No, it’s not the Little House on the Prairie…
Just one of the sights when you take down the back roads of SC/GA, feeling out the neighborhood!
Since our gatehouse was not scheduled to open yet, the ranger found tasks to help us learn more about the area and help assist with a few minor tasks.
After Mr. Jer completed his 4 hour federal defensive online driving course, we were instructed to grab a COE truck, gas it up and work at viewing as many day use, boat ramps and campgrounds we could find…and let me say, “we made it through only a few out of many, many areas circling the Clarks Hill/J. Strom lake.
The lake is approx. 71,100 acres with a shoreline of 1,200 miles as well as being the third-largest artificial lake east of the Mississippi River, behind the Kentucky Lake on the Tennessee River and Lake Marion on the Santee River.
For the most part…you won’t find any 4 lane interstate or highway in the area…it’s two lane and mighty tight in spots. When the log trucks come rolling…I’m whispering under my breath, “Oh, please stay on your side of the road!”
And let’s just say…four lanes are on the horizon for some areas. We’ve seen roads closed with long detours, miles being cleared, and the biggest bonfires you’ll see and smell.
Augusta seems to be growing at a clear, steady pace. On the Georgia side, Columbia county is trying to keep pace. Especially with Fort Gordon breaking ground on the new Cyber Command Center, adding close to five thousand jobs and excelling the region to startup and tech companies to work alongside.
There were times the GPS was 4 wheel friendly…and thankfully we were minus a rig in tow and got to discover places we’d most likely not venture out too.
This road was approximately 10 miles long and one of my favorite discoveries. Not one I’d take on a rainy day though!
But when you round a corner and that beat up structure appears…you wonder to yourself, “what’s the story behind this place!”
There were other assignments as well, especially when the COE office budget has seen major, numerous cuts in staff and funds. I think this district is down like 12 rangers, so volunteers mean a lot to keeping their facilities up and running.
A few days were spent cleaning our gatehouse, sorting through supplies, and getting comfortable with our new weekend gate. We also took time to inventory our five shelter tables and grills, trim limbs hiding the speed and directional signs throughout the park and make note of any issues the contracted maintenance might find issue with.
Word on the street is cottonmouth snakes are out in full force, so I’ve been keeping an eye out. That includes watching your step for anything resembling a dirt hill! ECKS
While always trying to keep my camera ready, we did manage to catch mom working on some eggs and another glorious red-headed darling cleaning up some leftovers!
Mr. Jer got to venture out to the woods to help another volunteer tend to cleaning out some food plots. Let’s just say someone was beaming when arriving back home each day. When you get to ride down a forest road for miles with the weeds covering the hood and side windows, something happens :O) He does love the woods!
And there were the finds you’d never imagine were out there. My phone kept ringing with txts and a captured photo Mr. Jer had to share! Is it an old still..probably an old well?
And then a structure possibly suited for an overnight or maybe just something for fun. We most likely will never know who set it up and for what.
Or maybe someone would prefer a hard roof while still having the feel of the woods!
It was cute getting the txts as I’m primarily the one who takes a photo or has a more camera-friendly electronic on hand. I’m just glad he got to have some man time, and I got some girl time :O)
We have ventured out and about when we’re off COE time to circle out some of the area. But I must say we are spending much more time at the home front than usual. Distance being a major factor and opportunity for close places of interest. I’ll have to explain my views on the area more in a later posts.
We did take in our first weekend farmer’s market in downtown Augusta. Plenty to see, eat and be entertained with. I have to say though it was the largest dog-friendly market I’ve been to. While I entertain pups at events…when it’s tight getting through to tents for purchases or browsing as it is, the idea of constantly jumping over leashes or jumping back to barks of a pup gang meet up….I’m not sure I’ll return. It was way too confining for me. But to the crepe lady….they were awesome!!!
And ice cream….Brusters! Blueberry cheesecake my fav! I remembered reading a blog a few years back and they raved on ice cream from them. Well it was everything and more! While Fritz’s in St. Louis is still my very fav, Matt’s second in Gulf Shores….Brusters is right up there in heaviness and flavor!
We made use of Earth Day to purchase a few plants and decorate a planter or two.
So wrapping up, we’re at the point we are officially accounted for as a day use gate volunteer! We have our first weekend under our belts and feel we’ve got this down pack! At five bucks a car load it’s pretty simple to keep the traffic moving. Our biggest responsibility is to impress upon visitors to “Think Water Safety!” And believe me, I’ve voiced it out with compassion but with some fury, warning everyone to please be safe!
Especially after the first drowning of the season two weeks ago. A handsome 16yo, male tried to swim to an island with no water floatation devices. Even his girlfriend who swam after him could not save him. It was so sad for the community. A high school attendee with a possible football scholarship, a track star, a straight A student, and a whole life in front of him. My understanding is there were 12 drownings last year. So our biggest volunteer duty is to make sure everyone that rolls through….again, Think Water Safety!
More on gate guarding as we continue to get our feet wet. We’re really feeling comfortable with it…feeling we giving back and enjoying being part of the community as well as giving a hand to the U. S. Army Corp of Engineers.
Until next time…which probably will be after the first big holiday, Memorial Day. It will be here before we know it as we move through the month of May already! ~cozygirl
P.S. I failed to say, we are housed at the volunteer village…this super cool park of 12 sites pretty much all to ourselves and fellow volunteers! The best part…some of the kindest, cordial, fun loving people we’ve been around in a long time. More to share on that later…I’ve got to climb off this PC and scram….we’ve got a community potluck this evening!!!