Saturday, September 12, 2009

The damp of Savannah

Friday, Sept. 4 -- After a lovely dinner, a walk along the Savannah River, a good night's sleep and doing a spot of laundry, I bid aloha to Augusta, Ga., and our friend Claudia and headed down the road toward historic Savannah, next to Natchez my southernmost stop. Along the way, I stopped for some barbecue and captured some of the rural scenery.

Cows cool off the old-fashioned way as the cooling towers of the Plant Vogtle nuclear power plant loom on the horizon

For just $5, you can keep it "crunk all night long" in Rincon, Ga.

One could become a connoisseur of barbecue in the South

After what seemed like hours getting down the last stretch of straight, flat, four-lane GA 21 through Effingham, I finally arrived in Savannah's shady downtown. Since it was a sunny day, I continued on across the Moon River -- which truly is "wider than a mile" if you count the grassy shallows -- to Skidway Island State Park, about ten miles from the city, and looked for a dry spot to pitch my tent. Despite the sunshine, the humidity had kept things marshy.

Johnny Mercer's song is named after this river outside Savannah

Having made camp in the jungle near Savannah, I was ready to cook dinner

Saturday morning dawned clear, but everything was soaked with dew. I left it all to dry out and let the GPS take me to town. If you don't specify an address, the machine always takes you to city hall, so that's where I parked that Saturday morning. Two well-dressed ladies pulled up in front of me and, seeing me studying the parking meter, one called "you don't need to feed the meter on Saturdays!"

The gilded dome of City Hall rises along the Savannah river

They were curious about my motorcycle and we chatted for a few minutes. It turned out they were both city councilwomen come to town to meet with dignitaries visiting from Germany and proud and delighted that someone from Hawaii had decided to visit their city.

Savannah city councilwomen welcomed me to the "City of Trees"

Savannah's riverfront -- home to steamboats, artists and revelers -- with the Talmadge Memorial Bridge in the background

Trees offer cool shade and a unique downtown atmosphere

These cobblestone waterfront streets date from the 1700s

The historic district of Savannah has 21 squares, most named for historical persons or events, many with monuments or statues

Savannah's memorials seem to dwell more on the Revolutionary War and less on the War Between the States than other Southern cities. For example, next to City Hall are a brace of cannon captured from Cornwallis at Yorktown, a gift to the city from George Washington in gratitude for contributions to the war effort by Savannah's Chatham Artillery. During the Civil War, the cannon were buried and only unearthed in 1872 after the federal occupation force departed.

After breakfast and a walk through the historic district, I departed, too, returning to Skidway Island, collecting my gear and heading north over the Talmadge Bridge toward Charleston.

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