We followed the Blue Ridge Parkway down through North Carolina then into Tennesse for a few miles, then to Blue Ridge, Georgia, where Shannon’s Gran lives up in hills, away from everything. Within ten minutes of being there we saw a black bear in their garden, which we found completely crazy. Shannon’s Gran and Aunt live on a 15 acre property which had all sorts of fun things to see and explore, including a river with a beaver dam, various meadows and woods, barns and sheds. We explored all these on the Polaris, which is basically a souped-up, petrol powered, four wheel drive golf cart. Lots of fun!
We took the polaris out into the mountains, driving for 45 minutes up a dirt track. I was pretty nervous because we had been told to watch out for the local madman, who has been known to shoot at people. As we got further and further away from all signs of civilisation this nervous feeling grew and grew, especially as we were driving behind a random guy on a tractor who stopped every ten minutes to dig holes in the track. We stopped at a very, very old civil war graveyard and this guy started chatting. It (obviously!) turned out he was the hillbilly we had been told to avoid – Steve Sisson. We realised this within minutes of talking to him and tried our best to leave, but not before he rambled alot of stuff we didn’t understand, told us the U.S president is called Osama Hussein and informed us that whole generations of his family were buried in front of us in said graveyard. Nice. I’ve never experienced an accent like it, nor met a person that is so obviously crackers. We got out of there quick!
After a gorgeous day spent lazing at the above natural swimming hole, we started the long drive down through the whole of Georgia back into Florida, to go and stay with Shannon’s friends Nicole and Ryan in Gainesville. We spent a couple of really nice days there, drinking, playing with Nicole’s dog, Hoagie (who I loved!), and admiring all the fixed-gear bikes that were everywhere. Big thanks goes to Nicole and Ryan who were great hosts!