2016 Winter Trek travel blog

Sunrise at the Brickyard Plantationn

Tee box at the 6th hole

Azaleas are beginning to bloom

Georgia Rural Telephone Museum

18-year old cat at the Citizens Telephone Company

Early hands free device

You used to only see this in the country

One of the many "walls" of historic phones

Anybody ever use a "dry cell"?

Very early Mickey Mouse phone

Old telephone switch board

1975 video phone from AT&T

Some of the cars on display

Flavors at the soda counter

Jimmy Carter display

F-16 used by the Leslie, GA police department

Getting dinner ready


Yesterday was a chore day. We needed to get some prescriptions filled, go grocery shopping, and make arrangement to have a mobile RV repair technician come out to fix Winnie's water heater. On the last chore the tech couldn't make it to the Brickyard Plantation until today. I also allowed some time for golf and played 9 holes. The last time I played the course there were three 9-hole courses that you could mix and match to get 18 holes if you wanted. This year there are only 2 and they were in terrible condition. It appears that the owners are not spending the money to maintain the greens and fairways. There are fewer RV's in the park compared to previous stays and I wonder if the condition of the golf courses is responsible. It's a shame because if you are staying in the RV park, you can walk a round of golf for free or pay $7.50 for a cart for 9-holes or $15 for 18 holes. This was the first time I've played this year and considering the condition of the course I didn't do too bad, or should I say because of the condition of the course I had a lousy round. In reality, the only place the condition of the course made a difference was on the greens which were pretty rough and unpredictable. I'll probably play at least another round before we leave. Even though the course was rough the surroundings aren't too bad. I got up early yesterday and took some sunrise pictures around the place.

The RV tech arrived this morning with a new check-valve for the water heater. He had it replaced in about a half-hour. It was well worth the $160 ($150 labor & $10 part) to get hot water back and not have to crawl in the hot water heater compartment to remove the check valve from the back of the heater. I don't know why they put it where they do as it could have just as easily been placed on the side that is more accessible.

After the tech left we drove to Leslie, GA to visit the Georgia Rural Telephone Museum. It was started in 1995 by Tommy C. Smith, CEO of Citizens Telephone Company located across the street. The museum is housed in a renovated 1920's cotton warehouse. The collection has some of the oldest and rarest examples of telecommunication equipment in the world. The exhibits date from 1876 to the 21st century and is reputed to be the world's largest collection of telephones and telephone memorabilia. The exhibits feature over 1,500 phones. The Citizen Telephone Co. has serviced four local exchanges in Sumpter County since the early 1900's. There is a display of replicas of all of the early Alexander Graham Bell phones. Instead of junking the switchboards from the old exchanges they kept them and eventually put them in the museum with glass backs so you can see the intricate wiring that made these devices work. There was bare copper wire strung between poles as they would be out in the real world and several displays showed how the wiring made its way down the poles and into the exchanges. It gave us a much better appreciation for the "land line" telephone system that began with Alexander Graham Bell called for Mr. Watson to help him after he spilled some sulfuric acid on himself in the laboratory and evolved into the massive Bell System before AT&T was broken up in the 1980's. Near the back of the museum there were displays of pre-1970 cars, old line trucks used by Citizens, old farm equipment, antique clocks, and a 19th century pipe organ from Atlanta's St. Marks Methodist Church. Mr. Smith is quoted as saying "My desire is that you enjoy a trip through the history of tele-communications, leaving with a greater appreciation and understanding of 'telephony'." His desire was realized for us after spending an hour or so strolling through the museum.

We drove through Georgia Veterans State Park located on Lake Blackshear to see what was there. It's pretty nice state park with a golf course, cabins, villas, marina, and RV park. There's also a military museum with aircraft static displays (including a Boeing B-29A), artillery pieces, armored vehicles, uniforms, weapons, medals and other items from the Revolutionary War through the Gulf War. The park was established to honor Georgia's veterans. We decided not to go into the museum, maybe if it rain before we leave we'll come back and spend some time. After driving around the shores of Lake Blackshear to look at the private homes that line the shores, we headed back to the Brickyard Plantation for dinner (chicken cacciatore cooked on the grill). It turned out pretty good if I do say so.

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