Hernando, Florida to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, 1,360 Miles
Forsyth, Georgia, June 18th – June 22nd
About 6 weeks after I graduated from USF I was offered my first job on an archaeological project & headed out on a cross-country adventure from my home in Florida to the job site in Wisconsin. On Day 1 I drove a little over 350 miles from Hernando, FL to Forsyth, GA, with a stop in Thomasville
, home of the Big Oak. The Big Oak is just that, a 300+ year old live oak tree which has grown to a height of 68 feet & a trunk circumference of 27.5 feet. I really developed my obsession with KOA cabins on this trip – I bought a membership
& it really paid off, 10% off each night plus I earned enough points to get a discount on my way back to Florida & even another whole year of membership for free! The one in Forsyth
is pretty nice, & the location halfway between Atlanta & Macon was great for visiting sites in both cities & the surrounding area.
The Big Oak
Elk outside a taxidermy shop.
On Day 2 I visited the beautiful historic downtown area of Macon, which has several historic homes open for tours. This time through I visited The Cannonball House, which is named after the projectile that came through the living room wall during the Civil War (even though it wasn’t actually a cannonball!). A few miles away is the prehistoric mound site at Ocmulgee National Monument, which has a museum and recreated earth lodge built around an original 1,000-year-old floor.
Slave cabin at Cannonball House.
Diorama of the earthlodge in the Ocmulgee museum.
Inside the earthlodge – the floor is ~1,000 years old.
Entrance to the earthlodge.
Temple Mound at Ocmulgee.
View from the top of Temple Mound.
On Day 3 I finally made it to Georgia Aquarium! After years of driving back & forth, each time thinking I’ll go see the whale sharks & then deciding I didn’t feel like dealing with Atlanta, this time I finally went. It was AMAZING, I could seriously sit there & watch the whale sharks swim around all day, it’s very calming in the dark theater with the blue water & these super chill animals just drifting slowly around their tank. Apparently they were shipped in from Thailand via UPS, just like all the junk I buy on Amazon. They have tons of other stuff to see as well, including a dolphin show (avoid the first 10 rows if you don’t want to get wet), sea lions, penguins, & thousands of fish from a variety of ecosystems.
Giant rays in the main tank.
On the way back to Forsyth I stopped at High Falls State Park, which has some nice trails along a river as well as an abandoned ruin of a power plant. It’s fenced off but the profusion of graffiti says that a lot of people ignore said fence. It’s still really cool to see though. On Day 4 I had lunch in Juliette (where parts of the movie Fried Green Tomatoes was filmed at the Whistle Stop Cafe & they never let you forget it) & stopped by the historic Jarrell Plantation, where all of the original buildings are open for visiting. It was owned by the same family for 140 years before the founder’s descendants donated the property to the state. Also they have goats to pet, & it just doesn’t get any better than that.
Power plant ruins.
Power plant ruins.
Power plant ruins from across the river.
Inside the main house.
Next stop: trains & battlefields in Chattanooga, Tennessee!