JULY 11, 2012t
Today was not a great day.
Gladys, the GPS, is not a rocket scientist. If you tell her to go from point A to point B she will take you the “shortest” or the “fastest” route. If one route is 1 second faster or .1 of a mile shorter, that is the way she is going. She does not give one damn if you are on a red scooter looking for back roads. That is why I put time into planning the route in detail on the computer and then loading it into Gladys. Well, I did not do that last night. I will blame it on having to go watch Sara jump around, but in fact, I just did not do it. So, the ride was not fun. The “fastest”, “no highways” for Gladys was going close to Atlanta. Anywhere within 75 to 100 miles is more congestion than I want. So I was on 4 lane roads most of the morning. Not stop and go stuff, but for 5 more seconds or 1 more mile I could have been on a nice rural road.
My destination was a unidentified town (more later on that) and Manchester, with plans to overnight in Manchester. When I got south of Atlanta, Gladys put us back on rural uncongested roads. Actually, she had no choice as that is all that there is.
First stop was in town X the county seat of one of Georgia’s poorest counties and actually the only town in the county. Everybody does two or more jobs in the court house. The Deed Clerk is also the Clerk of Superior Court and extremely helpful. From there I went to the Tax Appraiser’s office. Another office of extremely helpful people. All my business was done in less than 45 minutes.
So why hide the name of the town? This blog goes far and wide and what I saw there was very interesting and I don’t want even a minor chance of getting them in trouble. Posted on the counter of the Clerk of Superior Court's desk was a picture of a police officer in Florida and the following, "for cop killers...no rights...no miranda....no prison.....just fill them full of lead".
In the Tax Assessor’s office, there were Christian icons everywhere with the “In God We Trust” tag info posted prominently everywhere.
This is their culture. Despite what the government in the big city says, this poor rural town operates just like it did 50 or 100 years ago. I am just not sure I want to go up against a judge that says you should have no rights before you declare you are a Christian in his court room.
I finished all the business in X town and Manchester and decided to press on, so we headed south. Twenty six miles before Albany I pulled the rain gear out for the first time since starting this trip in Savannah 80 days ago. I only encountered moderate rain but there was heavy rain all around and I called it day in Albany.
Lunch at Tant's in Manchester. The gentleman in the yellow shirt and hat is an old, rich codger. He was born and raised in this town. In his youth he made milk shakes for and rode around with President Roosevelt, who would come over from the next town of Warm Springs. A lot of his wealth comes from that duck on TV that gets no respect.
JULY 12, 2012
Today was another great day.
I plugged “my” route into Gladys and we headed out to Cedar Key. I have done the 4 lane US 19 enough so we took an easterly tac to Moultrie. The road to Moultrie was fairly busy with I assume commuters headed to Albany to work. We went through downtown Moultrie and it like most, was closed. We searched for a local breakfast place but the only place was a buffet on the bypass with one truck in the parking lot.
The ride got better from here. Instead of the mile after mile of pine tree farms, this was cotton, beans, and cows with no traffic.
I was hungry in Quitman Georgia and went in search of a breakfast place. The only one was the Royal Café. I had a fine breakfast and got to talk to the owner Danna Williams. I told her that I have noticed that towns with several fast-food breakfast places seem to be without a breakfast restaurant. She said that the same had happened here. The owner of the Royal Café had shut down due to health issues. Danna had worked for the resturant but had a full time job at the Pharmacy next door, but everyone kept after her to reopen the resturant, so she did. She did all the work herself with friends including building the table. Her main customers are seniors. She is hoping to expand that market, but it is hard to attract the “drive through people” as she described the younger generation.
So, as America keeps trying to go faster and faster, we keeping leaving our past in our wake. Just as the bypass was put in to get there faster, thus helping kill downtowns, fast food drive thru’s may be killing our local breakfast restaurants. It makes you wonder if the on line generation will close all our retail outlets.
On we go down US 221, still with no traffic. We join US 19 in Perry and pass the Hampton Inn, the place of my usual overnights on the road as they have a free happy hour with tequila.
In the big city of Cheifland we turn right on 4 th Ave and head for the coast and Cedar Key.
Cedar Key and I go way back. I came here often in the early 70’s when I was trying to get educated on the other side of the state. I had met a a wonderful person named Michele in Europe when I was in the Army. She had come down from Chicago to Alachua which, at that time, was a small poor town, to work with VISTA the stateside equivlant of the Peace Corp. We came to Cedar Key with friends when it to was still just a small fishing village. Michele was one of those who inspired me to give back all my life just as she did all her life. Unfortunately, her life ended at 27 when she died from cancer.
My job in Cedar Key is to find a place for the dynamic duo, Vicki and Deb (the” future divorce attorney”) to spend their annual New Year's celebration. Since I have always worked on New Year's they have been making New Year's their own banner day. They have seen the ball drop in New York, the transvestite lowered in the shoe in Key West, the night lights of Vegas and many places in between to toast the New Year in. I was invited to join them after I retired in Appalachiacola Florida for New Year's. Lets just say, once was enough. ( Vicki here...he's a wimp...)
So, I checked into the Island Place condos and went out to explore. Cedar Key is not as I remember of course. Main street is pretty much the same but the rest has boomed and then busted with the real estate bust. I will pass judgement tomorrow. For today I am off to explore. First stop, the Island Inn where I used to stay. It still has that old Florida charm. Unfortunately they are way over priced for what they give. For their prices you can get a two bedroom condo on the water for less.
Now I need a beer and a place to write. I avoid the short tourist strip on the water and walk main street. I am told Tony's does not serve beer, so I go to the grocery and pick up a few things and head back to the condo. I pass Tony’s and stick my head in. “Do you serve beer?” is answered with “hell yea baby”. I think this my place. Tina is sitting next to the window and tells me I have to have the shrimp platter. She grew up here and is now 40, so she is of the wise age and I order it. She was not wrong. I am accepted in the restaurant like a local and as tourists come and go, Tina, Angela and Nutty Neddy the waitresses, and Tina and I carry on conversations across the room.
Chef Vince and Angela