Saturday morning ramblings

It was chilly and windy morning, but the countryside was calling me l. I suited up, grabbed my camera, and answered the call. I went first to Little Ocmulgee State Park. The wind off the lake was COLD, and the water was choppier than I’d ever seen it.

I headed home from there by way of Hwy 341, this weekend’s Peaches to Beaches route. I slowed for the traffic but didn’t stop. I made a left further down onto SR-149 then a right onto County Road 173 after passing through Scotland.

I passed Davis Chapel Church Road but since I was in the mood to explore and had never driven it, I made a u-turn, went back, and hung a left. It’s a long, winding dirt road (my favorite kind), and I saw beauty all along the way. I backed up a few times to make pics.

Making a left onto Springhill Church Road, I headed to Hwy 19, stopping along the way to make pics. I must’ve been driving 35 or 40 mph so when cars approached, I slowed to let them pass.

At the intersection of highways 19 and 126, I crossed 19 and made a right onto Jordan Road, another dirt road. Yes, I was enjoying my dirt road cruise! A couple of miles later, I made a left onto Beetle Road (y’all know that’s another dirt road, right?), and followed it home.

Yes, gas is high right now and we’re probably all inclined to conserve and make fewer trips. But when it comes to roaming the countryside, cruising these dirt roads (or highways), and soaking up all that beauty, it’s worth every minute, every mile, and every dollar.

Another dirt road kinda Sunday

It was a dirt road kinda Sunday again today, and it started the same way the others did: at the garbage dumpster. I drove St. Paul Church Road (SPCR) again but this time, I drove roads I hadn’t been on since the 70s!!

My route took me from SPCR, past Rabbit Road then onto Opossum Road, which I drove until I reached Meadowlark Road. I made a right onto Meadowlark and drove it for a mile or two before making my way back to Opossum Road. My travels then took me down Coyote Lane, a road I hadn’t traveled since the 70s.

I made these shots along the way and stopped to visit a friend, but she wasn’t home. CL didn’t appear to be home either so I kept moving.

On my way out of Coyote Lane, Ernest J. was sitting on his porch so I visited with him from the car.

The lane to Terri’s home place was nothing like I remembered, but it was good seeing it nonetheless.

I asked Ernest about Jackie’s home place, but I didn’t make it by there today. Maybe next time.

PS: I headed home via Hwy 19 to County Road 75 and passed a pond on my left. I backed up, stopped IN the highway, and made my pics.

Winter weather advisory

Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill texted notification of a winter weather advisory this morning that reminded me of last week’s “snow storm” that left roads jammed and motorists stranded. I was out of town at the time, tucked safely away from the pandemonium created by the two inches. It was cold and drizzly down on the farm, but we didn’t get any snow.

It’d been a few years since I last saw snow in Atlanta, and I was regretting not being there to experience it. At that point, you see, I wasn’t thinking at all about the black ice that turned a five-minute drive into two hours that January night in Hiram, Georgia…the black ice that forced me to spend the night in a Hiram hotel rather than drive the 40 plus miles home to Riverdale…the drive that had me longing for a shot of Jack Daniels to calm my nerves when I finally made it to the hotel.

roadsouthNo, all I was thinking of that day on the farm were the photo ops I was missing and that I wouldn’t get to see the wonder on the faces of my little nieces as they experienced snow for the first time. But then Mama and I took a break from watching Gunsmoke and Bonanza to tune in to the weather reports out of Atlanta. Wow, what a shift!!

After hearing reports of drives taking seven hours or more that should normally have taken only 30 minutes; of drivers running out of gas and abandoning their cars; of drivers, teachers and students spending the night away from home, I decided “I’m good.”

With that, I suited up for the misty cold, grabbed my camera, and headed down the country roads of home. I saw plants I’d never seen, took shots of the streams my siblings and I played in as children that, like us, have also grown up.

I ventured off-road into areas I’d never noticed before, areas my brother GB was shocked to learn I’d gone because of the wild boar that hung out there. I didn’t see any trace of them, but what I did see on the walk back to house was an animal that exited the woods several yards from me, sensed my presence, and paused long enough to check me out before heading on its way. I thought it was a dog initially, but discovered that it had left hoof prints instead of paw prints. I described it to Mama and GB, but neither of them could tell me what it was and subsequent web searches have been fruitless. The only regret I have from that day is that I didn’t get its picture.

Clouds and country roads

What makes photographing clouds so irresistible? Like sunrises and sunsets, they can be so awe-inspiring that I often stop in the middle of the road to get one more shot because no matter how many I already have, one more is never too many. And that pleasure is but one of the many enjoyments of country roads.

Rainy days and Tuesdays…

It was raining buckets when I left Atlanta Tuesday, but instead of dreading the rainy two and a half hour drive, I was actually excited about it. As I looked out of my friend’s window at the rain and the sky, I remember thinking what a beautiful sight it was. I then imagined listening to Never Change, one of Elizabeth Berg’s books, during my below-speed-limit drive to Glenwood. So, I said my goodbyes, set my GPS (for speed and ETA), loaded my book and was on my way.

As I approached my exit in Dublin, I remembered the Saturday afternoon a year or more ago when I passed Beulah Baptist Church on Highway 19 a few miles from Glenwood. There was a car parked under the trees in the church yard and the driver, head bowed, appeared to be reading. It was a peaceful scene that I’ve longed to experience each time I passed but for whatever reason, I never stopped…until today.

Before exiting the freeway, I decided that today would be the day that I follow my inspiration to create that memory and as I type this, I’m parked under the trees in the church yard. It’s so peaceful here! It’s drizzling lightly with only the crickets and the occasional passing car breaking the silence. It feels good, and I’m really glad I stopped.

It’s been a few days since my stop at Beulah Baptist, and I’ve wondered since then why we so often procrastinate doing what we want to do, what we feel inspired to do it. Perhaps your reason is the same as mine: hurrying to reach the destination. What I discovered on my cross-country road trip, however, is that the journey to wherever can be just as enjoyable as the destination. When I’d leave my hotel room, I’d have a general idea about where I was going but I was always open to adventure and seldom was I disappointed.

Since I’ve been roaming around the country roads of home–some I’ve traveled many times before to and from Atlanta–I’ve been seeing them as if for the first time. I’m seeing houses that went unnoticed before; a flower-pot couple lounging beside the highway; and even a flock of goats grazing in the “field” between two houses. I’m so glad that I’m now appreciating the journey just as much–or more–as my destination and that I’m seeing all the things I missed before.

I’m also enjoying this time with my brother. He took me fishing a few days ago but that didn’t go too well; it was way too hot, the gnats way too many, and the fish biting too few. So for now, I’m putting away my fishing tackle until cooler days but in the meantime, I’ll continue capturing the scenic countryside in picture.

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