Day 041 – Savannah, GA

I am so glad that I didn’t pass up visiting Savannah! It’s a beautiful city with a wonderful vibe. Everyone in the world universe should come and see it. I’m a big fan of urban planning and have to give a tip of the hat to Gen. Oglethorpe for setting up the original design. Sure the squares were originally for training and mustering troops, but they have now been turned into oasis of beauty with massive live oaks adorned with Spanish moss, water fountains, and monuments. They have created an urban setting where pedestrians and cyclists are on par with the automobile. Since cars are forced to go around the squares they have to go much slower than an ordinarily gridded street both because they are physically turning and because sight lines are greatly reduced. I say put them in every town the grid be damned. Sure some building will have to be demolished and some home owners compensated, but it would be so worth it, so very, very worth it.

I booked a free walking tour (or pay what you feel it was worth tour) and got into town a little early to find the square we were leaving from, Johnson, and got coffee and breakunch. I saw a guy walking through the square with a tripod and video camera bag so had to ask what he was shooting. Chris (pic) told me he was doing an interview with the Mayor, Edna Jackson, on the city’s trees. Savannah has a lot of trees filling those squares so I’m glad the Mayor is paying attention to them. Chris was in the Marines up in New York, met a nice girl from Savannah and the rest is history. I may need to go back and meet a girl from Savannah as well. He told me to check out Leopold’s Ice Cream which is owned by film producer Stratton Leopold of Mission Impossible III and Sum of All Fear (and lots of others) fame. His family opened the original in 1919 and it closed in 1969. Stratton always planned to reopen it after he tried his luck in Hollywood. I had a scoop of both peanut butter chippy and coffee ice cream that night (yum, yum, yum).

After getting some food I headed over to Forsyth Park (Savannah’s Central Park) to check it out before my tour started. Lots of live Oaks, a big white fountain and acres of grass with people chillin’. As I circled around I chatted up Katie who was jogging with her black labradoodle Hershel. I was amazed that he was running beside her with no leash, sometimes galloping ahead (he’s one), but always coming back to her. Turns out she had a shock collar on him and usually only needed to give him a warning to keep him close. Very cool. I need to get me another labardoodle (no offense Dexter you and your brother are always in my thoughts and I still show your pictures and videos off incessantly and should probably stop).

On my way through the park I met Jamie and his dog Valentine (6 mos.) chilling out on a bench across from a lady, Kim (I think) that had a couple of sulphur crested cockatoos a grey parrot, two macaws and a couple other small birds hanging out on a bench. Jamie was kind enough to offer me a place to stay the night if I was staying in Savannah longer than the day – thanks Jamie, but I had to get going in the morning.

I also met Joyln and it turns out one of the sulphur crested cockatoos, Bingo, was hers (pic). She had to give him over to Kim because her housing situation changed. She was sporting a pair of Google Glass and was telling me that she really likes them and plans on writing an app to display her song lyrics – she’s also in a band when not out helping people with their computers. I love cockatoos and it was a pleasant change to have Bingo sit on my shoulder so I cold rub him on the back of his neck. Last time I was with wild cockatoos I was in Australia feeding them peanuts as they scratched the crap out of me. They weren’t being mean they just wanted their food.

I had to rush out of their to make my 1:30 tour group at Johnson Square. It was just me and a couple from Toronto along with our tour guide Daniel. He gave us a fabulous crash course in all the interconnected history possible within a two hour span. His knowledge and delivery made the tour, even under a hot sun, seem like only 45 minutes. We learned about the creation of the city and Oglethorpe’s enlightened ideas – all religions accepted, but Catholicism, since the Spanish in Florida were Catholics and sworn enemies. Slavery was outlawed, land was distributed equitably based on the concept of the squares I mentioned earlier. Check out this wiki article for more info – it’s a fascinating read. I’m ready for the second Enlightenment.

Three other bits of history that stood out to me – the settlers of Savannah were befriended by Tomochichi, the chief of a splinter group of the Creek people called the Yamacraw. Instead of fighting the new comers he decided it was in his best interested to work with Oglethorpe and gain access to English education and trade opportunities. He went with Oglethorpe to England to meet the King and contributed greatly to the success of the Georgian colony. Way to take a potentially deadly situation and turn it to your favor Tomochichi.

It was also great hearing about the founding of the Girl Scouts by Juliette Gordon Low. It sounded like she was quite the woman – traveling around the world, involved in the Spanish-American War and of course being the founder of the Girl Scouts. There was a troop of girls walking past us as we toured the home she had later in life.

Finally, General Sherman and his march to the sea. He is not a favorite of the South on account of the path of destruction he forged cutting it in two. His scorch earth campaign was very effective and allowed him to deliver Savannah to Lincoln as  a Christmas present. The people of Savannah decided it was better to surrender quickly so he wouldn’t level the place.

On my way to dinner I walked along East River Street and heard the opening notes to Where Did You Sleep Last Night, an American Folk song covered by Nirvana on their MTV Unplugged Album. I’ve never heard the version by Lead Belly that that inspired Kurt Cobain to sing it, but love his rendition. It gave me a reason to sit down and listen to Jake for a while as he played with a thunderstorm surging behind him (pic).

For dinner I sat at a bar on a balcony watching the storm play out with Jeff and his two friends Dawn and Bob (pic) in town for a conference. Jeff grew up in North Carolina and many a funny story to share with me about his life.






2 responses to “Day 041 – Savannah, GA”

  1. Dawn and Bob Schlich Avatar
    Dawn and Bob Schlich

    Adam – we had such a great time talking to you at Tubby’s! Good luck with your journey! We will follow you along the way! Can you email me the picture? Have a great ride!

    1. adampomata Avatar

      It was great talking to you all as well. I’ll send you the picture.