Liz and I had a lot to talk about on our trip home. We really enjoyed our time in Nappanee and every trip we learn something new about Newmar and RV’ing in general. This trip was no different, and we also try to add something new to each trip. It might be something that is purely for fun or maybe something that is both fun and educational.
We left Louisville, KY and spent the next night in Cullman, AL. This park was close to I65 but still off the beaten path. It is one of the parks that is best described as “ok for overnight,” but we would prefer not to stay for too many nights. There were quite a few “permanent” residents in some not so well maintained RV’s. There isn’t a lot to do in Cullman anyway and it was more of a stop of convenience than anything else. We did have some friendly neighbors that we met the next morning that were staying there to watch their granddaughter make her first parachute jump. Yikes!!
From Cullman we headed to Americaus, GA where we had reservations for three nights at the Brickyard Golf and RV Park. It had quite a few good reviews on Trip Advisor and with Passport America it was only $20 a night. When we got there it looked fine. The sites were grassy but the ground was firm, level and the sites were spacious, but the park had
hardly anyone there. There was the camp host up front along with a couple of other RV’s, and in the back there appeared to be some long term resident trailers. I have never seen a park this vacant, especially in the summer, but thought no more of it as it was somewhat off the beaten path. When I got out of the truck I noticed that there seemed to be a few gnats. I didn’t think too much of it as gnats are not unusual in Georgia. We mostly see them on the coast where we live in the early Spring and then they leave. As I stood outside at the site, the gnats became more bothersome. I mentioned to the host that I thought that there would be more people here since it was summer. She said, “Oh no, no one comes here this time of year. There are way too many gnats.” Like I said earlier, we learn something new each trip. I didn’t say that what we learned was always good. As bad as it was outside, we decided to stay. We had no real plans to be outside anyway as it was really hot and humid, too. Sounds like a great trip doesn’t it? Actually it turned out great.
We had plans to tour the Richland Rum Distillery, go to the National POW Memorial and Museum in Andersonville, and to go to Sunday School in Plains, GA with Jimmy Carter. Unfortunately, we received news a week ago that, due to surgery, Jimmy Carter had canceled his Sunday school appearance. We later learned that the surgery revealed that he has cancer. You can say what you want about Jimmy Carter as a president, but as a human being he has dedicated his life to working for world peace and helping those folks less fortunate. Needles to say, we were disappointed.
All I can say about Plains, GA is that it is all about Jimmy Carter and peanuts. Every store seems to have some type of Carter memorabilia for sale and peanut everything. We did sample the peanut butter ice cream which turned out to be pretty good. Not as good as Rocket Science in Nappanee though! They did convert one of the local schools to be a National Historic Site which chronicles Jimmy Carter’s life. We found it interesting and very informative. We ate at a local restaurant (actually it was the only restaurant) in Preston, a town near Plains. This was our second visit in two days to a locally owned restaurant in a small Georgia town. Both were basically the same, as the fare was off a buffet table and consisted of fried chicken, some kind of meat with gravy on it, greens, mac and cheese, sweet potatoes and sweet tea. When you first walk in the place seems a little scary, but I have to say that we both thoroughly enjoyed the food and conversation with the local folks. The fried chicken was some of the best I have ever had and the turnip greens were superb. There was a plaque on the wall with a copy from the Congressional Record detailing a speech made by the local congressman on the floor of the House of Representatives about the lady who owned the restaurant and her service to the community. Unfortunately, she had recently passed away.
The Richland Rum Distillery was interesting and a fun experience too. They have a great website and I had emailed Karin early to setup a tour. She advised me that we could come at 11 o’clock as tours were given each hour on the hour. When we got there, the front door said to go to the side entrance. As we started to walk around we ran into a guy and asked him where we needed to go for the 11 o’clock tour. He said, “Oh there is a tour at 11?” As it turns out the gentleman, Roger, is the only employee of the distillery and the guy that does pretty much everything. Welcome to South Georgia!! He said that he would be glad to give us a tour and he didn’t even wait till 11 o’clock. Roger took us inside a very clean and organized brick building where two stills were in operation. We learned about making the mash from sugar cane (now they use sugar cane syrup made in Odum, GA) all the way to aging it in white oak casks that have been charred on the inside. Their rum is aged about two years and is single cask meaning no two barrels are blended together. We loved the tour and Roger too. He was a real “character”. As you can imagine this is a small operation and they produce only 60 gallons of rum a day, five days a week. We had the opportunity to taste the product at the end and it was really smooth. This is the type of rum that you add a dash of water to or maybe one ice cube and sip. Never, never mix coke with it!! They couldn’t sell a bottle of rum to you, but if you paid $55 for the tour you received a complimentary bottle. Hmmmm!! Needless to say we took the $55.00 tour. It may sound expensive, but where else can you get a great bottle of rum distilled in South Georgia? Well distilled legally, anyway. We even got a bottle from the same cask as the one we tasted. It was definitely worth the trip.
Our other stop was much more sobering than the previous two. Liz, as many folks, was unaware of the Confederate Civil War prison that was located in Andersonville, GA and the horrible story associated with it. There were some 45,000 Union soldiers that passed through Andersonville and 13,000 died there. History says that there were facilities in the North where Confederate soldiers were housed that were almost as bad, but none ever gained the reputation of Andersonville. It is now a National Historic Site and is also the home of the National POW museum. It chronicles the history of POW’s from the Revolutionary war through the wars in the Middle East. We, however, found the Andersonville prison portion most compelling. As with many of the Civil War sites, you can walk the 26 acres and see where the walls were, and try to imagine what the soldiers imprisoned there had to go through. The immensity of this tragedy really occurs when you get to the cemetery and see all the markers. They couldn’t dig individual graves because as many as 100 men a day were dying, so they buried them shoulder to shoulder in trenches. The only marker was a stake with a number on it. If it wasn’t for a former prisoner, who smuggled out a record of the numbers at the end of the war and Clara Barton there would have never been any head stones.
We headed home on Tuesday, August 10th. Our focus now goes to getting the trailer ready to trade and closing out the deal with Dick Gore for the Newmar. OH and planning our next trip!!