Launch Day and Savannah GA

We’re parked here in site 1 at Red Gate RV in Savannah GA as I type this missive…but I digress slightly…let me catch ya up with events since my last post ‘afore I get to the Fun Stuff©.

When last I posted…we had just over a week to go and about a dozen items left on the Pre-Underway Checklist. Neil and Connie…well, mostly him until the last day or so when she did the inside stuff…kept plugging away and by mid afternoon Sunday he had completed everything on the outside list except dumping and flushing our waste tanks which he left until Monday. Our level indicators…we have SeeLevel II systems installed which are a lot better than the float switch type as they have ultrasonic sensors outside the tank that see what the levels are…anyway they still get inaccurate after awhile as gunk gets stuck on the sides of the tank and it’s particularly worse after long periods of non-moving the rig. Our black tank indicator displayed about 17% when it was empty and after about 2 days read 92%…luckily we’re well aware that it takes about 16 or 17 days to actually fill the tank so we’ve just been dumping it about every 14 over the winter. We’ve also developed “toilet-whisperer” ears and you can tell by ear when it’s getting close to full. The gray tank was reading 0 when empty and progressed normally up to about 30% then went to 100…again luckily we’re aware that it’s about 4 days to fill with our normal water usage.  Neil’s flushed them a couple times over the winter but without any motion on the rig it just doesn’t do much.

The solution to the tank sensor issue is pretty easy…after he dumped and flushed so all the loose stuff was gone on Monday he filled both tanks to about 50% and then added 3 gallons of white vinegar and a couple of cups of Dawn degreaser dish detergent to each tank. The plan was to just let that slosh around on our first two travel days and then dump/flush when we arrived in Savannah.

We had dinner at the Elks…Broasted Chicken…which is a fancy term for fried in a pressure cooker…on Monday night and had enough left overs for another meal later…we originally planned this for Wednesday night but ended up changing our minds Tuesday afternoon. After dinner we passed along “until next time in the fall” to our Lodge friends and headed home.

We got up Tuesday morning and Neil wasn’t feeling too well…but we had to leave so he bored on we got hitched, said our “until next times” to friends at Seminole and hit the road. He felt pretty lousy all day and we arrived 228 miles later at Meera’s RV in Citra FL…it’s on US-301 between Ocala and Gainesville. We had our choice of sites…only 1 was filled by the campground owners. It wasn’t really much to write home about…but it was 30 yards from the highway and easy in/out so for an overnight stop it was perfect. We ended up having the leftover chicken mixed into some noodles as after he had some afternoon snack and rested he was feeling better but not great. They finally decided he was just having a bit o’ angst over starting travel again…he’s always worried that something will break the first couple of travel days.

Wednesday morning we hit the road and continued up US-301 to the intersection with I-10 west of Jacksonville…and instead of taking the under construction portion of I-10 and the Jacksonville I-295 beltway we continued on up 301…a beautiful 4 lane highway with practically no traffic…to the intersection with I-95 about 8 miles south of the FL/GA border then turned north towards Savannah.

As we approached Savannah about 1330…we spotted the overhead sign with a message…Neil called Connie on the radio and said “you don’t see that every day”. The sign said “State Road 21 Closed due to Plane Crash.” We had no real idea what had actually happened until later…it turned out that a C-130 belonging to the Puerto Rico National Guard had crashed on takeoff about 1130 killing all 9 souls on board…the airport is about 10 miles NE of Red Gate CG and the road closure is immediately to the east of the airport. At this point the cause of the accident is unknown but witnesses reported that it stalled and pan-caked into the median on the highway…news footage showed that only the tail section was still recognizable as part of an aircraft. Our sympathies go out to the lost souls and their families…the aircraft was taking off on it’s final flight out to Arizona to the Aircraft Boneyard as it was being retired…but aircraft age may or may not have actually had anything to do with the accident.

Neil was completely recovered from his earlier stomach troubles…so we headed out to the Tailgate Sports Bar and Grill for dinner…no drafts there but they did have about 100 bottled/canned beers. We sampled Left Hand Brewery Milk Stout, Dragons Milk Stout, Abita Amber, and Terrapin Golden Ale along with a plate of Southwest Egg Rolls and a Quesadilla for dinner before heading home. 

Neil got this shot of our site 1 at Red Gate CG…it’s actually a lot nicer than we thought it would be from looking at the satellite photos on google maps. Gravel pad with surrounding grass and plenty of space between sites. We’ll be here 7 days and have plenty o’ Fun Stuff© planned.


While Neil was in the head…actually known ‘round these parts as the “Used Beer Recycling Facility” or UBRF…and pronounced youburf…he noticed this over the deposit facility…he’s never actually seen a urinal flowmeter before but this particular one has processed 3,747,985 gallons of input since installation…he can confirm that it went up 1 gallon through his efforts.


