Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Moving North

The weather is changing. It's moving from the warmth of Florida sunshine to the rain and clouds of springtime, shifting away from eternal summer to recognizable variability as we head north on our journey. Today is the last day of short sleeves; tomorrow we will bring out our long sleeved shirts and our jackets. The chill of winter will soon be upon us; we are headed home. My only hope is that spring will have arrived in Canada by the time we get there. It's a thin hope.

Yesterday we moved once again through rural Georgia, headed north past houses, farms and fields set in rural, even near wilderness settings. Farms, carved out of the Georgia forests three centuries ago, houses older than the Civil War, fields once used for cotton and now used for corn, folks living in farm houses who have never touch a plough; it is a soft country of slow rolling hills.

We got to Augusta, Georgia at about the same time as Masters golf fever. We pulled onto Washington Boulevard, a few blocks from Augusta National Golf Course, to the sight of thousands of people battling for parking, buying and selling tickets, fighting for hotel rooms, generally clogging every sidewalk, parking lot, and pathway. Beautiful open fields with stately oaks have been converted to parking lots for the week. Signs everywhere declare private property just in case you want to park or drive there.

The "real" tournament starts on Thursday. With rooms going for a minimum of $250 a night, even at the local Motel 6, we decided not to stay. Instead we wanted to take a look at the setting, and perhaps snap a few pictures of the venue. Our strategy was simple; I would drop Katherine off at the gate to take some pictures, then drive off to a nearby mall and wait in the truck while she took the shots and then returned to me. Unfortunately a large lady security guard told her no pictures were allowed, even from across the street, and then proceeded to stand immediately in front of her to block her view. We had to make do with pictures of the crowds.

Having had our fill of Masters madness, we headed north again, through South Carolina, into North Carolina. As we drove, those slow rolling, small hills became larger, with steeper slopes. We are moving towards the Applachian mountain chain, this row of ancient rocks which could be considered  the "eastern Rockies", only about a billion years older, a lot more worn down. This chain of mountains starts in Newfoundland, making its way down the eastern part of the continent, separating the Atlantic states from the watershed of the Mississippi.

Our plan is to drive up into a part of Appalachia known as the Great Smoky Mountains, a part of the Blue Ridge chain of mountains that form the greater part of Applachia. We'll head into the mountains, make a sharp right once we are in West Virginia, then head out again, back to the Piedmont Range and ultimately to the coastal plain once again. We are headed north, slowly, scenically.

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