The thing in the middle is a peach.
Unlike Sherman, I drifted quietly into Georgia on Sunday the 13th, and
headed up the quickest route towards Savannah. (Sherman wasn't so quiet, but
he, too, headed for Savannah.) Unfortunately, that was I-95, and for the most
part this was the worst section. But, I had one stop I wanted to make and I
wanted to make sure I got all the way to Savannah so I could spend time there
the next morning.
How about some comparisons with Florida? You wouldn't think to look at
it, but Georgia is bigger than Florida by just a bit. It ranks 21st in size
at 58,876 square miles compared to Florida's 22nd place ranking at 58,560
square miles. And, unlike Florida, most of Georgia will still be around when
the waters roll in.
Georgia, except for Atlanta, has done a better job of controlling
population with only about half Florida's (14.7 million to 7.5 million). What
Georgia needs is a Mouse!
That guy named after the car, Hernando de Soto (both are extinct),
stumbled around Georgia and other places in the SE back about 1540. Imagine
marching around in all that heat and humidity with 600 soldiers all dressed
in their finest battle togs. They were probably better off than the priests
that went along with them, though. And all of them were better of then the
natives. Georgia is home of the "Trail of Tears" when the Cherokees were
relocated (for their own good, of course) from Georgia to the Oklahoma
Territory in 1838.
And here's one you can use to amaze your friends at the next Mini club
meeting. The first gold rush in the US took place in 1828 in Dahlonega. (I
told you, I just report these names. I don't make them up.) Need another?
"Midnight Train to Georgia," the only number one hit of Gladys Night and her
little pips was originally titled, "Midnight Plane to Houston." Make of that
what you will.
OK. Now you know a little about Georgia and you've seen a photo of their
cutesy license plate with the "Georgia Peach" in the middle. What about
Minis? Well, I know there are a large number of Mini owners in the State.
Unfortunately, the ones who kindly contacted me were all nearer to Atlanta
than the coast so my Georgia trip was to be Mini and Mini owner free. You'll
also be happy to know that my streak is still alive. Since I left home July
15th, I've covered roughly 6,000 miles (as of this writing from Boone, North
Carolina, on August 20th), and, except for planned meetings with Mini owners,
I've not seen another one anywhere. That won't surprise the American readers,
but it might help put Mini ownership in perspective for others. Anyway, if
you are reading this section for tales of Minis and Mini owners, I thought I
should warn you. Ain't any.
Something a little less than half way up 95 to Savannah is the thriving
metropolis of Darien (population 1,800; elevation 30 feet). Near there is
Fort King George State Historic Site. My intention was to stop there to see
where all this Georgia thing really started -- this was the site of the first
English settlement in Georgia and was the southern outpost for the British
Empire from 1721 - 1726. (Must protect our interests from the Spanish, don't
you know.) What happened after that I don't know. By the time I found the
place (they could have made the sign bigger!) it was too close to closing
time to visit. So, much to my chagrin (and the chagrin of the local
mosquitoes) I got back in the car and finished the boring drive until just
south of Savannah, where I settled in for the night.
FORT McALLISTER and SAVANNAH
Monday morning the 14th, not having done so well at Fort King George, I
timed my trip to Fort McAllister to arrive as the Park opened at 9:00 AM.
This was a Civil War earthwork fort on the banks of the Ogeechee River and
was the last thing standing between General Sherman's army and Savannah. When
the fort fell in mid-December 1864, Savannah was next on the list to get the
"Atlanta" treatment. Depending upon which side you like, Savannah ended up
being spared the long siege and eventual sacking in part because the CSA
General (Hardee, named after the restaurant chain) either snuck out of town
with his tail between his legs, or he made a brilliant tactical retreat in
the dead of night much to the surprise of the attacking Union soldiers the
After paying the $2 fee to enter the grounds I ran up against a blockage
and a sign saying the museum is closed. As I was turning around, one of the
groundskeepers said I could still get to the Fort if I wanted ("and wha' kind
a lil car is that?"). Just go back to the Visitor's Center and park, then
walk in. Sounded simple. After fending off the usual questions and comments
about the car (one redneck to another as they were walking away, "I wouldn't
be cawt da-id in a thing li-ke th-at.") I headed off toward the fort. Since
the museum wasn't open they said just walk around. Don't worry about paying.
The fort is very interesting and worth the stop. If you are very quiet
you can almost hear the guns. Actually, it was all the damn biting flies and
stealth mosquitoes (the ones that don't make that warning, high-pitched
noise). I took a couple of pictures but spent most of the time using both
hands to keep from being eaten alive. Next time, long pants and bug
repellent. I hope there is a next time. Interesting place.
On to Savannah. To do Savannah justice, one should spend several days.
Unfortunately, I only had a few hours before having to move on north, so I
chose to spend them at the Savannah History Museum. This is a very
interesting city originally founded and laid out (in a very interesting
manner) to be a shared labor and wealth experiment. No slaves. Everyone
equal. Unfortunately, the trustees and the English King had other plans --
among them, use the place to protect against the Spanish to the south.
Savannah also played a role in the Revolutionary War, but for details of that
and other Savannah history...read a book.
Leaving Savannah behind, I pointed EG north towards South Carolina and
Charleston (or Charles Towne, for you history buffs).
Wolseley Across America 07: GEORGIA
The thing in the middle is a peach.
Article Date: Aug 21, 2000