Saturday, May 7, 2016

Through eastern Alabama into Georgia

From Fort Pickens, it was clear that it was time to start heading north. Our route starts with Route 399 to 98. North on Route 87 to Route 90 east. Route 85 brings us to the Alabama border in Florala.  Then it is Route 55 north to Andalusia and Route 29 north to Dozier and this new private park called Cypress Landing.    

We will make a point of stopping at private parks now and then, We look online for good reviews.
Also, in this case, it was a new park. We like to see how new park owners are approaching the lot sizes and other amenities.  
This park was still in progress with some new topsoil being added.  A very nice boatlaunch is here with good access to refueling in the water and on shore.  The fishermen were doing quite well.
We also enjoyed a very new, clean laundry facility.
These are now the back roads of Alabama.  We continue on up to Troy where we pick up Route 10 east. We follow Route 10 to Clio where we pick up Route 51 and then Route 30 to Eufaula. Eufaula is a much larger town.  Our route then takes us down the west side of Walter F. George Lake on Route 95 and then 97 to White Oak Campground.  We are trying to catch a number of Corps of Engineer parks in Alabama and Georgia.  We like this one so much, we stayed an extra day on this site.
Comfy Jan?   You bet.  These sites were $12 per night with our Senior Pass.
Jan and I used to think that we would retire to a cottage on a lake somewhere in New England.
Now, we realize that we spend more time on lakefront property at state parks and Corps parks around the country than we ever would in New England.  Why?  Although it is quite possible to find a year round cottage on New England lakes, most folk are only there from late May to October.  
We can find state parks and Corps parks year round.
And yes, we still camp on shorefront property in New England, namely in Maine, when we can.
From White Oak Campground, it was a short 13 mile trip to Hardridge COE.  Such a beautiful campground with a wonderful site.  That is, until we got up on a very hot, humid morning to leave and discovered hundreds of tiny ants in Lady Blue. I had made sure to keep the water and electric hose and cord off the ground and thought we were good, NOPE!
The ants were in a conga line from the electric post, up the electric cord, up to tiny vent holes in our windows, and inside they came. 
Jan and I went quickly to work and took care of the problem. 
Now, we try not to underestimate the determination of tiny ants.
The picture above is from Cotton Hill COE , just around the south of the lake into Georgia and Fort Gaines.
Very close to Lady Blue is an active Bluebird nest.  We will assume this is Dad bringing breakfast to the kids.
Our stay here is in hot, humid weather. Into the 90's with mid 70's at night.Whew!
Air conditioning worked great though.
From Cotton Hill we follow Route 39 up the east side of W.F. George Lake and over to Route 82 east.
At Dawson, we turn north on Route 118 to catch up with Route 280 to Cordele.
For some unknown reason, we were sent on at least a 15 mile detour.  At least the roads were good and we arrived in Georgia Veterans Memorial State Park in good time.
The geese don't seem to mind the heat .
Safely guarding their charges.
Mom and Dad keep watch while the little ones feed on the shore.
This grass was short, but they were still almost invisible.
Georgia Veterans is a huge park with a golf course. cottages, conference center, villas, campground, short line train, a grill with night time entertainment , and Cordelia's restaurant, not to mention a full marina.  This link will give you more information   Georgia Veterans also referred to as Lake Blackshear Resort
The grounds are well kept.  We loved the blossoming magnolia trees.
Most tress that we see in Georgia are quite tall, but these are shorter.
The fragrance is described as citronella and lemon.  
They remind us of orange blossoms and honeysuckle.
Oh, and did we forget to mention a military museum and display.
This is a General Stuart Light Tank that started use in World War II in 1941.
Bruce is standing in front of a Boeing B-29A Superfortress.
Beginning production in 1939( before our entrance into WWII) there were almost 4,000 of these planes manufactured.  The most famous use was the Enola Gay which carried the atomic bomb over Hiroshima.
Anyone who watched the news in the late 60's and early 70's would recognize the Bell UH-1 helicopter ,better known as a "Huey".
From Georgia Veterans, we head on our own detour up Route 75  to Ellis Brothers Pecans.
A huge selection of different varieties of pecans including praline covered!!!!!!
Then we head down Route 215 to 280 east and McRae where we find Little Ocmulgee State Park.
This park was small and quiet.  We found a great hiking trail.
Georgia State Parks are not cheap.  They range  from $30 per night or more ($35). There is a 10% discount for seniors ,and there is a park entrance fee of $5 per night.  We did get a year pass for that which gave us a free pass for the entrance fee and one free night camping. 
We realize some of you are not interested in our routing notes, but others like to know what routes have worked.  We also use it to look quickly back when returning to an area.  It's amazing what we forget these days!
From Little Ocmulgee, we head up Route 441 to Dublin and then east on Route 80 to Twin City.
From there it is north on Route 23 to 25 to Magnolia Springs State Park.
Get your A------ out of the road!
No, seriously, get the donkeys off the road.
They just wandered onto the road
and meandered leisurely down the pavement.  Eventually they went on a different trail.
The couple in distance shared a laugh with us as we passed.
A small lake, but a good site.  
Also some good trails here.
Close by, in the park, are the springs with many turtles.
The green is where the springs emerge.  That clear pool is about 18 feet deep.
Like other springs in the area, the water comes up from limestone and gushes about 9 millions gallons per day.
The small lake at Magnolia is covered with many blooming pond lilies.
On the road again.
Back to the very first Corps park we visited 7 years ago in 2009.
From Magnolia, we traveled up Route 25 to 520 around Augusta(west)
Then it was Route 20 west to Route 150 north to Winfield COE Campground.
Our route took us through the farmlands of Central Georgia.  
We saw a number of peanut warehouses on the way.
Also, a number of fields with 3 foot tall corn, and others turned over to plant cotton soon.
At a stop at a roadside stand , we picked up fresh green beans, a little fresh Florida white corn, and the very first peaches of the season( a little hard, but tasty)
Winfield is on J. Strom Thurmond Lake which borders Georgia and South Carolina. Some of the locals in Georgia insist on calling it Clay Hill.  The lake is the largest Corps of Engineer Lake east of the Mississippi. It contains 70,000 acres and 1200 miles of shoreline.
Almost every site in this campground is a water site and they are huge.  Plenty of room for a large RV and a truck and a couple of cars and maybe a tent!
Not only huge, but there is good separation and vegetation between sites offering very good privacy.
Jan is heading for the dock at the boat launch.  This reminds us of Maine lakes.

We are now up to date on our blog. If you missed our Florida visits, please check the previous issue

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