A few days ago, when we were deciding where to go next, we called a dear friend to see what she was up to. We’ve been friends with Bonnie forever, she is like family. We’ve shared lots of activities and spent a lot of time together. Our children grew up together. So when Bonnie said she would love for us to visit we started looking for a campground near where she lived.
Bonnie lives in Cumming, Georgia, a bedroom community outside of Atlanta. She moved there a few years ago for work. She loves the area as it has plenty of opportunities for her favorite activity – hiking. She has a hike planned for us after we arrive.
Lake Sidney Lanier, most commonly referred to as Lake Lanier, is nearby. It’s a reservoir created from damming the Chattahoochee River and is managed by the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE). We reserved a site at Bald Ridge Creek Campground which is one of seven ACE campgrounds around Lake Lanier.
On our drive toward Bald Ridge, grammi was perusing Facebook on her iPad when she said, “Your cousin has posted that Bill and her are staying at their lake house this week”. My cousin has a second home on Lake Lanier where they spend as much time as possible. I told grammi to send a message and let her know that we were going to be in the area. After some back and forth messages, we made tentative plans for them to pick us up with their boat in a couple of days.
As you may know, if you’ve read my past blog post, we really like ACE campgrounds. They are well cared for and usually have water and electric hookups. Most are on water with recreational opportunities. It’s a great bargain as we only pay half-price with our Senior Parks Pass. Having said that, Bald Ridge is the nicest, most well manicured campground we’ve found yet. There is absolutely no liter anywhere. A grounds crew continually works to maintain the facility. Most sites, ours included, back up to the lake with beautiful waterfront views.
However I was not too crazy about their rules. First, they made sure I initialed the registration were it said “absolutely no alcoholic beverage within the campground”. Geez! I understand many campgrounds have a no alcohol policy but what one does in the privacy of their own camper is their own business and to make me read and sign was a bit over-the-top. Second, we had to be inside the campground by 10:30PM because they lock the gates and do not reopen until 7:00AM unless there is a dire emergency in which case we could wake the campground host. That’s a first for me. I’ve never been locked in a campground without being provided a gate code and I admittedly was not feeling too comfortable with it.
After settling in, Bonnie stopped by. It was a lovely evening as an earlier rain had cooled the air. Grammi made dinner and we opened a bottle of wine. We sat around a campfire and chatted while enjoying a plate of spaghetti and a cup of chilled red wine. Yes, we put the wine in a solo cup to hide it from…I don’t know…maybe the campground police hiding in the bushes. The firewood we bought here at the campground was green and took constant fanning to entice any sort of flame. So after a splendid visit and giving up on the fire, we made plans to meet again in the morning. Bonnie left the campground before getting locked in for the night.
The next morning we met for a hike. We started at Buford Dam and hiked along the Chattahoochee River passing Bowmans Island. We spotted a white-tailed deer on the hill above us sniffing the ground for food while keeping a wary eye toward us.
We made it to the Buford Hatchery were we saw thousands of trout being raised for release into the many trout streams in the area. The five and a half mile hike was not particularly strenuous bit it was enough to work up an appetite.
We went to Bonnie’s where she prepared the perfect lunch…a warm bowl of soup. Soon Bonnie’s daughter Randi and her husband Rick joined us and we spent the entire afternoon talking and sharing stories. In fact, we stayed so long we had dinner there too. We just don’t see them often enough so when we do, we lose track of time. Lucky for us though, we made it back to camp before they locked the gates.
The weather changed for the worse during the night. Rain pounded the sides of the camper and I could hear the wind rustling the trees above. I checked the weather app. The forecast was for rainy weather all day. That put the kaputz on our plans to spend time on the lake with my cousin. However we did make plans for dinner and “some porch sitting”.
We met Bonnie for lunch and did some site-seeing and antiquing during the afternoon while dodging intermittent rain showers. That evening we headed to my cousins house. They have a beautiful home on Lake Lanier. The covered porch on the back of the house is perfect for sitting while viewing the gorgeous natural landscaped yard with a path sloping down past the trees to the water’s edge where their boat was tied to the dock. They described how they would often see deer standing in the ivy.
It was interesting chatting with my cousin’s daughter, Ali, about her job as a civil engineer and we finally got to meet her husband…Kenny. An impressive young man; a competitive triathlete, whole food plant base connoisseur and lover of craft beer. I was considerably impressed with the work Bill has done renovating and was envious of his workshop. Darlene was a gracious host. Dinner was amazing. We were so happy to see everyone. It was well past sunset when we said our good-byes. Negotiating unfamiliar roads at night is not one of my favorite things to do these days but we made it back to camp just before they locked the gate.
The next day was uneventful as the wet weather hung around. We lazed around inside the camper, did some reading and prepared for tomorrows departure. We met Bonnie one more time for dinner. Even though we will see her again in a few weeks it was still hard to say good-bye.
We couldn’t get too early a start this morning because…why? That’s right…they don’t open the gate until 7:00AM. As you may know, if you don’t get an early start when going through Atlanta, then you might as well wait until mid-morning. We pulled out of the campground around 9:30AM. Our goal was to drive I75 south all the way home. A highway that I have driven many, many times.
Yep, it’s time to go home. Grammi and I didn’t share any thoughts or feelings about heading home. We could have easily stay away longer but it was always our plan to be home at this time. It’s been a summer to remember with lots of adventure. We explored new places. We returned to the places where we were born. We met some interesting people and reunited with family and friends. But this is not the end, it’s the beginning. We have more adventures ahead. In a couple of weeks we’re going to Cortona, Italy. We’re excited about that. So stay tuned.