It was a second Saturday, and our fearless leader Matt Richardson had put together an epic trip for our Lowcountry Unfiltered group. There was just one problem – it was on the verge of being too epic. Matt had proposed a 15 mile trek into the Okefenokee Swamp. While it sounded fantastic, it was at least a six hour drive from me, which would mean a two night stay. I’d have to leave on a Friday and get back Sunday. I had already committed myself to a cemetery tour in Columbia for Thursday night, and Laura had been down in Florida the previous weekend for Labor Day. It just didn’t look like the timing was right.
However, I decided that despite the craziness, it was an opportunity not to be missed. I decided that I would head down Friday and find a place to stay in Waycross, then camp Saturday night. It would be exhausting, but I felt sure the trip would be worth it.
I really had no idea what to expect as far camping was concerned. I haven’t camped in ages, so I had to retrieve gear from our storage unit. I overloaded the car with stuff I probably didn’t need, and headed on down.
The trek down to Waycross took about as long as I expected, but took a different route than I expected. I drove down through Saluda, Edgefield, and then to Augusta. From there my path wound down through the southern parts of Georgia – Statesboro, Claxton. As drove further into Georgia my route paralleled I-95, but further into the interior of the state. It was interesting seeing places that had just been referenced as exit signs along the interstate.
As with so many of these trips, I passed too many great photographic opportunities along the way. It was so tempting to stop, but I kept going.
I finally reached Waycross and found lodging for the night. Prices were actually quite reasonable. I checked in and decided to explore the town a bit while searching for dinner.
Waycross struck me as an interesting place. Obviously the railroad was the center of town. There was a prominent station and cargo depot.
There were many other interesting buildings, from an architectural standpoint. Sadly, many were also empty. There was an old theater that looked like it had lots of activity, a rehearsal or something.
Across from the railroad station there was a small civic park with a gazebo and some historical markers. Included in that group was non other than E. M. Viquesney’s “Spirit of the American Doughboy.” I was surprised and delighted to find another statue.
There was a nice brewpub near the downtown area, and I decided it would do nicely for dinner. The place was busy. Even though it had a bar atmosphere, it seemed to be family friendly. I started with my traditional martini, which accompanied a French dip sandwich.
After that I turned in fairly early. The next day would be a long one in the swamp.