Part 16: Macon, GA to Chapel Hill, NC


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The Trip

We spent a pleasant night at Lake Juliette in the camp site run by Georgia Power.  It seems that they have an extensive network of lakes that they maintain as part of the utility's power production processes.  Once we broke camp, we continued north toward Oakwood, GA and from there on to Chapel Hill, NC.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

The locals suggested that we head to the Whistle Stop Cafe, made famous by the filming of the Southern classic "Fried Green Tomatoes".  We had lunch there and the place was hopping.

Across the street from the cafe were a number of small, rustic shops that pander to the tourists.

From the Macon area, we headed north along the back roads toward Oakwood to see some other Unimog buddies, Sean and Steve.  Both Sean and Steve had come to San Diego and have joined us in the Altar Desert.  Along the way, we passed this frankencar.  Somebody put a lot of effort into this conversion, but it would have been more impressive if they had made the wheel base of the frame match the wheelbase of the body. 

Sean hooked us up with a camp site at Lake Lanier, very close to his shop.  We arrived after dark, got set up and then it rained.  It was still raining the next morning.  From our position on the shore of the lake, we could see some of the pleasure boats were coming out despite the overcast.  Above is a large party barge that passed our position.  There were some fantastically large homes on the far side of the lake.

The lake is large enough to have several marinas with many sail boats.

From Oakwood, we headed north to Tallulah Gorge.  There was an overlook that gave us a pretty nice view of the canyon.  The canyon is damed and used to produce power, thus the power lines in the photo.

We stayed at the state park at Tallulah Gorge and while we were checking in for a camp site, we spotted this huge Luna Moth.  This moth is about 5" across and there were two of them outside the office.  These were the only 2 we saw.  Later, we learned that they are rarely seen and only fly at night.

Note the eyes on the dorsal side of the body and the "fur" around the head.

This is a very efficient retro-design trailer.  There is a cooking compartment at the rear of the trailer with sleeping quarters behind the door.

There was a substantial hike required to get to the view points and then the bottom of the gorge.  Above is a shot of one of the falls at Tallulah Gorge.

This set of falls is below the dam and Georgia Power was releasing large amounts of water downstream.  The flow was about twice the normal flow and they do this several times per year to maintain health of the stream below the dam.

We hiked to the bottom of the gorge to the suspension bridge over the river.  From the bridge, we could see another smaller falls just  down stream.

From the gorge, we headed through several small towns that were hosting the Warrior Dash.  There were tons of folks participating and lots of muddy feet were walking the street.  The Dash is a cross between a 5K and an obstacle course.  From the Dash, we headed to Sky Valley to stay at a buddy's mountain cabin.  The view from the deck of the cabin is shown above.

We stayed at the cabin for 2 nights; the place as awesome.  Thanks Trey!!  When we left the cabin, we were told that we should go to Highland, NC so we headed that way.  En route, we passed some really nice places on private lakes.

Highland is a high-class place, not unlike La Jolla, CA but in the mountains.  We saw plenty of interesting folks there and had lunch at a local supermarket-wine store-cafe.  On our departure, we spotted this fellow walking his Afghan hound on the sidewalk.

East from Highland, we went over a mountain pass that was nearly 5,000 feet.  At the top of the pass there was a pull-out that provided a breath taking view of the valley below.

Along our route, we passed several creeks that flowed over smooth rock faces producing nice waterfalls.

We followed the highway east until we intersected a road that provided access to the Blue Ridge Parkway.  On the access route, we passed a very nice waterfall right on the side of the road.

Several view points on the Blue Ridge Parkway provide great views of the piedmont areas to our east.  The section of the parkway that we traveled was over 4500 feet in altitude, so it was much cooler than the lowlands.  We also found out that a landslide had closed the parkway to the north of our position, but luckily, there was a side route that we could take without requiring a back-track.

We stayed at a National Park Service campground right off the parkway at Mt. Pisgah.  It rained on and off all night and was quite chilly due to the altitude.  Next morning, after the rain cleared, I found this rhododendron bush in bloom close to our camp.

We were forced to take the detour route to avoid the landslide area.  Once we were back in the valley, we passed nice pastures along the road.

I have not seen a scarecrow for many years.  We spotted this one in a garden near the road.

We traveled on to another NC state park that was right on Lake Norman.  This lake is quite large and a lot of the shoreline is privately owned.  There were plenty of slum houses on the water's edge.

In addition to being a very nice place, this shack has twin boat docks and piers.  Not too shabby!

The park at Lake Norman was clean and well maintained.  We had a great night and then headed into Chapel Hill the next day to visit our friends Scott and Heather.  From I-40 we saw plenty of flowers in bloom.

We had a great time in Macon and really enjoyed staying at the mountain cabin.  The view was spectacular.  The Blue Ridge Parkway was nice and we would have done more of it, but the path would have taken us away from our destination of Chapel Hill.  I enjoyed the Lake Norman camp and would surely return there.  But, if we do, it would be with a boat or my jet ski.  Lake Norman is quite big and it would be nice to explore it from the water.  Tomorrow, we will explore the Chapel Hill area with our friends.
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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2010, all rights reserved.
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