September 28, 2012 ~ McRae, GA
We got the call from the repair shop earlier this week, the RV is ready! Yay! Now, the long drive to Macon, GA to pick it up. Groan.
Chip is working a job project in Jacksonville, FL, about an hour and a half from the house, and the drive back & forth has been brutal. This is one of the reasons we bought the motor home, so that he could stay in his own “home” close to job sites, and I could join him. Without that convenience, this past week has been a little rough on him. Bless his heart, the man never complains, but I know those before dawn drives couldn’t have been fun! So, now we’ll be able to rectify that problem.
We decided to pick up the Beast and bring her to Jacksonville where we’ll leave her for the next week or two while Chip works in the area. The drive from Ormond Beach to Macon is just under 6 hours, then another 4 to Jacksonville. We really didn’t want to do the whole trip in one day; I like to keep our daily drive times to 6 hours max, preferably 4. With this in mind, I started planning.
We didn’t really want to stay in Macon again so I looked for a campsite about an hour or so south of there, closer to the FL/GA border. Again, we prefer to stay in national /state/county parks because they tend to be more “natural” and, frankly, cheaper! We don’t care about the amenities, can do without cable and internet for a night. I found a Georgia state park in the town of McRae, called LittleOcmulgee. It’s known for it’s beautiful golf course, not something we’re interested in but good to know. I also found a campground in Jacksonville, more about that later.
So, we got up bright and early, hit the road by 6:30. I didn’t prepare any “road food” so we relied on fast food, grabbing a plain biscuit breakfast from McDonald’s. Not the healthiest choice but sometimes you’ve got to work with what you’ve got! We got to Macon by lunchtime, picked up the RV and drove through Wendy’s for lunch. (Plain baked potato for me).
We rolled into the campground around 3, did the minimal amount of set-up for just one night. The grounds are very pretty, lots of trees and the rolling hills of the golf course are impressive. The staff was warm & welcoming, the Southern Hospitality in full swing. The camp sites were nicely spaced and there were ample trees & walking trails, Loki gave his seal of approval.
The parks sits on the border of two little towns, McRae and Helena, which consist of a few gas stations, a couple of strip malls, and a Piggly Wiggly grocery store. When I searched Trip Advisor for restaurants, ONE pizza joint came up. Now, we knew there must be other restaurants around so we took a drive down “main street.”
Here we encountered the town’s one attraction, according to Trip Advisor.
Lady Liberty, you are a long way from home, girl!
We also found a Mexican restaurant which may have had the best food ever but since the windows were too filthy to see inside and there were just a couple of old beat up trucks in the parking lot, I wasn’t willing to take a chance. There was also the aforementioned pizza joint, also kinda scary looking, a McDonald’s and a little “family” seafood restaurant. Oh, and Pizza Hut – walk-up only, no dining in.
Chip and I were dumbfounded. Where do these people eat? I imagine they make a 30-minute drive to a larger town where there is a Wal-Mart, etc., but being unwilling to do that, we were stuck. At this point it was happy hour so we figured we’d find a bar and sit down to discuss our options. We drove and drove up & down, around the whole area and could not find a bar. There was, however, a package store. Worst case scenario, we could go back to our RV and have a drink, right? We pulled in and proceeded to go inside.
This was a drive-through package store. You walk up to the counter and the cashier gathers your order. When I requested a bottle of chardonnay, the man laughed and said, “I may have one bottle, let me check. This here’s Redneck Land, honey!” I guess with my nice jeans, high heels and Chip’s wild Hawaiian shirt, he could tell that we were tourists, huh?
Properly amused, we took one more drive around “downtown” and realized that we had two choices: grab some groceries at the Piggly Wiggly to cook at the RV, or head to the park’s Lodge Restaurant. We opted for the latter.
The lodge restaurant was very nice and clean, sparsely decorated in a simple country style. Their big draw is the Friday Night Seafood Buffet which includes anything & everything deep fried alongside a salad bar, soup, dessert, your usual buffet fare. Though it looked and smelled good, neither of us are buffet kind of people and I knew there wouldn’t be enough veg-friendly food on their to warrant the $12.00 price tag.
I was pleased to discover a Veggie Pasta dish on the regular menu which came with a trip to the salad bar and a bowl of soup. I happily prepared a nice salad but didn’t really need the (tomato rice) soup. Chip went for the Philly Cheesesteak. While we sipped our beer & wine, I had a chance to do some people watching. Other than one other lady who also looked rather touristy, we were the only patrons with alcohol; everyone else had their glasses filled high with sweet tea. Even the tables full of big burly men who you’d think would enjoy a nice cold brew on a Friday night were guzzling that tea like it was going out of style! I guess some stereotypes are true, they truly do love their sweet tea here in the south.
|Burnt Garlic Toast & Veggies, bland "tomatoe" sauce on top|
Chip claimed his sandwich was very good, I was less thrilled with my pasta. The menu described the dish as “grilled vegetables mixed with linguine, topped with tomatoe sauce, served with garlic bread” and that’s exactly what I got. There was no spice in this dish, none. The veggies were grilled on one side, added to the pasta and then a dollop of bland tomato sauce was placed on top. The garlic bread was burnt. You know what? I ate it anyway. At least, I ate about a quarter of it. It wasn’t the best meal I’ve ever had but I was hungry and it was edible and, most importantly, VEGAN. My belly was satisfied even if my taste buds weren’t, and tomorrow is another day. I won’t die from having a bad meal. Well, I might’ve died from eating at that Mexican restaurant, but I digress..
So, we brought our package store purchases back to the campsite, had a little drink on our patio, listened to the crickets chirping and gazed at the full moon through the trees. We talked and laughed about our adventures (or lack thereof) here in Helena, GA, made our plans for tomorrow and am now headed off to read before bed.
We’ll be headed to Jacksonville in the morning, “see” you then!