Monthly Archives: June 2013
Staying ahead of Tropical Storm Andrea
Local vendors display their wares at the Tuesday Farmers Market in Richmond Hill, Ga.
With Tropical Storm Andrea breathing down our necks, we pulled into Richmond Hill, Ga., a Savannah suburb, and parked in our daughter’s driveway.
The half-day drive from St. Augustine was uneventful which is nice when herding a 40 foot RV on I-95. After three years and 25,000 miles behind the wheel of the Monaco Knight, “uneventful” is normal because we have found a home driving in the right lane with the RV speedometer parked on 63 miles per hour. The tow car behind is hardly noticeable. Merging traffic is seldom challenging because we slow down and continue in the right lane rather than trying to find a spot in the fast lane. Retirees, a good friend once said, have the rest of their lives to get where they are going. We are retired and in no hurry.
Half the time we don’t know where we’re going, anyway, which reminds me of Yogi Berra’s line “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”
For the next few days, we will be introduced to new fashion fads and music by our talented teenage granddaughter and because of TS Andrea, cooped inside and wishing we were on the nearby Ogeechee River fishing for reds with her little sister.
WHERE TO CAMP IN RICHMOND HILL, GA.
Fort McAllister Historic State Park is nestled among huge, moss covered oak trees along the banks and marshes of the Ogeechee River. The park showcases the best-preserved earthwork fortification of the Confederacy. Although attacked seven times, the fort did not fall until 1864 — ending Gen. William T. Sherman’s “March to the Sea.” The park has 65 camp sites, many large pull thru sites capable of handling big rigs. The park is located 10 miles east of I-95 on Ga. Spur 144 (take I-95 exit #90). http://www.gastateparks.org/FortMcAllister.
FAVORITE PLACE TO EAT IN SAVANNAH
Garaboldi’s Cafe is located just off the Marketplace in downtown Savannah and although known as a fine dining restaurant, welcomes diners in suits and ties or tourists in shorts and polos. This old area of the city includes a pedestrian walkway with lots of interesting shops, restaurants, stores and live music in the evenings. The house specialty and our choice for the evening is the Crispy Flounder. This nice-sized whole flounder comes with an unbelievably delicious “sweet and tangy” apricot shallot sauce. http://www.http://garibaldisavannah.com
LOCAL WATERFRONT FAVORITE
Fish Tales Restaurant is located on the Ogeechee river at Fort McAllister Marina in Richmond Hill, Ga. While most patrons partake of the fresh local seafood, Fish Tales also offers steaks and other entrees. We recommend the crab cakes. http://www.fishtalesrh.com/
GREAT ANTIQUE STORE
Jeres Antiques is in a huge old 33,000 square foot building with wood floors that houses an unbelievable collection of furniture from as far back as the 18th century. Two floors are crammed full of antiques leaving barely enough walking around room. Spend an afternoon here and bring a big truck because most of the furniture is large. Looking for an authentic and elaborate home bar? Jeres has originals more than 100 years old.
GREAT PLACE TO GO WALKING
Richmond Hill’s J. F. Gregory Park is a 33- acre multi-use facility that was formerly a rice plantation owned by Henry Ford and includes a three mile nature trail. The wide, partly paved and gravel trail follows canals and swamp areas with signs warning visitors to be aware of alligators and snakes. They are not kidding. On the day we walked the park someone reported seeing a large alligator just off the trail on the edge of a canal. During hot weather, walkers are also advised to wear bug repellant because of the yellow flies and mosquitoes.
FARMERS MARKET EVERY TUESDAY
Lots of local vendors show up every Tuesday at the J. F. Gregory Park pavilion
to sell fresh vegetables, most of them grown on local farms. Organic vegetables are popular and the selection is good. On the day we were there farmers brought fresh chives, lettuce, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and onions among over varieties. Also popular was a booth selling fresh baked goods.
NEXT: Walking the old streets of Charleston, S. C.
Trying to outrun a tropical storm
Should have known better than trying to leave town ahead of a tropical storm. It’s still a few days off, churning away in the Gulf of Mexico and storing up fuel to raise havoc with the folks in Florida and along the eastern seaboard states.
The RV is loaded, really loaded, for a near three month meandering trip from northeast Florida to Montreal. Lord only knows the route after Montreal. We trust Him more than ourselves to make advance plans.
The RV is ready to roll when I notice the yard sprinkler system is gurgling water instead of sprinkling–like its paid to do– in our front yard. Someone has driven over and mutilated one of the roadside sprinklers in the front yard. Water is sputtering. It’s the Murphy’s Law thing when it comes to irrigation systems. They break when its most inconvenient to fix. My neighbor rightfully calls it the “irritation system.”
Lord knows we are trying to get out of Dodge this morning in advance of Andrea. Herding a 40-foot- long powered and wheeled billboard down the interstate is challenging enough without fighting a driving rain storm pushed along by 40 mile per hour winds.
Muttering words disapproved by my mother I grab a shovel, a pair of gloves, a new sprinkler, PVC glue and three different PVC joint connectors (one of them is bound to fit), pull my cap down tight on my head as if that’s going to help and stomp my way to the geyser in the front yard. Half an hour later, wet and muddy from digging a hole twice as large as necessary and thoroughly aggravated, we pull out of the driveway and head north on I95 for Richmond Hill, Ga., a distance of about 160 miles and near Savannah.
A good luck ritual is repeated at an easily accessible shopping center off -I95 in north Jacksonville for a doctored-up coffee and slice of yellow lemon pound cake at a Starbucks. Life is good.
