Camping at Jack Hill State Park (Gordonia-Alatamaha)

Part 1 of 2

Justin and I went camping! And we were talking about the different parks we’ve visited in the Georgia and South Carolina area and determined that I just can’t keep good track of them in my head, so I figured writing about them will help!

Writing this down, though, got super long, so I’m breaking it into two pieces. This first one, I’ll describe the park. The second post, I’ll write about how it went.

So we recently went to the newly renamed Jack Hill State Park. It was formerly known as Gordonia-Alatamaha State Park, which was a tree, and is now named after a state senator who passed away this year.

This park is an easy hour drive away from our apartment in Savannah, located in the city of Reidsville, GA, a community of about 5000 people. It surprised me that the park really does seem to be inside of this town, because once you’re inside the park, it feels like you’re out in the woods. But if you wanted to run out for food or ice cream, there’s a Dairy Queen just outside the park entrance.

Images in this post are scans of the pamphlet that they hand out at the visitor center and had a bunch of ads, which I’ve removed.

The numbers on this map are probably to point out the different businesses who had advertisements on the page that I cropped out…

There seems to be a lot of community space in this park — a bunch of kids were playing basketball in the court outside the ranger station. There was a mini-golf course that I didn’t see very closely, so I don’t know how well it’s maintained. There’s kayak and paddle-boat rentals. There’s a lot of picnic shelters. There’s apparently a golf course on the other side of the park that we didn’t even see. It makes sense that if the park is going to be located so close to the town, that there be places for people to be gathering there.

Driving toward the camping areas, the road goes over a little dam and around a little lake. There’s no swimming allowed, but boating and fishing are okay. There are a couple of docks on the water for that. And a lot of the campsites look out over the water, which is beautiful.

And there’s a nature trail that runs along the side of the water and then into the woods that isn’t kept up very well so there’s a lot of trip hazards and branches hanging low across the trail. We explored it more on our first trip here, but didn’t bother with it much this time.

The park has 30 campsites — 29 RV and 1 tent-only. They also have some cabins, but I don’t know anything about them. The campsites are all in a loop near the water and fairly close together, but with enough trees and spacing that it’s not awful. It’s not a place to stay if you don’t want to be near anyone, though. You are definitely going to see and hear your neighbors.

If you’re not familiar with how camping at a state park works, inside the park will be a ranger station where you can book a site. They will ask if you have any sites you prefer, so if you have previous experience with the park or have researched online, you can try to get a specific site. We’re hammock camping, which is considered tent camping, so we chose the only tent-only site at the park, Number 19. We can camp at any of the other sites, if there’s good trees in the site to hang our hammocks from. It’s a little risky for us to chose a site unseen, but we were fairly sure that the tent-only site would be fine.

People with RVs have to be aware of how long their rig is and how long the driveway at the site is a lots of other things, but since we’re not doing that, I can’t tell you how that works.

It is possible to reserve sites online and prepay for parking and everything, but we only wanted one night and I think the website has a two-night minimum. And because we weren’t completely sure until day-of that we were going, we didn’t do that. There’s also a box in the parking lot to reserve sites after the ranger station is closed. At this park, however, there’s a gate that closes at night and you get the code to get back in through the gate when you get your information packet from the ranger station, so be aware of that if you arrive before the gate closes but too late to get the code.

It’s also important to know that State Parks are very insistent that wood NOT be brought from other places into the parks because they’re dealing with an invasive species of bugs. So you either have to gather it on-site (if permitted) or buy it at the ranger station. (Don’t Move Firewood website.) We tend to buy our firewood there instead of expecting to be able to find enough dry wood to keep a fire going.

And that’s Jack Hill State Park! Next post, how our camping trip actually went.

Quarterly update (part 3) — talking about the table and random other stuff

Okay, so what else has been going on?

