Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures.
First, a few notes:
- Kit and I have arrived safely, sans camper, at our Maine Home…no pun intended.
- Our camper decided to breakdown in Northern Pennsylvania…more on that fiasco in a future journal.
- All in all, Bill and Kit’s 2019 Excellent Adventure was a great trip!
- We are over three weeks behind on documenting our travels. However, with Kit’s judicious note taking, and my hundreds of photos, we have the resources for at least another two journal editions…so, just pretend we are still on the road.
- Now back to your irregularly scheduled edition of Bill and Kit’s 2019 Excellent Adventure, Journal #13
April of 2019: Well, Kit and I are still at the Submarine Base in King’s Bay, Georgia awaiting parts to return the truck to full operation…in other words, without the limiting speed restrictions! So, our immediate plan is to take advantage of this unexpected delay in our travels and further explore this fascinating corner of America! Towards that end, Kit and I headed out one morning to travel a bit north and explore Sapelo Island.
Where we first stopped at the visitor’s center…
…and learned that this barrier island is protected by the State of Georgia. They restrict and monitor access to Sapelo Island in order to help preserve the unique environment, and to protect the residents of Hog Hammock…the last known authentic Gullah-Geechee community.
Gullah’s were enslaved African Americans imported in the 1700’s from West Africa to work the many plantations on the island. They created their own culture including a distinct Gullah language based on Creole. The 427-acre village of Hog Hammock is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and originally numbered 400 plus slaves…today there are only 47 confirmed Gullah decedents living on their ancesteral island homeland.
As a point of historical irony, these indentured peoples from Africa lived with high incidents of malaria and had developed an immunity to the disease. However, being brought over on slave ships they carried the plague with them which began to infect slave owner families and resulted in some wealthy landowners dying from the disease.
Tickets for the ferry which provides passage to Sapelo Island are limited and sold out days in advance, consequently we couldn’t visit the island but it’s on our bucket list for a future trip.
The Visitors Center provided a nice veranda with comfortable rockers for Kit and me…
… to sit and enjoy the view across the salt-marsh toward Sapelo Island.
Upon leaving this area, Kit learned of an unusual roadside attraction a few more miles to the north…so off we went in search of the self-proclaimed Smallest Church in America.
This 10 foot by 20 foot roadside sanctuary…
… will seat 12 heathens…
… and one pious soul standing at the altar.
This miniscule place of worship was built in 1949 by Mrs. Agnes Harper and then deeded over to Jesus Christ. I doubt it’s the smallest church in the US, in fact there is a tiny church in Wiscasset, Maine that only holds three folks…but this one is pretty darn small.
On another day, Kit and I poked around the nearby town of Kingsland and noticed this intriguing place.
Yep, the old fellow that owns the place specializes in the possessions of dead people…otherwise known as antiques. Unfortunately, he was “SHUT” for the day as the sandwich board indicates. Asking around in town we discovered that the proprietor is a widower who only opens shop when he feels like it so getting inside is a crap shoot…interesting place however, at least from what we could see through the window. So, why does it say, “SHUT and not “CLOSED”? Well, again according to local lore, the owner found two small boards lying about…on one he printed the word “OPEN” and the other only had room for the word “SHUT”.
More toward the center of this town of 15,946 citizens we walked into the small shop of Eberhard Sopp.
An immigrant from Germany, Sopp, as his clients call him, apprenticed as a young lad learning traditional woodworking skills using primarily hand tools. In America, he started receiving acclaim and recognition which developed into acquiring upscale clients from New York City to Miami.
As the yellowing news clipping tacked to his shop’s wall can attest to, Sopp has done restorations for Mr. Ted Turner as well as an historic bedroom piece for the White House!
The retail portion of his shop is filled with interesting old pieces of furniture he has brought back to life and are for sale.
As an amateur woodworker myself, it was a blast meeting an old-world craftsman like Eberhard Sopp!
Further down the main drag lies the Thiokol Memorial Museum.
Dedicated to preserving the life stories and sacrifices of the 29 people that lost their lives, and another 50 that were injured, from an explosion at the Thiokol chemical plant in nearby Woodbine on February 3, 1971.
Jannie Everett is the founder and CEO of this memorial museum containing artifacts and historical documents from what was, at the time, one of the worst industrial accidents in the nation.
The Thiokol plant was under a Department of Defense contract to make tripflares for use in Vietnam to help guard a friendly compound from sneak attack. A main component of these flares is magnesium, a highly flammable element and very difficult to extinguish. A small fire in the plant led to a conflagration and ultimate detonation of over 56,000 assembled flares. Jannie is passionate about developing her museum into a nationally recognized monument to the victims of the explosion. Kit and I made a donation to her effort and received her gratitude and a big hug in return. Best of luck Jannie in your endeavor…keep up the good fight!
All that walking about and exploring the town of Kingsland made for two hungry folks, so a stop at The Green Room Restaurant was in order.
Recommended by one of the base gate guards as serving the best meatballs he had ever tasted, Kit and I decided to verify his claim…
…and agreed that he was correct, the huge meatball sandwich was incredible!
