Saturday, June 25, 2011

Day Trip: Hiawassee, Young Harris, Blairsville, Helen, Georgia

This is Barbie writing this blog today while Jeff tries his best to win spider solitaire. LOL

We went on a day trip this past Tuesday, June 21, to Hiawassee, Young Harris, Blairsville, Helen, and around the Lake Burton area on our way back. This area in northern Georgia has always been a favorite of ours. The day was a very nice one weather wise. It did get warm as the day progressed. The highest temperature was in Helen at 90 degrees. Of course Kozmo went with us and she had a nice time, so she told us later on in her doggy talk. We stopped first in Dillard for some diesel gas for the truck. It has come down in price being $3.82 per gallon in this area. We saw it just recently at $3.76 in Clayton. If it comes down more we will be saving some more money on our trip up north later in the summer and fall.

We enjoy riding around the Hiawassee area because Lake Chatuge and it’s coves seem to surround the town. It is a beautiful area. Hiawassee is also the home of the Georgia Mountain Fair which is held in August and has an abundance of local craftsmen and women demonstrating and selling their crafts. Many country acts perform as well. We’ve attended in past years and really enjoy it.

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We made a stop at Vogel State Park to see the ducks and stretch our legs. As you can see by the picture, Kozmo really had a great time checking out the ducks!


In Helen, there were lots of tubers in the river having a great time.

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We found that unusual for a Tuesday afternoon-all the tubers. Helen wasn’t too crowded but we drove through town and Kozmo got a close-up of a horse drawn carriage. For those of you that have never been there, Helen is a small alpine designed village that caters to the tourist industry.

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We had to make a stop at Fred’s Peanuts in Robertstown, just outside of Helen, for some Cajun boiled peanuts and pork rinds. We can remember the first time we ever had Fred’s peanuts. Fred was younger then and the peanuts are just as good as they were 20 years ago. Notice Fred’s decor below.



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We also stopped at Stovall’s Covered Bridge in Sautee, outside of Helen. Years ago we caught about a dozen trout right under that bridge. At that time we didn’t have an rv, so we cleaned them in our hotel room in Helen and iced them down for the trip back to Florida.

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Also in that area we passed an Indian burial mound and the Old Sautee Store.

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We had camped about 18 years ago at Unicoi Springs State Park in our 32 foot travel trailer. When we went through the campground Tuesday we didn’t see many places that our 39 foot fifth wheel could fit into today. Unicoi Springs is also the home of Anna Ruby Falls.

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As we were coming back from Helen, we passed the Lake Burton Trout Hatchery where all the trout stocked in local streams are raised and drove through Moccassin Creek State Park and saw many campers.

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We also saw devastation from the tornado that came through this region in May in the Lake Burton area. Many workers were tearing down trees and leveling off the land to get the area ready for people to build their homes back up again. If you click on the photo and look closely, you can see the path of that tornado. They certainly have a long way to go but are making remarkable progress.


We never get tired of the mountain views and the pretty landscaping that surrounds many of the areas up in Northern Georgia. We feel very fortunate to own a RV site in Dillard that we can come to in the summertime to enjoy.

After our day trip, Kozmo was wiped out. She was very tired and slept through the night without hardly moving. She enjoys her truck rides very much.

‘Til next time…..

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Little Bit of Everything…for the past 2 weeks

It has been a long time since I have posted, and since Jeff is spending a lot of time reading from a Kindle and practicing on his new diddley bow (more on those topics later) I figured I would post today so our friends and family know we are just fine. I’ll try and get you caught up on our activities of the last two weeks. So here goes Reporter Barbie :-)

We took Kozmo to the vet on June 3 for the first time since we got her at the end of February. She supposedly had shots, a check-up etc in January. But, I wanted to make sure she was fine and up to date with blood work, etc. The vet, named Dr. Oakes, and his assistant, Joe, are great professionals located at Rabun Animal Hospital in Mountain City, GA. The place is very clean and they treated Kozmo like a queen.

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Her blood work came back normal and she is in excellent shape for a girl that will turn 8 years old. Since we don’t know her exact birthday, we decided that July 4 would be her big day. So most likely we will have a birthday party for her……I will make Doggie Peanut Butter cookies and she will have a great day of being outdoors among puppy friends here at River Vista Mountain Village…haha

On June 4, I turned 56 years young and Jeff took us out to La Cabana, a Mexican restaurant in Dillard. It was fantastic! We both had fajitas with Mexican flan for dessert. We were so happy when they opened up another location in Dillard in April. They have a location in Clayton, which is 10 minutes south of us that we’ve visited previously.

