Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Dissension in the Ranks

From Okefenokee to Crooked River

It rained all night long and more rain was forecast for today so I wanted to get up and on our way to Crooked River State Park in Georgia so we could try to arrive there before it started.  It was only a 105 mile trip so it looked to me from the hour to hour predictions like we could make it.  IF we left right away.

For whatever reason David had other ideas.  First he wanted to go on the last hike we hadn’t taken in Stephen Foster.  No thanks, not under dripping pines and under the threat of more rain.

So we pulled out of the park after visiting the dump site at 10:30.  All well and good.  But then he wanted to just drive through the town of Fargo.  What’s important to see in a teeny tiny town?  There isn’t even a stop light and we’d driven through many of those before.

Well he’d read, heard, thought there was a new National Park Gateway to the Okefenokee that was to be constructed in 2008.  No actually the Okefenokee isn’t a National Park at all it’s a National Wildlife Refuge and the federal entrance of the Fish and Wildlife Service which manages the refuge is in Folkston on the East side of the refuge.   But he turns right instead of left anyway.   Rain looming.

We drive through Fargo and made sure we didn’t blink so we wouldn’t miss its one business, a new Okefenokee CafĂ©.   Drove right by the Suwannee River Visitor’s Center which is a new state building on the river.   10 seconds later we are out of town on a straight road to nowhere with no turn around possibilities and I’m beginning to get more than a bit irritated.  Skies darkening.

Somehow the graces put a big private home with a huge blacktopped circular driveway on a road ominously named Prison Camp on our side of the road so the cavalier driver would have a way out of this mess and he took it.

Back going down the road toward the coast.  But now we do have to stop at the Suwannee River Visitor’s Center and get a picture of the Suwannee near its source since we have pictures of it all the way down through Florida and near its mouth in the Suwannee Sound near Cedar Point Florida.  Ok, one picture.  Aside…we’d already been in Billy’s Lake which IS the source of Suwannee and those of you who have just read the last two days have seen nearly a 100 pictures of that.

But no we have to go in first and take a “quick” look around.  It is a very nice visitor’s center and really should be the first place you go BEFORE going into Stephen Foster since it has a lot of well done information in a small space and a nice introductory movie to get you all psyched up for the swamp if you aren’t already.  Did I mention we had to see that too?  

Finally we can leave, go outside and get the picture.  Not one but two or three or 4 and look at this tree and look at that old bridge.   Skies darkening.    Here are some of those pictures and the only pictures taken on this Dissension day.  You’ll be glad of that later.

This is the back of this LEED Gold Certified Green building as it faces the river.  Really is a beautiful building and there is a lot of interesting information inside about the way it was constructed.  Kudos to the State of Georgia for thinking long term in spending the money to do this right in the first place.

Here is the river from the second story deck of the center.   Pretty small compared to what we'd seen earlier when we'd taken pictures of the Suwannee.   Some of that is due no doubt to the low water levels in this drought, but still it's cool to see it at the source or at least "near".   Although, I think not as important as dodging the rain.

From the drought exposed beach.

It’s 12:45 and FINALLY we are back in the rig, pull out on the highway and within 5 minutes the rain starts and it is pelting down the entire 105 miles to St. Mary’s Georgia.  Had we left and gone directly we would have been there or very near by this time having driven on dry roads.

But now we are in the driving in the rain down 2 lane state and country roads since there is no way from the west side of the swamp to the east side and the ocean except to go AROUND it.  On tiny roads used today by 18 wheelers who were hugging the yellow center line and going 60mph rain be damned.   They were also passing us since we were NOT going 60mpg.

I had printed out directions from Stephen Foster to Crooked River using our Streets and Trips Program and using google maps.   Streets and Trips showed that we could avoid going all the way up the other side of the swamp by cutting over to I95 by going straight on Rt 94 to Route 200.   However Google Maps and the Atlas both showed that route 94 dead ended and there was no Route 200.  (Aside: our Streets and Trips is 4 years old and I only used it because we had no internet signal in the swamp and I couldn’t get google maps until we were on the road.  )

So, in the rain, the driver decides not to turn left on route 121/23 and go up the east side of the swamp but to continue on 94 to 200.  Of course in less than 2 miles the road dead ends and again we have to make a U turn in a 34’ rig towing a Honda accord on a tow dolly.   The passenger is beyond frustrated.   But when the driver says “why don’t we just turn left, this is CR 121, isn’t that the road we want?”, the passenger goes ballistic and says “the road we want is BEHIND us and I’m not taking ANY MORE chances on this county road 121 being the same as the State Road 121 or their running into each other.”  As you all know, Atlas’s don’t give THAT much detail.

So turn around he did and we drive past the East Side Entrance.  I was sure wishing we could just stop there but after investigating that possibility previously it seemed there were really no viable camping possibilities for the East side.   So on we go into Folkston.  Now all the maps show Route 94 intersecting with Route 40 but when we get to the intersections there are 5 different route numbers to choose from but none of them is 40.  And it’s still pouring down rain.

SO we have to stop and the driver gets out in the rain with an umbrella reluctantly given to him by the passenger and finds out that we have to go into the old section of town and go around the courthouse to get to route 40.   With a 34’ rig and a Honda accord on a tow dolly.  And it’s still raining.    Are you laughing yet?   I wasn’t.

After we got onto Route 40 FINALLY, it was a fairly straight shot into St. Mary’s where we missed the turn onto Route 40 SPUR…..what kind of a name is that?   This is the road that goes to the campground.   So we pulled into a shopping center, I went into Dollar Tree and stocked up on tootsie rolls to sooth the savage beast and we turned around AGAIN and went down the right road arriving at the campground at 4:50pm.  A 2.5 hour trip turned into 6+ hour trip.

There are several morals to this fable:


Second Moral:  Don’t argue with the passenger when she says she wants to GO NOW!

Third Moral:  Do the driving yourself. Don’t turn where you don’t want to.  And don’t stop where you don’t want to.

Now I know you are asking, why didn’t we just stay another night which is what I would have preferred but temps are dropping in Virginia and we have a furnace problem in the old and well beloved farmhouse which we have to attend to.  So we are heading back there to take care of it and I'll be back on the road as quickly as possible.

Aren’t you glad there were no pictures of this “adventure”??
See you tomorrow, which WILL be a MUCH better day!!  J

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