  • Happy belated birthday to Amy, Mae, Tim, and Ethan! And happy birthday today to Isaac! We really had intended to send cards or something but my life is apparently insane and I can’t get anything done.
  • Congratulations to Dalton on those first steps! So exciting!
  • I’ve taken two classes now on how to use MS Access. I’m trying to learn a new way to keep track of all the information I manage at work and it’s being troublesome. It’s a whole new way of thinking about what I’m doing. I’m sure it’ll work out in the end, but it’s making me go around in circles while I try to figure it out.
  • I’ve donated platelets several times now. The last time went without a hitch and didn’t have any low-pressure problems. The time prior to that, however, was a failure because the pressure was so low I couldn’t even manage to get blood up to the machine to start.
  • On our way back from an appointment for Kay in Atlanta back in May, we stopped to help a woman and her daughter who were stuck on the side of the road with a shredded tire. We learned that we need to keep a better flashlight in the car, that we need a higher jack if we’re going to be able to help people who’ve lost their jack, and that we’d need a better tire iron to get those lug nuts off if they’ve lost that piece of equipment, too. Fortunately, a Georgia State Patrol trooper stopped and he had all those things and was able to get the women back on the road again. But we were able to help them stay calm and we learned some valuable lessons for ourselves in the process. One of these days, we’ll figure out which jack to pick up — hopefully before we actually need it again.
  • When Mom and Dad were here, the project that we decided to work on was a skinny little table/shelf that goes behind the sofa and has outlets on it, making it easy to access an outlet, even though the sofa is blocking that whole wall. I got the idea from a blog online that I’m too lazy right now to go find. And we kind of adjusted the idea as we went anyway. When they were here, Dad showed Justin how to run the electric by taking an extension cord and splicing in an outlet. And we cut the wood and stained it. After they left, I sanded the wood and Justin polyurethane it a couple times to give it a nice sheen. I don’t have any in-progress photos and the pictures I have of it in place aren’t super, either. But this is what I’ve got.

Behold! Our table shelf thing.
Behold! Our table shelf thing.

It’s just a little wider than the outlets, of which we’ve got two. One of them is a standard outlet. The other has USB charging slots. We had to order that one from Amazon because no where in town carried them in the nickle color we wanted.

USB charging at the outlet!
USB charging at the outlet!

But a gift card from work and an Amazon order later and we’ve got ourselves a really spiffy outlet.

The rope lights are only temporary.
The rope lights are only temporary.

We would like to have installed actual lights into the table, but they were really expensive, so we held off on that idea for now. In the mean time, we’ve got a rope light that we’d put up the stairs at the other house that didn’t have a home yet, and that’s filling in the gap for now. It’s a subtle light, but nice.

Back-lights behind the sofa
Back-lights behind the sofa

The outlet that’s down behind the sofa has one outlet that’s controlled from a switch at the door and one that’s on all the time. So the outlets are plugged into one and the lights are plugged into the other and it works perfectly!

The table isn’t actually put together all the way yet. The long piece was really torqued and we were having trouble figuring out how to actually install the support beams that we cut in order to give it some structural support. We’d really like to do it right with sunken screws and everything, but we don’t have the money right now to buy the kreg jig we’d like in order to do it right. So for now, it’s tucked back behind the sofa, hopefully getting a little more straight the longer it’s there, and when we’ve got the money for the tool, we’ll take it back down and do the supports. And then when we’ve got more money again, we’ll add a lamp or up-wash lights or something.

For now, though, we’re really happy with how it turned out. I’ve actually got my computer plugged into it right now. And it’s actually stained darker than we would normally go, but it almost perfectly matches the sofa, so I’m tickled at how that worked out.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for paying for all the lumber! And for all the help on figuring out how to put it together!

And that pretty much rounds out the news that I’ve got for the moment. More than what I’ve mentioned and I feel like I’m complaining about my life, which is actually pretty good, I’m just irritated at parts of it at the moment (55 days) and that’s putting a huge grumpy gray cloud over everything. So don’t be surprised if you don’t hear from me for a while again. I’m not exactly trying to be reclusive or anything. I’m just trying not to be a whiner at everybody. My life is good. I’m just cranky. But things will get better.

More reasons why I’m glad to have a garage

Because my garage looks like this right now.

And my dining room looks like this.

And my living room looks like this.

And it doesn’t look like this.

Now, granted, there are more pieces of wood in that photo than there are out in my garage right now. This has some of the pieces for the bed that we made and not just the bookshelves.

