End of Day Eight: Saturday , November 25, 2017
It is the eighth day of our nine day road trip. Last night we stayed in Dillard, Georgia. Construction work has instilled in me an alarm clock which wakes me earlier than most. Even on vacation my internal alarm clock continued to awaken me. So I went for a walk then made my way to the lobby of the quaint inn to wait for my traveling companion to get up and about.
There were only two tables in the continental breakfast area and one of them was occupied so the empty table received my Bible, journal, and me. Sipping hot coffee and lost in stories from God’s word my reverie of Daniel and King Nebuchadnezzar was ended when a handsome stranger asked if he could share my table. “Absolutely” I responded with a smile.
Over coffee we discussed what had brought us to this small Georgia town for the weekend, where we call home, a little about our faith and other basic information that strangers tend to share on their first encounter. I learned that he lives in North Florida and is in the process of retiring. He recently opened an ice cream parlor in honor of his parents and hopes to play a part in supporting the local business economy. The long holiday weekend offered him an opportunity to get away to the mountains and unwind. Our unexpected encounter was a pleasant way to start the day. By the time our coffee was gone other travelers had awoken and the tables were in high demand. We said our goodbyes, he went off to explore the mountains and I went off to see if my traveling companion was awake.
Sharon was awake and ready for more treasure hunting. We had breakfast at a small cafe and then took a short drive to Sky Valley the highest point in Georgia. We pulled over at a lookout point and enjoyed the view before proceeding on our journey south. The view of the valley was beautiful. My photo falls short in showing the true perspective viewed by the natural eye. It is at times like this the idea of purchasing professional camera equipment comes to mind.
We crossed into North Carolina and for a few moments contemplated disappearing into the mountains for a few more days. Reluctantly we managed to get ourselves turned around and headed back down the easterly Georgia state line zigzagging into South Carolina as we made our way south.
A lookout stop near the Chattooga Rive in South Carolina allowed me to take a brief walk to view the river more closely and the desire to go whitewater rafting rekindled in my adventure seeking soul. Hopefully next year it will be added to my list of experiences actually experienced. That was our last stop in South Carolina, the remainder of our day would be in Georgia.
For lunch we stopped in Athens and during an after lunch walk discovered Avid Bookshop. Bookshops to me are like quilt shops to Sharon. Avid is a charming little shop where my decision to revisit the classic “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott was made. After snapping a few photos of other points of interest my walk took me back to the car and we continued onward.
The next stop was Attic Treasures an antique shop owned and operated by Charles and Joann Stewart. I asked Joann how she came to be an antique dealer. She explained that they had opened the shop in the 90’s in an effort to clear out some things in their own home. When they were done selling their own items they still had two months left on the building lease and decided to try buying and selling antiques as a business. Their decision turned out to be a great idea. They have enjoyed looking for items to offer in their shop and have an interesting array of antique from delicate crystal to rugged war relics. Sharon found a few treasures including an antique quilt rack.
The most fun we had today was a surprise visit with my niece, Stacia Hanes Greer, and her family. She saw my Facebook post about Dillard and reminded me via messenger that she lives in Douglas. Interestingly her message came through at the very moment we were refueling in Douglas. Sharon agreed that we could stop for a visit so a few minutes later we were ringing Stacia’s doorbell, no one was home. Sharon asked, “Did you tell her we were stopping by?” and I replied something like, “What fun would that be? I want to surprise her. How often do you ask a relative hundreds of miles away to stop by and within minutes they are at your door? “ A quick call coordinating where to meet and a few minutes later we were all hugging and laughing as we sat down to enjoy dinner together.
An hour or so after dinner and we had arrived in Valdosta for the night. What a day it has been, meeting a handsome stranger this morning, driving through the colorful landscape of South Carolina and Georgia, finding treasures, and a beautiful surprise visit with family. Needless to say peaceful sleep arrived the moment my head hit the pillow.