Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Languishing Lakeside

An emotional few weeks...
...resolved now,
 and our acceptance of loss is deepening.
 Patty needs some down time. 
 The Airstream is ready.

Monday we breakfasted with our "McDonalds Friends" Dot and Odis who always encourage us to "go now while you can" and then ask When will you be back? In their traveling days they might launch a trip on an impulse while wolfing down a few pancakes and be Smokies bound in an hour. We met at a McDonalds long before we had time to wander, and now, full circle, they wave us off from Mickey D's with smiles and a sack of road food.
We avoid the Atlanta traffic with great aplomb and glide into Petersboro Corps of Engineers site just north of Augusta Georgia. What a peaceful place! Several lakeside loops of well-designed campsites, just retired folks here this week before Spring Break.


A nearby camper caught us soaking in the sunset
We idled about camp as long as we were able before packing the bikes to the Discovery Center on The Augusta National Historic Canal. We can heartily recommend the exhibits housed in one of the old Mill buildings. They tell the story of the canal built in 1845 to produce power for the huge brick textile mills along its path. BUT WE WERE HERE FOR THE BIKE TRAIL. A Discovery Center would seem to be the place to gather some maps and launch a ride, but here the parking is sparse and the signage less than obvious, and the staff at the center a little incredulous at our questions. Most folks ride down to here from the Savannah River Rapids.

We rode over city bridges, along RR right of way, around the Salvation Army complex, on sidewalks through sketchy neighborhoods where a prison work crew was cutting weeds. We watched a couple of bikers in Auburn colors carrying their bikes through an idling freight train (and quickly regretted congratulating our grand daughter on her choice of college.)

We finally struck a gorgeous paved path through green woods and along the Savannah River with views of lovely real estate. There were suspension bridges and a long wood planked "hill" where the trail abruptly ended. Seems the city fathers spent 1.7m on the path but didn't say Mother-may-I to the Corps of Engineers about crossing their little neck...
We backtracked, got further confused and spent the evening with the Google beginning to understand where we had been and what to do next time, which is...wait for it...Start at Savannah River Rapids and ride down wide and comfortable tow paths for blissful miles.

We visited the Rapids Visitor Center next day but the rain was discouraging.

We shopped for Rally food, removed the pollen blanket from the Airstream and got in a little hike before yet another lakeside sunset. Life is good.


Alumalina is our twice a year treat -- a South Carolina gathering of Airstreamers and other friends, good times, good food, great stories. There is no pomp, little ceremony and a near overload of warm hospitality. The weather on the coveted Lakeside real estate, however, was windy and chilly the first couple nights. 

Little fuzzy flamingo needed a wrap (and perhaps a little cocktail umbrella)

This popular event has become too large for the Lake Wateree State Park site. (57 rigs, approximately 125 people from 13 different states, 1,380 feet of Airstreams )The fall gathering will be held in a larger quarters with full hookups, a spacious indoor dining area with kitchen and spectacular views of Caesars Head and Table Rock Mountain.
Fortunately, the weather cleared, the sun shone brightly on Saturday afternoon. The Open Trailer cruise gave us all a chance to closely examine new trailers, Vintage and restored, tricked out and "in-progress", useful mods both large and small. It was a glorious time. A few stayed over (to avoid the dump lines) and enjoyed the AfterParty, variously referred to as Leftovers for Lingerers. In a few hours the Awesome Aluminum Goodness was replaced by Spring Break -- families, kids, dogs, bikes, and golf carts (what?)



Our friend Suzanne directed us here on our way toward DC. By "directed", we mean she provided the maps, marked the quiet back road route, called the Park to insure they were open and suggested a lovely site by a tranquil forest pond.

Very Thoreau-like she promised, and it is, complete with eagles soaring high overhead, a pair of Canada Geese nesting, our first Spring Peepers of the year and nary another camper in sight. It was only a quiet overnight stay, but it felt so good.

Lake Anna State Park Virginia

Another overnight stop, another splendid lakeside State Park, another lovely but windy sunset. The campground is flawless – modern rest rooms with huge individual shower rooms, brand-new laundry facilities(at one dollar per load!) and sites so level that Patty can't play with her new Anderson Levelers. The only complaint (and perhaps this was apocryphal) came from the owner of the silver fiberglass travel trailer. Our beautiful shiny Airstream was blinding the incoming campers and he is quoted as referring to his as the "matt finish airstream". Really, would a Camp Host make up such a story?

So, enough lakeside living; bring on the grandchildren.

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