I’m adding a coat of polyurethane to the bookshelves that we built before Grandma Rose came to visit us last Christmas. We ran out of time and we weren’t really sure we wanted to coat them. But mostly, we really ran out of time. And we decided the next time we had them apart, we’d figure out if we wanted to poly them. Well, after trying to dust them for a while not coated, I decided that I wanted to coat them because they’d be MUCH easier to keep tidy that way. Plus, I think the wood would stay nicer. And hey! We had to take them apart. So I’m trying to get that done before I head out of town.

Most of the pieces in the recent photos have polyurethane on one side, but some have a coat on both. I need to finish coating the ones that are only halfway done and sand all of them with a fine grit sandpaper. I’m not sure yet if I can do that with the electric sander — it might be TOO powerful for this. So I’ll probably have to do all the sanding by hand, which is ANNOYING. And I have to make sure I have a good mask so I don’t inhale all sorts of polyurethane dust. And then I’ll coat them again, hopefully before I go to California, so they have a full week to sit before we put them back together again and put books on them.

Although, we might hold off a little longer before putting them together again because when we made them last year, we didn’t put ALL the shelves in. We left the top two off because they were going to go further, overhanging the guest bed in the room, and we couldn’t afford all that wood at that time. Now, the shelves would be smaller, the same size as all the rest of them, but we would still need to buy the wood, sand it three times, condition it, stain it, poly coat it, sand it again, and poly coat it one more time. And if the weather is nice and dry, we might be able to get all that done in a couple days. But we’ll talk it through once he’s back home again.

This is what those shelves look like when they’re all put together, by the way.

Isn’t the paint on the walls in that room just AWFUL? She said it was supposed to be faux leather. Ugh. More reasons why I’m glad we moved! Did you see the beautiful red in the living room and dining room?

Also, if you were wondering, it’s been almost 30 days since we did our walk through with our landlady and we have NOT YET received our security deposit back or any letter saying anything about it. It’ll be 30 days on Monday. Anybody else NOT surprised?


Saturday = Sun room Storage Cleaning!

I don’t currently have the ability to type with the letter s. It won’t type on my keyboard. I’m going to type this and correct what I can via spell check and cutting and pasting the letter in question, but forgive me if I seem to be typing with a key gone. Because it is.

I haven’t posted in a few days, but I have been busy.

Wednesday, I came home and decided that I definitely was going to get some work done, so I made a list and worked my way through it. I got the guest bed fixed up with all the pillows and everything. I got the house tidied and bills paid and the checking account balanced. And I made some good progress on the filing cabinet situation. It’s still a mess, but it’s getting better.

Thursday, we had a game online with friends, starting at 7:00, so I got off work, grabbed dinner from a place in town, and got home in time to get set up for the game and that was my whole evening.

Friday, though. I decided to take the day off from work and get work done on the house — I had enough hours in at work and had enough done in order to not come in, so I wasn’t playing hookie, I swear. I ended up sleeping in later than expected, but I’m pretty sure that did me some good. And then I worked on putting all the contents from the bedroom closet back inside the closet. It still isn’t done, but I’m making progress there, too.

Still really full of stuff

At least I can find things now. I need to figure out how I want to organize the bedding, mostly. And then there are two boxes of things that I need to sort through to figure out what is worth keeping and what in’t. But I haven’t felt like taking the time for that yet, so they’re just sitting in there on the floor.

So much of where I’m at with this place right now is just being able to find the things I want when I want them. Today, I was looking for envelopes. I still don’t know where I put the dang box of them, but I found one so I was able to do what I was trying to do. But it is driving me absolutely bonkers that I can’t find the things that I know I have SOMEWHERE in this mess. So, like with the bedroom closet, I know it’s still a mess. But I can tell you that the blue box in that picture above, has stuff for the bathroom that I wasn’t sure yet what to do with. Now that I’m thinking about it, I actually found the perfect place for the things in that box in another box of stuff in another closet. But the point is, I know what’s in that box.

The blue box in the garage, by the way? Gardening stuff — gloves, a couple small pots, things that I’d need if I have something that’s growing in dirt.

Anyway, I’m working on a solution for the mountain of guest towels that we have (and we need to sort through and decide if we’re keeping ALL of them) and I’ve got to go back and work on the bedding and the boxes of my random stuff that needs to get sorted. But this closet is doing better.

My Friday also had a massage and a chiropractor appointment and some grocery shopping and laundry. And I feel like there was something else in there, but I can’t remember it right now.

