Sunday, March 31, 2013

More Okefenokee NWR (In Pictures)

Judy was on duty at the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, so we returned.  And are glad we did.  We got to spend some time with her and she took us on a tour out to the Chesser Homestead. We also took a guided boat tour of the old Suwanee Canal and Chesser Prairie.
It was a great day to be in the swamp!  Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Chesser Homestead

While we were are Okefenokee National Wildlife Preserve, we took the Swamp Island Drive and stopped at the Chesser Homestead.
In the late 1880's W.T. Chesser and his family settled in the eastern area of the Okefenokee Swamp.  Over time, they had seven children, two of which stayed in the area.  In 1927, Tom Chesser built a homestead which is one display today.
It gives some insight into what life was like in the days before the Depression in a place a long way from the nearest town.  The house is quite impressive as are the grounds with many different facets.

Seems to me that this was a big house after all the additions.
There was a small living room, two bedrooms, one with a sewing table set up.
The kitchen had a nice stove and a large table.  Looked like they had a fair amount of room.
Outside, they built a number of functional areas:
Smoke House and Storage Shed; Work Area and Syrup Making Vat; Mounted Hand Crank Drill Press
Sugar Cane Mill, Hog Pen, Chicken Yard and Coop, Vegetable Garden
I took one last photo of the back side of the house before we departed.  The Chesser Homestead is one of the more well done displays we have seen of how life once was.

Thanks for checking out the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Until next time...

Friday, March 29, 2013

Day Trip - Okenfenokee National Wildlife Refuge

We are staying at the King's Bay Naval (Submarine) Base near St. Mary's Georgia.  The campground here is great (Eagle Hammock RV Park).  Since we are going to be here a few days, we started exploring the area and took a day trip to Okenfenokee NWR.

Okefenokee ("Land of the Trembling Earth") NWR was established in 1937 and spans 402,000 acres of swamp, lakes, rivers is one of the largest and best preserved fresh water systems in America.
Over the years, the area has been intended for a number of different uses.  Back in 1891, the Suwannee Canal Company bought the land from Georgia and intended to drain the swamp, harvest the Cypress trees and turn the area into farm land.  That company went bankrupt, sold it to another who built a railroad nearby and logged over 431 million feet of lumber before the Depression hit and operations ceased.

A few years later it became a National Wildlife Refuge.

As we drove on to the property, it seemed as if it is well maintained and well funded which is nice to see.  The NWR is a great place to do a lot of different things including, hiking, fishing, hunting, nature photography and wilderness canoeing.
The Visitor's Center is situated near a training building, gift shop and canoe/pontoon boat guide area.  Near one of the buildings, there was some new construction and additions to the facility.  Large and small groups come to the NWR and take advantage of the educational and nature opportunities.
 The Visitor's Center has a number of interactive displays and informational stations along with a short video and a story telling kiosk.  It is very well done.
Out behind the facility is a canal and boat launch.  
Some hardy souls were off on a guided boat tour of the grounds.  We opted for a picnic lunch and walked around the grounds.
A fellow RVer and blogger Judy of "Travels with Emma" fame, got in touch with us and said to come on over for a tour.  We didn't know she was here until after we returned, but we hope to connect with her in a few days and do just that.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Until next time...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Adios Florida Hello Georgia!

We left our spot in Tallahassee at the Tallahassee RV Park and headed east, then north.  Our destination for the next nine days is the highly rated Eagle Hammock RV Park in King's Bay Georgia.
It was only 200 miles and a very easy 3:30 minute trip.

We stopped at the Visitor's Center just across the border into Georgia and it was a busy place!
There must have been 25 or 30 RVs heading north.  After picking up some tourist information, we finished the last short leg of our travel day.

We arrived at the Navy Campground about 11:30 and got set up.
We have another great spot at a Campground we like.  We have stayed here before and like it.  It has spacious campsites, full hookups, is well run with free laundry and a great view.
We'll be here for over a week before we go farther north.  I will be doing some online work and we will be exploring the history and sights of the region.

Thanks for joining us today!  Until next time...

