Things are Shakin’ in Macon

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We headed inland from Savannah to a tiny town called Allentown, GA, population 197. This was a Boondockers Welcome stay with our hosts Ken and Anne Davis. Boondockers Welcome is a website where RVers across the country offer their property as a free respite stop to other RVers. Much of the time, space limits the host to allowing only small trailers, but now and again we find someone like Ken and Anne who have a large parcel of land with room for 3 or 4 large rigs. Ken and Anne are exceptional hosts as they provide an electrical hookup, water and even a washing machine! They are lovely people who came to visit with Ken’s famous pimento cheese spread and crackers. Pimento cheese is a southern specialty, and it’s delicious! I’ll have to see if I can get the recipe from Ken.

Allentown is about 30 minutes from the city of Macon, and what’s a visit to the Macon area without some live music? Louise searched the internet for live music venues and came across a listing for a house concert — a fellow named Joe who lives in Macon invites musicians into his home to play a private concert. People sign up online to attend, and he requests a donation of $20 per person, all of which goes to the musician. He also asks each guest to bring a side dish or dessert and he provides barbecued meat and cast iron baked breads. How can you not want to attend a concert like this? We all signed up, scratched together some corn bread and a pound cake and found the guy’s house. What an awesome evening we had meeting new people, eating great food and listening to fantastic music! One of the other guests was originally from Norfolk, CT. We also met a great couple, John and Alicja, who have homes in Macon and Atlanta. Like Bob, John is an NCAA basketball fan and by the end of the evening we had an open invitation to visit them for some college basketball.

The musician was a woman named Muriel Anderson. She is a fingerstyle guitarist whose favorite instrument is a 21-string harp guitar. She was mentored by Chet Atkins, has played all over the world with many famous musicians, has recorded a dozen CD’s and was the first woman to ever win the National Fingerpicking Guitar Championship. We were honored to be able to enjoy her music in such an intimate setting!

Muriel Anderson and her harp guitar. Believe it or not, this guitar folds up and is carried in a backpack!

The next day, we drove back to Macon and visited a museum called The Big House — it’s the early 1970’s home of the Allman Brothers Band. They rented the house so that their wives, girlfriends and children would have a stable place to live while the band was touring. It’s also where a lot of the songwriting took place. The amount of memorabilia on display is incredible … my cousin John Paul would love seeing it!

After The Big House, we visited Gallery West on the advice of John, whom we had met the previous evening at the house concert. Gallery West is the photographic gallery of Kirk West who spent a lifetime photographing musicians. He also was tour manager for The Allman Brothers for more than two decades. Kirk’s wonderfully friendly wife, Kirsten, greeted us and immediately started telling us the stories behind many of the pictures. It turns out that she and Kirk lived in The Big House after the band left it, they bought the house and eventually started the museum. We really enjoyed our visit to the gallery and conversation with Kirsten West!

Two nights in the Macon area and we were off to Florida. Traveling local roads is the best way to see this country in all it’s history and quirkiness. We’ll be spending a few days doing absolutely nothing in Cary State Forest, Bryceville, Florida. This campground is at least 20 miles from civilization, so we’ll just take long walks, some bike rides and play many games of extreme cut-throat Parchisi to pass the time. Then, on to historic St. Augustine, FL.

We passed lots of abandoned shacks in southern Georgia.
Acres and acres of cotton fields.
Beautiful Cary State Forest.

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