Sunday, June 29, 2008

A German town

We left Dahlonega today and drove to Helen, GA. Helen is a small town where everything is built to resemble a German town.

After driving down beautiful country roads and up and down really big "hills", we entered "Germany". It was sooo cute. Bernie started taking pictures right away. We found a great parking space for Bella and went to explore the town. Helen is lovely. The buildings are all done in the old fashioned Tudor style. There was a candy shop called Hansel and Gretel, how adorable. The German influence can be seen everywhere.

We walked around, went window shopping, going in and out of very unique shops. Of course many had German items, such as beer stouts, typical hats, and authentic lederhosen … which Bernie thought she would look smashing in (see pic). Glancing at restaurant menus, it seemed there was only one that offered German food, which was kind of disappointing. We got over that quickly enough though when we saw the funnel cakes, which, of course, we couldn't resist. They were very yummy. Mar loves funnel cakes :-)

There is also a river that runs through the town in which you can go tubing. You start at one end and go all the way down, about a forty-five minute float. Then they pick you up at the end and drive you back. Very much like a “lazy river”. The river was so pretty but it was raining so we didn't get to go.

Because of the rain we headed back to Bella and decided to hit the road. We found the Walmart in Cornelia, GA and spent the night there, not far from Helen.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Crimson Moon

We just got home from an awesome evening! Where to start .... hmmm, let’s see, guess we should start with the fact that we woke up in Dahlonega, GA. We decided to go into town and take a look around. We were greeted by a sign in the middle of the street that said, “Quiet - Music Zone”. Turns out every Saturday the town has music on the lawn in front of City Hall.

We went window shopping. The small shops were adorable: antique stores, music stores, bookstores, cafes, and wine shops, lined the flowered streets. It was almost like a scene in a movie (see pics).

At the visitor kiosk, we noticed a bulletin board with information about local events. One caught our attention with its rainbow letters. It was a poster announcing a concert by female musicians at a place called The Crimson Moon, and it was tonight!

We found the place and as we entered through great wooden doors we saw an eclectic dining room with a small stage, couches, and dinning tables. The decor was warm, colorful, and welcoming. There was a great combination of styles, from a twist of country, with old fashioned lantern lighting on the ceiling, painted cowboy boots, lovely quilts, and a mural of a tree full of raccoons on one wall … to classic styling, with sheer curtains and antique props reminiscent of the good ol’ days.

We immediately liked the place and decided to hang out for a while, grab a bite to eat, and wait for the show. We took a seat in the bar. We were greeted by a smiling face and great conversation. Come to find out this was the owner, Dana. She made us feel welcome, as if were old friends. Then our server, Alison, came to greet us and she took great care of us all night, very friendly service.

The menu is a mix of organic, healthy and good ol’ food. We decided to try the house iced tea: organic mango ceylon. Wow!!! It was delicious and so refreshing, we drank more than our fill for the night.

As we were getting acquainted with the place, two ladies came in and asked if we were the "other" musicians. We had to say no of course, and offered them a seat at our table. We had some more great conversation and it was really nice getting to meet them. We could not wait to hear them play. However, we hoped we could hear the show from the bar because we didn’t have the $20 per person to see them on stage, in the front room.

We decided to order and had the hummus plate. This could have been simple and common. Nothing in this place is common! We think it was the best we ever had. It was delicious. As the evening wore on, we decided it was time to leave. We couldn't hear the music like we had hoped. On our way to the door, Dana stopped us to invite us to stay, she asked us to be her guests! We were so touched, it was so generous of her since she has just met us. So we stayed and enjoyed the rest of the show. We can't remember the names of the groups but check out the Crimson Moon site and see who played today. They were awesome. Really, really great voices. And great songs.

If you are ever in Dahlonega, make sure to visit this place and tell Dana we said hi. Check it out at

Friday, June 27, 2008

When life gives you lemons

Since the Walmart website hasn’t been updated with our order information and no one seems to be able to help us on the phone, we headed back to the Walmart in Stone Mountain, where Bernie’s bike is to be delivered (and we were supposed to pick up a week ago, geez!).