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Florida History in Tallahassee

We are in Tallahassee, FL for a few days.  We decided we wanted to see the State Capitol and some historical items in the city.  I don't know why we haven't visited more state capitols.  Sadly, I think we have only seen and toured Santa Fe NM and Harrisburg PA.  Maybe we will add that to our list of things to see.

We are staying at the Tallahassee RV Park.  It is very convenient to getting the downtown area.  Only about 5 miles away and a straight shot into town.  I really like this RV park.  It is clean, well manicured and maintained.  The rates are going up to $41/night.  We paid $38 and now that we have been able to see some of Tallahassee, I am not sure we would pay those prices again.  Still, our projected average for March is $22.38 - a little under our $25/night budget.

The Old Capitol is now a museum.
We arrived just in time to hear some experts begin a presentation on "Early Roads in Florida" - between  St. Augustine and Pensacola.
It was fascinating!
After the hour long seminar we viewed some old maps of Florida in the next room.
Then we saw other displays throughout the capitol.
I did not realize Andrew Jackson was military governor of Florida in 1821, eight years before he became President.

From the Capitol we went to the Florida History Museum.  It was another nice surprise and a GREAT museum.  Every display in it was very well done!
Like we do often, we listened to the 'Overview Video' and then went through all the display rooms.

First ancient history…early inhabitants
Then the Spaniards and their huge influence in Florida.  And their sunken treasures...
Some of the key cities and industry 
In the early 1900's RVs made it to Florida.

The state was an important area for the military during World War II
 After the war, many came back to visit and solidify a growing tourism industry.
If you get to see the museum, I highly recommend it.  It was very well done and among the best we have seen in our travels.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Until next time...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Day Trip to Mexico Beach and Apalachicola

One reason we decided to come to Panama City was to check out the FamCamp (one of the best we've seen) and to see Mexico Beach which is 20 miles south.  We packed a lunch and started out to explore.

Along the way we passed through Port St Joe which had signs to the Constitution Convention Museum.
Unfortunately, the museum is closed Tuesday and Wednesday.  Interesting that the town in 1838 was a booming Gulf Port town and won over Tallahassee to host the delegates in writing Florida's state constitution.

We drove through Mexico Beach and decided to stop on the way back from Apalachicola.  We learned a couple of interesting things in Apalachicola.  Another State Park sign we saw was for Gorrie Museum.  Dr. John Gorrie arrived in 1833 and lived there until his death in 1855.  During his time there he combatted yellow fever and achieved some positive results from patients when his experiments lead to a refrigeration unit to cool patients room.    Unfortunately the museum was also closed.

We drove through the quaint town of Apalachicola and parked for some walking around.  The only store we walked through was Grady Market.
It is a quite high-end and pricey outdoor / adventure clothing and nick nack store but interesting none the less.  In the 1850's the store provided supplies to the ships on the waterfront associated with the cotton business, lumber and later the fishing/shrimp industry in town.
We parked right across the street from the Grady Market and walked around the historic downtown area.
One building was an old sponge warehouse, now space for an antique shop.  Flowers were in bloom all over.
We found a picnic table on the dock over near the shrimpers.  These boats go out from 'moon to moon' - sometimes out fishing for up to five weeks.
We talked with one hand who said the best shrimping is during rough waters when the bottom is all stirred up.  Interesting fellow.  He pointed out an otter than was lurking nearby.  He was glad to chat for a few minutes in the middle of fixing the bathroom on board the boat.  He lives months at a time with his wife in Denver where they own an HOA company for some properties.  And their son is a PhD candidate at Harvard.

After a nice picnic lunch we drove around the rest of town and headed back up to Mexico Beach.
It is another nice beach along the Florida Gulf Coast.  The town is a small one and has tourists, but nothing like the congestion and popularity of Destin or Panama City.
We returned to the FamCamp in the middle afternoon and quietly enjoyed the rest of the afternoon and evening.  Both of filled out the NCAA Men's Basketball Brackets.

My picks on the  Final 4:

  1. Duke (hoping for an upset)
  2. Gonzaga
  3. Kansas
  4. Indiana

Pam's Final 4:

  1. Louisville
  2. Gonzaga
  3. Kansas 
  4. Miami
Our overall winner picks:
  • Me - Gonzaga
  • Pam - Miami

Who are your picks?

That's it for now on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Thanks for joining us!