Trust…. but VERIFY

Trust but verify is a translation of a Russian proverb. This became a signature phrase President Ronald Reagan used while dealing with Mikhail Gorbachev when discussing United States relation with Soviet Union during the INF Treaty that was signed in 1987. Then the SALT II Treaty  which happened to affect us personally as my Handsome Chauffeur served in the USAF during this time as a part of the Minuteman Missle Squadron which was going to be deactivated. President Reagan’s signature phrase was adopted by my Handsome Chauffeur and used often when raising our kids, checking prices on deals and now with our GPS!

 I personally have absolutely no sense of direction. I take that back… I can determine direction IF the sun is out, but if it is noon I am up the proverbial creek without a paddle. I was a Girl Scout back in the olden days and can honestly say that I earned several badges on my sash but the ORIENTEERING badgewas never present on my sash! Try as I might I tried to read maps. I will say since we have become Nomads I have gotten a wee bit better, but I don’t trust myself AND my Handsome Chauffeur certainly lacks confidence in my orienteering abilities. He can look at a map and have the route engraved into his brain. As I find myself mainly a passenger/copilot while we move our Circus Train across this beautiful nation I get the “privilege” of  having our HUGE atlas at the ready when my driver wants to see where we are. I feel much better using the twenty first century technology… Google Maps. I enjoy her beautiful, although annoying, voice telling us in plenty of time when to exit, turn or if there is s traffic snag coming up. My Handsome Chauffeur doesn’t trust her! To say he has a love hate relationship with her is stating it mildly! 

As we left the state of Florida heading to our new homes in Georgia our journey was going to be a short journey of ONLY 51 miles…. a drop in a bucket! My Handsome Chauffeur had looked at the atlas and charted our course. Phew, this was going to be an EASY travel day! While we were traveling I was asked to put the address of the campground into my trusty google maps. I follow directions well so I put the address that we were given by our Camp host we called that morning to confirm our reservation. 

The day was beautiful. Soon our friend Lola (our pet name for our google map voice) directed us off the Interstate. As we proceeded to make our turns per her instructions my Handsome Chauffeur said ” This doesn’t look right” as we were winding through a residential area with low hanging trees brushing against our roof and three air conditioners! Low and behold we DO come up to a gate to enter the Naval Base we are going to make home. Lola gleefully announced that we have arrived at our destination! What she DIDN’T  tell us was that the gate was blocked off with HUGE orange barricades stating the gate was closed!! Rutro …Houston we have a B I G problem. We were stuck in a neighborhood dead end. I placed a semi-frantic call to the Camp Host stating our problem! I was told ” your silly GPS took you to a gate that has been closed for 10 years.” How was Lola to know that?? She used the address YOU gave us. We were told to turn around and enter a different gate which she gladly gave me the directions.  

Turning around a 42 foot Mobile Condo with a full size four wheel drive truck hooked up to it in a dead end residential neighborhood IS NOT an easy feat! With fume coming out of our ears we jump out of the RV to disconnect our truck from the Mobile Condo. Gladly, we are pros at this and are able to get the task done relatively quick. As I am assisting my frustrated Chauffeur… handing him the things he needs like an assistant to a heart surgeon, all the while directing traffic around us waving people around our 60 foot road block…. we were disconnected! I relocated  the truck out of the way.  Then, with the precision of an Aircraft Marshall (sans the orange light flares) I guide my Handsome Chauffeur into a 3 point turn to head out of the neighborhood. 

As I hop into the truck’s driver seat I lead the way as I received verbal directions from our host. She assured me that we cannot miss the gate we are to enter as it has a submarine at it. Sure enough we find it… too bad Lola didn’t in the first place!Home Sweet Home Kingsbay NS, GA! Our 1 hour travel turned into a “Three Hour Tour”, but unlike those on Gilligans Island we were home… not stranded!

Kingsbay Submarine Base is the U.S. Atlantic Fleet’s home port for U.S. Navy Fleet ballistic missile nuclear submarines armed with Trident missile nuclear weapons. 

Kingsbay Naval Base borders St Mary’s, GA. A quaint town which is the gateway to the Cumberland Island National Seashore the largest of Georgia Coast’s Barrier Islands. There is so much history to soak up in the town. While we were there we were able to see replicas of The Nina and Pinta that were part of Christopher Columbus’ fleet while they were docked on the shore of the beautiful seaside park.We also enjoyed touring the local submarine museum.The museum was full of all different artifacts from several submarines. The curator was a friendly fellow who helped us find some things that were on a few Submarines that my Uncle actually served on.This is the battle flag Bream from World War IIThis is a picture I took of the Bream’s Battle Flag. Each square denotes the following: The swastika was for what the skipper thought was a small German tanker. Turned out to be a small Japanese tender. The life ring is for picking up a pilot. The crossed oars over a 5 is for a patrol where they put some Aussie rangers ashore. The mine is for a patrol laying mines, of course. The 6 red bars indicate she made six patrols (5 were classified successful). The big red moon was used because the commissioning skipper was Wreford “Moon” Chapple and the crew thought very highly of him. The albatross was for good luck.  So much history under on roof!

