Monthly Archives: November 2012

DAY 73 – 11/26/2012 From Atlanta to the Sea

Today, we woke up in a completely different world on Jekyll Island, GA.


Driftwood Beach

Driftwood Beach

David got a serious case of Helmet Hair on our island bike ride

David got a serious case of Helmet Hair on our island bike ride


Yesterday,we visited Stone Mountain in north central Georgia, near Atlanta.

Stone Mountain, with it's bas relief of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson

Stone Mountain, with it’s bas relief of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson

Of course we had to climb to the top.

Of course we had to climb to the top.


The day-long drive from Stone Mountain to Georgia’s Atlantic coast took us through some pretty depressed areas. As the land flattened and moss appeared hanging from the limbs of trees, we travelled through cotton fields and lots of boarded-up and abandoned buildings. Failed businesses and shuttered factories passed by. Pawn shops and liquor stores ruled the day. Most of the homes still inhabited had wheels. The Sons of Confederate Veterans and multitudinous Baptist churches provided some comfort and maybe a reason to get up in the morning.

Grinding poverty is not a pretty sight. We felt extremely lucky, more so than ever, to be taking a trip like ours. You just never know how people live until you catch a glimpse of it. Night fell on a dismal landscape. My heart goes out to the people of central Georgia…

Approaching the ocean in the dark, you can smell it and feel it even when you can’t see it. The aroma of sea salt and marine life is unmistakable. An arching causeway took us over tidal marshes and the Intracoastal Waterway to Jekyll Island.

It’s so very different finding a place to camp in the dark as opposed to finding a roost in the daylight. So, we stopped in a convenience store and met Tyler, who pointed out the way to the campground.



He was a very poised and articulate young man. He listened to the story of our travels and then told us of his own experiences upon joining a carnival which roamed around the northern US and up into Western Canada. He was a kindred spirit; another traveller discovering that the journey itself is as important as the destination.

Coincidentally, Tyler’s Mom is the campground host on Jekyll Island. Since we knew her son now, we were treated like family and given a lovely, large campsite. Jean was her name; I’m sure she’s kind to everyone in this same way.

David’s early morning walk to the lee side of the island, where the Brunswick River becomes St Simon’s Sound, yielded some awesome photos, like the heron photo at the top of the post, and these:



A dolphin made an appearance in the tidal marsh

A dolphin made an appearance in the tidal marsh


– Jane

DAY 72 – 11/25/2012 Museum Of Aviation, Robins AFB

Olivia gave David a cool atlas of US state maps. We use it daily. It’s the National Geographic Road Map: Adventure Edition.

Each state map includes state and national parks of course, but also features points of interest. On this trip, we have seen many dots for museums of planes, trains and automobiles on this map but so far, have passed them by.

We decided to stop in and see the Museum of Aviation on Robins Air Force Base outside Macon, GA.

My beloved stepson was a pilot in the Air Force and only recently left the service to pursue a career in academia. He has medals for his heroics during the Iraq & Afghanistan conflicts. We are very proud of him and his excellent service to the country (but we hope his own son, who’s only 4, stays out of the military!). Point being, we had a more than casual interest in military aircraft.

The grounds of the museum are huge. Many aircraft are on display and they are quite impressive!

We took lots of photos, so I made a slideshow (it has music so turn on sound):

– Jane

DAY 71 11/24/2012 In the Tracks of the Gods (On the grounds of The Georgia International Horsepark)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARemembering the recommendation from Jimmie at Tsali, we next placed ourselves at the site of the 1996 Olympics, Rings and Flame before the Games.jogready to take on the Mountain Biking Course in Conyers, GA.  The complimentary maps show “bike only”, “horse only” and “shared-use” trails, but don’t grab me by the shoulders and say “this is where the race course was”.   I kept studying but to no avail, I really couldn’t see where the action of 1996 took place, so off we rode.

We started at the bike parking lot right near the steeplechase area.  Incidentally, that’s where we camped, right on the fields of the steeplechase between a fork of two bike trails.   I still don’t know where the start finish areas were for the races, but the moment we entered the woods the riding experience couldn’t have been clearer.  There were “bike only” and “wrong way” signs to ensure you knew where

Here we tramped, bikes rode by until dark.

Here we tramped, bikes rode by until dark.

the course led!  Despite traversing through all different terrain areas, it was always clear where to go.  Riding open grasslands, looping through dense, balsam scented pine groves, old deciduous forests, beside a golf course, over solid granite domes and even through a logged area were all equally easy to follow portions of the race course.  Afterward I looked at a YouTube of the men’s and women’s races from the Olympic Cross-Country races to refresh my memory too!

Jane leads the way!

Jane leads the way!

A smooth narrow line through a field led into the swerving, swooping portion of the woods.  This side by the bike parking was slightly less hilly, switching back and forth providing the lovely adult playground that roller-coasters back and forth to create that big Mt Biker smile.  Weathered camera platforms could be seen in a few technical and key places where I guess they hoped to catch riders passing or working their way to Olympic Fame.  I could almost see Paola Pezzo or  Thomas Frischknecht storming up one of those climbs out of the gullies.  With just over 1000′ of elevation change per lap it was plenty fun.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe other side of the street started almost immediately on the Eastern version of slickrock.  Though bumpier and with more steps, ledges and drops, there are acres of solid rock areas with fading painted arrows to direct your path.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALunging up those rock climbs offered no chance for rest, then blasting down them was a joyful, jarring, traction-fed feast!  The only reservation was knowing that when the rock ended, you might have to be making a direction change onto a narrow, leaf strewn singletrack.  The overall trail surface on both sides of the road was firm, dry clay with only occasional sprinklings of sand.  Not deep sinking sand, just a dusting to keep you from relaxing too much.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe course was truly a joy to ride.  Jane and I shared the first side nearest the parking, but I was afforded the chance to ride the whole course, “both sides” alone, at my own speed.  No where near my old race-pace, I rode both loops in a little over an hour.  I’ll check the Olympian’s times to see just how slow I was.  Even in my racing days, 1987-93, I only raced expert, so I wouldn’t expect to be anywhere close to the “Gods of the Sport”.  Nice to have ridden in the very same tracks though.

