Helen and Home

Studly Doright and I took a couple of days and drove north through Georgia. We’d planned on going to Dillard, but at the last moment decided to stop in Helen instead.

Helen, GA

“Nestled in the hills of northeast Georgia, lies the German Alpine city of Helen. … The city leaders decided to resurrect their community as a Bavarian alpine town, which became mandated through a change in zoning. Beginning in 1969, Helen adopted a classic south-German style, that today is present on most buildings.”—wanderingtrader.com

Helen is a charming tourist destination with plenty of good restaurants and drinking establishments. There’s a water park and an alpine coaster, carriage rides and lots of little shops. Studly and I walked a bazillion miles exploring the town before checking into a cabin on the banks of the Chattahoochie River. Then we walked a bazillion miles more.

Studly tried on a Peaky Blinders style hat. He wouldn’t buy it even though I thought he looked quite handsome.
The view from our cabin.
My lovely mother-in-law’s name is Helen. We sent her this photo.
Who are those masked folks?
The Chattahoochie gurgles along merrily through the downtown area.

We’d still planned on driving to Dillard to stay Thursday night and drive home on Friday, but the cat sitter related that our new kitty, Gracie, hadn’t made an appearance during his last two visits. We became worried, and returned home on Thursday.

The minute I walked through the door and called her name, Gracie came running, meowing and needing to be held. She’s barely left my side since we got home.

We’ll have other opportunities to visit Dillard, Georgia. Our kitty needed us more right now.

Peace, people!

Drinking Wine from a Paper Cup

I’m in a hotel room somewhere in Georgia. I believe the town is named Milledgeville. Why am I in Milledgeville? Because Studly Doright came home from work this afternoon and said, “Let’s go somewhere that’s not here,” so I called a pet sitter to watch over Gracie and we got into our car and drove north for five hours or so.

COVID messed with all of our vacation plans this year, so Studly had several days he needed to take off before the end of 2020. Hence, the road trip.

Tomorrow we’ll push further north to Dillard, Georgia. He visited there last year on a motorcycle trip with our now deceased, and much loved friend, Jim, and it’s held a special place in his heart ever since.

I packed in a hurry, so there is no telling what essentials I left behind. I packed the wine, though. I never forget the wine.

Peace, people!

Stunt Double Needed

My 64th birthday was wonderful! Studly Doright surprised me by taking a day off of work, and we enjoyed a late breakfast at a local restaurant. Afterwards we dressed in our riding gear and took a motorcycle ride to Seminole State Park.

It was supposed to be a short ride—no more than sixty miles round trip, but a section of the road was closed due to a bridge being under repair. Did we give up? Hell, no. Studly programmed a different route into his gps and off we went.

Many, many miles later we reached the state park. There, we found a shady spot to park our bikes and hiked for a bit. The weather was perfect—temperatures in the mid-70’s and an almost cloudless blue sky. Studly posed for me in the “chapel.” See the steeple?

Afterwards we stopped at Spring Creek Resort somewhere near Donalson, Georgia, for a terrific lunch. I ate way too much, but hey, calories do not count on one’s birthday. That’s a fact.

The ride home was easy and uneventful. That is, until we turned into our housing development. The road to Doright Manor is filled with curves and hills, and for some reason, going around one curve I rolled on the throttle and came mere inches from becoming an off-road rider. Fortunately, I corrected my path and stayed on the pavement. The alternative wouldn’t have been pretty, and I likely wouldn’t be writing this blog post right now. 😳

Still congratulating myself for avoiding a major disaster I rolled into the driveway and up to the ramp into Studly’s garage. The bike was at an awkward angle, so I killed the engine and asked Studly if he’d ride the bike into the garage for me. Of course he said he would. That’s why I call him Studly Doright!

But guess who tried to get off the bike without putting her kickstand down? Yes, that would be me. In the blink of an eye I was hitting the driveway, my helmet bouncing off the asphalt and the bike laying on top of me.

Miraculously, only the windshield was damaged in the fall, and we’d already decided the aftermarket shield was too tall for my liking, so we will just replace it sooner rather than later.

My helmet saved my noggin from serious injury. My head literally bounced when I landed. And I landed on my right side. That’s the same side I injured when I fell into/out of bed a few weeks ago, so at least I still have one operational side.

