West Point Lake

Our campsite on a narrow section of  West Point Lake

Our campsite on a narrow section of West Point Lake

We started meandering toward home today.  We weren’t sure how far we would feel like driving, so left our destination open.

Doggie room with a view

Doggie room with a view

After a while we decided we were feeling pretty good, so we decided to shoot for West Point Lake on the Alabama/Georgia border. We’ve camped here before and like it.  Our only concern was whether or not they would have any walk-in sites available late on a Friday afternoon.

I sent up a quick prayer that everything would work out for us–and it did!

There were only 3 or 4 sites left.  I told the gate attendants that we’d like something really easy to get into, as I was too tired to fight with a difficult back-in situation (some of the sites here are nerve wracking to get into), and something that would be nice for two dogs.

Army Corps of Engineers doggie pen :)

Army Corps of Engineers doggie pen 🙂

They suggested we would probably like site 91.  It’s a pull-thru, but it’s on a  narrow part of the lake so didn’t offer an expansive lake view.  That sounded fine with us.

When we got to the site, we really liked it.  It’s a small site, but has a nice deck on 3 sides with benches for our stove and grill.  The picnic table area projects farther out than the rest of the deck.  Since we didn’t need to use the picnic table, we decided that it was a perfect place to fence in to corral the dogs.

One particular little dog would much prefer to be leashed than caged.

One particular little dog would much prefer to be leashed than caged.

We’re pooped tonight.  So this will be a short post just to let you know we arrived safely.  We plan to leave here the 30th, as I need to be home by the 1st.

I apologize for all the dog chatter, but we were too tired to do any interesting camping-type things this evening — other than grill ribs.  🙂

Lake Seminole at Eastbank is GORGEOUS!

I remembered the lakefront sites as having no trees or privacy when I was here before.  WOW!  Can't believe how badly I mis-remembered it!

I remembered the lakefront sites as having no trees or privacy when I was here before. WOW! Can’t believe how badly I mis-remembered it!

Today there was a light overcast all day which kept the temperatures down and also made it possible to take photos at midday.

eastbank3When we were here before, all I remembered was that we had absolutely no privacy and that we felt we were on-stage in full view of several RVs in the next loop.  And our patio area had no shade.  We were camped between two groups who were camping together and who constantly called and walked across our site.  I couldn’t wait to leave.eastbank4

When I walked through the park today I was stunned.  It looked exactly as it did before, but what a difference in my perspective!  Maybe I didn’t feel well during our previous stay here.  Or maybe I wasn’t in a great mood.  In any case, this place is stunningly beautiful!

I’m sure we’ll be back sometime, but next time I’ll choose a lakefront site again.  Just not the one we had before.  🙂

Walkway from road to Loop A

Walkway from road to Loop A

But for the time being, our site tucked way back in the corner is marvelous for us.  I am reveling in the privacy of being able to read and lounge outside without feeling like I’m being watched — even though our front site is clearly visible from two other RV’s across the loop, it just FEELS private.

I was even able to let the dogs off leash for a while today.  Sunny always instantly obeys voice commands (except for Don’t Bark!).  Sheba usually obeys if it suits her.  But today, every time she would wander away from the campsite, I’d whistle and she would instantly come.  One time she went behind the truck and decided to take off down the street.  I called her, and she hesitated for a second, deciding whether to obey or not.  Then she decided to keep going.  But the instant I whistled, she raced back toward me.

Part of Loop A

Part of Loop A

I gave her a big treat… and then tied her up again for a while.  🙂

I found my first edible mushrooms of the season this afternoon — spring agaricus.  They are white mushrooms with free gills, with a sheath-like ring.  The gills turn from pink to brown as the mushroom matures, and leave a dark chocolate brown spore print.  They have a pleasant mushroomy scent, and there is no yellow at the base of the stem and they do not bruise yellow.  I kept them and took a spore print, just to be absolutely sure of my identification.  But I didn’t eat them because the grass was so green.  I figured the lawn had probably been fertilized and I didn’t want to eat fertilizer.  But it was a thrill to find my first good mushrooms of the season!

Flowers along the bank between the boat launch and the campground

Flowers along the bank between the boat launch and the campground

We took Sheba down to the boat launch and let her play in the water.  She wanted to go out deeper, so Ron waded out, shoes and all, with her.  One of our camping neighbors told us he took his dog down there and threw sticks way out for him to retrieve.  If I weren’t paranoid about alligators this far south, I’d do the same.  But that will have to wait until we are farther north out of alligator habitat.

It’s been a gorgeous day.  I’m so glad we decided to come here!

Sheba at the boat launch

Sheba at the boat launch

Tent sites by the boat launch

Tent sites by the boat launch

Spring agaricus

Spring agaricus

Spider hunting ants under mushroom cap.