As we settled in and enjoyed the smell of the tall Georgia Pines we found that a few of our neighbors from our Florida stay were our neighbors here too!It was great to see familiar smiles. The weather was perfect for more exploring on Amelia Island. An amazing coastal isle setting to stroll along the beach or grab a bite to eat downtown.

Golfing we met up with our alligator friend as wellNeedless to say we did NOT go searching for the ball we hit into the water while she was sunning herself😜

Soon we had to say so long to Kingsbay, GA and headed further north to Savannah, GA area to see some of our dear friends. We have visited the area a couple of times over the years, but it had been at least twenty years since we did the tourist thing downtown Savannah.

The Old Southern charm is evident every where you look. Armed with a map of the city from the Chamber of Commerce we strolled along the streets lined with Live Oak trees covered in hanging mossWe spent time in Chippewa Square remembering  the Forest Gump movie. Although the bench is no longer there that he sat on we did find others to rest our feet Again my map reading skills were put to task as we walked searching for of all places, Juliette Low’s home who happens to be the founder of the Girl Scouts in which I never earned my Orienteering badge. As my Handsome Chauffeur looked on grinning and snickering as I kept turning the map around trying to figure out where I was. I was about to consult my friend”Lola” when  there off to my left across the street was Ms. Low’s abodeNow with my bearings somewhat straight, we headed towards River Street to enjoy a perfect Southern lunch with all the trimmings. YUMMO!

We actually called Fort Stewart Famcamp home base while visiting our friends who live in suburbs dotting all around Savannah proper. The campground was nestled in the woods. So serene and restful. Birds singing, squirrels scurrying and tank cannons firing!  Yep, we were staying at an active training Army Base so the sounds of rifles firing and tank cannons blasting were part of our new neighborhood sounds! Boy, it sure got your attention QUICK too!!

While driving around our new area we not only saw the normal deer crossing signs but these as wellOne evening as we were making our way back to the Mobile Condo through the pitch Black Forest …. Lola guiding our way… our eyes watching closely for any wild Boars or Deer to cross our path … Lola encourages us to turn left !!  As good listeners and not fully aware of where we were, we obeyed her command. Suddenly,  we found ourselves no longer on the asphalt highway,  but a packed sand TANK PATH! My   Chauffeur quickly determined that AGAIN Lola had taking us somewhere that we were NOT suppose to be! Thankfully we did not come face to face with Tanks traveling the path cannons at the ready! My calm, perturbed Chauffeur immediately got us back on the highway and safely to our home.

By the light of day we can see that Lola indeed was taking us to our home as we requested per the shortest distance. How was she to know that we were not to travel on roads for US Army tanks?!

Next stop was Atlanta to visit our dear friend who received the gift of life 6 weeks ago. As many people have told us, Atlanta is NOT the easiest to travel around. Just as any big city it is filled with traffic constantly. Add the fact that there is major construction going on and roads completely closed due to bridges collapsing. To say we were apprehensive about enlisting our “friend” Lola to guide us into downtown Atlanta was an understatement!We hit the road with verbal instructions from our friend who told us the best route to the hospital. Because my Handsome Chauffeur drives the Mobile Condo about everywhere when we use our truck I get to be his Lovely Chauffeur. I was not the least bit worried about the drive as I knew my navigator is proficient in map reading. As we got closer to the downtown hospital my navigator decided to enlist Lola to help as the map was not in great detail of where we needed to be. Lola did a fine job bringing us deep down into the enormous hospital construction zone! Yikes!!! Navigating a four wheel drive truck in the tight construction of parking lots and garages is not for the faint of heart! After listening to Lola drone on and on we have arrived at our destination dead center in a work zone!!! My less than patient Navigator gave her the boot! Next step was texting our friend to get accurate direction on where and how we could locate his beautiful bride.

After many rounds of the parking garage BINGO trying to secure a parking spot we got to play elevator roulette looking for the correct wing and floor our dear friend was calling home. FINALLY , we found her and were able to get our hugs that we were so looking forward to. She indeed has received an AMAZING gift. Her new lungs have given her a new lease on life. There is a healing phase taking place now as she grows stronger, but her smile lights up our lives.

Our visit ended for the day and we made our way back to our Red Chariot. My Handsome Chauffeur at the helm, Lola barking out directions COMPLETELY different from when she brought us to the hospital…. TOTALLY confused this already novice navigator. I pulled out our trusted atlas to Trust BUT Verify  we were not being lead astray by our Lola! 

Yes, we have a LOVE Hate relationship with our technology, but as long as we heed President Reagan’s advice we will wander and not be lost…. at least not for long😜