So maybe it’s time I got a stunt double. Contact me if you’re interested. I can’t pay much, but you’ll never be bored.

Peace, people!

Georgia on My Mind for all the Wrong Reasons

Georgia’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp, is opening up businesses in his state beginning Friday, I believe. Hair salons, barber shops, nail salons—will be considered essential.

Now, you might ask, “Why should that worry you? Don’t you live in Florida?”

Well, yes I do.

In the map above, locate Tallahassee. We live just north of there, and south of Quincy. Georgia is just a few miles north of Quincy. Lots of folks who live in my part of the state work in Georgia, and a bunch of Georgia residents work in Florida. So, you see why I’m concerned, right?

Florida’s Governor, Ron DeSantis is a Trump sycophant, so it won’t be long before he follows suit, opening our beaches and theme parks before the Corona virus has reached its peak.

At least DeSantis hasn’t yet said we should be happy to die if it means saving the economy as Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick has declared on more than one occasion. Florida has way too many elderly people in residence for DeSantis to say such a thing out loud. But you just know he’s thinking it.

I don’t know about you, but this 63-year-old isn’t sacrificing herself to make Trump’s economy look good. Pardon my language, but fuck that noise.

Peace, people.

On the Map

This morning at approximately 11:30 Central Daylight Saving Time, Studly Doright and I were just outside of Ft. Oglethorpe heading to points south. Doright Manor is our ultimate destination, and we should be there by 5 p.m. Only the length of Georgia is between us and home.

We had a grand week of motorcycling with friends in and around Bristol, Tennessee. It was hard to leave all of them behind, but we’re looking forward to sleeping in our own bed and petting the cats.

Peace, people!

Half-assed Weekly Recap

I don’t lead an interesting life. In fact, if I weren’t such a klutz I’d be as boring as oatmeal. And not that fancy steel cut stuff with raisins, honey, and brown sugar. No sir. Plain old Quaker oatmeal sans butter. That’s how boring I’d be.

Some of my blogging friends provide interesting recaps of their weekly activities, though, and I thought I’d give it a go. Prepare to be underwhelmed.

  • Finished reading the sci-fi/fantasy series, Shadows of the Apt by Adrian Tchaikovsky. Tomorrow’s post will provide a review for any geeks out there.
  • Began reading The Expanse series by James S. A. Corey. So far, so good! I hear it’s been made into a television series.
  • Studly and I finished watching “Hell on Wheels.” I cried because it ended perfectly and because I’m sad that it’s over.
  • Watched the U.S. team lose to the Europeans in the Ryder Cup. Damn.
  • Studly bought a new sport jacket and I helped pick it out. Actually I just stood there and did my best to discourage any bad choices. He did well.
  • Bought a new pair of jeans. That must mean fall is here.
  • Shopped the amazing sidewalk sale in downtown Thomasville, Georgia, but only bought myself lunch–a beautifully made grown up grilled cheese sandwich at Sweetgrass Dairy. Yum!
  • Fished my favorite necklace out of the dumpster.
  • Spent one day watching the testimonies of Dr. Ford and Brett Kavanaugh. Some of those senators need to be sent to bed without supper. Lindsey Graham should be grounded for a year. Kavanaugh doesn’t have what it takes to be a Supreme Court Justice.

I’m sure I did other similarly non-fascinating stuff, but I didn’t sleep much last night, and a nap seems like a good idea at this time.

Peace, people.

Snapshot #220

I enjoyed shopping in Thomasville, Georgia, on Friday even though I didn’t find what I was looking for. Instead, I found this guy hanging around outside a taxidermy shop.

I think I’ll call this one, “Oh Deer!” I wanted to call it, “Moose on the Loose,” but Studly stopped me from making that mistake. A good editor is priceless.

Peace, people!

Snapshot #219

On Friday I drove to Thomasville, Georgia, just under an hour north of Doright Manor. I didn’t think to take any photos until I came across this car.

I think it’s a Packard, but didn’t get close enough to tell. Here’s a closeup of the front end. Maybe someone can help identify the make and model.

I’m calling this “Immaculate Beauty!”

