Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hidden Gem in Savannah

Another great hidden treasure that we came across today, it’s just a short ten minute drive from downtown Savannah to the Oatland Island Education Center, even though the center is owned and run by the County Board of Education it is open to the public.

The sixty-acre forest was once cleared farmland where the McQueen family, made famous in Eugenia Price’s (one of Cathy’s favorite authors) novel Don Juan McQueen, grew cotton during the 18th and 19th centuries.

As you drive up the palm lined divided drive to the center you spot the center, the building alone has a very interesting history.
It was built in 1927 as a retirement home for the Brotherhood of Railroad Conductors, then during WWII it was used as a hospital. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention then used it as a laboratory, and when it was declared surplus in 1973, the Chatham Board of Education took it over and created the education center. The building was used in the movie The General's Daughter, starring John Travolta.

The center has about two miles of trails that take you to the various animal exhibits, the river boardwalk, a heritage home site and the farm with its barnyard. We spent about three hours walking the trails which were lined with azalea’s that were close to full bloom.

When we first saw this nest hatching we went crazy thinking how lucky we were to be here at just the right time, until we looked a little closer and discovered that it was fake.

Boardwalk & Richardson Creek

Bob Cat and a sleeping Black Bear

Two American Icons

The wolfs were great, there were five of them and they were waiting for their feeder to come so they were very active think everyone that came down the path had food for them.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay My, oh my what a wonderful day.
Why are we singing the Song of the South, it must be that we’re parked in front of the Uncle Remus Museum which is located on US 441 in the town of Eatonton GA., the birthplace of the author of all the Br’er Rabbit stories. Joel Chandler Harris was born in Eatonton , when he was 13 years old he got a job on the Turnwold Plantation where he was a printers helper, the plantation was about eight miles out of town and he lived there with the owner. To entertain himself at night after work he would go sit on the porch of the slave cabins and listen to the stories that the slaves told. Later in his life when he was living in Atlanta he wrote and published these stories that he remembered from his youth on the plantation. There is not too much at this museum, it doesn’t take more then 15-20 minutes to see everything, but it’s only a buck and you can walk through the Briar Patch.

click on picture to enlarge and read

This is just something that we stumble across where criss crossing the back roads of Putman County.

Double Bubble MicroCar Museum

If you love cars this is a must, it’s the Double Bubble Micro Car Museum, it’s located about 4 miles south of the city of Madison GA. On US 441. The museum is only open Tuesday through Thursday from 1pm to 4pm. Donation of $5 per person, which goes to the local Humane Society After WWII the airplane factories in Europe were banned from building aircraft so they retooled there factories to build cars, but since fuel was so costly the designed micro cars with 1 and 2 cylinder engines that got up to 80 miles per gallon and a top speed of some where around 60 & 80 KPH. I’ll just post the pictures with a little description if I can remember anything about the car.

These are all real cars that where driven on the street, mostly in Europe but some in the USA.

The small one is a pedal car

Rainbow row

A real Police Car from Germany

Notice that there is only one front tire on the red car.

the engine on this dragster is really larger the the original car body,

The police and Traffic can be pretty tough down here.

This is what the curator of the museum drives, go figure.

Anna Ruby Falls,a dirt road and the Grave

Did a little drive over to Anna Rudy Falls and hiked back up to the falls, it’s a very good thing that they had benches every 100 yards or so because we put them to real good use.

The falls is really two separate falls formed by two separate streams that just happen to come within 50 feet of each other before they form the falls.