– David

It’s Not All Good

We try to write in a positive, upbeat or optimistic style. Why accentuate the negative when so much good stuff is happening?

However, that may lead readers to believe that the Tramper Voyage is one big ball of constant sunshine. That nothing bad, or even sort-of bad, ever happens. Not true!

To illustrate this point, I will indulge in a completely negative post. Here is a sampling of some of the not-so-great things along the way:

1. Day One, we forgot to pack some important stuff. debbie-downerThe generator, our passports, our bike helmets and the contents therein – gloves, glasses, etc. Also, Jane packed not one pair of reading glasses. (As a bonus, the passports were expired. Fortunately, we found a Postal Service employee who helped us through the renewal-on-the-fly process).

2. We’ve lost a couple of things, mostly laundry. A pair of lavender plaid pajama pants, a 65-year-old hand towel that was my grandmother’s, one grey sock.

3. On a hike in New York, we discovered to our horror, that a half dozen ticks were crawling on us or attached to each of us.

4. On the Kingdom Trails in Vermont, we became hopelessly lost and circled back to the same place 3 times. It also began to hail during the farthest point of the ride.

5. Jane fell on the rocks hiking back down from Sterling Pond in Vermont. Got a nasty scrape on my right forearm. I have a lovely jagged purple line from wrist to elbow.

6. Blog readers already know about this one: We blew a head gasket and were stranded in Rosendale, NY for 2 weeks. Not to mention the enormous repair bill.

7. Jane locked herself out of the trailer (and the truck) while David was out on a bike ride. Usually, we are never apart. Just this one time, David took an extra lap. I managed to pry open a storage door and found a screwdriver but the screws on the trailer entrance door are all burglar proof with nuts or washers on the inside. I waited for David to return and we pulled out one of the screens. This only worked because the windows were open and also because the keys were on a table immediately below the window we pried the screen off of.

8. We’ve been using a friend’s Hiking Trail GPS. We totally missed tracking a couple rides or hikes because we forgot to enter an endpoint to the trail or we only entered one waypoint for the entire day. This is no big thing, though, because mostly we don’t track much.

9. Drove away without the trailer lights hooked up. Fortunately, a friend was following us and gave us a call to let us know that we had no brake lights.

10. David broke a key off in the latch on an outside storage bin and had to be replaced with parts from camping World in NC.

11. Several (poorly made) door latches in side the trailer broke. David promptly fixed them by drilling a screw in to secure them.

12. The 4Runner bumper pinched the right trailer turn signal wire against the hitch and blew a fuse. Again, promptly fixed.

13. David’s butt doesn’t like too much driving.   ‘Nuff said.

14. We have spent the night in a couple of truly ugly campgrounds. Mostly these are private, not in a state or national park. In North Carolina, we pulled into a camp with 6 sites. It was basically a small gravel parking lot in a level space created by scraping a hill out of the way. The only green was the small septic drain field, also used as a dog walk (poop) area.

15. The biggest problem of all: traffic and other drivers! On the New Hampshire/ Massachusetts border a pickup abruptly pulled out halfway across our lane. He was coming out of a bar parking lot and seemed to have no awareness of us as we swerved and screeched. With David at the wheel, already talking about the safety margin driving slower than the speed limit on a mountain downhill, we came out of it without a scratch but our hearts were racing when we were safely on our way again.

So, that’s about it for the negative things. All in all it’s been quite a lovely and trouble free trip.

– Jane

DAY 70, 11/23/2012 John’s Deer

We were lucky enough last night to stumble into a great spot in Oconee National Forest.  The first dirt road we walked into had a group of trailers and hunters who looked settled for Thanksgiving weekend.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOf course, the reason we walk in first is to secure the requisite privacy but also to ensure that I can turn the Tramper-Truck combo around with reasonable ease.

Right about when we had leveled the trailer and were ready to start our fire, a visitor from a nearby campsite drove up.  He was very gracious and quick to allay our fears that we had parked on private property not National Forest.  He was here to hunt and wondered in which direction we’d be hunting!

John gave us a few nice logs from the bed of his pickup for our fire.  We shared a delightful couple hours, looked at pictures of his 4 year old son Wesley, videos of his ski boat planing out at 60 mph, and a competition mud truck he had built.  Just plain fun guy-talking.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Later, in the lovely quiet of a forest dark, we heard rustling ever nearer and nearer the fire. After several hours of this and noting the rustling had been downhill to the left, but later heard way off right, I had to investigate.  First I used the super-bright flashlight, but it revealed no pair of eyes to give away location.  Before the fire died down I grabbed a stick (har har) and walked a bit closer to figure this little rustling thing out.  Well, I think it noticed I was getting closer and it scampered right across the dirt road below the gate.  I had surprised an opossum, so I let him or her continue on their nocturnal way.

In the morning as we were driving out the little dirt road, we stopped at John’s campsite.  He was dressing a dear from his successful dawn hunt.  I am no stranger to anatomy and visited for a bit before we continued.  I know you can’t sell deer meat, but sure had to work hard not to offer to buy some.  Venison sure would have been delicious!

David helped. Jane stayed in the car.

David helped. Jane stayed in the car.

– David