Monteen's Journal: Blairsville Trip

Monteen's Journal: July 9-28, 2001

Trip to Points East, Southeast, and Homeward

Monteen Purdie

It is a joy to see Linda and John's smiling faces as I come into the airport in Baltimore. We are soon in their great KOA and into their little pop-up trailer where we eat a bite and call it a day.

7-9...We check out Annapolis. Loved seeing the beautiful Episcopal church with the distinctive dark steeple...then narrow fronted old, old houses, the cemetery where James Purdie, a professor of languages is buried there in the Annapolis cemetery. Seeing all the marching plebes as they went in groups to classes and lunch was especially interesting. 1,200 new ones came in last month, John says.

7-10...To Ft McHenry....National Cathedral in Washington and Holocaust Museum. We let John off to get tickets as we went around the block and ended up across the river, miles away as we made wrong turn and got on freeway. With their individual phones we kept in touch and saw the exhibit. Later we saw the Marines Marching Band at Arlington Cemetery with friends of Linda & John.

7-11... Enjoyed Baltimore waterfront and 27-storied World Trade Center and lunch in one of the many cafes in area.

If John drives Linda works on her crochet....this time, baby blankets. This reminds me of Cindi and Matt's quilt displayed at the reception, made of individual squares by friends and relatives. There were reproduced pictures of their wedding invitation, pictures of Gail and also of Bob....all beautifully assembled and made into what will be a treasured heirloom.

7-12...Monticello (pronounced Monti chello) meaning Little Mountain. So enjoyed seeing this lovely place.

7-13... Linda can produce the best meals in this tiny little space. This a.m. we had sausage, eggs, pancakes, cantaloupe, orange juice. For dinner it was taco salad. Charleston - one of U.S. ten most visited cities. Had carriage ride and saw a Charleston wedding complete with harp and bride arriving in carriage.

7-14...Linda on phone with Laura. Melissa having contractions eight minutes apart...going on for a considerable period of time. If contraction reach 5 minutes apart she is to go to hospital. This trip goes along so smoothly. John helps in every way keeping things in order, doing laundry, cleaning up after meals taking care of anything that needs to be done. Linda & John work together really well, perhaps not always in perfect harmony, but they mesh together nicely in all their endeavors of family concerns, church, their catering and camping

7-15... Savannah....River walk. Lovely town. Things seem to have settled down with Melissa. These phones are so great to keep us in touch with everyone. They are used a lot.

7-16...St Augustine.....So many areas of water. Stopped at an outlet and Linda bought a couple of plates for her set. Stormy skies--sprinkles on windshield. Driving along Linda points out little blue circular signs for evacuation routes in case of a hurricane. Some way or other I've picked up a bronchitis type of cold and have deep, loose coughs...a real nuisance, but feel okay. Have pulled into a nice KOA. Will set up camp and go to Kennedy Space Center. John and Linda also visited a submarine and a destroyer nearby.

7-17...Had brief, heavy rain last night. Have stopped at Wal-Mart again for ice. Now on way to Orlando, St Petersburg...then head towards Blairsville. 12:45 p.m....Crossing Howard Franklin Bridge (toll) over Tampa Bay...a huge expanse of water. St. Petersburg...Beautiful. We are parked at sidewalk by kind of contained lagoon with narrowed outlet, palms, islands, boats and dark threatening clouds, also an occasional long finger of lightening. Had lunch at the busy pier complex. 4:40 p.m...Driving through heavy storm. Ocala next.

7-18...Lake City, Florida.....Have found our spot for the night. I'm afraid Bakersfield's dry and hot desert-type country will take some getting used to after all this lush greenery. Melissa called after her trip to doctor....everything in good order...still time to wait. Linda left message for Betty that we shall be there tomorrow. Have just passed Steven Foster's "Suwanny River". 3:00 Plains, GA.....Linda & John try to do presidential libraries, so we detoured to see President Carter's museum. Glad to have done that. Interesting. Red soil everywhere and choking vines draping trees which Linda says is probably exotic and a pest, which turns out to be the case. In Atlanta went out for dinner " Folks". Linda ordered fried green tomatoes and catfish.

7-19...Blairsville.... When we arrived in the middle of the afternoon Betty was waiting for us on the large front porch. She came down the brick steps and we had a nice meeting. Their house, long and attractive is built on a rise...two driveways, an upper and a lower, and everything enhanced with bright flowers and shrubbery. Chipper, their sweet-faced brown cocker greeted us also. The large living room filled with photographs on the walls and other interesting items opens to the rear where there is a large garden where the deer come to feast in spite of the garden being enclosed with heavy wire with streamers being attached. Betty reminds me of Jeanne who Mother always said favored the Davenports and I can see why...same look around her eyes, similar facial expression and size. Glen, Betty's husband is tall and friendly and has a good sense of humor. I have to listen closely as I'm not used to this southern way of talking and had trouble understanding what was said. Later Shirley, Betty's sister who lives nearby came bringing a heavy, handcrafted molasses(?) jug for us to see. This jug was a work of art with the old Poteete home imprinted on the side ....beautifully done.

Monteen with Cousins Buell and Dale. In the photo on the right Monteen is seated on the foundation rocks of her house where she was born.

