(>Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator)
The first night in Georgia we spent at the edge of the big city Atlanta in a nearby city park. On arrival it was still rainy, the sky loosened during the night and in the morning it was fresh. The first visitors to the park looked at us in astonishment and looked at our coffee cooking skills.
The sunbeams soon warmed us up and, …. somehow we didn’t feel like Atlanta, the capital of the south, which is constantly growing and competing with Hollywood in the film industry. One reads and hears indeed only positive, but after the Appalachians we longed for even more landscape and not the driving along mighty skyscrapers still in wonderful villa quarters.
We turned off, turned through the hilly hinterland and tried to avoid Atlanta on beautiful country roads to the north. But where on my electronic map a way would run, there stood simply a wall, or it followed an entrance gate to some total building development and we had neither an invitation nor another permission. Presumably the new film heroes and other important personalities of the big world live there. The guards always willingly gave information on where and how we could go on, but these descriptions always led to highways, which we did not want.
But if you search, you’ll find it, and so we discovered the paths that corresponded to our minds.
In the border region Georgia-Alabama we reached wide fields with their huge farms, where among other things cotton is planted and waited for the harvest at the moment of our passage. Adjacent to the farm areas followed the southwestern foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, where the infinitely large forests mostly belong to the national forests.
Soon we bumped up over forest paths, greeted some stunned hunters and other “jeep tracks”, which also want to ride their coaster not only on asphalt. We again followed the mountain ranges and tempting path names, such as Skyway, and these led us further up until one evening we looked from a rocky ledge into the wide plain of Birmingham (Alabama).
We spent two full days on these highways and when we reached the highway we also knew why this took so long; it was a jeep trail which was laid out in this national forest by some offroad group and official blessing.
Our next destination was Moundville, where the best preserved mounds from the pre-Columbian Missisippi culture can still be found today and where the exhibition provided the necessary background information. The pre-Columbian cultures maintained contact to other groups over large areas, where, among other things, a certain knowledge transfer took place, but also the organization, as well as building method showed large similarities.
In the nearby State-Park, the groundskeeper pointed out to us that we should not go too close to the shallow shore of the lake when it was dark; we were in alligator country and they sometimes liked to bite into human calves!
Apart from this lizard, snakes also creep around thanks to the higher temperatures and there are said to be some of the more poisonous ones here!
Further we roamed the wide forest and pasture areas of the southern Alabama up to the southern border, turned there to the east to get back to Georgia.
It was almost exactly one month ago when southwestern Georgia was hit by Hurricane “Michael” and left its deep traces in Blakely. There were heavy machines everywhere, roofers repaired the damaged roofs, and large quantities of timber were available at the roadsides for removal. For the people, this is probably a recurring reality, but it will take months for most of it to be as it once was; other things are no longer built and remain as they were in the storm.
Probably also the hurricane with the following rainfalls was partly responsible that in southern Georgia many cotton fields were still waiting for their harvest and huge peanut fields were probably ploughed without harvesting.
After about 200 kilometers the whole haunt was over, the villages and landscape presented themselves again absolutely normal, as if there had never been anything here. A crazy thing, these hurricanes, where nobody can say exactly how, when and where they will be next time!
The more we steered the Atlantic, the more difficult our route planning became, we wanted to continue to avoid highways and other highways and head for the sea via side roads. The rivers here run from northwest to southeast and have large adjacent wetlands on both sides; there are not bridges every few kilometers, but have to be approached specifically. We were also forced by large private estates, where it is usually forbidden to pass through, to take longer detours, or even to return to any public highway.
The longer we drove through the rural hinterland of the two southern states, both in Alabama and in Georgia, the more we noticed the north-south gradient. In both states there are massive differences between wealthy and poor in the south. Lotterbuden” are followed by magnificent ranches with corresponding gardens – no, they are actually parks that are laid out around the house. In the cities, it is mostly the black population quarters that are in a rather dilapidated state, followed by wonderful residential quarters.
Also the political mood is very present and this mostly with simple dwellings, as if they were the big landowners!
And you meet people carrying a weapon openly around in the holster, as if we were in a wild west film. Very special!
The sun was already low when we reached the Atlantic on a quiet Saturday afternoon, drove through Brunswick and out to the peninsula off the coast. The upcoming national holiday (Veterans Day) and the beautiful weekend moved many people in the same direction and so there was a lot going on on State-Park of Jekyll-Island. For us there was no place to stay outside and only late in the evening we reached a place in the interior where we were allowed to stay. The Americans apparently love to be in nature and use every opportunity to park their camper van somewhere.
We were only a few kilometers away from Florida and the cloudy sky drove us southwards.
The huge river deltas, almost all of which are under state or national protection, have to be crossed far inland and only a few roads could reach the few offshore villages; these are only connected to each other by water and our jeep, despite the snorkel, can’t keep up.
Someday, after a bridge it stood there; the welcome sign to the sun country and here the sun should give its best; we were looking forward to warmer days.
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