I left Maryland and traveled south and stopped at South of the Border in South Carolina, just past the border. I parked in the parking lot for the night, then stopped for several days at a campground in Waltersboro, South Carolina, called New Green Acres. It was really a nice campground with lots of pine trees. It also has a nice fenced in dog park with obstacles for the dogs to play in. I arrived on a Friday afternoon. When I got up on Saturday morning and opened my back door I smelled gasoline and I didn’t see anyone or anything around me that would cause that smell. In I think it was 2016 or 2017 when I was in Albuquerque at the Balloon Fiesta I smelled gasoline and when I looked under the camper van I saw that gas was dripping from the fuel line between my gas tank and generator which runs off the gas tank. One of the other campers took me to an auto parts store and I bought some clamps and about 18″ of fuel line and he replaced the leaking fuel line. I kept the extra rubber fuel line and clamps. When I looked under the camper van, sure enough, there was a pretty steady drip of gasoline. I called my fire chief friend to confirm my thought that it would not be good for me to drive with gasoline leaking. I walked through the campground and saw a couple sitting outside and told them what I found. It turns out they knew another camper who had the number of a mobile repair man so I called him and he came out about 90 minutes later and was able to replace the fuel line with the parts I had. Once again, God shows me that I will be taken care of. I stayed in this campground for another few days, then headed south into Georgia to see some friends.
After I left the campground, I drove to a friends in Ludowici, Georgia, where I had two days visiting my friend Tina who I met a few years ago when I was in this part of the state. It was a nice visit and she and her family have a beautiful pond with four Canadian geese that reside there, and a lemon tree in their front yard. Tina drove us on a 4 wheeler through some land her family owns, part of which they are digging out a 50 acre pond that is going to be spring fed and stocked with fish. One of her dogs came along with us and he loves water and was swimming through the deep water on the road we drove on where the spring water was being pumped out of where they are digging a 50 acre pond. There are several springs in the hole and it needs to still be dug out more so water is being pumped out. Part of the road we were driving on in a 4 wheel vehicle was flooded by water being pumped out of the pond. One of Tina’s dogs loves swimming and was having fun swimming in front of the 4 wheeler. Tina and her family have 3 small goats which were really cute, and there is a lemon tree in the front yard. Her family has lived on this property for generations and a few buildings are over 200 years old.
A few days later I drove to Madray Springs, Georgia, a neighboring city where I am staying for about a week visiting some firefighter friends I met several years ago and we had a cookout the other night, it was lots of fun, family, and fellowship. Chief Ashley Dent, and Assistant Chief Kevin Altman (who is also the Fire Chief in Odum) have stayed in touch with me since I met them in July 2013. There are several stories and lots of pictures of my visits here to see them, and also in July 2013 when then came to south Florida to see me. You can search my website and find the stories. Search perhaps Georgia Firefighters, or fire equipment, or the words fire department.
About 2 days after I arrived here at the fire department we had a cookout and many of the firefighters and their families came to eat with us. It was lots of fun, and of course good food and fellowship. One of the firefighters works at a hibachi restaurant and he did a great job cooking the food. It’s almost 10 years later and they still have the equipment I bought for them and use it often. It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years that we know each other. The guys here are so thoughtful, helpful, and offer to help me if I need anything. One of them came over and helped me to wash Molly my camper van.
Chief Dent wanted to be sure I could use their WIFI so he moved the WIFI box into the bays where they keep the fire trucks so I would get a strong signal. It turns out when they put the metal doors down the signal was blocked, so he is leaving the door open behind my camper. I was concerned about someone coming and stealing things with the open door but he assured me it will be safe and so will I. I am parked behind the station. It looks like we are going to have another cookout tomorrow, not sure what day I am leaving here yet.
These guys are so creative and experienced in not only fire fighting and rescue, but also building and creating new vehicles, parts they need, and much more. The rescue truck in one of the pictures is a truck they built from an old utility truck they found. They also got a lot of yellow fire hose that another department was going to dispose of because they bought some new hose. This department found out about it and went and got the used hose that was recently pressure tested and is still good. It saves them lots of money to do these things to keep their fire station operational.
The second weekend in November is the Native Rhythms Festival in Melbourne, Florida. It’s a Native American flute festival that I do my best to attend every year. I did go last year but for some reason didn’t make time to write a story about it or post pictures. There are several stories about it from my other times attending that music event. I have lots of friends that are the performers and vendors that I have met at Native Rhythms and other similar events. So, it’s great to not only hear great music, but to also see my friends and what they had created. Check out http://www.nativerhythmsfestival.com/
Here is a link to some of the pictures I took related to this story https://photos.app.goo.gl/zvBPeYCXNq8ifNc89
We had another cookout last night and it was at Chief Ashley Dent’s house which is about a mile from the fire station. It was so much fun and several of the firefighters and their families were there to have a meal and fellowship with us. Everyone brought something and I showed Lindsay, Ashley’s wife how to make brownies my special way which everyone I have ever given them to loves. I may have posted the recipe in a previous story, but in case I didn’t here is how I make them. Get two boxes of brownie mix, any kind you want. I use an 11″ x 15″ pan, but you can use any size pan. The first box of brownie mix, add 1 extra egg to whatever the box says. I mix the eggs, water, and oil together, then add the dry mix. pour into the baking pan. Then mix the second box exactly like the instructions say. Then pour this batter all over the top of the first batter. What happens is that the first box with the extra egg makes the brownie cake like so it is a bit dryer and more firm. The second box is more fudgy and I think too soft. Making it this way makes it like a firmer bottom with a fudgy center. When you cut the brownies you can ever see the difference in texture and color. If you want you can add chocolate chips, nuts, marshmallows, etc. to the second batter.
