11. On the Road Again.

After spending just a few days at home in Seaside to catch up on things, I flew back to Knoxville Tennessee to join Kelly.  He was on his own in Kentucky and drove to Bowling Green.  The city was the capital of Confederate Kentucky during the Civil War and has the Corvette assembly plant there.  Kelly took the tour and saw how each car was assembled.  He said it was very interesting.  They also had a Corvette museum that some of you might have heard about on the news in 2014.  Right in the middle of the museum a 40′ wide and 20′ deep sink hole opened up and swallowed 8 cars in 2014!  After that he drove up to Cumberland Falls which is also known as the “Niagara of the South.”  He also toured Mammoth Caves National Park which is the longest cave system in the United States. He said he was good now and did not need to go spelunking for awhile.  Must have been some kind of cave system 367 miles that have been mapped plus more that are undiscovered!

I think Cumberland Falls has a long ways to go to catch up to Niagara Falls! 

The first night back at our Smoky Mountains KOA, the moon had that a slight haze around it creating an amazing look to the moon.  

So many pretty views along the trail we hiked.  I even found a very old railroad nail!

In the morning, we thought we would be able to on an 11 mile bike ride through Cades Cove  in the Smoky Mountain National Park.  When we got there we found out that we had missed our opportunity.  We had the right day but they only let bike riders in until 10 am then it turns into a one way road that is only open for cars.  It still was a gorgeous drive.  This cabin in the woods was home to the first permanent European settlers.  The first Winter was so harsh they survived by eating dried pumpkin that the Cherokee Indians gave them! 

The Cades Cove Primitive Baptist Church.

Grist Mill and other old tools of the trade.

OK this shot is for Cousin Pam again.  On our way to Gatlinburg, we went on a 2 1/2 mile hike though forests to a waterfall.  Our Oregon waterfalls and mountains are so big compared to Tennessee’s.  I think we are all spoiled, but it still was pretty.  It just on a way smaller scale.

Kelly was rock surfing.

A picture of a picture.  I could not wait until the Fall season is here, to post this beautiful photograph.

This is downtown Gatlinburg.  Kelly wanted to hike more and I wanted to ride my bike into town.  After 15 minutes, as you can see, it started to rain.  A lot!  It is very touristy but fun to look around.  Kelly got soaked but I stayed dry in an indoor mall.  They call these rain storms “pop up” storms and it usually includes lightening and thunder.  They happened almost every afternoon and if you are in a body of water they strongly suggest to GET OUT!

This was the site that my 4th great grand father Issac Denton helped start this church. The building has changed but the “new” Baptist church stills stands in the same location in Severville TN.  It is pronounced “Severe val”.  The neighboring town Marysville is pronounced “Merv val”.  If you say it the way it is spelled they know you are “not from these parts”.  LOL  It was strange though to feel somewhat connected to that area because of my “kinfolk” living there at one point in history.

Then we headed south through South Carolina and made our way to Savannah, Georgia. Our new home was called Red Gate RV Park.  It was just a few miles away from the city so we decided to drop the fifth wheel and go right downtown.  We headed for River Street, the oldest part of Savannah.  Some of the buildings are still standing from the 1700’s.  

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River Street is full of restaurants, shops and night life.  The port of Savannah is only 18 miles from the Atlantic ocean.  It is one of the busiest ports in the South for cargo ships. 

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We encountered this bunch of young ladies celebrating the future marriage of the girl in the Aqua dress.  They were trying to take a selfie so I helped them out.  

The Spanish Moss hanging off the trees is in all the live Oak trees in the southeastern part of the United States.  The moss is not even in the moss family and it is not from Spain.  My sister wanted to take some home with her the last time we were in Savannah but the the plant is full of little red Chiggers.  Chiggers are small bugs that can embed into your skin and cause an itchy rash.  Not something I would want to bring home!

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Savannah was the first planned city in America by General Oglethorpe.  The city has twenty two squares.  Each square has has either been named after a person or a historical event and many contain monument, markers, memorials, statues and other artwork which makes this city one of the most beautiful in the United States.  They all have their own gardens or artwork in each square as well.

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Sunday, we went to the First African Baptist Church right in the middle of town.  The year it started was 1773.  After the congregation decided to build a church, many of its members would come after their day jobs and work several more hours because of their commitment to their church.  Many just earned a very modest income but always set extra aside money because having their own church was the most important thing in their lives.  True dedication!  Going to the church service was another memory I will cherish about this trip.

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We took the history tour about this church after we had lunch in the City Market which was right across the street.  The guide told us about the church history and as we went down into the basement I asked about these holes in the floor.  Little did I know that this church probably was part of the Underground Railroad.  The holes in the floors were there so that the hiding slaves could breath easier while waiting for their chance for freedom.  It was hard to comprehend all that they had to endure.

The next day, we did a self guiding tour of one of the oldest cemeteries in the country, the Bonadventure Cemetery east of Savannah. Not only did they have famous people like composer Johnny Mercer (who wrote”Moon River” and “Baby its Cold Outside”), but also there were war hero’s in history buried there.  It is also was one of the oldest cemeteries in the Nation.  At 100 acres, their are so many unique headstones, but they still have space available as you can see in the picture above.  

