Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Visiting old friends in Cumming, GA.

The past week was spent visiting with long time friends Wayne and Denise. I worked with Wayne for 25 years in Dayton, Ohio. We had a great time reconnecting with them.  We camped at Sawnee COE park on Lake Sidney Lanier. As usual I forgot to take pictures of our camp site. This is a nice Corp small campground with about 50 sites in it. Through the week it was very peaceful. Like most Corp parks in was busy with a lot of kids running around on the weekend. The sites are large with a nice picnic table areas at each site. We walked around the park picking out the site we would like when we return to this area.
This water tower picture was taken along the route to Georgia. We thought it was funny that it was in South Carolina when Georgia is the peach state. It was one of the coolest water towers we have ever seen.

We arrived at the park on Monday the 14th. Wayne and Denise came over to pick us up for trip to the Texas Roadhouse for supper. We had great time catching up to the present and reminiscing about old times. 
Wednesday we headed to Dahlonega, Ga for a walk around town. Dahlonega is know as the site of the first gold rush in the U.S. It is now a quaint little tourist town with a lot of shops to browse through.

There were a lot of scare crows around town.

We had a great time sightseeing the town.

The next day we went to go to Stone Mountain. Stone Mountain has been in the news lately because of the subject matter. It is a monument to the Confederate Generals Lee, Jefferson Davis and Stonewall Jackson. There is a group of people that want this removed from the mountain because of its ties to the Civil War and slavery. This is a great work of art and a part of history. We think that any move to remove this would be a travesty and a great loss to our history. If we destroy everything that may or may not be politically correct from our society we would have nothing left to view. 
Stone Mountain is a quartz monzonite dome monadnock and the site of Stone Mountain Park in Stone Mountain, Georgia. At its summit, the elevation is 1,686 feet (514 m) MSL and 825 feet (251 m) above the surrounding area. Stone Mountain is well-known not only for its geology, but also for the enormous bas-relief on its north face, the largest bas-relief in the world.[1] The carving depicts three Confederate figures during the Civil WarStonewall JacksonRobert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis.
This time of year none of the shops or rides in the park were open. This suited us just fine. For the $15.oo parking fee it allowed us to see the monument and walk around the grounds which was what we wanted to do anyway. On the weekend it would have cost us $29.00 each to get in.

To give you some perspective, the central figure (Lee) is one city block long!

Duane and Louise
 Wayne and Denise

Wayne and I both ride motorcycles. On Saturday we mounted our bikes for a 150 mile ride to the Wheels Through Time motorcycle museum. This is the premier American made motorcycle museum in the country. 


 There are hundreds of bikes on display from the very earliest to custom built choppers.

 I  loved this paint job. 

The owner starts some of the bikes and rides them around the museum all day long. Most of the bikes on display actually run.  
We had a great time on the ride and during our visit to the museum. They are adding bikes to this museum all the time, so a return visit is likely.
Sunday night was euchre night. When we all lived in Ohio we were members of a euchre club. For those that don't know, euchre is a midwest card game. In our travels we have discovered that if you are not from Ohio or Michigan, you have probably never heard of it. Louise and I won the best out five games so we decide it was a great time to leave while we were ahead. 
We had a wonderful time visiting  and sight seeing. Thank you Wayne and Denise for you hospitality.
Monday was a travel day. We are now in Valdosta , Ga for a visit with another long time friend and coworker from my GM days .
Til next time
Duane and Louise

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Mount Airy

Through with our visit to Virginia, we headed south to North Carolina and plopped ourselves for a week just south and a little west of Winston/Salem.  Our ride was uneventful--just the way we like it!

I know nothing about these towers, just found the contrast interesting.

Most of our ride looked like this.

Next day we hopped the bike for a 60 mile ride north to the town of Mount Airy.  Along the way the scenery included fields of tobacco,

lots of kudzu,

and beautiful landscaping.  We went through several towns, including Boonville where Squire Daniel Boone's parents are buried.

Mount Airy is the home town of comedian/actor Andy Griffith.  In his popular tv show he plays the sheriff in the fictional small town of Mayberry which is, of course, the real town of Mount Airy.  Hwy 601 takes you to the historical downtown area which is the model for Mayberry.  Andy Griffith's boyhood home is on Rockford Rd.  

Our first stop was the visitors' center where we were warmly welcomed and given detailed instructions on where to find the businesses made famous in the tv show and other points of interest in town..  Outside the center is one of several decorated guitars (Andy played guitar and sang) that are scattered up and down Main St.

The town was small enough for a walking tour.  First we went south past the war memorial 

to the courthouse that appeared in many episodes of The Andy Griffith Show.

Andy'll be right back!

 Otis's cell--homey with a light, rocker and tv.

Next door is where Gomer and Goober worked.  Inside are the remnants of the garage which is now a gift shop. From here you can take a guided tour of the town in a black and white squad car.

Next was the TVLand statue of Andy and Opie in front of the Andy Griffith Playhouse which is next to the Museum.  The Playhouse held performances in the evening.  We decided not to tour either this museum or the Museum of Regional History. 

Time for lunch at "the oldest eating establishment in Mount Airy where Andy Griffith ate as a young boy."