With one eye on Andrea, our plans are to be in Richmond Hill visiting our daughter and her family for four days, then head to Charleston, S. C.
NEXT: You’ve got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going….
The festival road trip begins
The late Doc Watson (left) performing at Merlefest with Sam Bush (right).
After a brief interruption to Alaska, the Hughes 2013 summer music festival road trip is finally underway. After missing Springfest at Suwannee Music Park, Live Oak, Savannah’s Music Festival and Merlefest in Wilkesboro, NC., there’s still some good music left on the schedule.
We will be leaving our home base in St. Augustine, FL.
On June 14, in Galax, Va., one of the towns on southwest Virginia’s popular Crooked Road Heritage Music Trail, the nearby Blue Ridge Music Center (http://www.blueridgemusiccenter.org/)will feature Rosanne Cash and her musical partner, John Leventhal. Wayne Henderson & Friends will open the concert.
Tickets for the show are only $20 each. However a special pre-show event featuring Cash, Leventhal and Henderson and limited to only 100 people, will cost $100 per ticket.
The weekend long Galax Leaf and String Festival(http://www.visitgalax.com/leafandstringfestival.html) in downtown Galax is scheduled for the same weekend as the Cash concert and features two days of music, art and literature beginning on June 14 and continues through June 15. After a Jeanette Williams Band Show at the popular Rex Theater, the city closes the main street for square dancing. Galax is nicknamed the “World Capital of Old Time Mountain Music.”
Every Friday night in Floyd, Va., located about 40 miles east of Galax, the Floyd Country Store clears the store merchandise and features three area bands–one playing gospel music. Meanwhile during the Country Store show, a half dozen or so impromptu groups will gather outside on the city streets and play mountain music. Some of the area’s best musicians will appear and jam with the groups.
After leaving Virginia the Hughes’ will take a couple weeks traveling to Canada for the Montreal Jazz Festival (http://www.montrealjazzfest.com/), June 28 to July 7. While the featured acts generally appear at nightly paid venues, there will be at least 300 free acts appearing downtown and other venues.
From Canada, the Hughes’ will travel to the midwest and among other stops, will be in Austin, Tx., in early October for the Austin Music Festival (http://www.aclfestival.com/).
NEXT: Trying to stay ahead of Tropical Storm Andrea
Late April and it’s still winter in Juneau
It’s late April in Juneau, Alaska and winter, not surprisingly, continues to hang-on. Its quite a contrast from back home in Florida where most of the flowers finished blooming almost two months ago.
I drove to work this morning in a white-out. In another week the first cruise ship of the season will dock at the city’s downtown port. Someone needs to tell the 2,000 or so tourists to bring a coat. A big, heavy one. “Woolie” underwear might be a better suggestion. Tickets on the early inland passage cruises are discounted for a reason. Juneau still belongs to the locals for another few weeks. Starting in late May it will not be uncommon for five huge cruise ships, each bringing a couple thousand tourists, to be anchored daily in downtown Juneau.
Although both are retired, the Hughes’ are here a couple months on temporary duty at the Juneau Empire, the capital city’s daily newspaper. The Monaco “Green Knight” didn’t make the trip. It’s
The first cruise ship of the summer season arrives in Juneau in early May.
Downtown Juneau and the popular Red Dog Saloon.
No strangers to Alaska, the Hughes worked in Kenai, the birthplace of Alaska’s oil bonanza back in the 90’s for four years. And returned three years ago to Juneau, also for temp duty. A four year resident is not worthy of the Sourdough tag but certainly don’t call us Cheechakos (newcomers), either. At least we can drive on ice, one of the necessary requirements to dump the Cheechako label.
Southeast Alaska this time of year is transitioning from winter to spring. The day we landed at Juneau’s airport rain turned to sleet, snow and back to rain within a half hour. Temperatures most days are in the mid to upper 30’s. It dropped into the teens once and reached the 50’s a couple times. Sunshine is almost non-existent. Snow melts almost on arrival. The day of the white-out, snow piled up in the Valley area just south of downtown Juneau about six to eight inches, which brought out the snow plows. The weather is certainly confused.
Alaskans, however, adapt accordingly. Sunshine, even on a bitterly cold day, brings locals outdoors for a walk, run or bike ride. Sunny days in Juneau this time of year will not be wasted. And they bring their dogs along. Hardly anyone walks without a dog which brings up the question of whether Alaskans have more dogs. Weather doesn’t deter locals from getting outdoors. Even on cold, rainy days, many still take to the outdoors. There is an old saying in Alaska that there is no such thing as bad weather, just a poor choice of clothing.
Visitors to Juneau and southeast Alaska will best enjoy the wonders this place offers by visiting in June and July. Bring a raincoat and dress in layers because the weather can be warm and sunny or wet and cold. Take advantage of the area’s tourist attractions, such as the Mount Roberts Tramway ride for a great view of downtown Juneau and Gastineau Channel; The Macaulay Salmon Hatchery where juvenile salmon are released in late May or early June and adult salmon start returning in early July. Across the street from the hatchery is the Juneau Empire, which houses one of the largest private collections of original Alaska art in the state. Visitors can get a closeup view of the huge 12 mile long Mendenhall Glacier from a Visitors Center 12 miles outside Juneau. There’s also chartered helicopter flights available to the top of Mendenhall and float plane trips to an Alaskan wilderness lodge for sightseeing and a salmon bake.
Gastineau Channel from Douglas Island.
Eagles sparring near the Juneau Airport on a sunny day.