My next stop was Vicksburg, Mississippi. I knew there was a Civil War battle there and I thought it would be a good stopping off point on my way west.

For me the Civil War battle was Gettysburg. In fact, in my mind, the Civil War was mainly an eastern phenomena. I didn’t think that there would be much to see or learn about a battle on the banks of the Mississippi River. I mean, it must be hundreds and hundreds of miles down the river to the Gulf of Mexico. What could possibly have taken place here?

I love it when I come to a place with a lack of preconceived ideas.

I found out that Vicksburg wasn’t a battle as much as it was a siege. It started May 18, 1863, and concluded on July 4 of the same year.

Do you remember another battle that ended around the same time? Right, Gettysburg took place July 1-3, 1863. The Battle of Tebbs Bend, near Campsbellsville, Kentucky, also was going on at the same time.

I didn’t know what to expect. When I checked into the headquarters, I watched the introductory movie about the battle. The workers must have thought I was nuts when I asked them if any of the trenches were still visible. I was trying to decide if I wanted to bother driving through the battlefield.

They had a nice array of cannon near the headquarters. In case you didn’t know, the greenish ones are bronze and the blackish ones are iron. (If I remember correctly.)

I came across this marker. “Cute,” I thought.

The road wound on through the battlefield. Here’s a memorial for Ohio,

and one for Minnesota. This one was erected in 1907.

Michigan erected their memorial in 1916.

I wound around, past collections of cannon and other lesser memorials and signs about the battle. Until I came across this magnificent memorial to the soldiers from Illinois.

It was modeled after the Roman Pantheon, complete with the oculus in the center of the dome.

There are 47 steps leading up to the entrance, one for each day of the siege.

Inside are 60 bronze tablets listing the names of all 36,325 Illinois soldiers who participated in the Vicksburg Campaign

The memorial was dedicated on October 26, 1906.

If you look carefully, about the arch over the tablet to the right, you can see the names of two prominent sons of Illinois, Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant.

In fact, I always wondered why Grant didn’t take part in the Battle of Gettysburg. It turns out that he was otherwise engaged.

I was particularly captivated by this mosaic in the center of the floor. I imagine that at certain times of certain days of the year, the light from the oculus fills it completely.

The only building still standing on the battlefield from that time is the Shirley House.

It has been extensively rebuilt. You can see the tunnels and ditches that were dug to carry out the siege.

The parents’ bodies were eventually returned to the house and buried in the backyard.

You know how much I have been talking about rifled cannons? I looked into the barrel of a cannon and I could see the rifling.

Who would have thought that spiraled grooves would make such a difference?

This one, on the other hand, doesn’t have the rifling.

The trenches are very much in evidence.

They really chewed up the landscape.

Orion P. Howe was a 14-year-old musician with the 55th Illinois Infantry.  His unit was pinned down by enemy fire and running out of ammunition. He volunteered to run back and get more, but on the way he was wounded. He found General Sherman and asked for the needed cartridges.

For his heroic run, Howe became one of the youngest recipients of the Medal of Honor.

Orion went on to live a long life and eventually worked as a dentist. He’s buried in the National Cemetery in Springfield, Missouri.

Thayer’s Approach must have been quite an undertaking. They used what they had on hand to help them dig their trenches.

This particular area had a tunnel that made their work safer. They dug a tunnel through a ridge.

I am sure the brickwork is a later addition, but it preserved a vital connection to the past.

Of course, graffiti never goes out of favor.

Missouri has an interesting memorial. Since their citizens fought on both sides, both sides are commemorated.

I found this plaque on the back. The monument was approved in 1911.

The Arkansas memorial wasn’t created until 1954. I think the negative space is interesting. It reminds me of the cannon that marks the spot where the surrender interview took place.

African American soldiers were honored in 2004.

By early 1863, white recruits has slowed to a trickle. The Union army desperately needed more men. Creating black regiments brought an infusion of new soldiers – helping the North keep a numerical advantage over the South.

Here’s the New York memorial, which was erected in 1917.

Massachusetts’ memorial was erected in 1903, and it was the first state memorial erected within the Vicksburg National Military Park.

Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson, was one of the most prolific female bronze sculptors in America. The monument cost $4,500 and is on top of a 15-ton boulder from Massachusetts.