Turns out the bike won’t be here till Monday – they sure seem to have a funny way of counting “business” days on the Walmart calendar – so now we had to decide what to do next. We thought we’d be on our way to South Carolina by now. When life gives you lemons ….

As we went over our options, we remembered that several people have recommended we visit a cute German town called Helen and since it’s not that far from Atlanta, we decided to go there for the weekend.

But first, we had to take care of Bella’s needs. We got gas ($3.88/gallon), we got her oil changed, tire pressure checked, added oil to the generator, filled up the fresh water tank, and got propane too. After all that, we went to dinner at Applebee’s since we had a gift card (of course) and then took a shower at L.A.Fitness … AND then we were all ready for the road.

Since it was getting pretty late, we decided to drive to Dahlonega and find the Walmart there to spend the night, on our way to Helen. As we got closer to Dahlonega, the drive sure got interesting, going up and down hills in the rain … again, being from flat Florida having all these hills everywhere takes a little getting used to.

And since this Walmart had a Red Box, we rented "Michael Clayton". Pretty good movie. Red Box is a really great way to catch up with all the movies we've missed.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Screen On The Green

Today was a great day! We decided to go to downtown Atlanta to check out Centennial Park (where Georgia hosted the 1996 summer Olympics). We knew there was a movie showing outdoors at sunset (around 9:15 pm). It's called Screen On The Green, and tonight they were showing “Footloose”. We tried to get there early to have enough time to find a parking spot for Bella (very important) and to check out the town.

We took a walk around the park and then went off exploring. It was a hot and sticky southern day. We had brought a mojito in a water bottle, to help us through it. As we were walking Bernie spotted a tall, round shaped building and wanted to know if there would be a restaurant at the top.

We made our way to the round building and found out it is a Westin Hotel and they do have a revolving restaurant on the 72nd floor. Well, of course we just had to check it out but … they have a very strict dress code and to say the least, we didn’t meet it …. They allow no shorts, tank tops, or flip flops. We were out on every count …

But Mar wasn’t worried, she knew that if anyone could get us in, it would be Bernie, for sure. So we found out we could go up and have a light dinner at the bar, which was on a different floor, so we were escorted up. When we get up there, Bernie talked to anyone she could, she even had the hostess looking for pants or jackets they could lend us but they had none … and guess what? Bernie did it. She got us in the restaurant by talking to the manager, who said she would make an exception for us because (and I quote:) we were nice :-)

We sat in Mike’s section. Mike was one of the people Bernie had met while we were trying to get a table. If you are ever in Atlanta and decide to go to this restaurant, ask for Mike to be your server. He was awesome. The food was absolutely incredible and we got to see all of Atlanta, and beyond, as the restaurant went around. Pretty amazing.

We were feeling adventurous so decided to try something we wouldn’t normally try. Everywhere we have been to in Georgia, we kept seeing the dish “shrimp and grits” and decided to finally give it a try. We had shrimp and grits for our appetizer, and have to say we were pleasantly surprised, it was very good.

After an amazing dinner experience we left with full bellies and happy hearts, and headed back to the park to watch the movie on the lawn. Bernie had never seen this movie but Mar saw it when it first came out (yes, a looooooong time ago).

Centennial Park was packed. There had to be over a thousand people there to watch the movie, everyone sitting on blankets with their picnics. Right before the movie started, the DJ had everyone get up to do the electric slide. That was fun, hundreds of people all doing the electric slide together. Then it was time for the movie to start. You have to know that watching a movie outdoors with that many people is truly a unique experience. You could hear the whole crowd boo, cheer, or clap, which made the movie so much more fun. It was a great way to experience a movie. At the end of the movie, when Kevin Bacon and all the other kids are at the school dance and they’re playing the final song, everyone in the park got up again and started to dance to Footloose. Very cool!

Then back in Bella we remembered that Bernie has a membership at L.A.Fitness which means we can shower there. Yeah!!! So that’s was our next destination.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Lazy Wednesday

We decided not to do anything today. We needed some down time and today was it.

