Secondary Roads

My life on the road, exploring, adventuring and experiencing. Part journal, part travel guide, part history lesson, part stream of consciousness. The world is my bucket and the list is endless!


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Coastal GA

There is nothing quite like the charm of southern coastal towns.  Yes, I realize they evoke the evil shadow of slavery, et. al., but moving beyond that, they are lovely and relaxing.  St Marys, Georgia is no exception.

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Center of historic downtown St Marys

The St Marys river is the border between Georgia and Florida and was, in fact, the international border between the United States and Spain.  The historic downtown area is filled with oak lined streets and well preserved houses from darn near the town’s 18th Century founding all the way up through today.

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St Marys River and the coastal marshes

St Marys houses

fullsizeoutput_1cddThe riverfront offers several restaurants and bars, a beautiful park and promenade area, ferry access to Cumberland Island National Seashore (the only way to get there is by this ferry, or to paddle the 7 miles on your own) and an interesting little “history walk” detailing the ebbs and flows of the town life and industry through the centuries. tEPMWFxETF+WBEtBDcsl+g

 

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I, of course was camped a few miles north in Crooked River State Park, but there are several quaint Bed and Breakfast establishments in the historic district as well.  Crooked River State Park, by the way, has a fabulous campground if you’re so inclined.  It also has direct access to many miles of “river trails” if paddling is your thing.

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Between the historic district and Crooked River State Park lies Naval Submarine Base, Kings Bay.  Home to a large portion of America’s strategic defense.

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Yes, that’s a submarine.  Ok, well, it’s the sail of a submarine, on top of a concrete reproduction of a submarine hull.

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Quite the mix of history and modernity.

And now I’ve returned to Florida for the winter.  There may be postings……there may not.    We’ll see how things go…….

 


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Congaree and “Fore!”

So, you may have noticed, I’ve been away for a while, which is a strange thing to say, since living on the road means I’m always away from somewhere.  No great tragedies or catastrophes to speak of.  I just kinda took a break from posting.  Not too much to post about after I left Nashville as I’ve been somewhat winding down for the winter.

From the Music City I made my way to Florida and a family event.  Spent another couple of weeks in the horrendous heat and humidity before making my way up through Georgia to South Carolina and Congaree National Park. MqoB9b1RSaOPs7vwLL5DDQ

What??? Where????  I’m guessing you’ve never heard of it.  Not one of the more popular National Parks.  About 20 miles outside of Columbia, SC it has been protected land for 0JBWgT8ASKuQSed1iYzK6gquite a long time, but only became a National Park in 2003.  It is perhaps the last, “old growth bottomland hardwood forest” left in the eastern United States.  Which really means…….it’s mostly a great big swamp.  Most of the park is flood plain of the Congaree River.  When it’s dry enough, which I gather is a good part of  the year, there are several dozen miles of hiking trails and paddling available on Cedar Creek in the park’s interior.   However, make sure you plan your trip well because apparently in the rainy season, the river can overflow it’s banks by 10 feet or so, completely submerging even the raised wooden walkways.  It was pretty rainy during my stay in the area which meant some squishy trails, but nothing so bad as flooded over.  Not really the most exciting or spectacular of National Parks, but my day there was a beautiful day of hiking around for several hours.  Scenically beautiful, that is.  Weather wise it was mostly cloudy, hot and humid.SupLBu6bRBa1R8NAfQs3Xg

One more National Park off the list.

g1v%oYdySM+x5HrVKsRZ5AFrom here I went to the Ocean, where the weather improved greatly, to play golf, of course.  Myrtle Beach, SC is one of America’s premier golf destinations with well over 100 courses stretching across a 50-ish mile swath from the very southern part of North Carolina down to Pawley’s Island.  Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with the nefarious details of my rounds, but photographic proof is surely in order….

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A fine way to ring in November.

 


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Amused In Music City (and RV Trek)

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September 2019 RV Trek

I’m in the process of jaunting across the country, north to south, not literally across.  Enroute I pulled off the road for a few days with good friends Danny and Karen in Nashville.  Now, as a country music tolerator (vice “fan) Music City is not quite the pilgrimage destination for me as it is for many others.  But it certainly does hold interest as one of America’s great cities.  And as a foodie………well, enough said.