New Hampshire was not to be out-done. They followed up with their own monument in 1904.

Rhode Island followed along in 1908.

I kind of wonder if the NRA sponsored this memorial.

General Grant was suitably honored in 1918 by this $34,000 statue by F.C. Hibbard.

The last memorial I’ll share with you in this post is the Navy Memorial. It’s the tallest memorial in the park and is erected near the site where the crew of the Cairo continued fighting after their gunboat was sunk by the Confederates.

In my next post, I’ll tell you about the Cairo.


My next stop was Selma, such a pivotal place in American history.

I found an Army Corps of Engineers campground at Prairie Creek.

For a couple bucks more, I could have had a site right by the river. However, the river was right across the road, and I could see it just fine.

Also, it rained almost the whole time I was there. If I remember correctly, it rained about two inches during my stay. I didn’t need anymore water. But for those people who were into fishing or boating, having your own dock would be a real plus.

The Army Corps of Engineers many times has campgrounds near their projects. The Robert F. Henry Lock and Dam on the Alabama River is about 15 miles east of Selma. I suppose people could still navigate the river with the lock, but I didn’t see anyone on duty. According to Wikipedia, The river played and important role in the region in the 19th century as a way to transport goods. It eventually combines with other rivers and empties into the Gulf of Mexico near Mobile. It’s not as important as it once was because of the construction of roads and railways.

Anyway, I didn’t choose this route because I wanted to see yet another lock and dam.

I came to see Selma.

More specifically,  I wanted to see the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

This is one of the photos from Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965. Around 600 citizens planned to march from Selma to Montgomery to petition Governor George Wallace directly about being denied their rights to register to vote. Governor Wallace ordered the state troopers “to use whatever measures are necessary to prevent a march.”

As soon as they crested the bridge, they could see the state troopers waiting for them.

Incidentally, the bridge was built in 1940 and is named after Edmund Pettus, a former Confederate brigadier general, U.S. Senator from Alabama and Grand Dragon of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan.

I parked right about where the historical photo was taken and walked part of the way across the bridge. People asked me if I walked across. Quite frankly, I was overwhelmed with what took place there and how recently it all happened. I didn’t feel it was my place to recreate the march that so many people sacrificed so much to make.

I returned to the park at the foot of the bridge.

There is a monument that is based on the scripture verse in the center.

The martys of the movement are honored on one of the stones.

Another stone is dedicated to the unknown martyrs.

A large mural covers the wall of the building next to the park.

There were also some other monuments to important people who stepped up during those times.

I liked the personal feel of this small park. It doesn’t have that “too-polished, matchy-matchy” feel to it.

This gateway lead down to a picnic area down below.

From the pictures you can tell how wet it was. Unfortunately, all the water didn’t stay out of the trailer. I found a repair shop that could get me in. It was along my route and I could get there when they could see me, so I had to keep rolling.

Next stop, Vicksburg, Mississippi.


Jimmy Carter National Historic Site

After I attended church with the Carters at the Maranantha Baptist Church, I set out to explore the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site, which has several places to visit scattered around Plains.

Let’ start at the beginning. James Earl Carter, Jr. was born in the Wise Sanitarium on October 1, 1924. The next time you need to pull out a presidential fact for a trivia night, here’s one: Jimmy Carter was the first president to be born in a hospital. His mother, Lillian, was at work at the sanitarium when she went into labor, so that is where he was born.

Jimmy’s parents, Earl and Lillian, moved their small family several times while Jimmy was an infant, finally settling on a farm on a dirt road in nearby Archery.

The family moved into this middle-class rural dwelling as its second owners in 1928, six years after the home had been built. In the beginning, there was no running water and electricity was unavailable until 1938. Earl Carter sold the farm to T.R. Downer in 1949, who owned the property until 1994, when the National Park Service purchased it.

The house is restored to the conditions the family would have experienced in the 1930s. Obviously, the ramp is a modern addition. The house was surrounded by white sand. It was a bit of an expense, as it had to be imported. The soil in that part of the state is red. I think I read on one sign that it was so they could see snakes and critters near the house. One of the guides said that it was just the fashion. I guess you can decide which to believe.

I entered through the back door.

The kitchen was on one side. Compare and contrast that with your kitchen. I mean, where would you put your coffee maker and microwave?

