After leaving Desi’s house (and our questionable parking in her yard) in early March, we made our way to Georgia to hang out and explore until the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild Conference in Tampa in May.
See the route for our trip on the map “Hanging out in Georgia” on our Maps page.
A Few Repairs
First stop was Lazy Days in Tampa, a huge RV sales, service and resort facility. We had a few items to get serviced on the bus, and they were pretty well recommended. The service was good. We got some minor repairs done, like a new set of electric steps and a larger hand-rail, and got all the seams on the roof and body resealed as part of our preventative maintenance. I don’t think it had been done since the bus was built, which is saying a lot for the general quality of worksmanship that went into the bus in the beginning.
It took just over a week, during which we were living the service bay, which was an interesting experience. Luckily, they actually had a full hook-up right there in the bay!
After our in-the-service-bay experience, we took a couple of days to stay in the “Resort” side of Lazy Days. Very nice, although the sites are packed in like sardines. You can read my review of the campground here.
After regrouping, recharging and getting all our laundry done, we headed north. As is our normal modis operandi, we went for back roads that we haven’t been on before. Since we had already driven down into Florida from Jacksonville, we decided to go up the west coast on Highway 19.
We stopped in Homasassa Springs: I hoped to see some manatees, and I did, sort of. A holding pen for injured animals contained two manatees hiding under a dock-like thing, so I only saw the tail of one and the head of another. The beautiful weather apparently lured the rest of them out into the river (especially judging by the number of people also out on the river).
Lake Seminole, Georgia
After spending one night in a Walmart (Chiefland, FL) we went up to Lake Seminole, just over the border into Alabama. It’s an Army Corp park (our favorite), right on the lake. My review of the campground is here. We had planned to stay 13 days, but a doctors appointment was delayed, so we got permission to extend past the 14 day limit and ended up staying there a total of 17 days. It’s a very pleasant park, on the lake, good cell reception, nice walking trails. The only downside is that there are alligators in the lake (although most people ignored the signs). Duke did go in after the tennis ball a few times, but I started getting a little wigged out about it, so we stopped doing that.
With full hookups, 50 amp power and a quiet environment, it provided an excellent place to hunker down and work on all the things needed for the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild conference coming up in May.
One oddity: the border between Alabama and Georgia runs right down the middle of the lake, it also marks the line between Eastern and Central time. Although we were on the Georgia side, our cell phones were getting service from the Alabama side, so the time was always an hour off.
Walter F. George Reservoir
Our next stop was at the Cotton Hill Campground on Walter F George Reservoir just outside of Ft. Gaines, Georgia. Another Army Corp campground, right on the lake (review here). Again the Alabama-Georgia line runs right up the middle of the lake, but this time we didn’t have issues with the time on our phones.
There were signs for alligators AND a swimming beach at the campground. Since we were a bit further north, I though maybe it would be safer. Turns out that alligators don’t like people much, and there hadn’t been a known incident of an alligator and a person, but dogs? Alligators consider dogs as food, so we were STRONGLY advised to keep Duke out of the water!
We took a nice day trip for lunch out, and ate at Huggin’ Molly’s in Abbeville, Alabama (about 15 miles). Very unique restaurant located in an old pharmacy, which displayed much of the original drug store items from the 40’s or 50’s. I couldn’t resist taking pictures of the counters, displays and the truly nostalgic items that, at one time, graced them.
Plains, Georgia – President Jimmy Carter Site
Enroute to our next stop, we went through Plains, Georgia and visited the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site.
There were some very interesting displays; I particularly liked the pictoral display covering the life of Rosalynn Carter. It was almost like a scrapbook displayed on the walls in the hallway. She had a very interesting life and (at least according to the information provided) was very active in the Carter businesses as well as being very active as First Lady.
Of course, while we were in Plains we also got some peanut ice cream and some pecans!
High Falls State Park (Geogia)
Yet another campground! It did have some really great nature trails (Jere and Duke explored quite a bit). However, after several months of just one campground after another, I am beginning to get a bit blasé about them! This nice, green, well-maintained campground, like most of the rest we’ve stayed at, offered good hook-ups and excellent cell reception. We stayed for 13 days.
Ocmulgee National Monument
En route to the next stop, we took a few hours to visit the Ocmulgee National Monument outside of Macon, GA. The site preserves traces of over ten thousand years of Southeastern Native American culture, including major earthworks (mounds) built over 3,000 years ago by the South Appalachian Mississipian culture.
Seeing the mounds and looking inside to see the actual stone floors where councils met impressed me no end. Not to mention the quiet beauty of the site.
Reed Bingham State Park
Another nice Georgia State Park – what can I say?. We stayed for 7 nights.
Back in Clearwater
Leaving Reed Bingham, we overnighted one night at a WalMart in Inverness (Florida) and got ourselves back to Clearwater to take care of some minor business. I got my hair colored by the best hair colorist I’ve ever used (in fact, her mother used to do my hair when I lived in Clearwater in the 80’s!). If you ever need excellent hair coloring and cutting, see Nicole at LaBella Hair Studio! I also got my nails done, talked to some friends and some other stuff. Jere saw a local doctor for a check-up (all fine).
The park we stayed at was no great shakes; in fact, it was pretty depressing. Located right in the city on a very busy road (Ulmerton), it wasn’t very enjoyable. But, we only stayed a few days, so we put up with it.
On to the Conference!
Finally it came time to head to Wesley Chapel (north of Tampa) to the Saddlebrook Resort for the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild Annual Conference!