Gatlinburg, TN

Smoky Mountain Memories

The magic of the fireflies

The campfire smoke getting in your eyes

Rocks and roots and waterfalls

Beckon you through old growth trees

Oh it’s just the wonder of it all, Smoky Mountain memories

The songbirds sing their morning song

You greet the day with your coffee strong

The mountain dew and country roads

Call to you, to take you home

Oh it’s just the wonder of it all, Smoky Mountain memories

The hike up to, Clingman’s Dome

and Sugarland, dont forget Cade’s Cove

Spruce Flat Falls and the Chimney Tops

There’s the Walker Sister’s and Ogles place

Oh it’s just the wonder of it all, Smoky Mountain memories

Where hemlock soar and the black bear roam

The brook trout feed in the river foam

The birds and squirrels collect the nuts

The whitetail graze and the turkey trot

Oh it’s just the wonder of it all, Smoky Mountain memories

The pioneers made this their home

They built the mills to grind their corn

The school house, church, and meeting place

Life was hard, but full of amazing grace

Oh it’s just the wonder of it all, Smoky Mountain memories

Columbia, SC

Like Jacksonville, this stop was primarily to visit Terri’s best friend, Cyndi. They met when we were stationed at Tyndall AFB in Panama City, FL, through Girl Scouts, and have been best friends since.

While there we visited the Museum of Art, went to the farmer’s market and craft fair downtown, toured the South Carolina State House (Capital Building), and went to Congaree National Park.

 

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Savannah, GA

Besides visiting dear friends, this is unanimously our favorite stop so far. We could have easily spent up to 2 weeks here. The city squares and historical houses are as numerous as they are beautiful. They are adorned with Oaks, Magnolias, and Crepe Myrtles, and many have monuments or fountains. They are peaceful places to sit and relax in the cool shade.

In addition, Terri is a lifetime Girl Scout, so this stop was special because Juliet Gordon Low lived and died here. Juliet founded Girl Guides, which became Girl Scouts, and hopefully what it has grown into, exceeded her dreams. She was very creative and apparently raised to be independent during an age when women were not expected to be so.

We visited Bonaventure Cemetery outside of town, made famous by the book and movie “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”. The headstones were eerily beautiful, like ghosts of the cemetery. We also went a a ghost walk where we were shown many sights and told the local lore of those suspected haunted places.

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Jacksonville, FL

Our Last stop in Florida (this trip!), Jacksonville.  The primary reason was to visit one of Terri’s besties from high school, Nancy Strother and family.  I went to the Fort Caroline Nature Preserve and hiked through spanish moss draped trails.

We had one day to see some of the sights the city had to offer, so we took the pups to Dog Wood Park, 42 acres of off leash doggie fun.  They were exhausted afterwards, and stayed home while we went to the Catty Shack Ranch, an animal rescue primarily for large cats. 

We then went downtown to see the Treaty Oak, and the river walk in the evening.  Though the Friendship fountain was not in full operation, it was still a beautiful night for some pictures of the skyline.

St Augustine, FL



This stop was supposed to actually be at Patrick AFB, to visit Cape Canaveral. However, after arriving and pulling into our site, we were literally inundated with thousands of love bugs. It was really a swarm….we quickly got a refund and headed north.

We had been to St Augustine once before when we were stationed at Tyndall AFB, Panama City,FL. So we thought why not, after confirming that they did not have love bugs, yet! We visited the old town, the Castille, and the Fountain of Youth park. We ate dinner at O’Steen’s, I had some of the best fried chicken and Terri’s shrimp were amazing, along with the field peas and green beans that were just as tasty!

We took Roxy and Daisy to the beach, and they were in heaven. Who knew they loved running in the sand so much!

Lutz, FL



Lutz (pronounced “loots”) is located north of Tampa. Our old friends Jim and Marcia Smith, from Ft Walton Beach (1986-1989), live there now. We stayed on the RV pad in their spacious backyard. You know you are good friends when you see each other every 8-9 years, and it’s like you were with them just yesterday!

We played games, swam, caught up, went to River Fest in Tampa, and Terri and Marcia went to yoga and restocked our groceries. Jim and I also completed my honey-do list, including resolving a light issue from the truck to the RV.  Jim also gave us a bluetooth backup camera, which we installed on Myrtle!

Crystal River, FL

 

On the way down from Chattahoochee we met up with Curtis and Reva Lane and their Daughter Joy and her family, friends from Panama City, FL, at a blueberry farm. We caught up, ate lunch in the shade, and grabbed some of the most delicious berries we have ever had.

Crystal River was a bit warmer, but still cool in the evening. Terri and Sarah were here about 20 years ago for her 5th grade trip to swim with the manatees. We went to Homosassa Springs and saw manatees, gators, and lots of birds. The weather was beautiful.

I also went out to Fort Gulf State Park and watched pelicans diving for fish, and herons catching their share too.