find
Sautee-Nacoochee Indian Mound
Built by mound builders in 10,000 B.C. according
to archaeologists. We then headed north where we discovered beautiful
Lake Burton and
Moccasin Creek State
Park. As usual, we pulled through the campground to check it out.
It seemed nice but smallish. If you have a boat, it would be a
wonderful place to camp. It even has a playground and some full
hookups. From there we went to Dillard
where we planned to eat at the
Dillard House, a famous Inn and restaurant near the North Carolina state
line. After looking at the prices of their food. Daddy (the tight wad
that he is) decided to go elsewhere. Instead of the Dillard house, we
ate at the Waffle House, and everyone was very happy. We visited
Black Rock State Park
toured their campground. It's right on top of the mountain which,
as a result, makes the terrain very difficult and steep, and the roads a
little narrow for comfort in a big motor home or fifth wheel. Although
the view is breathtaking (even more so when the leaves drop), I doubt if
we'll be staying there in the future. We visited
Tallulah Gorge near
Mountain City. Daddy went to camp here as a kid, and learned to rock
climb and snorkel here. We visited the interpretation center and
walked to couple of the overlooks for the view and pictures. It's
still as impressive as Daddy remembers it as a kid. By now, everyone
was getting tired, so we headed back for camp, this time with Cal riding
with us. On the way back, we got diverted to
Blackstock vineyard/winery, one of three
wineries near our campground. Mommy and Daddy have been to wine
country (Napa Valley California), and they've got nothing on these as far as
beauty goes. With the rolling hills covered with curving rows of
vines, and the Smoky Mountains in the background, it's a beautiful sight.
Eventually we meandered back to the campground and enjoyed the campfire.
Monday, September 1, Labor Day
On Monday, we got up and started tearing-down camp. One of the owners,
Susan Tamburino, told us we didn't have to be in hurry to leave, so we
decided to go do some gem grubbin' at their
gem shack. Their facility is similar to the other tourist mines,
but it is, by far, the nicest we've been to.
In all, it was a wonderful weekend.
There were just a couple of things that went wrong, but nothing so serious
it might ruin our weekend. I also have to say that most of our
interaction with the staff at Gold N Gem Grubbing was very pleasant, some of
our group had a problem with an unhappy employee. We were assured by
one of the owners that the employee must have had a bad day because she
wasn't normally abrasive. I actually got her to smile at me on Monday
when we were gem mining. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and
give the establishment a thumbs-up. I want to go back!