Ok, on to Fun Stuff©. Today’s mission was to visit the Wormsloe Historic site, Jones Street and the Candler Oak so let’s get right to it.

In order to ‘splain the Wormsloe Historic Site…a little history is in order. As you may…or more likely may not…know, the colony of Georgia was founded in 1733 by a group of British Utopian folks and…amazingly enough…was founded with slavery being illegal as they thought that having slaves would cause the colonists to “become an entitled aristocratic landowner class rather than yeoman farmers” that the Utopians thought was preferable. One of the colonists was named Noble Jones…although he wasn’t a noble at all but rather a carpenter. By tradition back then…carpenters did their own surveying and because old Noble was one of the trusted confidants of the colony director James Oglethorpe he ended up with a whole series of unpaid tasks…surveyor, doctor, constable, captain of the militia. He continued to juggle these assigned tasks…performing none of them well as he was over-extended…for about 3 years when the colony organizers back in England sent out a representative to figure out why the colony wasn’t progressing as fast as the organizers wanted. Several of the other colonists complained that Noble hadn’t got around to surveying their land (each colonist was limited to 500 acres) and hence they weren’t able to grow anything. Despite Noble’s insistence that he was overloaded and underpaid…the rep reported back to the organizers that he was an “indolent man”…as a result he was fired from all of his positions. Not being too happy at being labeled a slacker due to no fault of his own…he determined to take up his 500 acres south of the city and show them he was as industrious as the next colonist.

He founded the estate of Wormsloe…which was originally called Wormslow after the region in Wales where Noble’s family came from in 1737 and today it is still inhabited…and farmed…by his descendants…making it the oldest continuously owned by a family estate in the state and one of the oldest in the entire country. In 1972 his dependents donated most of the estate to the Nature Conservancy which sold it to the state…leaving about 80 acres which are owned, farmed, and occupied by the descendants.

When you enter the Historic Site…which comprises the acreage owned by the state…you proceed down a dead straight 1.5 mile long driveway named Oak Road for the 400 live oaks planted along it’s sides. Here’s a shot taken from just inside the entrance arch…the white fence you can just barely make out in the distance across the road is about 2/3 of the distance down Oak Road.

D75 1220 Luminar2018 edit

It’s a really, really impressive driveway.

As requested by my baby sister MJ…here’s a slightly improved version of not the above shot but one taken at about the same time from the same place…I wanted to give it more of the golden hour early morning view than the one above. It’s not really better…or worse…than the originally processed shot…just a different feel. If we’re down that way earlier in the morning again before we leave I might stop by and get Neil to grab another shot for me to play with. Taking photos within an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset is really the optimum timing…but unfortunately that requires a lot of early mornings. I actually like both of these…the overall lighting effect in the first is closer to reality but the color cast of the latter is a bit closer to reality as well…it really depends on what you like. Me…I’m a sucker for waterfalls (as you well know if you’ve been reading these missives for very long) as well as Golden Hour.

D75 1220 Luminar2018 edit 0 2

Are either of these really close to life as actually seen by our eyes? Depends on your point of view I guess…no camera can ever really capture the dynamic range and color range that eyes do…so almost every photo really needs some post processing in order to capture either “what the photographer say with his eyes” or “ what is the photographer trying to say with this image”. From an optically perfect perspective…the second one is too warm and yellow…but is really close to what your eyes would have seen if Neil had only been there a bit earlier in the day. Sadly though…he wasn’t…so I had to assist him a bit.

At the far end of the driveway we went into the museum, watched the movie and toured the exhibits…finding that there’s a geocache station inside the Visitor Center. We had decided to give the geocaching hobby a try this summer as it entails hiking to and finding various caches spread around the country…inside each there’s a log book you sign and some small trinkets which you can take one and leave one. Some of the trinkets have stories attached to them…for instance one might be in a cache in Savannah GA with a note that says “I need to get to cache #5487a which is located near Spokane WA. So if you’re proceeding in that direction…you take it along and deposit it in another cache…even if you only moved it 100 miles. The trinket eventually gets to it’s destination and the originator gets a report back on the travels of his object. It seems like a neat hobby and involves some sleuthing as once you get in the vicinity of the GPS coordinates of a particular cache you still need to actually find it.

In this particular cache’s case…it’s what is known as a 3 stage multi-cache and it’s serial number GC2RT02…it’s rated as difficulty 2 and terrain 1.5. The cache itself is locked with a 4 number combination lock…the multi part comes about as you must proceed to 3 locations around the historic site…amazingly enough they’re all on the hike to see the various sites and artifacts…so we headed out to find the info we needed…which you then plug into a math equation on the cache web page to get the combo for the lock.

