From Myrtle Beach, we drove through Florence, Columbia and Greenville before passing back into Georgia for a wedding. Jess’s brother Jamey married his new bride Rachel at a ceremony at Toccoa Falls.
Jess and I were both honored to be in the wedding as a bridesmaid and groomsman and Braden got to come down the aisle right before Rachel with a sign announcing “Here Comes the Bride!” Everyone did just what they were supposed to and the ceremony was beautiful. Best of luck to both of them! As a bonus we got to take home leftover cake made by Jess’s aunt and it was delicious.
Toccoa Falls was way bigger and cooler than I remember. I’d recommend it as one of the coolest wedding spots I’ve ever seen.
My family has a place with an excellent front porch in Turnerville, Ga., about 15 minutes from Toccoa so we stayed there with Jess’s parents. The night after the wedding, a few of the wedding guests came by and we wound up swapping stories on the porch until about 4 a.m.
My family has a lot of history in the North Georgia mountains, including generation after generation getting creeped out by the Cabbage Patch birthing at Babyland General Hospital. I decided to continue this tradition by taking Braden on Father’s Day and it didn’t disappoint. We spent some time in the car later apologizing that he never had a cabbage nest as a baby. This led to a later discussion in Virginia about how cows are born.
While there, we visited overlooks into Talulah Gorge, which is the deepest gorge east of the Mississippi. Braden hiked around Talulah Gorge State Park with his cousins while the rest of us got ready for the wedding. Jess, Braden and I hiked to Ada-Hi Falls at Black Rock Mountain State Park. The overlooks were much more impressive than the falls. Braden, my father-in-law and I also briefly checked out Panther Creek in the Chattahoochee National Forest after a good breakfast where Braden flirted with the waitresses the entire time.
From North Georgia, we headed north into North Carolina on US 23/441 through Clayton up to Franklin. It was the squiggliest road so far for us in the RV, but vehicle and driver proved up to the task. We stopped in Asheville for some excellent tacos at Neo Burrito and meeting up with an old friend. Our friend Uch had left Chattanooga for a job in North Carolina earlier this year so it was good to see him. He joined us for s’mores at our Thousand Trails campground in Lenoir, NC the next day. It was a good time and great to catch up, except Braden has been walking around burping and spitting ever since.
The campground was not really our kind of place, but Jess and Braden did enjoy the pool. I did not enjoy the dial-up Internet they offered.
The next stop, however, made up for it. After a brief stop meeting with some folks at a nearby telephone company, we rumbled into Stone Mountain State Park. The big mountain there looks a lot like Georgia’s Stone Mountain without Jefferson Davis, laser shows and all of the people. We hiked about four miles the first day there and about seven the second day, and scarcely saw any other people. I don’t understand why, because the views were absolutely stunning. This is definitely a hidden gem. After a Thursday where I had a hugely productive workday, we hiked to some great spots, we played catch with Braden’s new baseball glove and cooked excellent chicken fajitas over the fire, I was feeling like George from “It’s a Wonderful Life.” It was very nearly a perfect day and more than made up for spending Father’s Day amongst the cabbages.
That mood has just kind of stayed with us for the next few days. The big nice campground and great hikes at Stone Mountain just amplified the happiness we felt from seeing friends and family members in Georgia and North Carolina. Those two days at Stone Mountain SP really let us know how good life on the road can be. Now on to Virginia!