The most famous was the one below of the little girl Gracie Watson.  It is the most visited grave in the cemetery.  The 6 year old Gracie died suddenly of pneumonia and her father was so consumed by her death that he commissioned an artist to make her headstone the exact likeness of Gracie.  Her father was the manager of one of the most famous hotels in Savannah and Gracie was known to dance and sing for the hotel guests and she was like an ambassador for the city.  People would come to the hotel just to see her.  Her parents never returned to her grave.  127 years later, people still bring her gifts and flowers and leave them near her headstone.

After the cemetery, we drove further East to Fort Pulaski.  It claim to fame was that in 1862 during the Civil War, the Union Army successfully tested rifled cannon in combat.  It was the first cannon that could really do some damage to its target.

The moat around the Fort kept enemies out and Confederate prisoners of war in.

We also decided to go on a Gospel Dinner Cruise.  The music was loud and upbeat.  We also went up to the next floor and they had pop rock playing with a DJ.  On the  very top  top floor they had classical music playing and offered better food.  I realized that each floor was a different type of cruise with different prices.  An interesting way to market a single cruise down the Savannah River.

I was sad to leave Savannah, one of my favorite cities, but we had to head North towards Charleston.  Our KOA campground was very nice and had nice views of the lake. The view in the picture above is called the Avenue of Oaks at Boone Hall Plantation.  Some of the trees that line the driveway were planted in 1743 and are 3/4 of a mile long.  It still is one of the oldest working plantations in the United States.  The original cash crops were cotton and pecans and now are replaced by tomatoes and strawberries. At Christmas they even sell Christmas trees. 

The mansion is an Antebellum era style design, which means it existed before the Civil War (1861).  It also has the original slave cabins that were used dating back to 1790!  The Boone Hall Plantation has been used in many movies and TV shows.  The most famous movie was “The Notebook”, “North and South” mini-series starring my favorite Patrick Swayze, “Queen” mini-series starring Halle Berry and soap opera, “Days of Our Lives”.

The slaves made the bricks for their homes with the clay from the river banks on the property.  Some of the clay had rocks and shells in it and you can still see bricks with the slaves finger prints in it.

The plantation also had a program on the slaves and their special language Gullah.  It was a combination of Creole and African dialects.  It was developed so that could communicate to each other in like a code talk, so the slave owners could not understand them.  They also sang songs in the fields and certain words in the lyrics meant different things.  Like “Gospel train” meant the underground railroad, and “heaven” meant Canada.  So interesting and so sad that African Americans were treated so badly by their slave owners.  Gloria the woman above gave us a very interesting program and we learned so much from her.

A view from the estuary near the plantation.

That night we watched the sun go down and got a spectacular view from our campsite.  We also saw an alligator head swim by!

The next day we headed in for downtown Charleston.  We took a carriage ride in the hot  afternoon sun.  Our guide was terrific and told us about the beautiful bay front homes.  He also told us about how much schooling (over a year)and testing is needed before you can become a licensed guide for the city.   In between rides the horses had to be cooled off with water and big fans.  This summer has been the longest and hottest summers of our life.  We kept going into record heat.  Kelly also toured Fort Sumter and I looked around downtown.

One of the most famous rod iron artists was in Charleston.  His name was Phillip Simmons.  The city of Charleston from end to end is truly decorated by his hand.  His trademark is a heart.  He learned his trade in blacksmiths shops and was the one of the first African Americans recognized for his talent in the art of ironwork.  

I can’t give you a full picture of the South without talking about the bugs.  At the KOA I took this picture so you could see how big the cicada is.  I was told some can produce a loud mating call that is 120 decibels, which can actually hurt the human ear.  Sometimes they were so loud I could not hear Kelly taking to me!  They are gross!

This is the trail near the lake at our KOA.  The staff warned Kelly about the alligators in the area if he ran around the lake.  Kelly decided to take his chances.

This was enough to keep me away!

We went on our way up the coast to Myrtle Beach and then to the Outer Banks Islands of North Carolina.  A tropical storm was just forming in the Caribbean and later it flooded parts of the Outer Banks.   We went into the ocean and Kelly got stung by two jellyfish!  The lifeguard told us the warmer waters made them come closer to shore.

I wanted a healthy meal and looked it up on my Yelp app.  The Tiki themed restaurant was good and Kelly also got his deep fried Coconut shrimp.

Kitty Hawk was the next stop and we got to see where the Wright Brothers made their first flight.  

Here was a model of the plane that flew 59 seconds and 852 feet.

We climbed to the top of the hill where the Wright Brothers attempted their flights over and over again for thousands of tries until they had that one successful flight that changed the world.  Our RV park was just down the street from the monument.  The church we went to was also just down the street from the RV park.  Kelly was riding his bike before church and met the pastor because he had car troubles.  Kelly helped him out and we got to know him and other church members.  We loved that church and hope some day we can come back and visit.

We tried to take a selfie in front of the famous Cape Hatteras light house.

This is an outdoor theater that depicts the plight of the Roanoke Island and the Lost Colony.  The Lost Colony was a group of 115 English colonists that basically got dropped off from England to settle and area near North Carolina.  When they came back to check on them (3 years later)  the only clue to their disappearance was a carving on a tree that said “Croatoan”.  That was the name of one of the local Indian tribes.  The mystery still remains…

Our last day at the beach and Kelly is enjoying the ocean with his toys!

 Next post will be starting in Virginia and seeing friends Larry and Judy Nelson.  The adventure continues….

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