Friday, October 3, 2014

Fall Trip of 2014

On Tuesday, September 23, 2014, we left Foley, AL, in a rental car, a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Our first destination on this trip was to make it to the Savannah and Fort Pulaski area in Georgia. This took two days of driving. When we did get to that area, we wound up going to the fort first. This is when we realized we were not really fit enough to do the walking and stair-climbing involved. It is an understatement to say we wore out ourselves once we had finished touring the fort.

Before we headed back toward Savannah, we went to Tybee Island, which seemed to be in the mode of gradually shutting down most of the summer activities there. While there, we discovered where Atlantis is and stopped for a photo.

These two sites were in Georgia Low Country. Most of the roads we were driving on were going through lands that reminded us of some of the other low lands we are familiar with that have important ecological reasons for existing and protection, but, in many cases look like they are waste lands, not suitable for habitation by people but places where much wildlife and the lower part of the food chain get their start. It was very obvious that fishing boats were part of the income in some of the areas.

Until this trip, I'd never thought about why the state is named Georgia. We did learn history as we toured and learned Georgia is named after King George II, an English King who granted the state its original charter.

Later, as we toured both Savannah and Charleston, we found that many very old buildings have been preserved. These two cities are probably older than many of the cities where we have traveled and lived.

The Savannah trolley tour had drivers/guides who narrated the points of interest along the route with interesting historical information. The only stop we made was at The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. By that I mean, many stops existed on the tour and the passengers could make their own decisions about where they wanted to get off for awhile and then get back on the trolley to continue the tour. Almost during the entire trip the skies were overcast, which does not make for good photos. That's why the photos we are sharing include a couple up on Google Images that were professional and VERY GOOD.
We have Spanish Moss growing where we live now, but not as much as we saw there with streets lined by Live Oaks with lots of Spanish Moss hanging from them.

More photos from Savannah...

We've been very close to the Cradle of Forestry on previous trips but have not stopped. Glad we finally did on this trip. The Cradle of Forestry is located in Pisgah National Forest.
Several years ago we might have taken all the trails they have to offer, but, alas, our lack of fitness prevented our seeing it all in person. Our volunteer guide told us we should be happy we did not come until the day before because the place had a huge turnout of visitors because there was no entrance fee to get in and many children were there on field trips.

We are glad we toured it because we did get to take a ride with firefighters aboard a helicopter on their way to a roaring fire in the wilds of Idaho in the Forest Discovery Center Exhibit Hall. (Shown below)

We took part of the shortest trail, which is described fully on the cradle of forestry website at
Virtual Biltmore Forest Trail . This is one of the sights along this trail:
Our walk on the trail was all by ourselves and very peaceful.

It was about this time that we tired of being on the road and made a fast exit by way of the various routes that led us back to Sweet Home Alabama.

P.S.: November 21, 2014 -- Just came to my attention that a pretty important part of the trip was left out. Just as we were leaving the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, we saw a bear along side of the road just as unconcerned as he or she could be. We didn't turn around and go back to take a photo like some people did because we have seen live black bears before in park and know how bad "Bear Jams" can be in traffic. Besides, we were really in the mood to "get on down the road."