Spider hunting ants under mushroom cap.

A larger spring agaricus

A larger spring agaricus

Maybe he's enforcing the No Wake rule? :)

Maybe he’s enforcing the No Wake rule? 🙂

Sunset from our campsite

Sunset from our campsite

Lake Seminole

corner site

A nice, private corner site

Across the street from our site

Across the street from our site

We are at Lake Seminole on the GA/FL/AL border.  It’s the Eastbank COE camp.  The last time we stayed here we had a site right on the water.  That section of the campground looks like an upscale RV park — but there is no shade and no privacy!  And people are always walking through your site there to get to the water.

This time we asked for a site that was more private where the dogs would have more room.  We got a site in the back loop, away from the water…. and it’s just perfect for us.  It’s more like a campground than an RV park on this side.  And we can still see the lake from our site.

Our front yard

Our front yard

When we got here, it was hot as blazes!  I don’t know what the temperature was, but with the humidity it felt like it was in the steaming 90’s.  But once we got our awning up and could sit in shade, the breezes off the lake kept it from being too uncomfortable to sit outside.  The direct sun did bake us from around 3:00 – 6:00, but after that the sun dropped behind the trees and it was manageable again.

Sheba surveying her new domain

Sheba surveying her new domain

Right after we got set up, a guy stopped to talk to Ron.  Turns out, he is from Michigan and retired from the railroad.  Since Ron retired from the railroad, that gave them a lot to talk about.  Then we learned that the other guy’s name was Ron, too.  AND, they are headed for Ft. Pickens on Friday; we are headed there on Sunday.  It was one of those “really small world” experiences.

Shady spot under the picnic table

Shady spot under the picnic table

We are camping here because we couldn’t get reservations for Ft. Pickens  until April 21.  We needed a cheap site with electricity for the air conditioner in the meantime.  So we came here and are paying $11.00 a night with our senior pass.

Unusual cloud formation

Unusual cloud formation

Lake Allatoona

My gang.

We’re at the McKinney Campground of Lake Allatoona, GA COE.

Ron with Sheba and Sunny

My big reason for wanting to come here was mushroom hunting.  On the drought map, it looked like this is just north of the exceptional drought line.  I just KNEW that since it’s prime wild mushroom season that I would hit the jackpot here.

Unbeknown to Ron, I even smuggled my dehydrator in the bottom of the Casita closet to help me deal with the bounty I anticipated finding.

Unfortunately the drought map lied.  It is just as dry — or drier — here than it was at home.

A path to the lake

Another view of our campsite

We didn’t get a lakefront site, so no photos of gorgeous sunsets over the water.  But it’s beautiful.  I’m sure we will find lots to entertain ourselves with — in spite of the no-show mushrooms.

Almost Back in Civilization

Enjoying the water at Flint Creek

The lack of internet at Flint Creek turned out to be a great thing.  We didn’t have to hear bad news, and it felt like we were given the gift of a week out of time… almost like another dimension.

Our Casita and Gail’s van at Flint Creek

We had made our reservations two months ago.  But right before we left I checked the weather and it was grim.  Days in the mid nineties with heat indexes ranging from 101 to 109 with thunderstorms every day.

But we prayed for good weather and headed out to meet Gail and Mike anyway.  And the weather amazed us.

We had two picnic tables at Flint Creek

Our site was in dappled or deep shade all day.  Almost always there was enough breeze to keep us from stifling.  The thunderstorms never materialized.  We’d hear distant thunder and see the storm clouds approaching, but they would go around us.  The only rain we had was the first day we arrived, and it was light and didn’t last long.  The only exception was a freak wind that threatened to destroy our awning one evening.  We managed to get the awning in and get Gail’s canopy bungied to a fence, and in a few minutes it had passed.

At Jennings Ferry COE

And the water!  It was the first time we had frolicked in a sand bottom lake in many years.  We felt like kids again.

Most importantly, Gail and I had time to spend together.  It was precious to both of us.

The people from the surrounding areas were another gift out of time.  I hadn’t seen that level of courtesy and good manners in decades.  The kids were remarkably well behaved.  All week the only sounds from them were the delightful sounds of happy children playing.  No

We’re still absolutely crazy about our little Casita!

screaming.  No rudeness.  No tantrums. Please.  Thank you.  Smiles.   Ron was out walking one day and said hello to a young teenage boy.  The boy actually tipped his cap to Ron… a sign of respect for elders that I didn’t think existed anywhere anymore.   And in town, friendly waves and smiles instead of rude gestures when, due to being unfamiliar with the area, we made a couple of traffic mistakes.

