A few last thoughts about Tennessee
I LOVED Tennessee. Many of the front yards are as big as a football field…..well maybe only 50 yards deep. If you live here you need a sit down lawn mower for sure. The other thing we noticed was that the yards are not fenced. The back yards don’t seem to be developed for outdoor entertaining. A screened in porch or sun room was more common. The freeways around Nashville are old and complex partly due to the Cumberland River. Tennessee does have a state income tax but it is only on dividend and interest, not earned income…..attractive if anyone is thinking of relocating. Sales tax 9-91/2% depending on the city.
“Come as guests & leave as friends” That was the slogan at “my most favorite” RV park. We do feel like we are leaving friends.
Onward to Savannah April 28-May 4, 2016
Today we are on the road and stayed the night at a KOA out side Atlanta. We have been so busy that in 5 weeks we have not set out our chairs and just “chilled”. We thought tonight might be that night since Doug had already made friends with our camping neighbors…….not to be. The bugs were soooo annoying (they were after my wine!) that we opted to eat inside.
Doug is working on his maps, trying to avoid going through Atlanta. According to the camp host, Friday’s traffic is gridlock all day long. Apparently the city moved the Braves stadium and the road reconstruction is horrendous…..bumper to bumper 20 miles in and 30 miles out.
The next day as we got on the freeway, there was an accident that would have added 12 miles to our “bumper to bumper” traffic. Doug did a detour. That sounds easy, but No No No. Unless you stay on a truck route, you can be faced with tree limbs and low over passes, and itty bitty streets…..remember, we cannot back up. He actually managed very well despite not having a detailed map of the area. He did such a good job of getting around Atlanta that I can honestly say I never saw the city. It is sort of like having a lay over on a flight….you have been to the city, but not really “in it”.
We made it to Savannah…….After being on the go for 5 weeks…I need a lot of maintenance. (Doug here – Bonny is remarkably low maintenance!)
Saturday April 30, 2016
After spending the day on all those things that are necessary, wasting a perfectly good vacation day……we thought we would head into Savanna Saturday evening around 6:30……mistake. We could not find a parking place anywhere, not even the public parking structure…FULL. An empty stomach makes for less tolerance of this inconvenience. With a bad taste in our mouth for Savanah, we went to Kroger’s about 9:30 to buy something for dinner. We ended up staying up to 1:30 am watching Forrest Gump…remember the opening scene with Forrest sitting on the bus stop bench with a box of chocolates? Can you guess what city that took place? That movie was so well crafted and Tom Hank’s is remarkable.
Sunday May 1, 2016
Twelve years ago today Doug and I were on the streets of Paris, watched a May Day Parade, and we walked to Montmartre….I can’t remember what I had for breakfast today, but I remember this, my first and only trip to Europe.
I could not face going back into Savannah, so we headed to where the Savannah-ites go to the beach…Tybee Island. It is about 15 miles out of town. It is an island surrounded by marshes, the Savannah River and the Atlantic Ocean. I have now completed the intent of this trip….I have crossed this country via the highways and byways and walked in the Atlantic Ocean.
I was surprised at how warm it is. The waves come in in such a way as to not support surfing. This is a beach town about 2 1/2 by 2 1/2 miles. I read some place that a nuclear bomb was accidentally dropped on the island… it obviously didn’t go off, but has never been recovered. Perhaps I should check that one with Snopes.
Apparently the population of the island has dramatically increased since the BP oil spill in the Gulf. I hate to repeat this but…..it was very difficult to find parking and EVERYTHING was metered. We did get in a bike ride. We couldn’t tell if this was the beginning or the end of the season…….beginning, according to a local.
Monday May 2, 2016
I fell like I am eating my way through Savannah. We ventured back into the city this morning. Our destination was Mrs. Wilkes’ Boarding House and Restaurant. It is located on Jones Street which is considered one of the most beautiful streets in the South by Southern Living Magazine…red brick sidewalks in a houndstooth pattern, huge trees, and cute row houses. We arrived before 10am and were not the first in line for an 11 AM first seating! This place is loved by tourists and locals alike. Lunch is served family style and the food is pure “comfort”. There were at least 15 different dishes on the table…fried chicken, BBQ pork, beef stew, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, red rice, cornbread stuffing, green beans, collard greens, squash, more squash, black eyed peas, lima beans, sweet tea, banana pudding and peach cobbler. I know I have missed something.