Now, we both have to admit we are fascinated by this concept of renting movies from a “red box” and for only one dollar! (Well, what can you say, we are from Florida and had never seen a “red box” that just hands you movies :-)

But … Bernie is addicted to this “red box”. She absolutely cannot go by a Red Box and not rent a movie!!

So that’s what we did today. Rented two movies and stayed in. First we saw “Definitely, Maybe” and can’t say neither of us liked it. Then we watched “27 Dresses” and liked it a little bit better, it was an entertaining movie … and it was a great way to 'recharge' our batteries today.

When we got hungry, we decided to go to TGIF because we had a gift card. We had the tostada nachos for dinner and they were very, very good. Two thumbs up!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Packing Tuesday

Today we woke up and finished getting packed to leave. When we came downstairs NN had baked us an applesauce cake!!! What a wonderful surprise (and it was very yummy too!). We were with NN for only a few days and it seemed as if we had always known her. It seemed like we had tons of our stuff to put back in Bella. It was crazy.

We finally were ready to hit the road in the late afternoon. After running a couple of errands, we decided we were hungry and ready for dinner. We found a Cuban restaurant called Little Cuba and had Mar’s favorite Cuban dish for dinner: ropa vieja. Along with rice and beans and yucca … yum!!

Our appetizer was a huge mound of “mariquitas” (sort of like potato chips but made from plantains) and we had plenty of leftovers for tomorrow :-)

After dinner, we headed to downtown Atlanta and found a bookstore and coffee shop in midtown called Out Write. Very cute place in a very hip area of town, and the staff was really friendly. The bookstore is at the corner of Piedmont and 10th.

Since we had plenty of time, Bernie decided to try to earn some gas money by offering foot massages to passersbys, but there were no takers this time … maybe we’ll have better luck next time …

We then searched for a place to park for the night. We decided to find a Walmart and figured out that we must travel away from downtown to find one that is open 24 hours. We went towards Morrow and set up camp when we got there, we were very tired and ready for some rest and relaxation.

We will miss NN. As of today, Bernie's bike is still not in. There seems to be no phone number to call for the Walmart online ordering center and every time we call the store, they don’t seem to be able to help. Hopefully it will be in tomorrow!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Motivated Monday

We got up today ready to take on anything! Mar still had lots of work to do, so she spent the day doing bills and getting things done on the computer. Then she did all the laundry to get ready for us leaving tomorrow. Bernie went to Home Depot to figure out how to mount Mar's trike on the back of Bella. And stopped at Publix to pick up some things for dinner. When she got back she fired up the grill and made delicious hamburgers and grilled potatoes. Then she got to work on Bella.

NN was lots of help. She had suggestions and an extra set of hands is always good to have. Thanks NN!! It took some doing but Mar's trike, (we call her Tinkerbell), is now up and ready to go … don't ask how we are going to get her down …

Then we packed Bella to get her ready for our departure tomorrow.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sweet Sunday

Today was Sunday and we got to sleep in. That was really nice. We are still at NN's waiting for Bernie's bicycle, which should be here soon, we are keeping our fingers crossed.

After working online and getting some things ready for dinner, Bernie went to mass at a local church. When she got back she started up the grill and made pork tenderloin with sliced potatoes and fresh squash on the grill. Everything was delicious. We cleaned up and Bernie and NN talked and watched TV until they called Mar to come downstairs to have coffee and crumb cake with them.

Today we looked at the employment section of the Sunday paper. Since we're here, we might as well try to get some work to replenish our trip funds and be able to continue our trip. Bernie is trying everything she can to get work, she is going stir crazy, she needs to work. But so far no luck with a job. Bernie will do pretty much anything: wash windows, lay tile, clean, carpentry, drywall, detail cars, or fix anything that needs fixing. But so far no luck with a job.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Another work day

Today we we decided to take a day and get some things done. Mar spent the day uploading and downloading software on her new laptop. (If you have ever done this, you know how long it can take and how boring it can be.) Bernie spent the day putting Mar's new bike together. It came with no instructions, just a pile of screws and bolts and bike parts. It was an interesting and frustrating event for Bernie but ... she persevered and got it done. And to make it even more interesting, the bike is a tricycle. And it's pink. A pink tricycle for Mar :-)