On the subject of food, we went to Kountry Vittles in Rabun Gap for breakfast last week and it was very good and inexpensive. We actually had fried bologna with our eggs and it tasted so good!!! Neither of us has had fried bologna in many, many years. We haven’t been eating out like we used to because I just love our kitchen in the fifth wheel. I have been cooking lots of great stuff, such as spaghetti casserole, a ziti casserole, grilled pork loin, chicken ala king, and homemade soups and desserts. I had to cut back on making sweets because we are eating too much. So now I only make sweets once a week. Last night I made a cherry cobbler and put vanilla ice cream over it. Jeff said it was delicious!!! When you retire and you think of what you will eat for the day or even the week, it seems like life just revolves around food. But, we now have time to enjoy the food and the shopping. Ingles is my FAVORITE grocery store and I can spend hours in that place. They also have a Starbucks kiosk in the store which doesn’t hurt either. I can still remember when I had 17 minutes to actually eat my food when I was teaching. We had to walk the students to the cafeteria and usually waited for the last lunch of students to come out before we took them inside to sit down. Then it was our time to eat, use the bathroom and clean up before we were required to pick them up at the cafeteria. I often wondered why the teachers’ union wasn’t called since we never got 30 minutes of duty free lunch time which is called for in the teacher contract.

I started growing some heirloom tomatoes and yellow squash once we got up here. The tomatoes are coming out and the yellow squash is showing up in clusters. We can’t wait to eat them….. and hopefully not get sick. LOL

We finally broke down and bought a Kindle. I think we owe that to Nick Russell, publisher of the Gypsy Journal magazine and a fulltime rver. He writes a daily blog, Nick’s Blog,  and just published his first book called The Big Lake. He put it on as an e-book for 99 cents. We bought the Kindle and downloaded his book first. It was a fantastic read! Jeff read it first, then I read it. Now Jeff is reading two other books on it while I have decided to finish up all of my books that I have in the rig before I order anything on the Kindle. By then, we might need another Kindle so each of us has one???? I still love going to used book stores and buying the paperbacks at a very reasonable price. I even go to the Rabun County Library if they have the book I am looking for.

We took Kozmo to “Goats on the Roof”, a local tourist stop/country store in Tiger, on Thursday. This place has goats to feed that actually graze on the buildings roofs. See pictures below. The store has homemade jams and vegetables, beverages, snacks, tee shirts, and local arts and crafts. They have a deli that serves Amish food but we didn’t try it this time. I thought Kozmo would like the goats but she was very nonchalant about it. There was a mama goat and her four very white baby goats in a pen when we walked her to the fenced in area. She sniffed them and just wanted to leave. They just stared at her. It was very cute.

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We had a little trouble with our golf cart a week ago. One of the batteries had two cells which would not hold the distilled water when I tried to top them off. When we took it out, four of the sides had expanded and cracked. We took it down to our buddy Eddie in Tallulah Falls at All-American Carts where we purchased it last year and he gave us a battery. Eddie’s a story himself. When we went to look at golf carts last year we met him. Just so happens he attended the same middle school in Brandon that I taught at and retired from last June. Small world huh? Unfortunately that first battery he gave us was a bad one. I had charged it up and we took the golf cart for a ride and it stopped down the hill from us. Jeff pushed it while I steered it for awhile as it died out. Our neighbor, another Jeff, helped us out with pushing it into our site with his cart. Thank heavens he did because I thought Jeff’s back was going to cause him some trouble pushing it uphill himself. Eddie came back out to our site Monday morning at 6:45 and brought a new battery and fixed the control panel for free. He is such a great guy!!! We recommend people go buy a golf cart from him.

During one of Jeff’s “surfing” adventures on the internet he came across a “diddley bow”. The diddley bow, according to Wikipedia, is a string instrument of African origin made popular in America, probably developed from instruments found on the Ghana coast of west Africa. The diddley bow is rarely heard outside the rural south. Other nicknames for this instrument include “jitterbug” or “one-string,” while an ethnomusicologist would formally call it a “monochord zither.” The diddley bow derives from instruments used in West Africa. There, they were often played by children, one beating the string with sticks and the other changing the pitch by moving a slide up and down. The instrument was then developed as a children's toy by slaves in the United States. They were first documented in the rural South by researchers in the 1930s. The diddley bow is typically homemade, consisting usually of a wooden board and a single wire string stretched between two screws, and played by plucking while varying the pitch with a metal or glass slide held in the other hand. A glass bottle is usually used as the bridge, which helps magnify the sound. The diddley bow has traditionally been considered an "entry-level" instrument, normally played by adolescent boys, who then graduate to a "normal" guitar if they show promise on the diddley bow. Jeff’s always wanted to play a musical instrument so he figured if it was to be, it would be with a diddley bow. He must be resorting to his adolescence. He ordered one online that was made by a gentleman from West Virginia. It along with a small amplifier arrived a couple of days ago. I’ll let Jeff keep you updated on his progress and post some pictures of his new “toy.” :-)

Well, I’ve written much about really nothing. I think I was reliving a Seinfeld episode where our lives are really about nothing but we make it seem glamorous and fulfilling for us. Maybe they will make a TV sitcom about us……”Boldt’s Castle Chronicles”.

Remember to live each moment to the fullest!