May 15, 2021 – (pre-trip)
I am a trip planner. Even with the shutdown of COVID, I was looking to the future – re-booking cancelled trips and scheduling or thinking about new trips. Microsoft Notes, Microsoft One Calendar, Microsoft Excel, Google Maps, Google Flights, Accuweather, and TripAdvisor are my go-to assistants.
With cruising on hold until very end of 2021 or sometime in 2022, we’ve been reviewing our road trip list. We have had the Outer Banks on our travel list for quite a while. However, we have only been interested in going in April or May. We wanted to avoid the summer crowds and have been leery of the Fall hurricanes. We decided that this was the year. So, in January 2021, I booked a hotel for Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina – the middle of the Outer Banks.
We thought mid-May would be the perfect time for this year. Vaccines were beginning to become available, and we hoped to get one before May. Schools would still be in session so maybe the crowds would be low. Prices were still reasonable before Memorial Day. Restaurants were still available even if only for pick-up. Our hotel room had a full kitchen so we could bring back food with no issue. All our planned activities involved the outdoors so social distancing could be observed. The weather was predicted to be very pleasant.
Fast forward to May. Both vaccinated. Mask-wearing rules and social distancing relaxed. Weather predictions excellent. Restaurants allowing in-person dining. Bags packed. Looking good.
Then…Russian hackers? Pipeline shutdown in the Southeast? Gas hoarding? Brawls at the gas stations? Hummers, filled with extra gas tanks, blowing up and catching fire? What is happening?
Called the hotel front desk person to ask about the gas situation there – “We’ve got no gas around here.” Trip cancelled.
I’m a planner. Let’s review our travel list for places we want to see. What can we do that, worse case scenario, we can get home and back on one tank of gas? Callaway Gardens / Pine Mountain, rose to the top of the list. Added bonus – we can even avoid Atlanta by traveling there via US 27 – known in Georgia as the Martha Berry Highway and designated as a Scenic Hometown Highway.
According to their website, Callaway has over 2,500 acres of gardens and trails. There are walking trails and biking trails. There is a lake for fishing, swimming, and canoeing. There is a butterfly center. Ziplining is there for the adventurous. If you want more outdoor activities, the FDR state park is 4 miles away and the Animal Safari park is 8 miles away. We’ve booked a room with a balcony that overlooks the lake. Hope it is as nice as its picture. Doesn’t have a full kitchen but it does have a small refrigerator. There are several restaurants on property that are available. Bags already packed. Gas tank is full. Weather forecast looks decent. Leaving tomorrow. Hoping for the best.
Travel Trivia –
U.S. Route 27 (US 27) is a north–south United States Highway in the southern and midwestern United States. The southern terminus is at US 1 in Miami, Florida. The northern terminus is at Interstate 69 (I-69) in Fort Wayne, Indiana. From Miami it goes up the center of Florida, then west to Tallahassee, Florida, and north through such cities and towns as Columbus, Georgia; Rome, Georgia; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Lexington, Kentucky; Cincinnati, Ohio; Oxford, Ohio; Richmond, Indiana; and Fort Wayne, Indiana. It once extended north through Lansing, Michigan, to Cheboygan, Mackinaw City, and for about three years as far as St. Ignace. US 27 was first signed in 1926, replacing what had been the western route of the Dixie Highway in many states.
Martha Berry (1865 – 1942) was the founder of the Berry Schools for academically able but economically poor children of the rural South—those who usually could not afford to go to other schools. These schools of the early 1900s grew within three decades into Berry College, a comprehensive liberal arts college in Rome Georgia. As a result of her work of forty years with the schools and college, Berry is among Georgia’s most prominent women of the first half of the twentieth century.