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This is a continuation of the Westy trip to Georgia for the 74th RRCS Rhodesian Ridgeback National Specialty dog show at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry.

April 22, 2005, Friday, was the coursing class at the dog show, which lasted all day. The sky was threatening and there were sounds of thunder, but the rain held off until about 4:30 pm, when Vicky had just finished shopping for groceries and just left for Wisconsin with the kids and dogs. (That night she tent camped at Red Top Mountain State Park just north of Atlanta). I waited at the shopping center and heard about severe storm warnings to the north, but waited to drive back until most of the violent storm passed. Went back to the campground where ankle deep water surrounded the van that night as the storm continued. Saturday was clear and I took the E-bike for a long ride, but had to pedal the last mile when the battery gave up. Sunday I left Southern Trails and went on to explore more of Georgia by myself.

Except for the travel on I-75, it was a beautiful drive from Tifton to Waycross and on to St. Marys; mostly a divided highway with very little traffic. Using deLorme 2005 GPS, I didn't get too lost on a few detours. It is very reassuring to have someone tell me I am off-route and then recalculate, although sometimes the suggested route to get back on track is little more than a sandy road. That is when I use "real" maps. Gas in Waycross, April 24, 11:50 am, 12.095 gal @ $2.129; total $25.75.

Laura S. Walker State Park, Waycross, Georgia, near the northern edge of the mysterious Okefenokee Swamp. There were many carnivorous plants along the lake shore. Camping fee was $19 per night with $2 park pass; $32.40 for two nights with a senior discount. Arrived at 12:15 pm, 64.4 degrees, 426.4 miles (42,783).

GTRV at Laura Walker State Park

honeydew carnivorous plants

Okefenokee Swamp Park, "Headwaters of the Suwanee." . Monday, April 25. Entrance fee with boat ride and train tour was $21.40. The boat tour and Pioneer Island Express (Lady Suwanee with a stop at Okefenokee Railroad depot on Pioneer Island) each took one hour.

Okefenokee Swamp Park

Lady Suwanee

Pitcher plants


Cumberland Island National Seashore. On Tuesday, April 26, arrived at Crooked River State Park at 10:30 am, 79.3 degrees, 508.4 miles (42,865). Camp 2 nights for $37.20 ($22 per night). The park had cable TV hookups with 11 available channels and was about 15 minutes away from the ferry boat dock at St. Mary's, GA. The park is about 500 acres with 3 distinct forests: long-leaf and slash pine forest,and two types of hardwood hammocks. Using the pedal bike, I explored 9 miles of trails in the park (Bay Boardwalk, Palmetto, and Sempervirens Trail, plus access roads) and it started raining as I returned to the campsite. It poured rain that night, but not quite as much or as violent as the storm in Unadilla several days ago. The next morning, the skies had cleared and I found my way to the ferry boat. Round trip $12 for seniors plus $2 with Golden Eagle pass; total $14.

After a 45 minute ride on the Cumberland Queen, landed on Cumberland Island at the Dungeness dock and toured Carnegie's Ice House exhibit area. Rows of sand dunes as high as 40 feet and dotted with sea oats border the 17 miles of undisturbed white sand beach. Took the Dungeness Trail down beautiful oak-lined Coleman Avenue into a maritime forest. On the way, one of the exhibits was a rusting heap of old vehicles that had been used on the island and the Green-Miller family cemetery with tombstones dated in the 1800's. Dungeness is the site of two magnificent estates built by Thomas (younger brother of Andrew Carnegie) and Lucy Carnegie in the 1880's. The mansion burned in 1959 after not being occupied for many years and is now in ruins. The small tabby house nearby was built around 1800 and is thought to be the oldest structure on Cumberland. The vine pergola is in that area.

The first wild horses I saw were in the marsh area off the boardwalk. Three horses were in the marsh and 3 more were on shore. The Dungeness trail to the beach on the Atlantic Ocean is 1.5 miles, from there to Sea Camp Beach is 1.3 miles, and back to Seacamp dock is 0.5 miles. There was a group of feral horses on the beach probably seeking relief from biting flies. While waiting at the dock for the ferry, a wild turkey trotted below the seawall along the shoreline in front of us, and finally found an access point into the forest. The waves were splashing over the bow of the ferry as we sat at the front of the boat on the return trip. The school children enjoyed getting wet.

On the way driving back to the campsite, I passed a Red Hat shop in St. Mary's, but it was closed for the day. The next morning I drove back to visit the shop and I met Red Hat Queen Camay. She had a lovely shop full of interesting regalia, but I didn't stay as long as I wanted to - although I made reservations at the two Georgia parks and the ferry ride, I was not sure about Fort Clinch. Gas in St. Mary's, 7.814 gal. @ $2.049; total $16.01. Left St. Mary's Thursday, April 28, 530.7 miles (42,887); arrive at Fort Clinch 12:30 pm, 576.8 miles (42,933).

Dungeness ruins

vine pergola

Wild horses on beach

Red Hat Queen Camay

Fort Clinch State Park in Nassau County, Fernandina Beach, Florida, is located at the northern tip of Amelia Island and is one of 3 designated "gateway" sites which provide more resources for the East Section of the Great Florida Birding Trail. I met a group of people who had spent several days by the fishing pier watching birds at Birding Trail exhibit. A voluntary on-site Visitor Survey was being conducted by Florida Park Service and Florida State University with a 4-page checklist, with an option of entering into a drawing for a free Annual Florida State Park Pass. Camping $23.98 with senior discount for 2 nights in Riverfront area.

Fernandina Beach was celebrating their 42nd annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival beginning with a pirate parade on Thursday. I rode the E-bike into town on Friday and walked through the downtown section admiring the restored buildings from the 1850s, featuring many Tiffany windows, gables, and turrets. That night the fireworks in town sounded like a battle going on. The campground is just a short distance down the river from town, but several miles by road.

Fort Clinch entrance

Beach by jetty

Fishing pier

Shrimp festival

Controlled burn at Fort Clinch State Park

Results of controlled burn

Saturday, April 30, leave Fort Clinch at 9:15 am, 69.4 degrees, 576.8 miles (42,933). Arrive home at 3 pm, temperature 91.4 degrees. Total mileage for 2 weeks: 711.5 miles (43,068).

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