What I Didn’t Ask

She was sitting alone on the beach under her umbrella, this pleasant looking middle-aged woman, reading her book and looking up occasionally at the brilliant blue Gulf. I watched her surreptitiously from my own chair for many minutes, imagining the scenarios that might have led to her being there.

I wondered if she, like me, has a husband who travels frequently leaving her to her own devices during the week. Perhaps she was a recent divorcée trying to find herself in the timeless rise and fall of the waves before moving on with her new single life. Maybe she was an international jewel thief, hiding out on Florida’s Forgotten Coast until she could find a place to offload her ill-gotten booty. Oh, the possibilities were endless.

Then, she spoke to me, “Come, share my umbrella.”

The temperature was 95°. I could hardly refuse an offer like that, even if she was an international jewel thief, so I picked up my chair and settled in beside her, instantly relieved to be out of the direct rays of the sun. I thanked her and for the next hour we chatted like old friends.

She was closer to my age than I’d thought when watching her from several yards away, and attractive in a gamine sort of way. Her name was Tammy or Tammie, maybe Tammi. I didn’t ask for a spelling, and she and her husband were spending the week camping near St. George Island. Her sister and brother-in-law were planning to join them later that day.

Tammy/Tammie/Tammi lives near Thomasville, Georgia, where they farm. They grow pecans among other crops. Her husband of 40 years had contracted skin cancer from spending many long hours working in the sun, so he stays in the camper during the day and comes to join her once the sun starts to set. It’s their routine.

She’s one of four children, three girls and one boy, and their father died when they were all very young. Her mother was a strong woman who kept their family together and raised good kids. Her husband’s family is very big and boisterous and fun.

I told her about Studly and me, our kids, and grandkids, and our many moves from state to state in our 42 years of marriage. How we hoped we could retire and live out the rest of our lives in Tallahassee, but how hard it is to be so far away from the rest of our family. I told her about my deceased parents and how much I miss them. I told her about my brothers and their families, and about Studly’s own boisterous family.

Soon it cane time for me to leave. I thanked her again for the shade and also for the conversation. As I walked away it occurred to me that she hadn’t mentioned children, and I hadn’t asked if she and her husband had any. Surely the existence of children would have come into the conversation at some point. Still I wish I’d asked. That, and about the jewel thief theory. That could still be a possibility.

Peace, people.

Suffering from a Severe Lack of Oomph

I surrender! I have all these photos of the grandkids’ visit, but not the oomph needed to write about them. My oomph evaporated on Monday afternoon when I left the kids at the airport in Panama City Beach, and I’m not sure when it’s coming back.

Life continues, though, as does this blog, so I’m going to take the easy, less oomph reliant path and just post photos. If the spirit moves me, I might even comment on them. If not, well, make up your own captions. Oh, I started at the end of their visit and went backwards for some reason.

Here are a few from our morning in Panama City Beach before we headed to the airport:

Dominique and friend, Sophia, pose outside Dick’s Last Resort.

Enjoying a pineapple drink on the promenade.

Dominique pushing Jackson in a beach wheelchair so he wouldn’t get sand in his cast. I pushed him out to the beach and she pushed him back to the pavement. Hey, I think I know the moment my oomph disappeared!

Ahhh! The sun and the sand and the water.

Dining at Dick’s Last Resort, where the waiters are rude on purpose and the giggles are non-stop.

From our trip to Wild Adventures in Valdosta, Georgia on Sunday:

Poppa (aka Studly Doright) and Jackson built a motorcycle during the kids’ visit. For some reason I didn’t take any “before” photos, but this bike was in pieces at the beginning of last week:

Tallahassee Museum and Zoo is one of the grandkids’ (and grandparents’) favorite places to visit.

While the two 15-year-olds embarked on the tree-to-tree adventure,

Jackson, Studly, and I explored the zoo area:

At Jackson’s request we went “thrifting.”

And I took the girls sightseeing and swimming at Wakulla Springs:

And that’s about it. The kids and I stayed up late to watch a scary movie one night, but I didn’t document that. I had crafts for us to do, but those ideas were met with little enthusiasm. That’s just fine. I’m not sure my limited supply of oomph would’ve allowed for much creativity.

It’s awfully quiet around Doright Manor since they’ve been gone. The only one happy with the kids’ absence is our cat, Patches. Maybe she’ll help with the oomph issue.

Or not.