7-20..Blairsville.....Dale was at the Court House when John inquired about Chapman's, Poteete's and Elliott's. The lady at the desk said that Dale was standing just behind him. Linda and I came in then and we had a happy reunion there. Dale goes there every morning to check on things is why he happened to be there. We looked around and saw interesting things and talked. Linda bought a thick, heavy book "Heritage of Union County" and after talking a bit we decided to get Kentucky Fried Chicken and have lunch at Betty and Glen's, that Dale would go get Buell at Hiwassee about 22 miles away. I was glad to meet Janice, Buell's daughter. After lunch we did some bushwhacking on Betty and Glen's property to where we saw the spring that Mother and Daddy used, then came to a small remaining corner of the rock foundation of the log cabin where I was born.....seemed hard to realize that after 86 years I had returned to my beginnings. Then we visited the old Poteete home that had been moved up to prevent it's being swallowed up by the waters of Nottely interesting!

7-21...We visited Georgia when I was six and Uncle Poly's wife, Tinney, passed away. I remember someone coming through the woods carrying a lantern to tell us. We went to the funeral in a horse an d buggy. In a large circle chairs were arranged with the coffin in the center. This day, as we were visiting cemeteries, I saw Tinney's grave marking dated 1921 and remembered. At the age of nine in Taft, a cousin was killed in an auto accident and we went to the funeral home to see him...Ken Davenport. Betty pointed out his headstone and remembered. We stayed two nights. The morning that we left Dale gave us a tour of the Court House. We were surprised about Blairsville, expecting a backwoods community, but in recent years it has changed to an upscale community with fine schools, Georgia Technical College, great roads and terrific mountain views, rivers, streams and ponds. Sitting on the Davenport's front porch, 13 miles from Blairsville, traffic was constantly whishing by. Betty says sometimes it is worse. Glen says there was a time when he knew everyone in Union County, but not anymore. Davenport is a prominent name in Blairsville. Davenport Mountain is sort of by itself and stands out. There are many Davenports in the cemeteries with expensive headstones. It was so great meeting Buell and Dale, my cousins, again, both experienced, highly intelligent men, Dale an engineer and Buell having had responsible positions in atomic and hydrogen plants. We loved being with everyone and found their hospitality warm and wonderful. We left knowing we had had a truly special time

7-22....Nashville. The highways we've been on are superlative. Walked around and saw great auditoriums for music for which Nashville is famous. Our KOA had a show the evening we were there.....and church next morning. We are on way to Murfreesburg to visit Amy King and their small daughter, Meredith. Amy took us to dinner at the Cracker Barrel and then to visit some sites of battlefields of the Civil War....a most delightful vist.

7-23...We are in Wal-Mart, West Memphis for an oil change and Linda got some more yarn. Very hot here...feels like Bakersfield. Mailed a couple of cards.

7-24...Branson... stopped briefly at an overlook to see Branson......hilly, somewhat dry...seems somewhat isolated but heavy, slow traffic. Hot 94 degrees. We set up camp....have lunch at Applebee's then do window shopping, going into lots of old time shops. We go across dam and see a paddle boat off in distance which reminds me of our September 1st date for an excursion.

7-25...This Branson KOA serves pancakes for breakfast. We buy our sausages and coffee. Now for home. Hope it works out that Susan can meet me at Linda's. Springfield.....Raining...turned off to Joplin. 5:00...Have passed Oklahoma City. Got ice cream.. Amarillo, 242 mi.

7-26...we bought dinner at this KOA located between Elk and Clinton. Linda says we have two more nights...did laundry, The memorable thing about this KOA are the cicadas that look like crickets. They are all over and managed to get in our suitcases. It is cockroaches that I can't stand. 11:00....Stopped to see an enormous white metal cross, visible for miles. Surrounding it are bronze sculptures of the 14 Stations of the Cross, and a separate area showing Calvary. Found another Cracker Barrel and bought lunch...also a tee shirt for me, apple butter for Susan and honey for Wayne who has kindly and graciously looked after the yard while I've been away.

7-27....New Mexico, Albuquerque. The country was interesting driving under huge cumulus clouds, then gray skies and lightening with rain. We got a room at Comfort Inn with complimentary breakfast Getting the tent up in the rain gets things wet, so this was better...also an added dimension to the trip We were rolling blithely along when the car begins to bounce....a trailer flat. Linda eases over and John assesses the situation and calls Triple A. The guy arrives and helps with the spare. We go back a couple miles to Gallup and John gets two new trailer tires. Linda and I see a Cracker Barrel and think it would be nice to have fish there. John might prefer a Big Mac.....but he goes along with us and gets a pork chop. It all worked out that it was a good place to have a flat

7-28,,,,Kingman. Since we want to start out as early as possible we stayed in a KOA log cabin, having breakfast at McDonalds that open at 400 a.m. We ate at 5:15. At 6:30 it was getting quite light but the sun was not showing over the mountains. We determined we had traveled through 13 states plus Washington D.C. 7:00...100 miles to Barstow, 88 degrees. Linda & John like to travel with the CB and listen to conversations between truck drivers. The last time I was on this particular bit of highway was when Reinette and I went to Mt Rushmore and met Susan in Casper. We arrived at John & Linda's about noon. Has been one super trip and how wonderful to have been included!