East Bound and Down, Loaded up and Camping...
Yup, I said that. I am in touch with my inner goofball. What follows are our adventures Vidalia to our next extented stay. A place that has become near and dear to us...in the meantime I give you; a week on the road.
Sunday In Laurel
We arrived in Laurel, Mississippi on a quiet Sunday afternoon. Not many places were open, and if they were the hours were limited. I'm guessing that's pretty typical for a Sunday in the south.
Choosing Laurel was an easy decision, based on a couple of things. First; we are headed east to visit some friends of ours and it was a straight shot from our location in Vidalia. Second; We have started watching the HGTV show 'Home Town' with Ben and Erin Napier. That show is filmed in Laurel and we were able to spend some time in their really cool store called the Scotsman, and look into the woodshop where parts of their shows are filmed. It reminds me of The Vermont Country Store, except for the woodshop.
After checking out the store, we went in search of something to eat. We tried going to a BBQ joint, but they were closing soon, so they weren't taking anymore customers. So we went next door to 320, a quirkly little joint that I believe used to be a radio and tv repair shop back in the day. We enjoyed breakfast tacos, beer and irish coffee. Met a woman there that has a Gram that lives in Bennington, Vt. No matter where we go, NE connections are always there.
We got ourselves a road soda to enjoy as we wandered around this quaint little town. And in case you were wondering, when I say "road soda" I really to mean a beer or cocktail. I don't know if I've told you, but that is one of the many cool things that you can do in the south. As long as you are drinking out of a plastic or paper cup, you can get a drink to go. It boggles the mind, but we are certainly not going to question it. So I give you Laurel:
When we were done with our visit to downtown, we parked up at our Harvest Host overnight spot at the Veteran's Memorial Museum.
Monday With Larry
The museum isn't open on Sunday or Monday, but thanks to Jeff from the museum and our contact through Harvest Host, a private tour was arranged. Our guide on this tour was a veteran named Larry Callahan, who happens to be the museum president. As 90% of this museum is full of connections to not only Laurel, but Jones County as a whole.
I truly wish I could tell you all the stories he told us, but there were so many. We really could have spent another 2 hours just listening to him talk about his hometown and the history this museum has to offer. I'm going to post all the pictures Mike took here and I sincerely hope you take the time to read the fine print, especially the one about Anthony "Tony" Muscarella, he joined the marines during WWII at the age of 14, and he was in for 3 years before they figured it out, but there is much more to that story....
This visit was not only special because of Larry, but the fact that we were allowed to walk through the history of this truly lovely part of our country. Thank you HGTV for finding such a unique and special corner of the world.
3 Days In Wetumpka
This is another one of those stops that we made happen because HGTV had a show about refurbishing this downtown, and it looked just as cool as Laurel. Then we discovered that Wetumpka is the home to the BIG FISH house. If your next question is "What's the BIG FISH house"? Then you are seriously missing out.
BIG FISH is a movie starring Jessica Lange, Albert Finney, Ewan McGregor and many more. If you haven't seen it, you should. If you have seen it, you can appreciate our quest to visit this lovely town, and see the house from the movie. Yes, we think the movie is that good!
What follows are some of the highlights that we enjoyed on our walkabout. Because Stella doesn't do well on travel day, we made this our one day in town so we could spend the next day at our Boondockers Welcome location. Our host, Mike, has lived in Wetumpka his whole life and knows everything there is to know about it, including the fact that Wetumpka sits inside a meteor crater. He is old school, so he doesn't really appreciate the new roundabout and the narrowness of the new roads. But even so, he is very proud of his town, and welcomes RVers to his house on a regular basis. That is unless he's off on a road trip with his Class A motorhome.
We had lunch at Coach's Corner, did the Riverwalk, enjoyed wine and cheese at Provisions (a former movie theater that still shows movies), picked up a new book at the book store that used to a barber shop, and picked up some infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars at Nick of Thyme.
So, if you should find yourself in Montgomery Alabama, head northeast for 25 minutes and treat yourself to this quaint corner of the world. Trust me, you'll be glad you did.
A slice of Heaven at 'Evergreen Cove' in Ellaville, GA
Through our Boondockers Welcome app, we found this most perfect spot with hosts Bob and Linda in Ellaville, GA. Let me explain, for those following along. When you become a member of the Harvest Hosts/Boondockers Welcome community, you have access to hundreds of locations you can camp at. Harvest Hosts are typically businesses, ie; Farms, Museums, Wineries, Distillaries and Breweries. You can stay an over night at these locations for free, but the expectation (and just plain common decency) is that you purchase some of their products or tour the museums. With Boondockers Welcome, you are litteraly camping on private property. Sometimes you are in a driveway (that is where we were in Wetumpka- Mike's driveway), but other times, like this stop, the hosts have created a private area for their guests that goes above and beyond.
While boondocking, you are not normaly hooked up to electricity, or have access to water other than what you have in your fresh water tank. The 2 boondockers hosts we have spent time with have been so great that they both offered us water and electricity. We tried to offer them both money, but neither would accept it. That's the way Boondockers Welcome works, they don't ask for anything. And now you are all caught up.....sorta
Yeah, I know, that was a bit long winded, but hey; I gotta be me. Anyway, this spot was, like I said - A little piece of heaven. We were able to stay for 2 days, and it was like our own private campground. They filled our water tank, plugged us into electricity, and we cooked on the grill, played Bocci, enjoyed the campfire, and had a great time visiting our very kind hosts. We especially liked the creative touches that Bob has built and put all around his yard, like the gas pump and sun dial.
Just so you know; No, those aren't big piles of brown poop, they are in fact fire ant nests. Also another new interesting development, Stella has started to spend time in above the cab compartment, or as we like to call it "The Penthouse", and Fredd of course still doing his part to entertain us all.
Supporting 'Local'....it's what we do!
A stop in Richmond Hill, GA (just outside of Savanaugh), was our last stop before reaching our destination. We are big fans of supporting local businesses, and that is what attracted us to the Harvest Host membership. These companies are not "chains", they are local people, doing what they love. How can you not support that? With this rant at an end I give you Debellation Brewery. Which BTW, has a HUGE area for alot of campers to do an overnight. They have great beer, a terrific atmosphere, including old school ATARI...no joke. Anyway, here are the highlights from this very proud and very patriotic establishment.
The following day we found ourselves driving up the east coast and seeing a few strange sights, and landing in our current location in the rain. But all of that is for another day.... In the meantime- Be well, Be happy and Safe travels!