The last time I put out a post I was just finishing cleanup after the tornado in central Georgia at Hamburg State Park, where I was staying form the month of April into May. Maxine and I have been quite busy since then. On Mother’s Day May 10th we started our travels northward, heading back to Wisconsin. Where we would be staying for a while at my good friends Patti and Steve’s place. You may remember I spent the winter with them in Bushnell, Florida. Like for so many others, my plans have changed drastically throughout this year due to the pandemic and other circumstances beyond my control. The original plan was to stay in Florida till the end of April attending my nephew’s wedding near Tallahassee, Florida. And then slowly making my way out to Oregon to spend the months of July and August back at Heceta Head Lighthouse for my fourth season there. But as things go, plans have been changing rapidly this year. With the postponement of my nephew’s wedding I decided to leave Florida earlier and stopped off in central Georgia waiting for the weather to get warmer back up north. I stayed about six weeks helping out at the wonderful Hamburg State Park, Georgia. Then I started making my way north not knowing what to expect, as far as places to be able to stay and things to do. I had a few free nights of camping (in Georgia State Parks) from my volunteer time in Georgia. So, I booked some nights up in the northwest corner of Georgia near Chattanooga, Tennessee. To be able check out a couple of new parks, I haven’t been at before. My first stop for an evening was Fort Mountain State Park, Georgia. This park was only a few hours’ drive from Hamburg and we got in before noon, which gave us a chance to do some exploring. The park is 3,712 I acres and one of the higher points in the state of Georgia, in the mountainous region. The park has a small lake right next to the campground.
With some nice sites along the water, and more up in the hills. After getting settled in, we had time to do some hiking and exploring. There are 14 miles of trails throughout the park. One of the trails leads up to the top of the mountain where this beautiful old fire tower built in the 30s by the Civilian Conservation Corp (the CCC).
With the pandemic the tower was not open to the public. But I imagine if you could climb it, you would get some spectacular views from this point.
A little further down the trail there were some beautiful overlooks of the distant hills. And at other points beautiful views of the valleys below. I think Maxine enjoyed the views as much as I did.
For sure she always loves checking out new terrain.
After spending a peaceful evening relaxing and enjoying the beauty of this park. The next day we were off for a short trip, (about an hour and a half drive) to Cloudland Canyon State Park. Right near the border of Georgia and Tennessee. I made reservations to spend two nights here. Giving us time to explore this beautiful part of the state and do some more hiking in this park. The park is located just a few miles from Chattanooga, Tennessee and there’s tons of things to do in the area, under normal circumstances. But this year being as it is, most of the tourist attractions were closed down. So, we settled for some hiking and social distancing which was very relaxing and enjoyable. As you hike along the Canyons ridges you get spectacular views in all directions. There were a couple of beautiful waterfalls coming out of the mountains feeding the river in the Canyon below. Everywhere we hiked Maxine and I enjoyed the fresh air and beautiful views.
When I initially left on May 10 these were the only stops, I had planned. I figured I would plan out the rest the way back to Wisconsin from here. But as I got on the road and got better Internet reception and after doing more research. I came to the conclusion there was really nothing for me to do or see from this point on. There were very few places to stay along the way comfortably. The nice thing about Georgia during this whole pandemic. Was they kept their state parks and campgrounds open, giving people opportunity to get out in nature, but still keep distance from each other. But the further North we got there was less opportunity for this and many places were still close for the season, it just being the first part of May. So, I made the decision to drive straight through more or less, making one shortstop overnight in a wayside. Completing the rest of my journey in just two days. Once I got back to Green Lake, Wisconsin I had my wonderful spot to park at my friends Steve’s and Patti’s place. As you might recall this is where I spent last fall. I am so glad they allow me to stay here, (my home away from home). I think Maxine enjoys this even more than me. She sure has gotten very attached to them spending so much time with them this past year. Fall in Wisconsin and all of winter down in Florida (she is very attached and defensive of Patti for sure). I got back to Wisconsin got settled in on May 15. Self-quarantine myself, not doing much other than helping Patti and Steve out with some projects. One of the main projects we did was build a retaining wall in the hillside next to where we parked the RV’s. Steve got a bunch of retaining wall blocks from his nephew and we clean them up and were able to reuse them saving a great deal of money.
We built this back section behind my RV with the blocks he got from, his nephew. Then a week or so later we picked up more blocks and Menards and finished the section alongside the RV it turned out really nice.
We did take a little break from the chores. On June 1st Maxine and I, Steve, Patty and two other couples went on a camping trip to Calumet County Park. This is a nice park on the east side of Lake Winnebago a nice size Lake in East-Central, Wisconsin. The campground had just opened back up, but the restroom and shower buildings were closed. You had to have a self-contained unit. We practice social distancing just hanging out and spend a good time with friends. This was a three-night getaway. We had several campfires, play games and consumed lots of food and drink. We had great views of the lake. One evening we had a beautiful sunset. And Maxine got to go swimming each day.
Back in February when this whole pandemic started, I decided to grow my beard out. I call it my pandemic beard. I grew it in solidarity for all the people that couldn’t get their hair cut. Here was getting kind of bushy by the first part of May.
And even shaggy towards the end of the month. I grew it for a couple more weeks before I shaved off and went back to my regular goatee.
I’ve been mostly just hanging around in Green Lake, visiting friends and family. Not really venturing out too much. As I said earlier my original plan back in December, was I should have been on my way out to Oregon to work at the lighthouse (for July & Aug.). But that got canceled back in May. I wasn’t sure what I was going to be doing, the rest of the summer. As things started to open back up, in the last few weeks. I started figuring out plans for the rest of the summer. Up to a week ago I wasn’t sure what was going to be happening. But all of a sudden, things come together and I am planning on moving on the first week of July. More on that in my next post so stay tuned. I have lots to get done between now and then. “Best Wishes To All” stay safe and healthy, Rick