We fell in love with southern Mississippi.  Seriously in love!  🙂

Oh, there was the one requisite group of belligerent drunks that showed up at the swimming beach Friday.  We felt threatened and left.  But within a few minutes a ranger showed up and escorted them out of the park.

Guess Who 🙂

We left this morning with memories that will warm us for a long time.

We drove for about 4 hours and were getting tired.  When we saw a sign for the Jennings Ferry COE campground near Eutaw, AL, we decided to stop for a couple of days.  The park is super clean with spacious, private, level sites and great views on the waterfront side.  We were surprised to see (and hear) a tug pushing a huge barge past our sites earlier this evening.  It will be fun to watch them from the shore tomorrow.

And our senior rate for this campground…. a whopping $18 for two days!

 

 

Baby Alligator, Heron & Puddles

This morning started out with a thunderstorm.  Ron got the awning down just in time.  Then we were without electricity for a few hours.

Boy fishing with small alligator trying to get his bait

We were sitting outside having coffee when a lone Canada goose walked right into our campsite and honked and honked repeatedly.  I thought he was probably trying to tell us something, as animals in distress will sometimes do that.  Since we didn’t have any idea what the problem was, he took off, honking constantly, and walked the entire length of the canal near our site.

Baby alligator

It finally dawned on me.  Geese mate for life.  He was alone.  I bet he was looking for his mate, and I’ll also bet an alligator got him or her.  So sad, if that was the case.

Later this afternoon, we were walking the dogs when we saw a boy fishing from the bank.  We struck up a conversation with his dad.  Then we learned that a small alligator was messing with the boy’s fish line, maybe trying to steal his bait.

Here’s looking at you!

His Dad called out, “Don’t you try to catch that alligator!  Don’t you try to catch that alligator!”

I had Ron hold the dogs, then walked down the bank to get a closer look.  Sure enough there was a baby alligator, with just his nose above the water.  As I watched, more of the head appeared.  And soon the body also came into view.  The dad told me that when they come in at night, the boat lights reflect off so many alligator eyes that it looks like someone strung Christmas lights.

Baby alligator’s body comes into view

What is really scary is that this is the “safe” part of the water that I was letting Sheba play in up until a couple of days ago.

Sheba apparently senses that something is wrong with the water because she hasn’t tried to head into it lately.  However, rain puddles in the street are fair game!

Sheba finds a safe rain puddle in the street

Tonight is our last night here at Cotton Hill COE.  It’s been one of the most beautiful places we’ve stayed this far south.

We’ll be back.  But probably in the winter when the alligators are hibernating!

Walter F. George lake at sunset

Cool Campers & Spring Flowers

Trillium

We’ve seen a couple of intriguing campers here.  The first is an old Trillium.  I think the owner said it was a ’72.  He got it when the previous owner’s wife died, and the guy didn’t want to take it out camping any more.  It’s in beautiful shape, and I do so love the jalousie windows that can be left open in the rain.

The second one is a home built rig.  I can’t remember if the owner said they have been fulltiming in it 6 or 8 years.  But they started out with a truck camper, but their truck was inadequate to carry it.  So they bought a Sprinter flat bed and mounted the camper on it.

Home built rig on a Sprinter flat bed

But they had a big dog, and their dog had nowhere to ride.  They said the Mennonites sometimes salvage old sleepers off trucks for various uses around farms.  So they bought a sleeper from them for the dog to ride in.

But, even though they cut the sleeper down, they still had to raise the truck camper to fit… so they built in a storage basement.  Then they added the cage on front to carry their generator and supplies.

This shot shows the storage area open

Later on, their dog died, so they converted the dog “room” to storage.

She also said they were in a park one time when a terrific storm came through.  So both of them climbed into the carpet lined sleeper with the dog and rode out the storm together.  🙂

I can’t remember all the details, but it was fascinating listening to her explain how their unusual camper, that is perfectly suited for their way of travel, came to be.

The catfish catcher

The people here are amazingly friendly!  Such a pleasure to meet and strike up conversations with them.

The fisherman in the photo and his wife have caught several nice size catfish.  The park has a great screened fish cleaning station.

I have been loving seeing the tiny little spring wildflowers that are blooming down here.  I don’t know the names of most of them, but they delight me.

Yellow clover

Little bluet & common laccaria mushroom

And a sweet little dandelion 🙂

The shelf Rob made me is turning out to be much more than just a coffee shelf! I've started leaving it up during the day, too.

A hint of a sunset

East Bank COE, Lake Seminole

The Casita at East Bank COE, Lake Seminole

We’re here, and it’s GORGEOUS!