Yep, these are the actual prices!  I tried the famous pork chop sandwich, representative of Carolina cuisine.  The chop is flattened, breaded and fried on a griddle, then served on a bun with chili, slaw, mustard, onions, and tomato.  Yum!

The additions to the original restaurant.

This is the original part of the food stand--the fry table and the glass case open to the street.  Unwrapped food and money were exchanged over the glass case.

Next door is Floyd Barber Shop

Inside the shop I was just about ready to sit down and get my mop cut out of my eyes, but we had other places to see.

Squad car tour driving by while we were on our way to Walkers soda Fountain, another original business..

Our last stop was recommended by the nice folks at the visitors' center.  This is the Gertrude Smith House.  It was built in 1903 and has had only one owner, the Jefferson Davis Smith Family.  Mr. Smith was a merchant and owned a vast amount of real estate.  He married Mount Airy native Gertrude Gilmer.  Three of their 7 children remained single and lived in the house with their parents.  Gertrude was the last to live here and willed that the house be left as though it was still occupied and that it be used as a living museum.  It was a beautiful place and nicely updated by Gertrude who was an interior decorator.  Our guide Billie Mae was very informative and entertaining.

Andy Griffith's boyhood home.  The home is owned by the local Hampton Inn and can be rented.  it is decorated in a 1930's-1940's style.

The rest of Mount Airy.

In spite of the heat and humidity, we enjoyed our visit to "Mayberry".  The (historic downtown) welcomed us with plenty of free parking and the people were warm and hospitable and ready to chat about where you're from and have you seen such and such in town.  Mount Airy is not a replica of Mayberry, but it manages to look and feel like Mayberry.

We had nothing else planned for this area except a visit to the local Harley store.  The rest of our stay we spent relaxing, doing chores and playing pickle ball with two couple we met here.  Ironically,  one couple came from the same rv park where we stayed and arrived here just after we did!  The other couple were just across from us.  We all met on the pickle ball court.   
Next stop--Georgia.

Louise and Duane

Monday, September 07, 2015


After our mountain tour we rode through the valley to Appomattox Court House National Historical Park.  Note here the three "highways"--river (to the right of the rails), railroad, and paved road.

Appamattox Court House (formerly Clover Hill) was originally a little settlement established around tavern stopping off point on the Richmond-Lynchburg Road.  When Appomattox County was formed, it was chosen for the county seat and received its new name.  Here, on April 9, 1865, Robert E. Lee, commanding general of the Army of Northern Virginia, surrendered his men to Ulysses S. Grant, general-in-chief of all United States forces.  Though several Confederate armies under different commanders remained in the field, Lee's surrender signaled the end of the Southern states' attempt to create a separate nation.  Three days later the men of the Army of Northern Virginia marched before the Union Army, laid down their flags, stacked their weapons, and then began the journey back to their homes.  

Most of the buildings no longer exist.  Of the ten of large buildings eight are original and two are rebuilt.  This building housed Meeks Store (general store and post office) in the rear and George Peers's office in the front.  Peers was clerk of the Appomattox County court for 40 years. (courthouse across the street).

Rebuilt Courthouse and present visitors' center and museum.  Here is a good place to understand what actually happened here.  From here you can view a short film, see a light-up display of the actual troop movements, view lots of original artifacts and take a 2 hour ranger-led tour of the village.

On display (on loan) is the original terms of surrender written by Grant.

Another way to gain insight  is to listen to costumed interpreters tell about their "personal experiences".  This young lady was a freed slave of  George Peers.  After she was freed she stayed on to help raise the youngest Peers child.  She relived the day the War finally came to town.

On any given day the number of interpreters varies.  This day we were treated to two.  This young man represented a Confederate soldier who had a farm nearby.  He told about how he was terrified that his family, friends, and home town were in mortal danger.

As we listened to the soldier, we were seated on the porch of the Clover Hill Tavern.  In the room on the left is where the paroles were printed (see below).

The (rebuilt) McLean House.  The actual surrender took place in the parlor of this house. which is located behind the near ground floor wall.

Parlor where the surrender took place.  The surrender terms allowed the officers to keep the weapons that defined their rank (such as swords) and all soldiers to keep their personally owned side arms and horses.  They were given printed "paroles" which allowed them to return home free of charge by whatever transportation available and to not be harassed by anyone.  In return they swore to never bear arms against the Federal government.

Parent's bedroom

Dining room  The McLeans were "important people" (they had money) and entertained often.

Compare the above to their slaves' quarters.  Entire families would live in one small room.

Jail  the lower floor housed the jailer, the four rooms above were separate cells.

Someone was grumpy and needed "time in"

Jones Law Office and home.  Crawford Jones was a farmer, lawyer, and local secessionist leader.  We lobbied aggressively for secession and war, then spent most of the war trying to stay out of the fighting.

Peers house, site of the last shots fired in the war.
The army was encamped behind this house.  When they surrendered they marched up the road (at the left end) stacking arms (rifles, bayonets and ammunition) from here, between the courthouse and the Tavern, and past the McLean House at the other end of town (about a mile total).  Our visit to Appomattox Court House was a real eye-opener.  We expected to tour another living history museum but found very few of the buildings were open for viewing.  We did, however, come away with a better understanding of the horror and heartbreak of the Civil War (and any war) on a very personal level.

Enough for now.

Louise and Duane