Jimmy’s bedroom was opposite the kitchen. There was a story about how Jimmy was sick one Christmas, and had to stay in bed. That year, he got a pony and was allowed to get up and look at it through the window.

That must have been the window he looked out. Imagine how excited he was!

Next was the bathroom.  I particularly like the improvised shower head. I wonder if they heated the water or were just thankful that they could take a shower?

The breakfast room was opposite the bathroom. I guess if you don’t have an eat-in kitchen, you have a breakfast room for those smaller, less-formal meals. These meals were typically quiet, as Miss Lillian, his mother, encouraged everyone to read – even at mealtimes.

Ah, but for the more formal meals, you have a dining room!

They also had a parlor.

While they didn’t have electricity, they did have a radio. They powered it with the battery sitting on the shelf below it. There was a recording that played in the room that said that their neighbors, who were mostly black farmers, would come to listen to the radio. Earl would play it so that they could hear it outside. According to the story, they listened in silence to boxing matches and them went home to celebrate.

Here is Earl and Lillian’s bedroom. You can see Billy Carter’s crib by the window. He was born in 1937, he year before they sold the house.

They had a fireplace in their bedroom. It kind of makes me wonder if Jimmy was cold, back there in the corner.

Next to the parents’ bedroom was the girls’ bedroom. Jimmy’s sisters, Gloria and Ruth, shared the room.

Apparently they shared the bed, too. It sure reminds me of a bed I had, except mine wasn’t painted white. I even had a bedspread like that – and an afghan.

The girls had a fireplace, too! Poor Jimmy.

You might have noticed a tennis racquet at the foot of the bed in Earl and Lillian’s bedroom. Earl was wild for tennis, and with all the great Georgia red clay soil, he had his own clay court next to the house. Jimmy said that he never could beat his father at tennis.

A little ways away from the house was the family store. One of Jimmy’s jobs was to handle business at the store during mealtimes. People would knock at the door and he would go take care of their purchases.

Just in case you were wondering, here are some of the prices of the day:

People tended to be more self-sufficient back then. Tools were simpler and could  be repaired, if you had the know-how.

The Carters had a small blacksmith shop on the farm to take care of their tools. Their horses and mules were also shod there.

Speaking of horses, they had a few on the property.

They also had chickens, to lend an aura of authenticity.

Actually, the Carters were all about multiple income streams. Miss Lillian had a pecan grove, which Mr. Earl planted soon after they moved to the property.

Each fall, Miss Lillian harvested and sold her pecans in nearby Americus. The extra income provided her with household spending money throughout the rest of the year.

This building is a reconstruction of the milking barn. Between eight and twelve cows were milked on the farm each day, depending on the season and how many were giving fresh milk. None of the milk was ever wasted. Mr. Earl sold cream to a store in Plains. Leftover skim milk was fed to calves and pigs. Earl also had a good business of making making small bottles of vanilla and chocolate milk drinks, which he delivered to grocery stores and service stations in the area. He sold the drinks for five cents each. Each week he’d pick up the unsold bottles and then feed them to the hogs. The Carters also consumed several gallons a day themselves.

There were no interpretive signs about these large pans that were lying about the farm. I assume that they might have been used in scalding hogs when they were butchered. But, what do I know? I’m a suburban kid from the fifties.

Jack Clark and his wife Rachel, were permanent fixtures on the farm, , and they had their own house on the other side of the barns and sheds. Jimmy spent a good deal of time with them.

As you might be able to read, in Jimmy’s words, “The clapboard siding was the only barrier to the outside heat, cold, wind and rain, so occupants covered the inside of the boards with old newspapers pasted on with a mixture of flour and water.”

I am sure he was warmly received by the Clarks and was welcome around their stove.

The school that Jimmy attended is now the headquarters for the Jimmy Carter National Monument.

I got to wander the halls and rooms a bit and see what the school must have been like for him.

Here’s the auditorium, where we got to watch a brief introductory film.

They had a classroom set up like it would have been when Jimmy attended.

In fact, here is a photo of that classroom.

They even included a map that would have hung in the room when he was attending school.

There were other displays in the headquarters.

I particularly appreciated this quote from his inaugural address as governor in 1971.

I also liked this map of places where the Carter Center has worked to improve the quality of life around the world.

I had fun posing in this model of the Oval Office. Don’t I look presidential?