Today, I got up and worked on the storage closet in the sun room.

Outside the front storage closet

This is the stuff that I wanted to put in there but already couldn’t fit inside the door.

Inside the front storage closet

This is what it looked like inside the closet. This is holding all the things that we don’t use on a regular basis — like Christmas decorations and clothes that I want to wear again and don’t right now and lots and lots of video game systems and games and things.


So I took everything out of the closet first. Eventually we’re going to put in shelving in here, I hope. Because it’s really hard to get to stuff in here without shelving.

Oh, right. Now to put it all back in.

That is a lot of stuff, really. It’s kind of impressive, in it’s own way. I think about my friend Becky, who lives in a camper trailer about the size of my sun room and wonder how she manages to live with so few things. And that I really should learn how to live with less things.

And then I look at my stuff and go “Oh! I like that thing. Let’s keep that.”

Anyway, the purple and green totes sitting outside of the closet were new ones that I got from Craigslist in order to consolidate some of the decorations and stuff. And I was able to do that. I had two paper boxes for Halloween decoration that I got into one tote and several small boxes of Christmas decoration that I got into two totes. Not everything fit, so I still have a few loose boxes for Christmas stuff, but it’s much better than it was.

It is better, I promise.

Not that it looks that much better, though. It still looks like an enormous mess. But the pile of white boxes up at the front are going up on eBay when Justin gets back. And behind that, most of the stuff on the right-hand half of the closet are boxes of gaming systems and video games and things that I need Justin to tell me if they’re going to get set up somewhere or if they’re staying in storage.

The left-hand side is stacked up 5 totes high, with some other stuff on the top so it’s all the way up to the ceiling.

I got to use my label maker

I had to put shims underneath the inside-edges of the totes because they all started to list toward the right, but they seem to be doing okay  now. And I know what’s in all those boxes and I’m good with them. And even though it’s messy looking, it’ll still be easier to get the decorations out than they were last year, when they were up in the attic.

And, most importantly, I could close the door and there wasn’t a bunch of stuff sitting out in the sun room.

So much more tidy!

That looks like a much more inviting place to sit and read a book. Now, if only all the bookshelves were up and the books weren’t sitting under a shower curtain on the other side of the sun room.

Lots of books. So many books.

But there they sit. With the packing paper I need to return to Raymonde at work and my yoga stuff propped up beside it and the fountain I really need to get polished up and running again. More work to do on yet another day.

I’m getting so sick of boxes

These are all the boxes I was able to take out from that closet and get the contents either removed to somewhere else or put into totes instead of boxes. I kept looking at the closet and going “Did I actually accomplish ANYTHING here?” And looking at the boxes reminded me that, yes, I have actually at least done SOMETHING. I got more cardboard OUT OF THE HOUSE.

That was my main project of the day. I had to get the sun room tidied up because people are coming over tomorrow and those boxes couldn’t be sitting there when they arrived. And there was other tidying to do and vacuuming and laundry and stuff. Our mop broke, so I had to go pick up a new one this evening. Tomorrow I’ll mop and wipe down surfaces and get all ready for the party. And most of the house looks decent. The office — not so much. I’ll just close that door and hope people ignore it. 🙂 But most of the house looks good. I’ll try to get more pictures of the cleaned up place up here soon.

For now it’s late, and it’s been a long day, so I’m heading to bed.


Garage organized!

So we decided to get a garage to go along with our apartment, because as it turns out, the bikes don’t fit in this place as well as they did at the last one. And we have a bunch of things that I didn’t really want to keep in the closets in the house (weed whack, for example). And the additional rent wasn’t that much, all things considered.

Looking from the sun room, out toward the east-ish, this is the view that I get. The third garage from the right is the one that we’ve got. So it’s really quite close to the apartment. You can’t see the entrance in this photo, but you are able to see it from the office window, so we can see if I forgot to close the door or anything. 🙂

Looking over toward the garage

And this is what it looks like when the door is open and there’s no car inside it!

Looking into our garage

You can see that the bikes are already on the rack along the back right-side wall. Justin made sure to get that up before he had to head out of town. The rest of everything was just piled in the back, enough that I could fit the car in, but not in any organized sort of way at all. There’s still work to be done, but it’s looking MUCH better than it was.