First stop was the house and fort that Noble built to overlook and guard the Jones Narrows…which was back in the day the main shipping channel into the port at the city of Savannah.

D75 1227

The first piece of information we needed was the number of sally ports (i.e., musket openings) visible on the remaining walls of the ruin. You can see one of the ports on the corner piece at the far right hand side of the shot…it’s the hole about 18 inches square. The house and fort themselves were built of tabby…which is a sort of concrete made out of lime, sand, oyster shells, and water. I can’t reveal the exact number of sally ports as then you could go and plunder the cache without following the steps to all the multi stages.

Next up was the overlook at the Jones Narrows…as you can see it’s just a swamp now but the construction of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway in the 1960s and the Diamond Causeway to the south of Wormsloe after that reduced the water flow through the Narrows to almost nothing and as a result it silted up into the marsh  we see today. We did see either a white heron or great egret way out there…but even with the bird lens it would have been just a white dot.

D75 1230 Pano

Next up we stopped by the Colonial Life and Living History area to check out the wattle and daub hut located there…it contained our last clue and the third one we needed was found inside the museum at the visitor center.

Here’s a shot of the hut…which as anybody can clearly see just has to be Grandmother’s House.

D75 1237

Now I ask ya…how do I know it’s Grandmother’s House?

Ya sure ya don’t know?

Think hard now…but if ya give up ya can just scroll down a bit for some clues.

Why it’s got to be Grandmother’s House because it’s

Over the river.

D75 1234


And through the  woods.

D75 1235

Sheesh…I thought everybody knew that…

There was also the blacksmith’s shop there and Connie got a couple of shots of the equipment there.

D71 5392

D71 5395

Then we headed back to the Visitor Center via the Pines Trail…passing this mushroom that looked amazingly like a Blueberry Muffin to us…although it would most likely kill you if you ate it like the vast majority of mushroom species will. One of the things I can guarantee I’ll never do is harvest my own fungi…it’s way too likely that you’ll kill yourself unless you’re an expert or accompanied by an expert.

D75 1239

Once back at the Visitor Center…we did the math, opened the cache box…which in this case is a .50 caliber machine guy ammo box…logged ourselves in and took credit for our first cache on I guess this means we’re not geocaching virgins anymore…and we’ll still respect ourselves in the morning.

As we departed…Neil got another shot back up Oak Road…again you can barely see the white fence in the distance…it’s the same fence as in the other photo from above but from the other end of the 1.5 mile long road which is essentially the driveway.

D75 1244

Our next destination was Jones Street…which is supposed to be the “prettiest street in Savannah” filled with old colonial era homes and buildings…we didn’t actually see anything there worth stopping for so…

We headed for our last destination for the day…the Candler Oak…which is supposed to be 300 years old and be the oldest tree in the area. Connie stuffed the address of the law firm it’s in the parking lot of into our GPS…she got the address off of Trip Advisor…and it led us to this oak tree.


Unfortunately…this isn’t in the parking lot of a law firm so Connie googled it again and found out this is just the Candler Oak Wannabe…which proves once again that you should never, never, ever trust anything TripAdvisor tells you unless it’s been independently confirmed by an actual source that knows what they’re talking about.

D75 1251

On finding out the actual correct address…we went there and got a photo of the actual Candler Oak.

D75 1257

Although to tell the truth the wannabe actually looked better and more photogenic than the actual one did. We also passed by a nice little park and Connie hopped out and got a couple shots of it and the nearby colonial…or maybe Antebellum era…buildings.

D71 5397

D71 5398

With that our day of Fun Stuff© was done so we headed home for lunch and some odds and ends we needed to get done.

On to interesting things found on the net.

Go go gadget…go!


Fark the police.




My name is Bond…James Bond…and you are?


A perfect match.

Amazing APerfectMatch

Still looking.


Shamelessly borrowed from


And finally…how to prank your co-workers…and probably get stabbed by them as well.



About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
This entry was posted in RV, Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Launch Day and Savannah GA

  1. Mj Trainor says:

    OMG that one pic looked like the Avenue of the Oaks from Spring Hill! Have fun lovies! Talked to Ron tonight. Still a bit miffed after x3 rejections this week. FML! BabySis

    • Neil Laubenthal says:

      It was actually way cooler than the one out at Spring Hill…trees much closer together…maybe 30 feet apart on both sides and extending for 1 mile and a half.

      It was almost as cool as the pine trees along the road known as the Appian way in Rome…the ones that were the idea behind the classical music piece by Resphigi name The Pines of Rome. I was in a hurry today to get the blog post done…but I’ll try later to do a little of my photo processing magic with one of the shots I got to really give it a better look.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.