A few years ago when they bought all the acres, Ashley planted about 600 pecan trees and they are now producing nuts to harvest. I was really impressed with how many trees there were and how they are all in straight lines. I told him and he said he used a 300′ tape measure and string to get the rows straight. I was told they have deer that come out of the woods surrounding the property, but I didn’t see any last night. It was raining when I got up in the morning, but then the sun came out and we had a really nice evening for the cookout. Ashley went to a meat market and bought some really good steaks which were tender, and flavorful, and cooked on the grill which is something I have not had in a long time. We all had a great time talking and they took a picture of me with the firefighters that were there last night. Firefighters have a special place in my heart. My dad was a volunteer firefighter when I was young, and being a city clerk for most of my career and knowing how dedicated firefighters are, especially volunteer ones that do it for the love of being of service, since they don’t get paid, and don’t usually get sufficient funding, they still show up and serve their communities. The people in this department and a few others have an extra special place in my heart because we have stayed in touch for the past nine years. When I travel in my camper van, at the end of the day of traveling, I send a text to about seven people letting them know where I am, or approximately where I am and what direction I will be traveling the next day. This way in case anything happens they will know my last location. Chiefs Dent and Altman from this station are two of the people that I send my location to. To tell you how special these men are, a few years ago when we were getting a hurricane that was expected to be a category 4, they offered to either come meet me partway and drive my vehicle the rest of the way to them, or they would meet me a a train station near them if I wanted to get on a train near where I live and come up there. They also said if I didn’t want to drive they would even drive all the way to where I live to come get me. I thanked them and told them I was going to stay home, and thankfully, the hurricane wasn’t as strong as anticipated and I was safe at home.
I went back through some of the stories I wrote and the pictures I saw from my previous visits here and it brought back lots of fond memories. I also got to remember things I forgot like when Patti brought a baby alligator for us to hold. She and Gene her husband trap alligators when they are a nuisance somewhere and they try to relocate them if they are able to do that. Usually she said they have to be under four years old, otherwise it stresses the gator too much and they die from the transfer.
At the dinner last night, one of the firefighters who also flies a helicopter for medical transport surprised me with an insulated tote bag with the company insignia, and in it was a t-shirt, and pens, and an adorable little teddy bear who is my new traveling companion. This little bear has an imitation leather helmet and jacket with a pocket and zipper and it’s fleece lined. It is so cute. I have a small wall on both sides in my camper and I have lots of things I have collected over the years or that people have given me, like at a pow wow my friend Becky who is a vendor gave me a little stuffed turtle. My friends children in Texas made a hot air balloon picture for me with some beads I gave them. I also have buttons from my six years at the balloon fiesta in Albuquerque when I volunteered there.
Patti and I went to lunch in Jesup one day and ate at a bistro that had brick walls inside and had good food. Nearby the restaurant was a thrift store and it had a prayer tree and a basket with cards and envelopes that people could write prayers and put them in the envelope and hang on the tree. For this time of the year the local businesses and the city create these really adorable scenes with hay bales, stuffed bodies portraying different activities or representing their business and they are all along several streets. It’s really kind of unusual and really a great idea. I plan on being here a few more days. It’s nice and quiet and relaxing and I have internet so I can update my website, read books on my tablet, talk with my friends, and go to online meetings. In one of the stores there was an old push button telephone, I had not seen one of those in years. I added pictures of our downtown Jesup adventure to the album in this story.
It’s hard to believe it’s already the beginning of November. I am still at the Madray Springs, Georgia, Fire Department. They have been so nice to me here. The Wayne County Fire/EMS/Sheriff Chief came to visit me the other day and he gave me a t-shirt for his department. I love t-shirts as many of you know. He also thanked me for the equipment I not only bought in 2013 for many fire departments in his county, but also for some equipment I bought for the county that allows their dive team to communicate under water. He said they are still using it and used it recently to recover a gun that was used in a murder and thrown into a dark, murky, lake nearby.
The day before Halloween, the assistant fire chief Kevin, and several of the firefighters took the ladder truck and another fire vehicle to the church down the street where there was a carnival with games, food, and petting zoo areas. It was lots of fun to see the costumes. I was surprised that many of the children were dressed as firefighters. One lady had a 10 day old baby that was so small and cute and even had the baby dressed in a costume. The firefighters gave out candy too and quite a few children wanted to sit in the drivers seat so they lifted them up to do that so pictures could be taken. I rode to the church in the passenger seat of the ladder truck. It was a big step for me to get into and out of it but it was a really cool experience. There was an old Model A vehicle and an old tractor that someone brought. I thought it was interesting looking at how simple things were on old cars, and how the windshield opened at the bottom. I loved the little boy with the costume of a Dalmation fire fighter, he was so cute and full of energy. It was not easy to get pictures of him until I asked his mom and she posed with him to keep him still long enough for a picture.
I will be leaving here in a few days and heading south to visit a friend near Jacksonville, Florida, for a few days then going to a Native American Flute Festival in Melbourne, Florida, that I try to go to every year. Check out Native Rhythms Festival to see that event, there are also stories and pictures on my website from previous years there. I was there last year, but didn’t write a story or post photos for it for some reason.