We met Diane and Dennis while we were standing in line and spent much of the morning with them. She is an avid traveler and became our tour guide. We visited the Jewish synagogue and St. Johns Catholic Cathedral. Interestingly, the synagogue is actually built on a floor plan similar to all european catholic churches. It is the only one in the US so built. It also may have one of the ten oldest Torahs known in the world -a long story. The Synagogue was beautiful and it had have a wonderful museum documenting the often challenging history of the Savanah Jewish community which started here in 1733. The synagogue was a real historical surprise to us. Thanks, Diane, for finding this important piece of history. St. Johns is also perhaps the most beautiful Catholic church Doug and I have ever visited. These two historical wonders are about one block apart.
Did you know that the Girl Scouts were started in Savannah? I still have may sash and badges.
Savannah is a beautifully planned city approximately a mile square packed with tons of history. We will have only scratched the surface by the time we leave on Wednesday. Imagine, no front yards, row house like construction that faces on a park. There are over 24 of these park squares in this area…..what a gathering place for the neighborhood! Late in the afternoon we ended up in Forsyth Park, the largest park in the city. Sitting by the fountain we were at the “dog meeting” place of the neighborhood. We made many new friends among the “doggie gang”. We also got a great dinner recommendation. What a great bunch. Tomorrow they are bringing drinks.
They directed us to the Old Pink House Tavern…..we had heard about this place and told we would have trouble getting reservations on such short notice. The “doggie gang” told us no reservations were needed in the basement Tavern. I loved it. Low wood ceilings, fireplaces at both ends, used brick walls, and candlelight. Well, after our enormous lunch, we did need to eat yet again…right? We shared a fried green tomato & bacon salad called a BLT and fried cheese grits & shrimp coved with ham hock gravy. It think it is the best thing I have ever tasted….we are coming back tomorrow to the upstairs dinning…..luck wold have it that there was an early reservation. Thanks, “Doggie Gang”.
The Red Gate RV park is quite beautiful and was originally a farm that has been divided between five family members. Portions of the RV park are located in the field…great if you desire satellite reception or nestled under giant oaks with Spanish Moss trailing over your site. There is also a lake, fields for horses, and a chicken coop. We have been awaken each morning to the crow of a rooster- over and over and over. We did get some fresh eggs…still warm from the womb.
Doug takes care of this coach the way a guy takes care of his first car. This is hard to believe for those of you that know him….at home he can’t even close a drawer. I have even caught him polishing the woodwork.
My morning ritual is a cup of coffee in complete silence. I made the mistake of sitting on the bed with the window open……well I woke up fast when Doug squirted me with he hose. He was out in the wee hours of the morning washing the rig. He claims he didn’t realize the window was open….do you think he resents me for not doing a lick of housework in 5 weeks?…..where is Dr. Phil when you need him?
Tuesday May 3, 2016
Today we rode our bikes to the “back of the property” and were treated to the most beautiful venue. An enormous 3 story house with wrap around porches, woods, ponds and fresh flowers on every post…one of the farm owners lives on the top floor…we could have toured the house but it was by appointment only. We had seen cars come and go over the weekend, but could not figure out where they were going and where they had come from. It is amazing the treats you will find just around the bend or down the road.
We thought we would take it easy today, go into Savannah and aimlessly take the “on off” trolley around until our 515 pm reservations at the Old Pink House.
First off, Doug got to talking to our neighbors…..surprise. They were driving their brand new 33 foot Bounder, fresh from the factory, to Pennsylvania. Get this, the wife was the driver. I am ashamed to admit that I am somewhat skittish about even turning on the ignition or activating the jacks on our coach. I know, I know, but the thought of driving this scares me to death. Since they didn’t have a tow car and really no supplies, she was going to drive it to Whole Foods. She was either very sure of herself or crazy or both. We suggested she take our Jeep…..she returned quite grateful. I wish I had her moxie.
Down on the waterfront, it started to rain so we ducked into a gift shop. The folks in the south pride themselves on being friendly, sometimes that can be a very time consuming quality when I am with Doug. An hour later we were late for our dinner reservation, but the owner and Doug had discussed everything from AIDS to ghosts. The question she posed to Doug was “what did you think Jenny died of in Forrest Gump”? This of course led to a very detailed discussion of how aids is transmitted (she was a biology major). Do you realize that our children have not lived in a world without aids? The rest of the time was spent on the fact that they were soon going to have a paranormal investigation done at their shop. It seems that several customers at many different times have said they see a woman sitting on a settee up in a room at the store. Their description of her is always the same. They said things have fallen off the walls and that items get moved all over the store. The other occurrences happen in the flat upstairs which was going through renovation for a new tenant. The contractors claim that power tools will turn on with no one close by or pieces of wood are flung across the room with no one standing where the wood comes from. This project was originally to take 8 months, 3 years later the owners cannot get the subcontractors to come back. They say the place is haunted. I don’t believe in this sort of thing, but have to admit I am intrigued. We will check into their web site in a few weeks and see what the investigation found. Stand by.