It’s warm today — would be hot except that there is a very stiff wind whipping the water into whitecaps.  It looks like the beach and feels like the beach,.  The only thing missing is the salt tang in the air!  It will be very interesting to see how the lake looks when the wind calms down.

The wind is supposed to bring rain behind it.  But hopefully for just a day.

What is different about this COE park, compared to others we’ve stayed at, is that the sites are a lot closer together.  Not a problem, though, because the view is so beautiful and the neighbors are courteous.

We were warned about the sugar ant problem when we checked in.  So we have everything that touches the ground sprayed with Black Flag, and made sure our electric and water lines are up off the ground.  So far I haven’t seen any ants… so I hope it stays that way.

Sunny doesn't know what to make of the wind whipping his hair around

Me with camper hair!

Lake Seminole

Whitecaps

R. Shaefer Heard COE Campground

Aliner high on a steep bluff

Aliner high on a steep bank

It is 99 degrees at 5:50 p.m. in town.  I think it must be cooler where we are.  We are in the shade and there is a nice breeze off the lake.

It is scary backing just the truck down the steep driveway to our site.  It was hair-raising backing the Aliner in.  But I got it done, even managing to miss the tree at edge of the drive after several — no, make that MANY– tries!

Aliner at R. Shaefer Heard Army Corps of Engineers campground

Our site

The campground is gorgeous.  There are all kinds of sites.  There are some that have smooth, grassy lawns gently sloping right down to the lake.  We drove by that section earlier and there were kids splashing in the water.

My only complaint about the campground is that something died in the nearby woods, and we get a whiff of it now and then.

We haven’t done any hiking since we got here.  When we are active, the heat really gets to us.  If we take it easy, it’s not bad.  It helps being a Florida native and adapted to hot weather.  But we do take a nice air conditioned siesta in the afternoons.

Sunset over West Point Lake

Sunset over West Point Lake

Last night’s sunset over the lake was gorgeous.  A breathtaking palette of mauves and oranges.

I brought my new mushroom book by Michael Kuo and have been studying it.   It is an excellent guide — a great addition to my library.  I am praying for rain so that mushrooms will sprout up while we are here.  It’s never too hot for me to hunt them!

We may get thunderstorms tomorrow.  In fact, it sprinkled lightly

Another sunset shot

Another shot of that gorgeous sunset!

earlier, and we are getting occasional flashes of lightning and distant thunder now.

It’s a pretty steep path to get from our site down to the water.  But there are trees to hold onto.  It has been too hot for us to want to fish, then deal with cleaning them, but we will probably do that before we leave — especially if it cools down a bit.

We are loving being here.  It is so peaceful, so beautiful, and it feels so safe.  We normally don’t like to return to the same campground as there are so many others to explore.  But this one is special to us.

Rocks at the edge of West Point Lake

Rocks at the edge of the lake in front of our site

And the fact that Ron’s senior pass makes the sites 50% off makes it irresistible!

The Aliner at sunset

Ron relaxing by the Aliner at sunset

Tennessee Flooding Affecting Georgia Camping

Whitetail Ridge COE campground on West Point Lake, GA

West Point Lake COE campgrounds

We arrived at the Whitetail Ridge COE campground yesterday.  It’s one of a large number of campgrounds on West Point Lake which was creating by damming the Chattahoochee River.  The black arrow points to our campground.

When we arrived, the gate attendant told us that a lot of trash from the Tennessee flooding had washed down into the lake, and as a result the fishing here was poor.

Our site at Whitetail Ridge COE campground

Our site

There was some trash visible when we first arrived at our site, mostly along the edges of the water.  But as soon as we had set up the camper, I headed out to throw a line in.  Ron and I both fished for a while, but Ron realized it was pointless and moved onto more productive endeavors.  I, being stubborn,  continued fishing for about an hour without a single bite.  I tried again in late afternoon, then again right before dark.  Unfortunately, the gate attendant was right.

Checking out the fishing

Checking out the fishing

The full extent of the trash in the water wasn’t apparent while the tide was coming in.  But when it started receding, there was no denying its impact on the lake.

Tennessee flood trash in Georgia lake

Tennessee flood trash in Georgia lake

Ron wanted to walk around and explore, but I was not feeling well, and didn’t have the energy for hiking.

This morning I woke up really sick — diarrhea, chills and a runny nose.  I made the rounds from lawn chair to the bathroom to the bed for a while, then gave up and went to bed.  I slept until 4:00 p.m. this afternoon.  I don’t feel terribly sick now, just tired and too weak to enjoy being active.

This is not how I planned this camping trip!  🙂

We are hoping to get out and explore the area tomorrow.  If I don’t feel up to hiking, we can drive around and see the sights.

flood trash

Heartbreaking evening view of lake

View from the screen room

Earlier view from the screen room

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