NN was kind enough to go to a Mexican restaurant and pick up some dinner for us. Neither of us wanted to stop what we were doing to think about food. NN is such a wonderful hostess!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Lunch with the ladies

Today we went to lunch with NN, Gail, Patricia, and Erma. They are the local WAC's (women A frame campers). They were a hoot. We had a laugh a minute. Each lady welcomed us with smiles and so many stories to tell. We spent over two hours at lunch with these special ladies and when we left, we felt almost like family. Thanks, ladies!

We had decided to finally order the bikes we both wanted since we knew we would stay put in one place for a couple of days. Today we found out Bernie's bike had been delayed but got the call that Mar's bike was here. So we headed back towards Stone Mountain to meet with Olin and Roxanne. They are members of another one of our yahoo groups and because they live only seven miles from the park, had agreed to receive the bike for us at their home.

We immediately liked Olin and Roxanne, it was like we've always known them. Our first meeting was great and we had a wonderful time with them. We sure hope they know how thankful we were that they were willing to help people they had never met. We got the boxes from this friendly couple and went back to NN's for the night.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

You got mail

Today was the first time we had our mail forwarded to us, so we went to the local post office. Mar got birthday presents in the mail and she was very excited to recieve the packages.

Our next stop was NN's house in Atlanta. NN is a member of one of our yahoo groups and she had invited us to come spend the weekend. When we arrived NN was kind enough to come out of and welcome us. We could tell right away that this was a wonderful lady. She then showed us her beautiful house.

By then, it was getting late so we all decided to go out for Italian at a local restaurant NN likes. NN and Bernie got the spaghetti with meat sauce. Mar got the fettucini with chicken, mushrooms, and blush sauce. We got to take leftovers home.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Today is Mar's birthday

Today is Mar's 47th birthday. Bernie baked her brownies with cream cheese, yummy. We went to dinner at The Commons, where we had a very good mojito. Dinner started with a salad and then beef tenderloin. The meal was wonderful and the view was amazing. But the service could have been better.

After dinner we took the water taxi to the park to watch the laser show. We found the perfect place on the lawn and sat to watch the show. If you are ever in the Atlanta area, make sure you come to Stone Mountain one night to watch the laser show. It is free (no park admission required) just bring your chairs and a picnic.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Stone Mountain

Today we headed to Stone Mountain, where Mar had decided she wanted to spend her birthday. We got there earlier than planned. The campground was so beautiful. Our campsite was perfect. We were parked on the lake where you could see the mountain through the trees. We decided to put on our walking shoes and go to the park. We took the water taxi to get to the park. While waiting for the water taxi, we fed the ducks and skipped rocks on the water.

When we got to the park, we went directly to the sky ride. Which was a little scary, ok more than a little scary. But we made it to the top of the mountain alive. Walking on the mountain was pretty amazing and the view was breathtaking. Then we took the sky ride back down and went on the train ride. This was very fun for Bernie because her dad worked on the railroad in Indiana. The train took us around the mountain telling us the story of the railroad and Stone Mountain.

When it was time to head back to the campground we went to catch the water taxi. As we approached we saw the water taxi had just left . So we had about 20-30 minutes to wait. There were some fellas there trying to fish. They offered to teach Bernie how to fish and let her take a fishing pole and try to catch something. No luck today. But she had fun.

Monday, June 16, 2008

On the road again

Today we left the campground. We went to Best Buy to buy Microsoft Windows XP for Mar's MacBook. Believe you me, Mar would never want to spend one penny on anything Windows, but it turns out the mapping software we got, requires Windows. Which then required VMware Fusion to be able to run Windows on the Mac.

Mar had a bad experience at Best Buy. She was being helped by a black employee when a black customer walked up. He stopped helping Mar and started helping this lady. And if that wasn't enough, when Mar was standing in line waiting to check out, the employee took this lady directly to a register in front of Mar and checked her out first! We could hardly believe this was happening. It made her feel like racism comes in all fashions. How could he be so rude. And so obvious! We were dumb struck. It felt horrible and we would hope no one has to feel this way.

