BOURNE IN THE USA

 

GEORGIA

Georgia (12th - 15th February and 29th October to 2nd November 2010)

 

Savannah

Our arrival in to Savannah is greeted by the first snow they have seen since the 1980s and it is freezing. Luckily we’re in to motels now and not camping.
We head into Savannah historic district the next morning and take the 90 mins Oglethorpe Trolley Tour to learn a bit about the history of the town and the different buildings. It’s a cold clear day, but dry at least. Savannah is a pretty town with avenues lined with live oaks, with Spanish moss hanging off them. There are loads of 19th century painted wood clad houses with original decorative iron railings. The town is set on a grid with many squares of ornate gardens and fountains.


After the tour we walk round the town for a few hours, visit the big cathedral, see the famous “Forest Gump” bench, and have a lunch by the river in the Shrimp Factory - a lovely relaxed restaurant that serves up little warm blueberry muffins with pecan butter as a side dish – mmm!


We return to Savannah in October to see if we can enjoy it in some nicer weather. It's a lot warmer and we only need T-shirts but the sun is in and out so still not quite right. It's still an enjoyable town though, with some nice shopping and places to nose around.

 

Athens


We find some sunshine at last, though it’s still cold. It’s a 4.5 hour drive from Savannah to Athens, mostly through Georgia countryside and lots of farmhouses, cattle ranches and loads of little churches. Think the scenery would be gorgeous in the springtime.
Dan, who we met at Cocoa Beach, picks us up and we head downtown to the Globe irish bar. The bar was voted in the top 3 American bars by Esquire in 2007. It has a great atmosphere. There is an irish folk group playing for valentines. Dan’s friend Eric works there and sorts us out with some local brew and a good G&T. Athens is a university town and has a big music and bar scene.

The town is really nice, quite compact with some attractive buildings and monuments. Around town are decorated bulldogs, in different colours, celebrating the University of Georgia Bulldogs football team.

We drive over to Dan’s house the next day. He has a lovely house in the middle of the forest. We meet his housemates and the 3 gorgeous dogs. One of them is a chocolate Labrador (Jed) who reminds us of Richard and Brenda’s Oscar. He has a Jack Russell and a pug as well, they are really friendly. Dan is doing up an old Chevy in his garage, a real good project.


We drive over to a private gun range and meet up with Eric, Norm and Greta. The guys have brought along all sorts of guns for us to play with, it’s crazy what they are allowed to own in this state. First of all we shoot off a Baretta 92F 9mm hand gun, with and without a suppressor. Then we shoot a 0.22” pistol. Rich has a go with Dan’s Mach 11 machine gun and they all resemble some sort of dodgy training ground. He’s really in his element.

We move over to the rifle range and Eric puts together his huge AR15 semi-automatic rifle that is really loud, even through the ear plugs. He puts in a suppressor and once we’ve had a shoot of it, he loads in a 40mm grenade and we fire them off into the trees (or in to the top of the tree in my case). Crazy!

 

There’s no one else here, so we have great fun playing around, but we have to leave as it gets dark. The guys have been so kind and generous to let us use their ammo and put up with my ignorant gun wielding! We’d like to come back here again, if we can work it in to our plans.


We do manage to get back to Athens in October to catch up with Dan and his girlfriend Jaclyn (and their now 5 dogs!) We also visit with Chris who we met in Florida in January and his wife Alison. (and Buster the dog!) We spend Halloween in The Globe and realise quite how big a party this is in the USA. There are loads of people dressed up in all sorts of fancy dress, not just halloween stuff. There is a big parade through the centre of Athens of people in costume, then most of them come in to the pub. It's great how American people take full advantage of events like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas etc to let their hair down and enjoy themselves.