Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Top of Georgia Airstream Park - Helen, Georgia (August 2017)

The last solar eclipse my wife and I saw was in 1970. At that time, we were several hundred miles apart and would not meet each other for another eight months.

My memory of that eclipse was that I was working at a radio station in Jacksonville, Florida. I went out to that station's transmitter site for the eclipse. As expected, the tower nighttime lights turned on, I could hear the sounds of the night critters and it was strangely dark that afternoon. A few minutes later, the sky started getting lighter, confused night critters went back into their daytime modes and the tower lights switched off.

My brother was at an outdoor wedding that day that was timed so that the pronouncement of "husband and wife" happened at the maximum point of darkness during the eclipse. I wondered if the peak of a solar eclipse was the optimum time to start a marriage. I guess other people see it as an exciting time to get married because I heard of some people planning their weddings around the eclipse this year.

Why am I talking about a solar eclipse? The answer is simple as we were about to see our second total solar eclipse. The difference this time is that we wouldl be together during the solar event.
The next question is why were we near Helen, Georgia? Our home was in the 90 percent range for the eclipse while Helen was in the 100 percent footprint. Besides, this was our first visit to an "Airstream" park. It simply sounded like fun to watch a total solar eclipse while camping in northeast Georgia.

The Top of Georgia Airstream Park

The Top of Georgia

We went outside Rosie, our 25 foot Airstream trailer, about an hour before the total eclipse. It was disappointing to see that the sun was hiding behind some clouds. You could hear a loud cheer about half-an-hour later as the sun broke through the clouds. It remained clearly visible throughout the eclipse.

Waiting for the eclipse

We purchased eclipse glasses from the planetarium in our home town. Those glasses were manufactured in Tennessee and met the safety requirements for looking at the sun. That was important because of the news stories about counterfeit glasses that were unsafe being sold by major retailers and online companies.

Suzy wears eclipse glasses

I'm not sure if eclipse glasses existed back in 1970. I know I didn't have a pair and I observed that eclipse by looking down at the shadows as I watched the day turn into night then back to day. It was very different having the eclipse glasses and being able to track the moon's progress as it blocked the sun's face.

Becky observing the eclipse by looking at the shadows on the ground

You could hear cheers from across the campground as the eclipse reached totality. It only lasted two minutes, but the experience was amazing and we were glad we decided to travel north to be in the 100 percent total solar eclipse footprint.

Approaching the total eclipse

Yes, it really was dark during the total eclipse

A Moon Pie is the perfect snack during an eclipse!

Checking on the progress of the eclipse

What about the Top of Georgia Airstream Park? We have been at rallies before when Airstreamers tend to dominate in the park. This is a park that caters to Airstreamers. They have a public address system with speakers throughout the park. We heard announcements of "watermelon time" a couple of afternoons. You would see people leave their Airstream campers and head to the park's clubhouse. As advertised, they were serving slices of cold and amazingly sweet watermelon.

There are big hills surrounding the park. We enjoyed hearing the sounds of the stream that ran through the middle of the park.

The stream running through the Top of Georgia Airstream Park

Here are some specifics about this park:
  • This park is owned and operated by the Georgia Unit of the Wally Byam Caravan Club International. WBCCI members receive a discount in this park.
  • When space is available, the park will allow campers with other RV brands to stay in the park.
  • There are two loops in this park. We picked a site in the lower loop.
  • Our site had 20 and 30 amp electrical service.
  • Our site had water and sewer connections.
  • Most of the sites in this park have level concrete pads.
  • AT&T did not place a signal over this park. No voice. No data. Nothing. Our neighbors using Verizon said they had a marginal voice signal.
  • The park provided decent WiFi service. Without cellular phone service, we had to rely on text messages to communicate with our family members.
  • The park provides TV cable connections with analog TV signals from Atlanta. A couple of basic-tier cable stations were included.
  • There are several covered pavilions in the park with porch swings. These appeared to be popular places to meet fellow campers in the park.
  • This is a pet friendly park.
The Top of Georgia Airstream Park is about seven miles north of Helen, Georgia. Becky's brother, who lives about an hour away, was able to visit us while camping there. We went into Helen and enjoyed lunch at a restaurant featuring German cuisine. Helen is a quaint little town that appears to be modeled after a German Alpine village.

Helen, Georgia

View of Helen, Georgia

Becky and her brother in Helen, Ga

Becky and her brother Dan outside Rosie

If you enjoy nature instead of a touristy town, there are several waterfalls and nice trails in the area. This park is located in a nice area to explore.

Close to Top of Georgia Airstream Park

Walking to the falls

The falls

We enjoyed our time at the "Top" and will return one day.

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