Jimmy pursued his eduction – as well as his sister’s friend, Rosalynn. They married in 1946. He was well on the way to a good career in the Navy. At the time he left the service, he was part of the nation’s fledgling nuclear submarine program.

However, in 1953 his father passed away of pancreatic cancer. He returned to take care of the family business.

At the time, he was strapped for cash and lived in this apartment in the new housing project in Plains.

It actually looks like a pretty nice place to live.

Across the street from this complex, I saw this sign:

In case you can’t quite make it out, it says, “Jimmy Carter for Cancer Survivor.” As you may remember, a few years ago, he revealed that he had brain cancer. Whatever treatments he received, they were apparently successful. It wasn’t too long ago that he announced that there was no longer a sign of the cancer.

As you can see from this vintage photo, not much has changed in Plains.

Jimmy ran for president from the train depot.

At the time he began, this was the sentiment.

However, people soon learned who he was. Jimmy who? became

I think it is telling that his one of his first acts as president was to fulfill a campaign promise by issuing an executive order declaring unconditional amnesty for Vietnam era draft evaders.

He was a president who strove to put people first, in my opinion.

Jimmy’s little brother, Billy, had a gas station in town.

It’s now an historic site, as well.

Of course, people of a certain age might remember him best as the front man for Billy Beer.

This is the Carter’s house now. I snapped this photo off a display. You can drive by the house, but you can’t really see it. He continues to have Secret Service protection, and the drive to the house is gated. After living in several places around Plains, they bought this 2.4 acre lot in 1960 and built this home in 1961. It’s the only home they have ever owned.

And that brings me to the end of my tour of Plains. If you want to read the first part about attending church with Jimmy and Rosalynn, click here.

And after this post, I will be heading west.




Some Family Time

I hitched up and had a passing camper do a quick safety check on the trailer lights for me. With the cleaned out seven-way plug, I figured that I was good to go. I headed Bart toward Alabama and family!

Heading out from Redgate Campground

An hour or so down the road, I started puzzling about the brakes. I still wasn’t getting a reading on the trailer brake controller and that worried me. I wasn’t having trouble stopping, but I do leave a lot of room around me and I brake “gently.” I decided to give Airstream in Jackson Center a call and see if they had any ideas.

I pulled into a gas station and gave them a call. The word I got was that if I stepped on the brakes and could hear them engage, they were working whether or not the display was working. I asked a guy parked near me to listen while I stepped on the brakes, as I couldn’t step on the brakes in the cab and listen back by the trailer wheels. He said he could hear them, so I motored on feeling more confident. I figured I’d take Bart in again once I got where I was going and tell a mechanic what was going on.

It was so good to get to Scott and Lesley’s house! This time, it was easy to slip Flo right in next to the house and hook her up to the outlet Scott put in for me.

I had a great time visiting and just hanging out with loved ones.

Scott and I played some Scrabble. I play a lot of Words With Friends on my phone, but it’s always wonderful to play a real game.

The first weekend I was there, I went to Plains, Georgia to attend church with Jimmy Carter. You can read about my adventure here.

There was a lot of hanging out with the dogs.

There’s Wabbit. With ears like that, what else could you call him?

And Callie. Or is that Kali?

Then there’s Hua-Hua, which comes from Chihuahua. It’s pronounced “Who-ah Who-ah.”

This is CocoaPuff. Unfortunately, he had a condition that precluded treatment, so this was my last visit with him.

A new dog came to join the pack while I was there. This is Tia. Lesley found her wandering the streets when she was out walking. They tried to find the owner, but they weren’t successful. As of this writing, she is still a member of the family.

Scott and I have birthdays that are one day (and six years) apart. We decided to celebrate by getting our birthday burgers at Red Robin.

Our server was delightful, and he even brought us birthday sundaes. What a treat!

The wreath that I got when I helped Craig get his U-Haul packed, and that I hung on my trailer in Savannah, found a permanent home at Scott and Lesley’s house.

I joined Scott and Lesley at their church. It’s an interesting church in that it’s bilingual. They have headsets and an interpreter translates the service. Afterwards, we went in the community room for a little socialization. I thought the centerpieces were cute.

The snack was tasty, too.

While I was there, I decided that I had to track down what was wrong with my braking system. First Scott tried to diagnose the problem.

