Friday, February 24, 2012

The beginning of a new season

Mary Joan II stayed at Red Gate Farm RV park in Savannah, GA from the first of December until we returned the third week of February. With my mother, Lorraine, Sarah and I left Massachusetts on Saturday the 18th. The first day on the road, we made Jessup, MD. Leaving on Saturday made getting around NYC easy and past Washington DC on Sunday a breeze. This allowed us to avoid any traffic. The Red Roof Inn at Jessup was a good bargain and they accept pets. Scout, the pitbull, liked having his own bed. 
Breakfast at Frank's in Jessup

It took a little effort to find a place for dinner. Saturday night in Jessup was busy. Our first choice for dining had an hour wait, so we came upon a Famous Dave's barbecue restaurant. Each of us enjoyed our meal. 

The plan was to make it as far as South Carolina, so we were not in any rush to leave. Frank's Diner, next door to the Red Roof Inn, served us a very nice breakfast. We made such good time that we decided to push on for Savannah. The GPS said we could make it before dark. But, we decided to stop for dinner just before reaching the city. Love's Seafood had great revues, so we stopped there. Each of us enjoyed our meal at this popular eatery. 

We found Mary Joan II just as we left her. JD, at Red Gate Farm met us and directed us to our campsite. Red Gate is a very relaxed RV park in an idyllic setting. The nearby train tracks can either be seen as a nuisance or an attraction. I enjoyed the different signals that the engineers gave for the crossings. 

We had a day to spend seeing the city. We parked at the south end of Forsyth Park and walked to the river, passing through the distinctive squares that adorn the stretch of Bull St. from the park to Bay Street. Each one is dedicated to a person connected to Savannah's history. Canopied with moss draped trees and surrounded by elegant historic homes, this is a scenic and serene one mile walk.

We lunched at Huey's on the river. Large picture windows look out onto this busy river with a constant parade of tugs, barges and ocean going container vessels. I had the creole omelet that was filled with fresh local white shrimp in a rich creole sauce. These shrimp are so superior to the shrimp to the frozen farm raised Thailand shrimp we buy in supermarkets at home. This set us on a quest to find the source of said shrimp. 

We were told that shrimp could be purchased right at the fishing piers on Tybee Island. We crossed the bridge onto Tybee Island, about 12 miles south of downtown and immediately on our right as we descended from the bridge we saw our source of shrimp. An unnamed fish monger's shack at the end of the short drive advertised fresh shrimp. The muscular and brusque fisher-woman finished serving the only other customer then turned her attention to us. I ordered two pounds of medium shrimp that she quickly began flinging into a a plastic tray with a hole in it that caused half of the shrimp to drop through, back into the display. Sarah and I looked at each other, wondering whether or not to point this out to the woman when my mother spoke up. She looked down at her tray, gave a loud 'hurrumph', grabbed another tray and threw the defective one across the room and resumed filling our order.

A sign offered the availability of fresh local oysters. I asked our merchant how much for the oysters. "Three", she replied. Hoping not to risk her ire, but needing to know what I got for "three", I asked her if that was for a dozen. "Yeah three" she replied. I ordered a dozen oysters. She disappeared out the side door and returned less than a minute later with a large plastic bag half filled with oysters. She Iced everything down and we left with our treasure. 

Dinner that evening was Shrimp Diane and oysters on the half shell. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that our fisher-woman was either very generous or couldn't count. Our bag of a dozen oysters for "three" actually contained 15 huge specimens that we thoroughly enjoyed. 

Since we only had about 130 miles to go to reach Jacksonville, FL, we were not in any hurry to leave. It is an easy drive on an almost arrow straight road. Sarah found Little Talbot Island State Park in Woodall's directory. She called the park and they said they had one spot that could accommodate our trailer. We arrived early in the afternoon and were directed to a beautiful spot overlooking the marsh. Our campsite is near the boat ramp along the creek. At low tide I could see thousands of oysters a few feet above the water. Being a state park, I assumed that harvesting them would be frowned upon. The temptation was great. 

Being Fat Tuesday, we made chicken and sausage gumbo for dinner. I thought I held back on the spice, but I think my mom found it a little 'spicy'. 

We stopped in Jacksonville to visit with my classmate, Sue, and her husband, Lance. They moved from Oklahoma just this past November and are now settled into a nice place with room for their two horses. We would have liked to stay longer, but we wanted to get to the Sertoma Youth Camp in Brooksville

We waited for the storm to pass then selected our site. There were already a number of other campers here, but we were able to chose a nice site just a short distance from the pavilion that is the center of the activities for the event.

As newcomers to the Tin Can Tourist Association, we were put through a grueling initiation ceremony at which we learned the secret sign, handshake and the anthem we were required to sing, we finished by reciting the Tin Can Tourist's Oath. Thank you Forest, and all our brother and sister TCTs. We feasted on pizza and wine then watched a presentation on General Motors Parade of Progress given by Hunt Jones. 

All the tourists gathered for a hearty breakfast followed an hour later by a caravan to a private collection of automobiles, motorcycles, Cushman Scooters gasoline pumps and advertising signs, as well as juke boxes and old time soda vending machines. Each item perfectly restored. It was like stepping back 50 to 60 years. 

A pot luck dinner is planned for this evening. I am making chili and must start preparing. Stay tuned for more adventures.