Our next adventure was trying to locate a laundromat which is not as easy as it sounds, but we needed to do our laundry. We finally found one and had dinner in Bella while we did our laundry. The owner was from Ecuador and his laundromat was very clean and well taken care of. He was very friendly and came outside to see Bella, since he had never been inside an rv. Then we went to the local Walmart, across the street, to spend the night.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Taking care of business

Today Bernie worked on Bella and took care of some things around the "house". It seems like there is always something to do, there is always something that needs to be taken care of. She worked until it got dark. Meanwhile Mar worked on her computer, trying to catch up on work, and mail, and bills, and ...

It was a great, productive day and we were ready for a nice relaxing evening once night came. Of course we showered in Bella, no bath houses for us in this place ...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Another town

Today we headed to Cochran GA where we had located a campground to spend a couple of days. As we drove in we were happy to see lots of shade and lots of trees. The "office" was a little wood house and the owners were very friendly and accommodating. The park was almost empty so they said we could drive around and pick any site we wanted. We used our Passport America discount and only paid $10 per night.

So we drove up and down unpaved roads, and in and out of small spaces. Once we found our space we parked and went to explore the campground. Of course we went to check out the restrooms first. Two out of the three bath houses we could not use. The third was nicer and newer but we couldn't use it either, mainly because of the bugs! Yes, the bugs! Too many bugs! Bugs everywhere!

Back at Bella, Bernie put her new grill together and made dinner: mac and cheese and kielbasa. And we had mojitos (again :-) yummy!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Into The Wild

Waking up in the Lowes' parking lot was like a dream come true for Bernie. She went shopping for materials and spent hours looking around, just like a kid in a toy store.

When she was done shopping, it was time to get rolling and along the way we saw a sign for Statesboro and decided to check it out. We drove around Statesboro and then we parked and spent the night at the Walmart. At Walmart, we rented our very first movie from Red Box.

We watched Into The Wild. Mar had read the book months ago and liked it. The movie was interesting and thought provoking. It sure made us grateful to have water and electric in our Bella.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tybee Island

Today we went on a trolley ride around Savannah. During the tour we learned a lot about the history of the town. The tour was $10 per person and lasted 90 minutes. At one point the driver stopped to let us go in to see their cathedral, which was amazing. The cathedral can hold 1000 people and its ceilings are 70 ft high. If you are ever in Savannah, you should see this beautiful place.

After the tour we headed to Tybee Island, which is not far from Savannah. We drove by the campground there just to check it out. We asked the locals for restaurant recommendations and we ended up having dinner at AJ's, which is located at the end of 14th Street. We were then ready to hit the road again and started driving until it was time to stop. When it was time to stop we were in Pooler GA. When we got there the stores were closed and since Bernie needed to get some materials from Lowe's, we found it and spent the night in the Lowe's parking lot, so Bernie could go shopping the next day.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Savannah here we come

Today we drove to Savannah and got there in the late afternoon. We stopped at the welcome center. Unfortunately it was closed but they had has a map up with directions to the next welcome center. We set out to find this next welcome center. If you have ever been to Savannah, which we had not, then you know how tiny and bumpy some of the streets can be.

We ended up on a street called River Street. Which seemed to be the right place to be but not exactly the best to place drive an rv. After finding a street that went the right way we tried getting out. A bit of a challenge as this street was a hill. And this "hill" was straight up and you had to make a right turn out of it. Mar, who was driving, handled it like a pro and we made it out alive with Bella in one piece.

Once on Bay Street, we were able to find parking and went off to explore River Street on foot. As we were walking we could hear a saxophone playing. We decided to sit and listen. A man was playing the blues, by the water in front of a memorial statue. We then noticed a man making roses out of palm fronds. After watching for a while Bernie picked up some fronds from the ground and started trying to make a rose on her own. We began walking while Bernie was still trying. We stumbled upon another vendor who was teaching a boy to make the roses. We stopped and watched and the vendor asked Bernie if she wanted to learn. He was able to successfully teach Bernie how to make a rose. She was elated.

