North Port Florida

Now in North Port, Florida

We are now in Del Rio Texas

We are now in Del Rio Texas

Stone Mountain Georgia

April 28 – May 8, 2017: 

Our only “destination” sort of travel on our way to New Jersey is Stone Mountain Georgia.  Our plan is to stay there 2 days or 3 nights at the campground in the park.  The plan is to spend one of the days hiking up the mountain and the other visiting the park itself.

Our first stop was at the Lizard Creek RV Park in Louisiana between Baton Rouge and New Orleans on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain.  We stayed there 3 nights to avoid a storm coming from the west.  It rained most of the time we were at this campground so we didn’t take many pictures.  

This is the view from our dining room.  
It is a small marina that took in a number of boats.

The campground is situated on the Lizard Creek so it is possible to take a boat from here to Lake Pontchartrain and then to the Gulf.  It would be a long trip though.   The campground has about 30 sites with about half with permanent residents and mobile working people.  This is not a destination type place, just a place to stop along the way.

Just like the name of the town on the tower, Pontchatola.

This was a couple sites over from us at Lizard Creek RV Park.  There are permanent residents living in this!  Note that they do have satellite TV though!

Our next stop was at the Clark County State Park (Clarkco) in Mississippi near the town Quitman.  This was a nice place and what one thinks of a real camping place.  We were here for just our regular 2 nights.  We got in a little hiking around Ivy Lake.  We also ventured into town to get fuel and we thought we may have dinner there.  We wanted to try Bubba’s Catfish House but it was closed.  Not sure why it was closed but it was, darn it!

We are the little guy on the left!

Great site with the lake view from our front door.

Views from our hike around the lake.

After Clarkco we traveled to the Oak Mountain State Park in Alabama near Birmingham.  This place was not our first choice but it was probably better than where we were going to go.  We were trying to go to a private campground called Cherokee RV Park but they were full.  This is our second time staying in this area and both times we have had to go elsewhere because this place was full.  The first time we were here there was an Auburn Football game going on and these people love college football!  This time it was a NASCAR race at Talladega which is also loved here. 

Interesting limos that pulled in for gas.

We are in line to check in.  The internet went down and the office had no manual system so we all just waited.

Not a great site but it was an easy in and out. 

We lost power for about 4 hours during an early morning storm.  This seems to be the reason, a tree fell over the power lines just outside the park.  This is one of the reasons we like having a generator so we can have our coffee in the morning!

We were tearing down getting ready to leave and I noticed this moth on our drain hose support.  I had collapsed the support and then noticed it!

Talladega Raceway before race tailgate party as we drove by on our way to Atlanta.

 Oak Mountain is also another nice state park to stay at.  We stayed here our usual 2 nights.  We had a nice site but it got cold and again rained most of the time.  It was even raining when we left!  We try our best not to travel in rain but sometimes it is just not possible.

We arrived at the Stone Mountain RV Park on Friday the 5th of May around 6 pm.  Six is very late for us but we were slow due to rain and then traffic near Atlanta and then the time change to Eastern Time.  This is a destination park with lots of amenities for families.  This is one of the few places where we had reservations but may not have needed them though. It looked to us as if the park was around 1/2 full.

Our site at Stone Mountain RV Park.

A view of Stone Mountain from our RV Park.

The RV Park has RVs and Yurts for rent if you don't have your own.

We have never been to Stone Mountain before and really had only just heard of it a little bit.  I knew of it as a carving of some Confederate something on the side of a big rock. Mostly I was right; it is a carving of 3 Confederates on a huge piece of granite sticking out of the ground about 900 feet. When all's said and done, that’s the entire attraction here, the carving.  

This is what all of the fuss is about.

However, people have really maximized as much potential as possible from the carving over the years here.  The carving is of the Confederate President Jefferson, General Lee, and Stonewall Jackson all on their horses.  The carving is really something to see and we would recommend this as a must see.  That being said, the rest of the place is really just a kids tourist trap.  

Our weather was perfect for our weekend here, in the 50s at night with highs near 80.  We decided to divide up our weekend as follows.  First we would hike up to the top of the mountain, have dinner nearby and then see the laser light show at night.  That would be our first day, Saturday.  Then on Sunday we would go see the park's other attractions.

The hike up the mountain is about a mile and a half if just done from the base to the top.  We decided to start our hike from the crossroads section near the sky lift.  This way we would hike along the relatively flat front side of the mountain to its halfway point and then hike up the steeper side and join the main trail going up.  This was a great hike for us this way. If you just hike from the base it is all uphill rock climbing without any trees or scenery. 

This at the base of Stone Mountain for the walk up trail.

Our hike route took about 3 hours round trip and just over 4 miles. Patty made it all of the way up the very steep side and then about halfway up the remaining main climb.  She found a nice rock to sit and wait for me to finish the hike to the top.

Some views of hiking up Stone Mountain.

Patty working her walking stick.  Her shoes were comfortable but not good for walking uphill!