Our dinner at The Old Pink House was fabulous. The place is reminiscent of the 5 Crowns in Corona del Mar where Doug & I were married. I would simply like to try everything on their menu. I think my gall bladder has started exercising it rights, but I am not listening.
We planned an early evening by the pond at the RV park watching the sunset. Instead we were treated to a thunder and lightening storm. It actually got quite fierce. Sitting in a swing under a metal roof was not wise. The rest of the storm was enjoyed from the first seat of our coach….not as wet either.
Doug and I have been in a “news” void most of the time. We just heard that Ted Cruz suspended his campaign after a loss in Indiana. Just a thought…what if Hilary picked Bernie as a running mate? A year from now, we will reread this blog and know how the presidential election of 2016 turns out.
The history in Savannah is endless. One of the sites we didn’t see was the First African Baptist Church….one of the sites of the underground railroad during the Civil War. Doug says I am sometimes a little literal “like Forrest Gump”. I actually thought that there were underground tunnels with tiny little tracks like in a coal mine! (Sorry, Bonny)
Georgia is famous for it’s fried chicken and waffles. I don’t think I could face that in the morning. Fried chicken…….why have I limited myself to only once a year with Colonel Sanders.
Wednesday May 4, 2016 Onto Charleston, SC
South Carolina is shrimp & grits……..my new favorite food and I get to keep eating it in Charleston. We arrived in time to meet up with my good friend and former nursing colleague, Maryann Sandie and her husband, Scott. They left for Tennessee (he was a coach and principal at Valley Christain in Cerritos, California) as soon as their youngest son graduated from high school. This was particularly memorable because Scott is a true surfer. No surf in Tennessee. They and all their adult children made the move. Scott became the superintendent of a small Christian school district near Knoxville. I loved this…he said all of the seniors at his high school had to take Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace course as seniors. I can’t think of a better introduction to adulthood.
Thursday May 5, 2016 Happy Birthday Mike Catalano
I am so happy to wake up to sunny skies and no humidity. I hate cloudy gloomy overcast days except when it ends with a good rain. I am afraid I would be a statistic if I lived in Washington State.
This beautiful day started with the absolute best walking tour of Historical Charleston led by a wiry attorney turned tour guide whose family has lived here for several generations. We learned so many fascinating facts. This is the second most frequent city for destination weddings, second only to Las Vegas. 40% of the incoming slaves were sold in this port. This is generally a geographically segregated city, by choice. The race relations here are very cohesive as demonstrated by the city’s reaction to the horrible shooting at the AME Church here in 2015. This city, led by the people of the church, showed forgiveness and would not allow the media (and “Reverend” Al) to make it into a circus of racial discord. SOB now has a new meaning…South of Broad (street). It a designation of the the wealthy area of the city….those charming antebellum homes that range in price from 2-7 million dollars. The Historical Preservation Society will not allow any alteration to the exterior of a home in the district…not even the removal of a tree. Nothing can be torn down unless it is less than 75 years old. They still have debutantes presented here and kids still go to cotillion dance classes. The homes have very little street frontage with the front door on the side with piazza (porches) on the 2nd floor. This allows for the breeze from the water to cool the homes(before a/c).This is called the “holy city” because of the enormous number of churches and there was a tavern for every 15 resident at one time. You look at the skyline of this city and you don’t see high rises only church steeples. At one time all religions were welcomed to practice their faith here…..except Catholics. How is that for a multitude of unrelated facts. I could go on.
That evening we decided to “entertain” for the first time since we have been on the road…..I used our best Melmac dishes and set a fine table and even used a tablecloth. We learned quickly that a plastic table cloth plus candles plus wind make a dangerous combination. As we were sipping wine and having a lively conversation something bright caught my eye…….our table was on fire!
Running inside to retrieve our industrial size fire extinguisher, I realized it was overkill. I had forgotten about the small extinguisher by the front door. Doug was calling for ice……what do you need ice for?….is that a new way to put out a fire? Seems he managed to contain and extinguish the fire with his bare hands…..the ice was for a painful burn to his ring finger. He is not stupid, as this would indicate, but the melted plastic stuck to his finger… a second degree burn is healing far faster and better than we expected. Our first aid kit contains a multitude of items, but nothing for a burn except aspirin…….if he had cut off his finger, we had enough supplies to suture it back on.
(Doug here. The finger is now just fine. I was moving the plastic table cloth to the ground off the table to then stomp the flames when a portion of the molten plastic stuck on my finger)