Ridiculous heat notwithstanding I can’t possibly thank my friends for the amazing visit they treated me to.  A Nashville Predators preseason game along with some good ole Nashville BBQ, watching from their incredible season seats.  Only a few rows up and right at center ice.  Then three challenging but fantastically fun rounds at their beautiful golf club.

Thank you so much Dugans!

 

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I had to wear my Rangers jersey, even though the game was Preds vs Hurricanes

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First tee of the South Course as Vanderbilt Legends Club

Onwards to Florida!


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Fabulous Pinkie Finger

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The Michigan “mitten”

Look at map of Michigan.  The lower portion of Michigan. Oh, OK, here’s a map for you.  Looks like a hand, doesn’t it?  Well, really more like a mitten, but imagine the hand inside the mitten.  The “pinkie” and ring finger part of the state is just fabulously beautiful.  In particular, Leelanau county on the Leelanau peninsula, that part west of Grand Traverse Bay which would be the “pinkie” fingertip, but really that entire northwest and west coast of the state.  I’m going to need to return and spend an entire season just playing and exploring here.

It is all rolling farmland and lakeshore, with countless acres of apple and cherry orchards, super charming little towns and villages, a bunch more exceptional golf than I imagined, incredibly friendly (almost Canadian friendly) folks, a surprisingly vibrant and quality wine, cider and craft beer culture and some of the best biking of anywhere I’ve been.  I mean GREAT biking.

Having said all that….yesterday I visited Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, though not on my bike.

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Glen Lake, near Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore

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Yeah, so that’s a pretty horrible story, but at least I now know why it’s named as it is.  And there actually is a sleeping bear… fullsizeoutput_1ccf

The dunes all along the west coast of Michigan are nothing to scoff at, but especially here.  Immediately along the lakeshore at this point the dune tops out more than 600 ft above the lake.  It was a beautiful sunny day, but winds 15-30 mph which kept me off my bike.  That’s just no fun to ride in.

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Atop the dunes towering over Lake Michigan

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Today was a much calmer day so, of course, I took off on my bike around the northern part of Leelanau county.  You can see, it’s NOT flat. Screenshot 2019-09-15 17.10.13

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This was the second bison ranch I’ve seen here in Michigan.  Who’d a thunk?

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🎼Searches All Say They’d Have Made Whitefish Bay…..🎼

The Chippewa were apparently smart enough not to venture out upon Gitche Gumee in November.

I made a quick stop at Iroquois Pt Light.  Notice the large freighter passing by in the background.  They’ve already made it to Whitefish Bay.

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Iroquois Point Lighthouse

20 miles by road west, then 20 miles by road north lies my real destination, Whitefish Point and the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum.  If you were to peruse a map, Whitefish point marks the entrance to Whitefish Bay at the southeastern end of Lake Superior.  Of course, one thing you learn from this museum is that making it to Whitefish Bay in no way means you’ve reached safety….qU2aGHREQdOyhjn0ckaeWw

Unless you are actually from the relative vicinity, I’m betting you’re only aware of one Lake Superior shipwreck.  That, of course, being, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.  It Td+VgYlqSmax21+%VJ7tLgis a tragedy still evoking great fascination, I believe for two reasons.  1) It was so recent.  Shipwrecks are something we naturally associate with the golden age of sail, or early age of powered sea travel.  I mean other than the SS Minnow, what other post WWII shipwreck do you know of?  This happened on 10 November, 1975.  2) While there are several plausible theories, and despite one of the most comprehensive investigations in history, there is still no definitive answer to what caused the ship to go down.

 

 

 

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Whitefish Point Light Station.  Part of the museum.

The museum includes several buildings, including the light, which you can climb.  The main museum building is very well done and highlights several of the more notable wrecks on the Lakes, including the Edmund Fitzgerald which is obviously its centerpiece. In 1995 the ships bell was recovered from the wreck, a process detailed in a 15 minute

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The Coast Guard Dormitory building has renovated luxury rooms which can be reserved for overnight stays.

video.  After recovery it was used in a memorial service and rang 29 times, once for each of the lost crewmen, by members of the crews families and once more, a 30th time, for all those lost on the Lakes.  Then it was restored and sent here to the museum.  A replica replacement bell, engraved with each crewman’s name, was then replaced upon the pilot house of the wreck, serving as a permanent memorial.

 

 

 

 

 

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17 miles behind me lies the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald