January 24 - Atlanta RV Show, uh, Atlanta, GA
Ok, we're dreaming of a larger RV. We came here
looking for one thing, and left with a totally new idea. Super
Dave, Carly, Diana, and Carson joined us. We later ate dinner with
them, plus Charlie Brown, Jules, and Olivia also joined us at
Pappasito's. Yum Yum!
January 16 thru 19 - The Parks at Chehaw - Albany, GA, Plains, GA,
We learned of the
Parks at Chehaw
from the Georgia Public Television show
Outdoors" (Corny but informative). Because of the distance
from home, we postponed this trip three times. Gas was around $4 a
gallon when we originally had reservations. They were around $1.70
when we finally went.
Chehaw was originally one of the first state parks in Georgia, one that
was largely built by the
CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps.) during the Great Depression.
In more modern times, a zoo was added (designed by
Jim Fowler from Wild Kingdom fame), and the park was deeded to the
city of Albany. The park is filled with tall pine trees and
hardwoods with Spanish moss hanging down everywhere. The ground in
the camping area is thickly covered by pine needles which keeps the
undergrowth to a minimum. We were one of 3-4 campers in the
campground while we were there, so it was very quiet and wide-open.
It was cold our first night, but we were cozy in the motor home., It
warmed into the fifties on Saturday (much warmer than the 20's reported
at home), and we visited the playground and the zoo, both of which are
awesome. The playground is the largest and coolest we've ever seen
(see pictures. Because of the season, and what was considered a
"cold" weekend, we shared the zoo with only one or two other families.
It was like being Elvis and renting the zoo for the day. Everyone
was extremely friendly an helpful. The cheetahs in the pictures
are chasing a piece of cloth around their enclosure, and that was really
great to see. they're really fast, and were completely tame around
their trainers, like pets. On a scale of 1-10, the facilities at
Chehaw are almost a 10 (if not). the only thing that fell short
was the lack of a full hookup in the campground, and some animals not
being on display. There were wind storms a week earlier that made
some of the exhibits inaccessible, and the cold was responsible for some
being off display. Also, they have a little train that runs around
the property, but it was not running because of the off season.
Albany seems like a nice town too.
There is a
Riverquarium (that's a bit pricey for a family of 6), a
planetarium (that was closed on Sunday, what's up with that?), there
are some great sites, and there are at least two bowling alleys, one of
which the kids opted for on Sunday.
We ate out a couple of times in Albany, one of which is noteworthy.
We ate at Blackbeard's Seafood and Bar-B-Que our first night in Albany.
The kids wanted to go to Red Lobster, but there was a very long wait.
We explored, found Blackbeard's, got seated quickly, and continued to
pig-out. We were amazed at how much all the kids ate (especially
John Micah who kept eating even as we were leaving). Daddy
couldn't find a website to link to, but it's worth searching for.
Note: Winter seems like a great time to visit Chehaw. The normal
temperature is pretty mild in the Winter, there are no crowds, the
campground is almost empty, and the snakes are hibernating. Yes, I
said snakes, SNAKES! Bug fat vipers like Copperheads and Rattlers.
We don't want to scare you off in the Summer, but we prefer a snake-free
day with a jacket over
warm weather anytime.
Plains Georgia, Downtown and Jimmy Carter's childhood home.
On January 19, MLK day, we headed home from Chehaw via
the hometown of
Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States. While
we knew it was small, we were not prepared for the fact that it seems
not to have changed in the last 30 years. We ate at a little
downtown cafe which was pretty good, then browsed through some of the
stores which have mostly a "novelty" feel. we ate some peanut
butter ice cream and bought some raw peanuts to boil in our Dutch oven.
After that we went to Carter's boyhood home. While being raised on
a farm, and somewhat isolated from the rest of the world, Jimmy didn't
exactly grow-up in poverty. The house was pretty nice by the day's
standards. He did seem to grow up in a good family, and appears to
have had a good childhood (he had a pony and clay tennis courts).
It's a pretty neat place to visit, and the kids learned a lot and
enjoyed petting the animals.
Today, Jimmy Carter (also a Nobel Peace Price winner) still lives in
Plains and teaches a Bible class about 3 Sundays a month. They
said he also shops and eats locally, and rides his bike through town
(I'm sure the Secret Service loves that).
Note: In reference to how Plains has not
changed - we were in a store buying some peanuts and peanut butter when
Daddy asked whether they had an ATM machine. Daddy was asking
about that specific store, and they thought I was asking about whether
the town had one. The answer was no, not even the bank. They
suggested we go to Americus.
Camp Sumpter -
Andersonville Confederate POW Camp - Georgia
After our Plains adventure, we headed for home, quite
accidentally, via Andersonville. Andersonville is the home of the
infamous Camp Sumpter, a
Confederate prisoner of war camp. We never pictured the site being
so large, and so many people being held and dying there. To be
fair, Daddy did a little research and discovered that the Union Army
also had similar camps, some of which had conditions just as bad if not
worse. War is not pleasant for anyone, and this was truly a sad
chapter from our history.
Note: "A nation that forgets its past is doomed to repeat it." -
1, 2009 - Snow Mountain - (Stone Mountain Park, Stone Mountain,
The kids (Lainey in particular) really w anted snow
for Christmas, and Santa delivered. There were tickets for Snow
Mountain in their stockings Christmas Morning. Snow Mountain is a
new Winter attraction at Stone Mountain, Georgia. They have
converted the memorial Lawn area into a snow tubing, snow play area.
It's a little pricey ($25 apiece, even for kids), but we got a special
camping/Snow Mountain package that saved a few bucks. The kids had
a lot of fun, although the visit started by standing in line for over
half an hour for the 10 second ride down the slope in the tubes.
The smart thing to do, by the way, is do the other stuff first (snow
ball fights, snow man building, etc.), then hit the tubing slope after
the line recedes a little. Towards the end of our visit, the wait
was down to just a few minutes. Like so many of Stone Mountain's
assets, Snow Mountain is great, but... There's always a but.
It's overpriced, and the attraction is never quite as great as the
commercial makes it look.