On the way back to the base, we spotted a Goodwill shop and decided to stop in to see what we could find. Walking toward the store, I noticed this truck parked in front.
Well, I guess if you own an Alligator Farm it pays to buy used clothing. This area is supposed to be full of alligators, but try as I might, I couldn’t spot a one…bet it’s like all the tourists that come to Maine to see moose, generally it only happens by chance.
The sight of the truck got me to thinking…what’s the difference between an Alligator and a Crocodile? I bet it has something to do with if you see one later or see one after a while! But a quick check with Professor Google tells me that Alligators live in fresh water, and Crocodile’s prefer salt water. Google went on to explain that Alligators can grow up to 12 feet…but for the life of me, I’m not sure why the heck an alligator would need any more than four feet!?!?
With the truck parts still not received, Kit and I looked for other adventures. So, on another bonus day we headed South into Florida to visit Amelia Island.
Where we toured Fort Clinch which was built during the Seminole Wars as a coastal defensive stronghold. During the Civil War, it was seized by the Confederate Army to provide safe anchorage for their Blockade Runners. Then it was later garrisoned during the Spanish American War.
After undergoing extensive restoration in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps Fort Clinch became an important communication station during WWII.
The fort contains over five million bricks and was actually never completed…
… but pressed into service anyway.
A self-guided tour allows the visitor to wander the many tunnels deep within the fort…
…and explore the officers’ quarters…
…as well as the kitchen…
…before ascending to the ramparts and viewing the artillery…
…where the soldiers enjoyed a commanding view of the bay.
A very nice restored fort, even Kit enjoyed this one!
As in most attractions, the only way to leave the premises is through the gift shop. I normally mumble a few words to the clerk about enjoying the tour as I head for the exit…however a beautiful wood strip kayak caught my eye. It was hanging above the T-shirt display and looked vaguely familiar.
Stopping to read the information card below the boat I was pleasantly surprised to learn that this fine piece of craftsmanship was made in Wiscasset, Maine by Ted Leavitt. A craftsman of fine handmade kayaks, Mr. Leavitt is well known for his beautiful creations, many of which end up as decorative display pieces as this one has. Wiscasset, Maine to Amelia Island, Florida…it’s a small world indeed!
While in Florida we decided to visit American Beach, an historical site during the Civil Rights Era. Parking on a side street, Kit and I made our way across the coastal dunes by way of a boardwalk…
…and discovered a nice large beach.
During the time of Jim Crow, black folks were not allowed to swim at many Florida beaches, but relegated to segregated areas often miles away from town. As in other places in the old south, the black citizens made the best of it and built their own beach communities.
In 1936, Mr. Abraham Lincoln Lewis, the president of the Afro-American Life Insurance company and Florida’s first black millionaire, poured his own resources into making American Beach a first class recreation area and the continued vitalization and oceanfront construction is ongoing today.
Walking along the high tide line, we spotted millions of seashells both up and down the beach as far as the eye could see.
Due to the configuration of the shoreline and the tidal effect, American Beach has more collectable shells than any other Florida beach we’ve been on!
Today, the segregation restrictions are long gone, however this beautiful beach is still popular amongst African Americans and many families reside within walking distance of the shore.
As we drove along the towns roadway…
…Kit and I marveled at the many small gardens containing colorful flowers…
…and nearby, we spotted this fellow walking along.
He/she didn’t seem to be in any danger, so after snapping a few photos, we left the guy to his daily walk.
Kit and I love to eat out…yea, I know, no kidding! However, as hard as it may be to believe, approximately 75% of our meals are prepared in the camper…and for breakfast we have been enjoying authentic maple syrup form Darkwood Farm’s
This sweet nectar of the god’s is from the sugar-shack of our son Joe. He taps about seventy five trees on his acreage in Maine, then spends the spring boiling the sap down in a stainless tray heated over a wood fire. I’ll admit to some bias, but I truly believe his Maple Syrup is the best I have ever enjoyed!
Well, the parts have arrived, and the truck is finally repaired, so after a day of test driving to verify it will be able to endure the challenge of pulling a 13,000-pound camper, we started making preparations to get under way. Both Kit…
…are once again HAPPY CAMPER’S!!
And wouldn’t you know it, the evening before we are to depart, the lone alligator in the lake decided to go swimming by.
Well, you’ll have to take my word for it, but that stick looking thing in the middle of the photo above was a gator!
Sunday, April 14, 2019: On this morning of our departure, the weather is ideal for travel and as a gesture of good tidings, the eastern sky once again gifted us with a pleasant sunrise.
So, until next chapter, we bid you all a good morning!
Kit’s Bit’s We thoroughly enjoyed our time in King’s Bay. So many places around there to investigate and learn about. The RV Park was very nice, and we were close enough to town to do
a bit of shopping, when necessary. Most days, the weather was perfect, however, a few were quite warm and humid. Good thing we have a robust AC unit in the trailer! I’m looking forward to visiting this area again.