Writing Challenge: Map It Out
I’m a traveler. I love a good road trip. If I could count the miles I have driven in one car or another, I have probably circled the Earth at least twice. Or not. Maybe I’ve gone to the Moon and back. Whatever. You get the point.
Distance between here and there is an adventure. Between here and there are Brown Signs. I love Brown Signs. And not just because they remind me I have to poop. They’re called Supplemental Guide Signs. Now you know.
This one is in Kentucky. So is Jim Beam. The Jack Daniels and George Dickel signs are in Tennessee. And, no, I don’t actually frequent liquor distilleries. Much.
But I do travel a lot and I frequent Brown Sign locations. They make for good stops. Because the location has to offer a benefit to tourists to generate the traffic, these locations not only have the history value going for them, but there are hotels, gas stations, and restaurants in the immediate area. It makes for a good walk, a good way to get out of the car for a while. My ass in not invincible.
I blame my maternal Grandmother. When we took road trips together she always insisted we stop and be photographed at Historic Markers. Brown Signs are my historic markers. She was a road-tripper too. We have a running joke in our family about her short-cuts: they always took twice as long.
Travel is in my DNA. Thankfully I got my Dad’s sense of direction. All I have to do is write the directions once and they’re stuck in my head forever. As a kid I was in awe of my Dad’s ability to drive anywhere without getting lost. As an adult, I know he just refused to ask for directions. No, I joke. This man didn’t get lost until he got old. Now he’s just old and he’ll ask anyone for directions, including pulling into a firehouse in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night. But I digress.
I have a few theres I’d like to get to from here this year. Each has a purpose.
The Old Rock House, Thomson, Georgia
My family name on my Mother’s side is Thomson. Thomson, GA was named after John Edgar Thomson. Both the name Edgar and the name Thomson have many branches on our family tree. The direct connection hasn’t yet been found, but with the names, locations, and dates, plus the railroad connection, we are pretty sure John Edgar Thomson of the Georgia Railroad is in our family. At the very least I will touch history when I visit the Old Rock House. At the very most I will touch family history when I visit Thomson, GA.
The Hermit Hut, Fairhope, Alabama
Fairhope, AL is near Mobile Bay. Besides the obvious beauty of this Gulf area, there is the attraction of the Hermit’s Hut. Henry Stuart was a real man. His home still stands. His story was fictionalized in The Poet of Tolstoy Park, and that novel has had a massive influence on me in the last couple of months. I’d like to visit the home of the man who influenced the greatest pf personal changes I have experienced to date. It doesn’t hurt either that Fairhope, AL has been a pilgrimage spot for writers from Upton Sinclair to Sonny Brewer.
Camping in Providence Canyon, Georgia
Providence Canyon is nicknamed The Little Grand Canyon. It is a beautiful tragedy. The result of poor farming practices and erosion, the canyon reveals layers of history. I’ve been to the canyon, but I haven’t hiked it or camped in it. Visitors can hike down the canyon and camp in one of several back country camping sites. Back country camping sites are easily found by looking for fire circle rock rings. There are no plugs, no potties, and no running water. It’s an adventure, an adventure I’d love to have (alone). No phones, no computers, no highway noises, no trains, no lights; just nature, the stars, and a scene bested only by the Grand Canyon.