After I left Patty the climb got very steep pretty quickly.  I don’t believe Patty would have made this part even if she had just started the climb from there.  The hike is very similar to the hike we did at Arches National Park to Delicate Arch 2 years ago.  The Arches hike is about 3 miles one way and this one is about half that but I believe it is much steeper especially near the end.  If you like to hike, this is a must do here!

Finally at the top.  This is the cable car stop at the top.

View of Atlanta from the top of Stone Mountain.

After the hike we went out for dinner at a local German Restaurant called the Village Corner.  The restaurant was just 2 miles from our site so it was very convenient.  The convenience was one of the only good things about the restaurant though.  I have to say that the the service was pretty good too.  The meal was made by someone who doesn’t know much about cooking German food.  Without too much detail here, the food tasted like it was made in a quick manner instead of taking the time to make it right.  For instance, the red cabbage was just cooked cabbage with sweet red vinegar poured over it.  Not a recommended place to eat!

Now for the laser light show that we heard was really good. We didn’t really know where to go for this as the published information leaves this part out.  We figured that it is performed on the carving face so it must be in front of it somewhere.  Since we didn’t know where to go we decided to take the free bus shuttle from the RV Park.

The shuttle left the park about every half an hour so we took the one that got us there a little over an hour before the show at 9:30. We got off of the bus and found some signs that we followed to the laser show.  Our problem was that we had reservations but no tickets; we needed to redeem them somewhere, but where.  We know now that the show is free but we paid $10 to sit on their chairs with a soft drink and popcorn.  We found an employee who guided us to the right place to redeem the reservations for tickets.  There were no signs or any information to let us know where we had to go to do this.

Got the reservations converted to tickets and were guided to where we need to be for the show.  All day Saturday we had great weather but rain was scheduled for the time right as the show was to start and now it was drizzling.  We had rain coats and umbrellas so we were mostly good.  Now for the not so good parts!  Our seats were not as good as the free ones right in the center in front of the mountain!  Our seats were to the side and had loads of pathway lighting glare to contend with.  The free seats were on grass so you needed to bring something to sit on but the hill sloped you  toward the mountain like a theater.  So when the umbrellas came out the free seats could still see the show.  We were sitting on a level terrace that when the umbrellas came out they were in everyone’s face.

Note the glare of the lighting.

As for the show, we didn’t like it!  We thought the show was going to be patriotic or something like that.  We found out later that it was like that years ago.  Now the show is about pop music with dancing characters.  The only patriotic part was at the first where they saluted the military and they did a good job with that.  We kept waiting through off and on rain for the better parts.  About ¾ of the way through we gave up and went back to the waiting bus, we had enough.  This may be good for kids but wasn’t our thing at all.  I sort of feel like an old fuddy duddy here but this really made us feel like the USA is going downhill.  We are at a national exhibit and the show had nothing about our heritage or even the carving.

Sunday the 7th we went to the Stone Mountain Park.  We paid for admission and after last night’s show we were not expecting much here.  We weren't disappointed in that expectation either!  This park is not like the usual amusement park where you go through a turnstile and then you are in. No, this one is a park with free stuff and things you pay for mixed in.  It’s not real clear from the literature what is included in the admission and what is free either.

This is the Stone Mountain parking lot.  This is the first Tesla we have ever seen.  A real nice looking car!

A glass blowing exhibit at the park.  This a free exhibit!

We paid $26 apiece for our tickets and that is probably a good deal if you take advantage of all of the not free stuff. Even for us the price wasn't too bad. We played miniature golf, rode the train around the mountain, went up the mountain on the sky lift, and went to the museum.  These were all pay as you go items and were probably more than the cost of the ticket we bought.  However, none of these things were really all that much fun.  Example, the train ride. The squeal of the wheels covered up most of the audio and there wasn’t much to see anyway. It was just a 30 minute ride around the mountain.  We did spend about 3 hours at the park and had a good day of it anyway. 

The train that takes you around the mountain.  It's sort of surprising that the locomotive is a real full-size locomotive from the 50's.  It's overkill!

OK, a view of the back of the mountain, not very impressing.

A fake town set up for viewing pleasure as we went by.  It is a replica of the "town" the quarry people used when they were actively mining the mountain.

A plaque in recognition of the guys drawing used for the carving on the mountain.  This plaque was not in plain view, in fact is was fenced off so I had to take a zoomed in picture to read it!

The sky lift coming in to take us up to the top of the mountain.

Nice view of the carving from the sky lift.

View looking back at the sky lift base as we near the top.

Top of the mountain.

We didn't visit this exhibit of dinosaurs but it did look like a nice place for kids.   All of the dinos were animated which really added to the realism.

That was it for Stone Mountain.  In summary, everyone should come and see the carving in the big rock.  If you are able, hiking up the mountain is also great.  You can do both of these things in just one day and for just the $15 to park. There is no real need to do anything else here.  Maybe, if you can’t hike up the mountain, a ride up the sky lift to the top may be nice as there is a good view of Atlanta from there.  I believe that the sky lift price is around $12 a person.

That’s it until next time!  We are now headed north to New Jersey. We should be there on the 14th of May (Mother's Day!).

Stay tuned!

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