He wasn’t able to figure it out, so I went to a Dodge dealer. They checked everything out and replaced the trailer brake controller. Ka-ching! But, if that did the job, it would be money well spent.

Unfortunately, it didn’t do the job. I ended up having to get the trailer brakes replaced, too. I looked up a trailer brake place and ended up at a private shop owned by some brothers from Guatemala.

They were able to get it done and I haven’t had any further problems with the trailer brakes. (Knock on wood!) When I paid the bill, I sang the Guatemalan National Anthem with the guy who helped me out.

It wasn’t cheap, but sometimes you just have to bite the bullet. You have to have brakes.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, everyone is getting ready for Christmas.

Beth, Lesley’s daughter, is holding Everett while Elijah is engrossed in opening his present.

Elijah obliged me by posing with the Christmas tree.

Lesley is enjoying some time with her granddaughter, Gwen.

Scott sure enjoys Elijah – and Elijah loves him.

Lesley made turkey – my favorite! And then she made turkey soup, another favorite!

And with that, it was time to motor onward! I love it when you can use a map of the entire country to plan a trip.






A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Beach

Okay, maybe it wasn’t all that funny.

I decided I wanted to see the ocean while I was in Savannah, and I decided to take a drive out to Tybee Island. I was tooling down the road and saw a sign for Fort Pulaski National Monument, and I decided to investigate.

I stopped into the visit center and discovered that Fort Pulaski was pivotal in the Civil War. It was the first time that the Union Army successfully tested rifled cannon. They were so accurate that they made brick fortifications obsolete.

That is really something, when you consider that the walls were eleven feet thick.

I entered the fort through the demilune, which is kind of like a little island in front of the portcullis.

A moat ran all the way around the fort.

I crossed over.

Back when the fort was built in 1847, this area was used as a kitchen and apparently as general storage.

Now a days, there is a magazine.

When the technology advances, it became unsafe to store the ammunition inside the fort.

I wended my way through the demilune and crossed the drawbridge into the fort.

I spent time prowling around the fort. It was much like many of the other forts that were built as part of the Third System of coastal fortifications that were planned after the War of 1812. According to my sources (okay – Wikipedia) most of the nearly thirty Third System forts built after 1816 still exist along either the Atlantic or Gulf coasts.

The construction of Fort Pulaski began in 1829. It was named in honor of Kazimierz Polaski, a Polish soldier and military commander who fought in the American Revolution under the command of George Washington.

Pulaski Day was always a big thing in Western New York. That was part of the reason I was eager to visit the fort.

Anyway, back to the fort. Wooden pilings were sunk up to 70 feet deep into the mud to support an estimated 25,000,000 bricks. it was finally completed in 1847 after 18 years of construction and at a cost of $1 million.

When Robert E. Lee graduated from West Point in 1829, he came to work on building the fort. He was in charge of designing the series of canals and earthworks that drained excess water from Cockspur Island. During the war, Lee inspected the site and noticed that the dike system had worked as planned. Land maps dated 1862 show the area inside the dike as the only dry land.

So, there was a lot of water, but it was all salt water. They must have saved rain water in cisterns like this one. There were ten cisterns in the fort and they could store a total of 200,000 gallons. Rain falling on the terreplein above filtered through pipes in the wall into the cisterns.

I walked around and admired the interesting brickwork. The guides told me that if I walked around outside I would be able to see cannonballs imbedded in the walls.

On my way out, I noticed the mechanics for raising and lowering the portcullis. Here are the chains.

Here are the counterweights that make the work easier.

The canals for draining the land are still in place.

And here is the gate that controls the flow of water. I wonder if General Lee would still be impressed?

If you look at about 11:00 from the cannon, you can see a cannonball stuck in the wall. At least that is what the guide told me.

I kept walking around.

This fort took a lot of punishment.

After the Union captured the fort, it was used as to hold Confederate prisoners of war. They were referred to as “The Immortal Six Hundred.” They were in poor health when they arrived in 1864. Thirteen prisoners died while they were incarcerated. They were buried here.

Incidentally, this memorial was erected in 2012 by the Georgia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

There was also this grave marker from 1800. If there was an explanation about who he was and what was going on here in 1800, I don’t recall it.

With that, it was time to complete my original mission of seeing the ocean. I headed out to  Tybee Island. They had very assertive regulations about parking posted. I found a spot with a meter and plunked in a few quarters and headed to the water.

The beach was not crowded.

I was amazed by the foam I saw on the beach.

One of these days, I am going to find out how this stuff is created.

I wandered up and down the beach and admired the ocean and the dunes.

And with that, it was time to head back to camp for my last night in Savannah.

Next stop: Phenix City, Alabama


A Little More Savannah

I last left you when I had just finished my stroll along the river. I turned my back on the waterfront and headed toward the city.

There were so many elegant old houses!

There were houses for sale, too.

I checked on the listing today, and apparently this house has been sold. But, if you are interested in relocating, I am sure that Pam or Lori would be glad to help you find a home.

Hurricane Matthew took down a few trees when it blew through in October. This one hasn’t quite been removed yet.

However, the people in the area decorated it for the holidays.

I like the local pride displayed by the citizens. These folks even made their own street signs complete with historic information.

I walked along and enjoyed the well-kept neighborhoods and shady squares.

The further I strolled, the closer I got to my goal: Juliette Gordon Low’s birthplace.

Juliette Low – you know, the founder of the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.

I was a Girl Scout for a few years. I started as a Brownie when I was in second grade and then went all the way through Seniors.

In cleaning out the house, I got rid of most of my photos, so this one will have to do to represent the whole. In fact, I was even a leader for a few years. Man! That’s a lot of cookies!

Anyway, back to the tour.

Juliette Low was born in this house in on Halloween in 1860. The house  was built around 1820 for James Moore Wayne, who was mayor of Savannah at the time. He went to Washington to serve in the House of Representative and then on to serve in the Supreme Court. In 1831, he sold the house to his niece,  Sarah Stites Gordon, and her husband William Washington Gordon I, who were Juliette Low’s grandparents.

I joined two other mature adults on the tour and we were walked though the rooms. It was nice to see the rooms restored to the way they looked when Daisy lived there. (Daisy – that’s what all her friends called her.)

Juliette was born in interesting times. When she was only six months old, her father left to joint the Confederate States Army. Interestingly enough, U.S. General William T. Sherman, who was a friend of her uncle, visited the family in Savannah,  and arranged for an escort to take the family to Chicago in March 1865. A few months after that, President Andrew Johnson issued an amnesty proclamation, and the family reunited in Savannah.

After we toured the house, we left through the garden. My new friends agreed to take my photo with the statue of Juliette and her dog.

Juliette married William Mackay Low in 1886. They had a home a few blocks away, and that was my next goal.

The first part of the home I came to was originally their carriage house. It was remodeled to become the first headquarters of the Girls Scouts, which was founded March 12, 1912.

They had a small museum inside, but it the woman running it was just about to close. I stuck my head inside and gave it a quick look.

They are quite fond of plaques. I guess they are kind of like Girl Scout badges for buildings.

I continued down the street to the Low house.

Juliette and William lived there when they weren’t traveling. Unfortunately, they did not have a happy marriage. They were planning to divorce, but he died before it was finalized. She moved back to the house she was born in and rented this house out. Fun fact: one tenant was Edmund Strudwick Nash, who was the father of Ogden Nash.

In my research, I spotted a citation that Ogden Nash immortalized “Mrs. Low’s House” in a poem. In my semi-extensive research (okay, multiple Google searches) I was unable to locate that poem, but here is a sample of his doggerel:

One cantaloupe is ripe and lush,
Another’s green, another’s mush.
I’d buy a lot more cantaloupe
If I possessed a fluoroscope.

(And oddly enough, he didn’t write “I Never Saw a Purple Cow.” I thought he was the author of that one, too. Now you know.)

My last stop on the Juliette Gordon Low tour was her final resting place in Laurel Grove Cemetery after her death from breast cancer in 1927.

They had signs in the cemetery leading the way to the family plot. (Yes, that’s Bart in the background. These old cemeteries were not built for automobile traffic – especially not big-assed trucks.)

I always like it when people say please and thank you.

Gordon Low was buried in her Girl Scout uniform. She had a with a note in her pocket stating “You are not only the first Girl Scout, but the best Girl Scout of them all.”

250 Girls Scouts left school early to attend the funeral and the burial at the cemetery. Girl Scouts are still visiting her grave.

They leave messages on rocks.

They leave patches.

They come from all over.

There was even a pink flamingo. I wonder if an Airstreamer paid a visit? I mean, someone besides me.

And with that, it was time to head back to Flo after a full day of tourism.



Savannah Wanderings, Part One

You know, if it’s not one thing, it’s another. Do you remember that I my windshield caught a rock on the way into Charleston? I spent a couple days getting that resolved.

On my way into Savannah, the light on my trailer brake controller in the cab of my truck started acting up. I got several odd signals and then it went out. So, I made an appointment to take the truck into a Dodge dealership. I described the issue and they cleaned out the seven-way plug and check things out. They said that should fix it.

If only that were the case, but more about that in a later post.

After my time at the repair shop, I set out to explore Savannah.

I stopped in the tourism office and picked up a map of the downtown area. As you can see, it is laid out very geometrically, with nicely distributed squares throughout the town.

My first stop was lunch. I decided to dine at The Lady and Sons, which is Paula Dean’s restaurant. I called and asked if I needed a reservation, and they said they had plenty of seats – come on down.

The host greeted me and directed me to an elevator and told me to take it to the second floor where I was greeted by a second host who seated me.  I was followed immediately by a guy with a plate of interesting breads.

Apparently they have done this a time or two.

I had a choice of ordering from the menu or getting the buffet.

I don’t generally opt for the buffet option as I usually can’t eat enough to make it worth while. I end up eating a bite of this and a bite of that and it’s rather unsatisfying. I opted for a salad.

I’m not sure that this was exactly a healthier choice. Fried onion rings, fried chicken, bleu cheese and dressing, and that along with the stack of interesting breads.

Sufficiently fortified, I set out to explore. I headed toward the river.

I came upon another set of those historic steps.

That’s still a long way down!

This time, I ended up not trekking down the stairs. On the map, I saw that there was an elevator. I like elevators!

I headed toward City Hall, past the horse drawn carriage, ready for tourists,

and past the pedi cabs, waiting for tourists. I like the fact that they are reading actual books.

There was the elevator! That was much more satisfying than trying to get safely down the historic steps to the riverside.

By the edge of the river was the African American Family Monument, which was dedicated in 2002.

The bronze statue is standing on a granite base that is inscribed with poignant artwork on one side.

One another side is an inscription written by Maya Angelou.

In case you are having a hard time reading the text on the photo, here is a transcript:

“We were stolen, sold and bought together from the African continent. We got on the slave ships together. We lay back to belly in the holds of the slave ships in each others excrement and urine together, sometimes died together, and our lifeless bodies thrown overboard together. Today, we are standing up together, with faith and even some joy.”

After studying the monument, I turned my attention to the Savannah River. I am fascinated by working ports. One of these days, I am going to get to watch ships being loaded and unloaded.

I loved this little tugboat chugging down the river.

It reminded me of this sweet little Golden Book we had when we were little.

There was a river boat docked a ways up the river from me.

After a bit, it got underway and headed down the river.

It reminded me of an elaborate wedding cake.

The Georgia Queen is a stern wheeler.

A container ship came steaming into port. It would be cool to watch it unload. Before you know it, those containers will be on trucks and heading down the Interstates.

I could sit and watch the river traffic all day, but I had to keep moving. I take my tourism duties seriously!

Shipping sure as changed over the years. I had always heard that they used cobblestones as ballast, but I kind of thought they just threw them in the bottom of the hold. This diagram makes it clear how they were used to stabilize the cargo. Many of the streets in the historic district are cobblestone that came over on the ships.

This building caught my attention. Actually, what caught my eye was the Masonic symbol on the balcony.

Toward the end of my walk along the river, I came upon the statue of The Waving Girl.

Florence Martus was born in 1868. Beginning in 1887, she took it upon herself to greet all the ships that entered or left the Port of Savannah. By day, she waved a handkerchief and at night, she used a lantern. According to legend, she did not miss a ship in her forty-four years on watch.

This statue is the Olympic Cauldron from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. The sailing and yachting events were held in the Savannah River.

This was my last stop on my walk along the river. I’ll share the rest of my Savannah exploration in my next post.

As P.T. Barnum said…

or was it Walt Disney?

“Always leave them wanting more.”