Day 26 – July 26, 2016 – Athens, Ga – Lenoir NC
Left the hotel and took the cobblestone road to the “Tree that Owns Itself”. Drove thru Athens and saw beautiful old houses and the University of Georgia. In Danielsville, we saw a courthouse in the middle of the road circle. Drove by the Ty Cobb museum in Royston. Took detour to Guide Stones in Georgia. The message was in 12 languages. Drove by the dam and got dam pictures. Made it to South Carolina. Passed thru Anderson, Greenville and entered Spartanburg. Lunched at Converse College where mom and dad wanted Susan to go. Went thru more small towns and then entered North Carolina. Saw first mountain in long time. Made it to Gastonia around 3:15 pm. This is where we started right outside of Charlotte. Headed to Lenoir – directly. Mileage: 285.7
When we looked out our window after we woke up, we were glad we had only stayed a day as we might have been covered with kudzu if we had stayed longer. It didn’t look like there would be many stops on the road today so we found the “Tree that Owns Itself”. Col. William H Jackson, in 1832, left the land and the tree to itself because he so loved the tree. We drove up the cobble stone road and found it. Well, this tree was birth’d from its mom, the original tree. It was still in the same location though and was surrounded by a fence. We then drove around town and saw the large old houses and the University. We saw a few mosquito farms and some nice kudzu farms. They sure know how to grow kudzu in these parts. Passed thru more small towns, and in Gold Mine we took a detour to the Guide Stones. They were in the middle of nowhere, but were large granite slabs written in 8 languages and a capstone written in 4 more. Someone else actually drove up to visit it while we were there. Some of the languages were, English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Hebrew, Egyptian Hieroglyphics and others. Passed thru more small towns on the way to the dam. We took pictures of the dam and then Pam stated “they must have let out water as there is stuff floating in the river. Susan and I stated, “Those are rocks and they don’t float”. We then drove over the river into South Carolina.
In South Carolina we passed thru the large towns of Anderson, Greenville and Spartanburg. We never knew that mom and dad wanted Susan to go to Converse College. During that time it was a girl’s “Finishing” school. I guess Susan needed her rough edges polished. We ate lunch in the parking lot in the van. We headed out to more small towns and slowly made it into North Carolina. We were finally in our home state. I saw my first mountain since Western Texas. I took a picture. We then headed to Gastonia. 26 days ago, we passed thru Gastonia on the way out of Charlotte. Dandy’s route in and out of Charlotte was the same. In Gastonia, we stopped and took a selfie to mark the end of the official route. Then we headed to Lenoir via the real highway.
Along our trip we had everything down to a tee. At gas stations, I would get out and pump the gas, Susan and Pam had window duty and I joined if there was time. Then we took a bathroom break. Checking in to the hotel – I checked in while Susan and Pam took the stuff out of the van and onto the cart. In the room we assembly-lined the luggage into the room and then I took the cart back to the front while Susan and Pam unpacked the coolers and organized our junk. In the morning we packed our suitcases and took them to the car as we headed to the “free” breakfast. After breakfast, I packed the Tupperware with Ice and Susan packed the cooler. We all then gathered our stuff and carried it out to the car.
And for all of you who asked….we still love each other and are already planning a new trip.
We leave you with these words from the song by General Johnson and Chairmen of the Board
I’d rather be in Carolina Ain’t no place finer No matter where you roam I’d rather be in Carolina And I’ll be tryin’ to Get back home The sun always shines in Carolina Even when the skies are gray My heart will always be in Carolina Even when I’m a thousand miles away