We did a scenic drive along the ridge of the mountains, we ended up crossing the Appalachia Trail three different times and then we came to the ‘DIRT ROAD”. The dirt road, why there’s nothing wrong with driving on a dirt road, even when it turns into a tiny little dirt road. Even when it turns into a tiny little dirt trail, which when you round the bend it stops at a creek, you look across this 25 foot creek and see that it comes out on the other side and continues. I should mention that two days earlier we had an all day down pour where we got about 2 ½ inches of rain and this little creek was running pretty damn fast and maybe a little deep. After a few seconds of thought I figured why not the road goes right through it, I started to inch out into the steam and when I felt the rear wheels enter the creek I also started to fell the front wheels sinking, doing what any macho man would do I put it to the floor and pointed it straight ahead, about 3/4 ‘s of the way across a wave of white water washed across the hood and I held it to the floor until we were launched out of the creek onto the other side. I pulled up about 30 feet and stopped to let the steam escape from the front of the car and to unwind my nerves, I got out of the car and saw a BIG Jeep pulling out of the stream, it was the mail lady, she stopped and told me that she wasn’t going to try crossing the stream today because the water was too high and too fast, but then see saw me make it and figured she wouldn’t have any problem, then she told me that there was a little bigger steam to cross a few hundred yards down the road, then just like that she smiled and drove away. OK now we’re approaching the second stream and I figured that I would take a good look at it and give it a thought or two, The trail made a sharp right turn and the bank was high enough that you could not see the stream over it so I decided to make the turn and see what it looked like, big mistake, it was wide, it was fast, it was deep, no way, nota, not me, I’m going to show a little sense and back up out of her and tackle the stream that I have already conquered. Wrong, I put in reverse and all it did was slip on the steep rocky embankment (damn front wheel drive) it actually started to slid forward so macho man to the rescue again, Slam it in first gear and stomp it to the floor again, this time when we reached the ¾ mark, with the familiar white water wave coming across the hood the front end didn’t start to sink instead the entire car started to slow, all I can say is that I’m not divorced so we made it to the other side. A few more miles and we were at the trail head for Helston’s Falls.

This is the Lower Falls, two years ago I was standing right in the middle of these falls and I was dry (right about in the middle of the picture where the water is shooting straight up) this shows how much a big storm can increase the water flow.

This is the upper falls which is about 50 yards up from the lower falls.

This is where I walked out a little bit to look over the top of the lower falls, if I was brave I would have slide down the falls.

What better place to end today’s adventure then at a grave, as long as it’s not mine, this is Trahlyta's grave and you can ready about it in the photo of the sign.

Click to enlarge and read

Toccoa Falls and Easy Company

Time to do some catching up on what we’ve been up to while in the Georgia Mts. Other then trying to stay warm, we did manage to get in a few road trips on the sunny days.

The first day we headed over to the city of Toccoa, to visit Toccoa Falls, which is located on the campus of Toccoa Falls College, there is a small charge to walk back to the falls but it’s worth it. Read the sign below to find out about this killer falls.

60 feet higher the Niagara Falls, it's just a short walk from the gift shop.

After leaving the falls we drove into town and stopped at the old Railroad Depot, which has been turned into two museums. The first is a museum about the county, which has a very interesting history; it was surprising to see how many famous people have come from this little town. But then we passed through the doors to see what we really came for The Currahee Military Museum; this covers the history of Camp Toccoa, the Paratroopers Training center for the 506th, 501st, 511th and the 517th. This was the home camp for Easy Company better known by the name of the movie that was made about them “A Band of Brothers” This was one of the best little museums that we have been to in a few years, they have done an excellent job of collecting and displaying numerous artifacts from the soldiers and their families.

After leaving the museum we did the driving tour which took us to the location where the original camp was, the still have the foundation of the front gate and have placed a monument on it, also back down the road in the fields you can still find the fire hydrates and some street signs that are left over.

These T-shirts were issued to the soldiers that trained here, this is the only known original to exist, since the soldiers wore them when they went of to battle, they were all destroyed and thrown away. This one was given to a girlfriend in town and that's why it's still around.

The Movie Band of Brothers was based on soldiers that trained here. This is a picture of the cast from the movie.

Easy Company (Band of Brothers) held their 60th Reunion here.

Click on this to enlarge so you can read it, it tells about the stable in England that was converted into a barracks for Easy Company to use while they were staging for D-Day. The museum has one of the original that they had dismantled and shipped here.

The Stable/Barracks

Inside the stable

This is a letter written to one of the soldiers from his mother, when they were dismantling the stable it was found wedged between two of the planks.

If you follow the driving tour you end up out where the original camp was, the foundation of the front gate is still there with the monument on it. Down the road and in the woods you will find some old street signs and fire hydrants showing where the streets and barracks were.

This town is also the home town of George Washington Hitt, he was crippled and in a wheel chair, he had very little use of his arms and hands yet he had an incredible talent, holding a pair of surgical scissors upside down and using only his thumbs he cut out shadow pictures that are just unbelievably intricate in their design.