America '98
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America Trip
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Days 4 to 10
Day 11
Day 12
Days 13 to 14
Day 15
Days 16 to 18
Days 19 to 23
Days 24 to 34
Days 35 to 38
Days 39 to 44
Days 45 to 49
Days 50 to 57
Days 58 to 70
Days 71 to 86
Days 87 to 100
 Days 39-44: Southern East Coast

After staying two nights at the Burn’s home, we headed east and hit the east coast at Crescent Beach and St. Augestine. It took a while to find a campsite, as the land it pretty crowded and developed, but we eventually found a spot just south of the Georgia state line. When we crossed the into Georgia the next morning, we were amazed to find gas prices at $0.81 per gallon. The air was thick with smoke and fog from forest fires in the area. We entered Savannah, which had a very distinct downtown district area, similar to that of New Orleans. Many buildings dated back to the Civil War, rebuilt after the town’s destruction by Sherman. The weather turned to very heavy rain soon after we arrived, and we parked and explored. I just wore my typical attire of sandals and shorts, and added my hat to keep the rain out of my face. The Savannah River had runs on the northern side of the downtown, and was occupied by fancy tour boats. We checked out the area for a couple hours, and the rain slowed down. We drove on into South Carolina, and camped not far across the border. We asked some locals for a nice place to camp, and we were directed to an area on the edge of a river marsh. We were under large trees, and watched what looked like alligators swimming along. We also saw an armadillo wandering around our camp area. In the morning we saw hundreds of crabs along the shore. Some we a couple inches across and others were the size of a large pin-head. The next day we traveled north. Just below the state line of North Carolina there is a very tacky tourist trap called South of the Border, having a Mexican theme. We stopped briefly there, and headed into North Carolina. One of my old Willcox friends, Domek Franko, is in the Army and is currently stationed at Fort Bragg, near Fayetteville. We drove to the base, gave him a call, and we went to his barracks. It reminded me a lot of the fraternity dorms, except the lack of women. Basically lots of young men, beer, and swearing. A lot of them didn’t seem too friendly to us ‘civs’ stopping by, but the rest were interesting to talk with. We hung out with Domek for a while, and he took us out to a Mexican restaurant. When we went back to the base, a lot of the guys had begun getting really reckless and going crazy around the barracks, due to mass consumption of beer and whiskey. They yelled at us for having such ‘long’ hair. A guy who called himself ‘Rattlesnake’ almost got in a fight with another guy, nothing happened. We watched ‘Platoon’ with Domek, and then Guru and I went and drove out to find a camp site, which ended up being in a little patch of forest on the outskirts of town. We slept under the stars since the weather looked nice, and there weren’t too many critters around. The next day we went back to the base and hung around for a couple hours. Domek took us out to an all you can eat Chinese buffet, and we stuffed ourselves. We’re being pretty light on the food budget, and it had been a long time since we had been completely full. Domek showed us around town some, and we went back to base, talked for a while before Gu and I went back on the road. We traveled west, briefly crossing into South Carolina. We took a very nice country road, winding through the lush green small town. We camped that night in a forest off the road. It was an interesting site, as we were in some strange pine trees with white sandy ground. We were awoke in the morning by a black man driving a pick up truck. He asked us if we were camping out, and we told him that we were just traveling and stopped there for the night. He didn’t own the land, but was watching over it. He went on without bothering us, and we left soon afterwards. We went on, driving through what seemed a perpetual small town, and entered Charlotte. It is a pretty sizable town, and we stocked up on food supplies, and headed on to the Blue Ridge Mountains. The mountains are wonderful, and the first real elevation we have encountered since Arkansas. The trees are huge and full, and the views are incredible seeing hills for many miles in all directions. A ranger station said we could camp at a place on a trail, so we parked the car, ate supper before hiking through the forest. The forest there was by far the best we have seen on the trip, almost mystical feelings arose from the environment. We camped on a very rough patch of ground, just before a thunderstorm arrived. We watched thousands of fireflies flashing in the lightning. The next day, we continued driving through the Blue Ridge Mountains, making a hike to see the Linnville falls. The terrific views continued as we went further west. We saw more small towns nestled in the mountains, and western North Carolina is one of the best places I’ve seen in the entire country. We ended up camping on a ledge high up on a mountain overlooking Waynesville.