Andersonville to Plains

In recent weeks when anyone asked me where Tofu and I were headed on this road trip, I would say “I want to see the Grand Canyon and I want to go to Plains Georgia to see Jimmy and Rosalyn’s house.” Today I got to visit Plains; it was a big deal for me.

But before Plains comes Ellaville, then Andersonville, the infamous Civil War POW camp, where 13,000 Union solder’s died. Ellaville is a dinky town, but it as the first one I have seen with one of those Reconstruction era statues.

Notice the soldier is facing away from the Stars and Stripes. There is a beautiful courthouse and this pretty little memorial park, but it gives me the creeps. Here’s something that has been surprising me: in five days of driving across the South, from Texas to Georgia, I have seen only 3 confederate battle flags. These 3 flags were being flown in front of houses along with the U.S. flag, and were within a mile of each other. I have driven at least 1500 miles in the south and not seen any Confederate flags on pickup trucks, or in any public setting. Back home, especially in Albany, OR, I regularly see the battle flag on pick up trucks. On to Andersonville.

The highway signs are poorly marked. I drove through the tiny town of Andersonville and completely missed the National. Monument. It didn’t help that my large Rand McNally map misplaced the location. It took me 45 minutes to finally find it. If you plan on going, ask me to help you with directions. So here are a bunch of photos that will pretty much tell you the story. First I should say the National Monument is dedicated to all prisoners of war in American history. There is an explanatory museum, that’s lifts up famous POW’s. Originally the prison was only 16 acres but late in the war it enclosed 26 acres. Tofu and I walked the periphery of the site. Usually I was aiming toward the middle. There was an outer stocked wall and an inner one called the deadline. White stakes mark the entire site,

The “Wrong Way” sign was important to include.

The last time I saw any ravens was on the day we left Arizona for New Mexico. Since then, no ravens. I have seen hawks, eagles and other smaller birds. This morning between Ellaville, I came across 3 raven, who were busy with roadkill until I interrupted them. As I was driving slowly out of the Andersonville Cemetery, a deer leaped across the road in front of me and over a low brick wall.

You think it’s easy to get to Plains Georgia? These country roads can be challenging. But we finally arrived at the Plains Visitor Center. Of course it was closed, being Monday and all.

Cute little place, but the restrooms are locked, there are weeds growing through the concrete in the parking lot, the welcome sign is a-kilter, and Hurricane Michael has knocked some trees down.

In the tiny town, we first stopped at Jimmy and Rosalyn’s High School.

Across the street is The Baptist Church where Jimmy still teaches Sunday School. I learned he only teaches once a month, so I didn’t miss him yesterday. He missed me.

At the High School we learned that there was not much chance of seeing the Carter’s house as it is hidden within a 19 acre compound. They told me the Carter’s like trees and the trees block the view. But they said there’s a viewing spot we could look from and maybe the hurricane knocked down just the right ones. So Tofu and I drove up the road a few blocks and parked in the empty United Methodist parking lot. Then we hooked it up to the viewing spot, right next to the compound. Here’s what we saw from our perch.

The map shows you where Tofu and I are standing; bottom right of map. There’s a bench so we sat down and took some Selfies.

Yep, we’re a couple of old dogs. Undaunted we walked up to the guard gate. You can’t see if anyone is in there or not. We took note of a political sign along the fence. Then to our great joy a man drove up to the gate. Someone asked him his business. He explained. They said someone would be there in a minute. I walked up to the guy and said “So you’re the President’s brick mason!” He said “Yes indeed.” I said “May I take your picture?” The brick mason laughed and said,”Sure, go right ahead.”

To be continued…

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