2011-10-01 (Thu) to 2011-10-04 (Tue) Trip from Atlanta, GA to Copperhill,TN <Camping with the Vandweller Group>
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On the Yahoo group-list for Vandwellers, Dick posted a location at Copperhill that he said he would be in for a few days. He invited anyone who was interested to join him. After I returned from Minneapolis, I washed clothes and began thinking of going to the area where Dick was staying.
I had to catch up with a few things at the house and tried to read some back-level email as I prepared for the trip. I didn’t know if and when others in the group planned to visit, so I picked a day for leaving and sent a message to Dick that I planned to join him. I received the driving directions and started packing the van for a ‘camping experience’. That means, you need food and water and clean clothes. I now use 2-liter bottles for water and it took a while to fill them up. I had 13 bottles to fill with water, plus, I carry my own ice tea in a gallon jar that helps me to not drink so much carbonated soda (which I love). As I had been to Ellijay previously and I knew that there was a Wal-Mart on the route, I planned to stop there on-the-way for several days of non-refrigerated food. Oh yes, I DO like cheese, so I planned to get a little food that will keep a couple of days without ice. I had almost everything that I needed in the van – so, I charged some batteries for flashlights, etc. I planned to leave about 9am (after the rush hour traffic slows a little). I started on I-575, north of Atlanta and thought of stopping at Camping World to see if they had a foldable, aluminum camping table. I hadn’t been to the store before but, I had seen it from the interstate as I passed it. As you would guess, I passed the store as I considered stopping – so, I took the next exit and pulled into a nearby restaurant to enter the information into the Garmin and go shopping at Camping World. I entered the business name, Camping World into Garmin and started to follow the turns. I went down several roads, and then into a two-lane residental section for a few miles. I thought of turning around and that this had to be wrong – but, I was totally lost and couldn’t find my way even if I got out the Rand McNally map. Eventually, totally lost – I came to I-75. WOW – I had really gone out of my way. The Garmin told me that the nearest Camping World was past Ringgold – about 40 miles away. Something had gone WAY WRONG! There was no need to continue to Camping World – I decided to give-it-up and try again later. I turned north on I-75 and decided to try and find a Wal-Mart since I would miss the Ellijay store. I was able to find one using Garmin and it was nearby. So, I stopped, got a sandwich for lunch, bought some groceries that I would need for the camping trip and left the parking lot about 1pm.
I re-programmed Garmin to go to Coppehill and the route was to take a road by Old Car City. I had heard of it, but never stopped. It would be an interesting place – a car junkyard that has a sign claiming to have one of Elvis’ cars and known to have a large variety of ole cars. In Atlanta, it is known that they may have parts for unusual cars. I continued driving and followed Garmin to a small town and drove several miles down several two-lane roads. Uh Oh! Again, I’m on two-lane roads through residential areas – only this time, I’m on a gravel road and lost outside of Ellijay and north of the Wal-Mart that I know. I end up a couple of miles south of the town of Blue Ridge on Hwy 515. I knew the 4-lane divided road, so: Garmin is right, it put me back on the road to Blue Ridge and Copperhill. It was an easy drive once I got out of the residential areas.
I didn’t know until I got there that others were coming for the week-end. I was the first to arrive, and I got there about 3pm. Dick and I had sent messages that I would probably get there about 1pm – but, I took more time to drive there when I got lost. Dick said that Karen was expected today also – and, for some reason, he thought that we were coming together. I had her cell number and I called her. She had just left the Ellijay Wal-Mart with provisions for the week-end. I gave her address location that I entered into the GPS to find the campground, she wrote it down and said that she was ‘on-her-way’. She arrived about dusk. Dick and I had planned where the arriving vans should park. I was on the right of Dick and Karen would be on my right. The creek was in front of all of us.
Dick had a fire going and the weather was great. Unbelievably warm for this time of year. After Karen arrived, she had to level her van by parking on plastic feet. Karen and I hadn’t seen each other for about six weeks and we had some ‘catching-up’ to do.
The next morning, Kenny arrived and we put his van behind Dick, Karen, and me. Also, Wolf was driving a Corolla and he was able to travel over a hump on the left of the firepit. We expected Les and he was able to get over a hill on Karen’s right side. Cheryl came and it was near dusk, parking was beginning to be an issue, but – Karen and I took a survey and suggested to Dick that Cheryl park behind Kenny. It was easy and she accomplished it in a few seconds. The next day, David came and he found a spot near Les. Everyone settled in to the area and we were close, but that made it easier for getting items from the van when we needed them.
Over the week-end, we had van “tours” and talked about problems that needed fixing. Karen asked Les and David for suggestions with her electrical issues. Also, she wanted a propane line extension for a heater and David looked inside her kitchen and at her stove connection. He found an acceptable area to add a line. David helped me with refilling propane bottles. We also discussed a 12-volt water pump and how it may be used. Les installed a roof rack to the top of his van and climing ladder on the back. He had brought his charged drill and made all the work to get it done look easy.
On several days, we walked about one-half mile to the lake. The sun was bright there and the weather was perfect for ‘sunnin’ and taking pictures. (Near the creek, we were under a canopy of trees with hills on all sides; hence, little sun.) We sat around the fire at night and roasted marshmellows and talked. The time seemed to pass quickly. I can honestly say that I got nothing done. I walked to the bear-proof garbage a couple of times in order to minimize the trash in the camp. Sunday afternoon, David and I walked to the campground (one-tenth of a mile) to look at an old, manual waterpump. While we were there we saw a lone house chimney above the campground and explored it for a few minutes.
On Sunday, Kenny was the first to leave. Shortly after, Les had to return home and prepare for work on Monday. David stayed until after dark, and left after supper. We had another beautiful fire and wonderful day of talking to one another.
Monday was Columbus Holiday, and it impacts both the banks and government offices. We knew that vacation traffic would be heavier, so we talked to Cheryl and got her to think about staying longer. She had driven the Blue Ridge Parkway from Ohio before the GTG and she decided that she would begin her journey back to her husband -and their farm, on Tuesday. Wolf had friends to visit in Atlanta before returning to his family in Florida. Karen wanted also wo see family and Dick planned to make some further preparations for winter. I decided that I should also return to Atlanta and left on Tuesday morning. It had begun to sprinkle rain on Monday night – and camping wasn’t as much fun without tarps for cover or a place to hide. After arriving back in Atlanta, I wished that I had shopped some in McCaysville on the way home. It is a very unique small town near the border and they cater to tourists because the Blue Ridge train visits there.
I really enjoyed my trip and my time being a “leaf-peeper”. I wanted to watch the leaves turn colors and I did.
((My Dad has a nickname for me and it is “Puddin”. He started calling me that when I was very young. I named my van, “Vanna White”. When I decided to start a blog, I wanted a unique name for my travels and the names “Puddin” and “Vanna White” came to mind.))((My Dad has a nickname for me and it is “Puddin”. He started calling me that when I was very young. I named my van, “Vanna White”. When I decided to start a blog, I wanted a unique name for my travels and the names “Puddin” and “Vanna White” came to mind.))