Unit on the left-hand side

This is the rack that we discovered we’d left most of the pieces behind when we moved. At the town house, this took up the entire space that was available in the back closet. Everything that wasn’t water heater. We took it back down once I got really nervous about the fact that it meant I could not at all get to the fuse box if something were to happen. It looks almost tiny in this space!

The top shelf currently has two boxes that are filled with vacuum suctioned bags of woolen packing blankets hiding behind the extra beach chairs, bookie board, wake board, and tent for use at the beach.

The second shelf has the stuff for staining wood and that type project and then has car stuff (car wash bucket and extra engine fluids) along the back.

The third shelf down has a few things for gardening, some things for the bikes, a plastic tub with things that we take to the beach (sand auger for the umbrella, plastic buckets and shovels), the shop vac, and the grill and charcoal chimney.

The second from the bottom is obviously full of boxes. This is not where they are going to stay. I just haven’t figure out what to do with them yet.

And the bottom shelf has more boxes and underneath that, the bike rack that doesn’t work on my car, but we’re keeping in case we ever get a car that it does work on (hatchbacks require a special type of rack, I guess).

To the left of the big rack is a shelving unit that’s holding the old flower boxes that we used at the apartment when we got married to actually hold flowers over the edge of the balcony, and used inside the storage closet at the townhouse for storage. Eventually, they will hold flowers again. But for now, the top one has toys in it (racquets, balls, Frisbee), the second has yard working stuff (string for the weed whack, sheers, hatchet), and the bottom has soil in it.

Along the back wall in this photo are our two lawn chairs that we use when we go to the beach or to the drive-in. I’d like to eventually put them on the shelf where the boxes are located, but that won’t happen until I figure out what on earth to do about the boxes, obviously.

And to the right-hand side of the garage…

This other shelving unit wasn’t one that I knew that I had until I’d put the other one halfway together and discovered the parts didn’t all go together. We don’t have any wood for the shelves, but that shouldn’t be too hard to fix later — Justin can cut nice straight pieces of wood using his circular saw, but I’m not touching that thing. Meanwhile, I’ve made as much use of it as I can without those supports.

The top has the weed whack, the basket thing that I’d use to collect leaves or trimmings, and something else I can’t remember right now.

The second shelf has our beach umbrellas. I am a pasty white person. I need shade at the beach.

The bottom has the cooler, obviously, but the boccee balls and another tent are in there. I don’t know how we ended up with so many tents. The blue box has . . . crud, I can’t remember right now. And then there are two lights on top. The house light is listed on Craigslist, but so far, no one is interested. We might just end up keeping it since it doesn’t take up much space.

It bugs me that I can’t remember what’s in that box….

The dolly is tucked up close to the shelving unit and then two stands for pots are there for whenever we get outside plants again. The tub for the charcoal is under the bikes for now. I’m not sure I like it there. It’s empty right now, but we’ve got outdoor areas where I could grill here, so I’ll probably end up filling it again in the spring.

The “implements of destruction” are along the wall and those I do want to hang up eventually. I’m not sure if we’ll get more pieces to hang them on the same unit as the bikes or if we’ll do something else.

And then the saw horses are along the back wall.


And our gargoyle guards the entrance, like the good guardian beast that he is.

And our car isn’t very big, so it’s easy to fit in there. Even with the car pulled in with good space behind it, there’s still a lot of space in the front to putter around without moving the car.

With the car enclosed

I don’t have a very good shot with the car in there, because unsurprisingly, it’s hard to get a shot of that. But it doesn’t feel at all cramped. The doors can’t open all the way, but that’s to be expected. That we can get in without any trouble is really nice, though.

I need to go back out and label the boxes, because obviously I already can’t remember what’s in all of them. And I like to have things nice and tidy and labeled. And I have to figure out a way to store the boxes that keeps them off the floor (possibility of flooding in there) and reduces the amount of humidity that gets into them, as well as keeps out the bugs. I’m still not sure what I’m going to do.

But for now, we can find the things that we want to be able to find and I can pull into the garage without worrying that I’m going to run something over. Eventually, I’d love to have a tool bench in there for Justin. There’s space enough for one along that back wall.

And there’s you have it! Our garage.