Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A Look Back At Our Camping Season, Trip #6 (our finale), (December 23rd, 2015 thru January 4th, 2016)

We had about ten days at home between round #5 and round #6 of our camping season. Gary came back from round #5 not feeling too great, but he had nearly recovered by the time we departed for round #6. We left on December 23rd, and spent Christmas at Mistletoe State Park in Appling Georgia. Appling is a little bit northwest of Augusta on the east side of the state. It rained most of the time we were there, but that didn't bother us. We had an unusual campsite near an inlet on a gigantic lake. Not many people were there, and it was extremely peaceful. I didn't see a lot of squirrels, but there was an occasional deer wandering by. Besides antique shopping in Augusta, Gary spent some time with our camping buddies Lou Ann and Dan, who live just a few miles from the park. Somehow, he neglected to take any pictures with them. He seldom forgets to take pictures, and I'm blaming that error on a bit of head congestion from the cold he had before the trip. I should have reminded him, but I didn't think he would miss a photo opportunity. That's what I get for thinking! Mistletoe was very pretty. We enjoyed our four night stay, and will definitely go back. After Mistletoe, we spent three nights at Fort Yargo State Park in Winder Georgia. Winder is between Athens and Atlanta. This was another great Georgia park that we enjoyed immensely. Our campsite was packed gravel. I REALLY enjoyed that, and was able to stay clean there during the continuing rains we were encountering during the early part of this trip. We were in the newest of the two loops in the park, and along with that came a new restroom that Gary REALLY liked. Squirrels were everywhere, and I kept busy feeding them. Only half of one day during our stay was rain free, and Gary got to explore the park fairly well during that time. He also found a TERRIFIC antique store called "A Flea An'Tique" in the town of Braselton, a few miles north of the park. He spent the majority of one of the rainy days there. I know we will go back to Fort Yargo again, if for no other reason than to have a nice place to stay while Gary goes antiquing. Our next four nights, including New Year's, were spent at Red Top Mountain State Park near Cartersville Georgia, northwest of Atlanta. This was a beautiful park too. Our campsite was up on a hill, and I was surrounded by large boulders and a scenic overview of a flowing river. The rain finally stopped not long after we arrived, and held off during the remainder of our stay. As Gary always does, he relentlessly hunted for antiques all over the area. He also visited Kevin and Joyce Laird in Cartersville. Kevin and Joyce used to own a Scotty trailer, and Kevin has been a Facebook friend of Gary's for years, yet they had never met. The closest restroom to our campsite was old and tired, so Gary drove down to the newer one near the campground entrance for showers. As usual, I didn't do much but hang out and watch TV. I don't remember ever seeing a squirrel. Our plastic flamingos were stolen while we were at Red Top Mountain, and that was disappointing. During all of our years of camping, the flamingos are the only things that have ever disappeared from our campsite. We think that some of the obnoxiously loud and annoying kids that were camping in our loop took them, but we have no proof of that. Gary hunted, but never found them. We miss our pink plastic camping pals. We had a lot of good times with them. Gary joined about 65 other people for a 3-1/2 mile fitness hike on New Year's Day. Even now, he has maintained the 30+ pound weight loss that he accomplished last summer. For my part, I have done my best to make sure he sticks to his strict diet plan, and he's done VERY well. After leaving Red Top Mountain, we had no camping reservations at any other parks on the way back to St. Augustine. That's unlike us to "wing it", but Gary didn't think that we would have any problems by stopping wherever we wanted to. He was right. We by-passed the busy interstate highways in and around Atlanta, then eventually picked up I-75 further south of Georgia's biggest city. The goal for the day was to get as far south as we could. We stopped for the night at Georgia Veteran's Memorial State Park near Cordele, and just barely west of I-75. We were only going to be there overnight with no side trips, so Dodge and I were not unhitched from each other. We had camped there a year before, and stayed in the same campsite this time around. It's a nice little park, not one of our favorites, but a great place to hang out nevertheless. We were tired from the long ride, so it was PERFECT. The plan the next morning was to come straight home, but I coaxed Gary into stopping at General Coffee State Park near Douglas Georgia for a night. It didn't take much persuasion on my part. Both of us LOVE that park. We arrived early enough for Gary to go antiquing, and to pick up some carrots for our donkey buddies Poncho and Jenny who live at the park. And much to our surprise, the personalized bricks we ordered a couple of years ago, were finally put in place in front of the little museum inside the park. The sale of the bricks benefit the park and the farm animals there, and we were happy to contribute. There's a brick with my blog name on it (pictured), and a second brick commemorating our first stay at the park in 2013. Gary had bought plenty of carrots for the donkeys, so after they had their breakfast snack the following day after we arrived, we reluctantly headed towards home. At a rest stop just north of St. Augustine, Dodge's odometer reached the 250,000 mile mark, and we paused briefly for a little break and celebration. Back on the road, we soon reached exit 318 off of I-95. Green Acres Road and home sweet home was just a mile away, and our camping season was now officially over. On our final trip, a total of 1556 miles were traveled. I was along for 981 miles of those miles, while Gary and Dodge traveled the remaining 575 miles without me. We had a GREAT time going to new places, exploring new roads, and making new friends. Next year's camping trips have already been planned and booked, and I can't wait to get started. Happy Camping and safe travels to all of our friends who are out on the roads right now, and hopefully we will see you around the campfire next fall.

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