Monday, August 10, 2015

We hit the Winter Park Fl and then Ft McAllister in Richmond Hill, GA April 6 - 11 2015

On April 6 we bid farewell to my incredibly generous and wonderful sister, Karen, in Jupiter FL and headed up to Winter Park to see Richard, who had started university the week before.  It was a quick 2 day visit as we'd been there the week before when we had helped him move in.

We arrived to learn one of our first lessons:  Check where the key position is or you can drain your battery! We tow a 2004 manual transmission Honda CRV.  It's one of the best and most popular tow cars (AKA "toad".)  In it we have a braking system that applies the brakes (and lights) in the car when we do in the RV.  It's an important safety feature.  It works because there is a plug from the RV's battery into the car that powers the system.  You are supposed to set the car's ignition to Acc (I), release the hand brake and put the gear shift in neutral.  Well, I did everything except I set it to (II) which is on.  The motor isn't running we arrived with a completely dead battery.  Luckily we had a battery jumper and got the car going again.  I needed to go get some groceries so used the time to recharge the battery and no harm, no foul.

Richard was an excellent host, preparing us a meal and serving it at his new table and Cadbury and Phoenix had a chance to roam in a larger living space-and visit Chloe.  While we are in the RV, Cadbury wears a vest that has a loop on it that we clip to a tether and he is allowed to roam outside on this tether.  We usually give him about 12 ft and he likes it when there are tall grasses or weeds nearby but has a knack for getting tangled and does...often. He'd been using it for the 3 months in Jupiter and welcomed the chance to roam free in a large apartment.

The last night I had arranged to have dinner with several friends from St Croix.  In the end only Diane made it.  Mary was sick and Lisa was stuck in traffic.  My nephew Alex, who lives in town, was also invited but when the venue was changed I thought his name was on the joint message and it wasn't.  So, Diane and I laughed and giggled and caught up with 45 years of news while Richard and Don ate and then headed back to the apartment.  Lisa arrived 4 hours later;  after spending all that time on the road in traffic!!! She is a spectacular baker, with a cake business (Sweet Dreams Desserts) and had brought a mango creme cake. She and I sat talking as if we'd known each other forever, not as if we had connected on Facebook, ate huge pieces of the cake and then Lisa had to drive all the way back-2 more hours- to Tampa.   Richard got to share the leftover cake with friends a few days later-minus the slice I had for breakfast.

April 8 dawned clear and we set off for Fort McAllister in Richmond Hill, GA.  I'd read a review of the campground and decided to give it a try.  The positive review was correct. The drive from FL to GA was beautiful.  We crossed over rivers and the spectacular Sidney Lanier Bridge in Brunswick and passed fishing villages like Darien on the way.

Fishing boats lined up in Darien, GA (above and below

The Sidney Lanier Bridge in Brunswick, GA

Coming off the bridge into the marshes


Welcome Center for Park and Historic Site

Ft McAllister State Park is comprised of a campground on the Red Bird Creek and Ft McAllister Historic Park facing the Ogeechee River.  It's administered by the GA DNR.  The main building houses a comprehensive and very well executed museum and open out onto the park on the site of the fort.  Ft McAllister was important during the US Civil War and is the best preserved earthwork fortifications of the Confederacy. It's a beautiful site and as with all of the former battle sites difficult to imagine as a place where soldiers fought, were wounded and died.



The museum inside the Welcome Center
has a timeline of history about the site, including the excavation and renovation of it by Henry Ford and hundreds of artifacts

The Anaconda Plan

for more info see :The Anaconda Plan
(this link will open in a new window)

Entrance to the Historic Site

Redoubts- the earthwork bulwarks against attack
Entrance to an underground chamber

Fort Headquarters

Housing for soldiers

The significance of Ft McAllister was its location at the mouth of the Ogeechee River which lead to Savannah.

The highlight of our visit to the park, though, was seeing a Great Horned Owl.  One of the rangers came and told us that there was what appeared to be an adolescent GHO sitting in a tree.  As we approached we could see that he was facing us over his back.  I walked around to the other side of the tree and he slowly turned to face me.

The campground is on a small island, Savage Island, and nestled among the trees.  Our site was right next to the bathrooms but during our stay the sewers backed up and they had to dig up right behind our site.  When they told us I was afraid we'd have to endure the rest of the visit with an open sewer pit but they had the repair done within hours (while we visited the fort) so it was never a problem.  We rode around the campground on our bikes and walked the nature trail with Phoenix and both times enjoyed the serenity and beauty of nature.

The bath house at Ft McAllister SP campground

Light shining through the moss above our campsite

The salt marsh at low tide

Biking and hiking pathway in the campground

Redbird Creek 

The last day we spent in Savannah wandering around the city and eating lunch on River St facing the Savannah River...

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