Saturday 21 March 2009

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Awake: 6:12am Temp 37 sleep 6+02 sunny overnight @ Macon, Georgia.

A little history: Macon's Cherry Blossom Festival was first organized in 1983 to celebrate the city's Yoshino cherry trees & the March 23rd birthday of William A. Fickling Sr. who discovered the first such tree in Macon. In 1983, there were 30,000 trees, today they range in number from 275,000 to 300,000. Unfortunately, the trees' blooms don't always coincide with the festival & this was perhaps one of those years, although many trees were in bloom.

Today we motored to downtown Macon & help support the Cherry Blossom Festival events in the Central City Park. It's a free event except parking, that costs $5.00, but we discovered a free parking area with a few empty spaces very close to the park entrance.

We followed the crowd up ahead as we sauntered toward the main events area; what we didn't know: free soft drinks from Cocoa-Cola, Cherries & Cream ice cream from Dairy land, Complimentary horse-drawn carriage rides, free lunch break, etc, etc. The Cherry Blossom Festival began on Friday for a week with some good events scheduled every single day & evening.

Our 1st field of amusement was watching some of the dogs from around the country vying for the Dixie Disc Dog Championship title. Some of these dogs were even better than their masters. Our 2nd showground of curiosity was the (100 +) motorcycles on display; they apparently rode into the park after finishing a scavenger hunt earlier.

Then we approached the carnival rides for the tots, kids, teens & adults; little tots Bee Ride, little tots ride the Clatter Pillar, Seattle Wheel Farris wheel ride, bungee jumping, little tots boat ride, big red pendulum ride, ride the Ion, full circle ride, a real helicopter ride, etc. So much to see & do, we had to limit our time @ the park due to our plan on touring the prominent Hay mansion near St. Joseph Church.

After parking our Suzuki near the church, we walked over to the Hay house for the 3:00pm tour. This mansion is now owned by the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation & offers a (1) hr tour of (3) floors out of (7). If you want to see more floors, you pay more bucks.

Originally called: "The Palace of the South," the 18,000 square ft, 24 room Hay House was the most opulent of the mansions built in Macon before the Civil War. It included indoor bathrooms, hot and cold running water, central heat and many other features that were only then becoming popular. The four story mansion, which has a three story cupola on top, is built in the Italian Renaissance Revival style.

K & I have seen many lavish & magnificent mansions in our travels...especially in Florida; this grand structure was somewhat different. I couldn't get over the size & height of the doors; were these prehistoric people giants or what! Some of those doors were curved & moved on tracks. Although this mansion is very popular, admired & called: "the palace of the south" etc, the floor plans to me were cold; the men's parlor room was much too small, the main dinning room, not large enough & so on. Really, I thought the place looked more eloquent & impressive from the outside then on the inside. Maybe I was just a little taken back when finding out: no picture taking & no touching anything.

As we were leaving, well dressed groups of dignified people were arriving because there is a wedding & reception scheduled for this evening @ the Hay House.

K & I walked back to our Suzuki where I unloaded my camera, hat, cell phone & then we attended the 4:30pm vigil Mass @ the more opulent & magnificent: St. Joseph Catholic house of prayer.

En route to our campground, we encountered a massive traffic tie-up about (2-3) miles before making the 1st left turn off the main road leading to our motorhome; I had no idea what was happening. Then K & I started thinking that all these cars just might be heading to the same place we are: that spacious field that can accommodate (2500) vehicles. So, I choose not to get in the line-up & continued passing on the right of all those autos & trucks; when closing in on that left turn up ahead, I slowed enough to yell @ the driver of a truck in line: "I'm from Alaska & I have a motorhome parked @ the Shrine RV park; could you let us in?" And he did.

The secret word was: Alaska? Motorhome? I believe the people in the truck caught on fast as I realized that @ each check-point we went thru, their truck quickly passed thru as well, probably telling the checkers that they have a motorhome also.

It took us another (15) min to arrive @ our coach due to police road blocks on the route we used before this event started. Fortunately, the enormous amounts of vehicles were parked in rows so we were able to wind our way around the big field to our home on wheels.

"Tunes & Balloons" is the name of this festival. Gates opened @ 4:00pm; balloons glow @ dusk. They advertise: enjoy hot air balloon tether rides, children's activities & live music. Bring your blankets, lawn chairs & picnic baskets for an afternoon of fantastic family entertainment.

With camera in hand, K & I walk the premises in awe. So many people with kids everywhere, & we thought just having the boy scouts nearby was a crowd!

Dinner: pork chops, fried noodles, apple sauce & a mixed salad. We watched the flickering & glowing hot air balloons ascend & descend throughout the evening ... & then, the masses of vehicles began their departure; it took over (2) hrs for those tail lights to disappear from our front window. "Wow, a camping experience like no other!"

We watch ½ of the movie: "Watch on the Rhine."

Lights out: 12:22am

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This page contains a single entry by George Monte Kirsch published on March 25, 2009 7:04 PM.

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