We then walked back to Bella and drove around to find a place to stay in the area. We ended up at the parking lot of Comfort Inn at the end of Bay Street. Of course, as newbies we are bound to make some mistakes. And our first one happened that night. We ran out of water as Bernie was taking her shower. She had to use cups of bottled water to finish rinsing off. The next morning the hotel staff were very nice and kindly enough lent us the water hose to fill our fresh water tank.

While Bernie was filling up the water tank, Mar went inside to do the dishes. And we made our second mistake as newbies that day. The grey tank was full. It overflowed, and the dishwater filled up the shower with yucky water. Luckily, the water didn't go anywhere else and hopefully, it will not happen again, we learned our lesson.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Meeting new friends

The next day, Pam told us that another group member was coming down from New Jersey to stay for a few days in her rv, which she keeps in a park not far Pam. So we headed to the park to meet Andy and her neighbors. This was quite a memorable experience. They were all very welcoming, with plenty of hugs and laughter to go around. And some more wine...

Afterwards we headed to the "local" restaurant, Ida Mae's: An old house given new life as a restaurant (see pic). We had breakfast for dinner: french toast and a cheese omelet. And of course biscuits too because we heard they were the best. And yes, they were light and yummy.

We then tried to find a car wash where Bella would fit. That was quite a challenge. Though Bella could fit, Bernie could only wash one side at a time. Then had to turn Bella around and wash the other side. Not an easy task that took plenty of quarters...

Then back to Pam's and since we planned to leave the next day, it was our last night at Pam's, who was sad to see us go.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Learning to fish

We left the campground in Jekyll Island and continued north along the east coast. With no specific destination in mind, we stopped at the Cracker Barrel just outside Savannah GA, and set up camp. We had Nathan's hot dogs for dinner. While there, we got a phone call from Pam, who had emailed us earlier in the day to invite us to her house.

Pam lives not far from Savannah and she is the moderator for one of the yahoo groups for rv'ers that we belong to. So we headed out to Pam's at about 11 pm to meet her. She turned on her porch light and came out to meet us with a huge smile and open arms. We all sat on her porch getting to know each other and Pam asked if we wanted to go fishing on her backyard pier. Pam brought out a bottle of chilled white wine and Mar decided to sit with them long enough to enjoy one glass. Then Mar headed back to Bella, while Bernie and Pam stayed out fishing past midnight.

This was Bernie's first fishing experience ever. Thinking she had caught something, Bernie began to real it in. Getting it up and out of the water there was no way to figure out what it was in the dark of night. Bernie got the flashlight and it showed a beautiful catch of ... seaweed. Way to go Bernie! Around 1:30 am we decided to call it a night. And no, we never actually caught any fish. The fish were safe that night.

Friday, June 6, 2008

What a meal!

It was a beautiful warm early summer day in Jekyll Island GA and Bernie decided to go crabbing. This was her first time since she was a kid. After buying her net and bait, she set out to the pier where all the locals go crabbing. The pier was a mile away, walking down a lonely tree covered road. Every once in a while you could see the water, which gave Bernie the drive to push on. Once at the pier she spent hours talking to other crabbers and casting her net into the water below.

In the late afternoon Bernie called Mar to come pick her up and Mar drove Bella to the pier. We went about five miles down the road and picked up some rum for Mar's favorite drink: the mojito. We got back to the campsite and Bernie made a campfire to cook the crabs and heat the left over prime rib and fried green tomatoes from last night. We gotta say, tonight's dinner was the highlight of our stay in Jekyll Island.

A note about the island: The beach is not the prettiest. Though the island is nice and there are things to do, such as a turtle sanctuary and an old house to explore, if you go expecting a dream beach, this is not it. But you can find plenty of fun in the island if you enjoy exploring, bike riding, and fishing. A note about the campground: It is not paved, which created lots of dust as people drove by. Bella was covered when we left. The staff doesn't go out of their way to be friendly. And on a scale of one to five, we would rate the bathrooms a 2.5.