Day 8: December 29, 2012
Connector Completed

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Between Milledgeville and Louisville, Georgia, I was once again following in my own and my great-granddad's tire tracks. I'll do that at least one more time before I reach home. My great-grandparents entered Milledgeville from the south as they headed home from Florida in 1921. They seem to have followed the Dixie Highway Georgia Connector from there to Louisville before turning north on what is now US-1. I don't know whether it was actually called the Dixie Highway then or, if it was, whether my great-grandparents were aware of it. I know that I was not when I retraced their path in 2001.

The Dixie leaves Milledgeville on GA-24 then turns onto Deepstep Road about a half-dozen miles from town. O'Quinn's Mill stands a little over a mile beyond and I liked it so much I had to stop and get a picture of both sides. The sign says "Established in 1807" and I suppose it's possible that the building is that old but I doubt it. If so, it had already been sitting there 113 years when Granddad and Granny passed by. It was not actually raining as I drove along Deepstep Road but it had been and the pavement was wet. When I stopped to read the sign at Gilles Cross Roads, I took a look and a photograph up Indian Trail Road. Granny's words, which I had recently reread, fed my thoughts. Granny said, " began to rain and made the roads very slippery, they are of red clay and hard to drive on when wet." I have a feeling that the roads Granny's talking about were much worse than today's Indian Trail which doesn't look terribly inviting. By the way, that speck in the road, which I didn't even notice when I took the picture, is indeed a deer.

Once upon a time, everybody who was anybody in Georgia could eventually be seen at the Louisville Market House. That's because Louisville, which was laid out for the purpose in 1786, was the state capital from 1796 through 1806. There are claims that a market house was built here in 1758 and there are claims that the current structure contains "original timbers". Whether those are 1758 timbers or 1795 timbers or timbers of some other vintage, is unclear. What is clear is that they are very old. The bell hanging in the market house also has an interesting story. It was stolen by pirates while on its way from France to a New Orleans convent. It somehow ended up in the hands of officials in Louisville who put it to use signaling alarms. I'm thinking that if some nuns from New Orleans show up wanting their bell, they've got a pretty good case. Louisville is also the place where my great-grandparents left the Dixie in 1921 and I did the same in 2001 although I found no markers commemorating either event.

Someone has been picking several bales of cotton along the Dixie Highway.

The Georgia Connector ends at the Dixie Highway East Mainline (a.k.a. US-25) in Waynesville, Georgia, and I turned north to Augusta. This should be the last new-to-me Dixie Highway for this trip so here is my updated score sheet.

US-25 is rather unexciting divided four-lane at this point and I turned to the Roadside America inside my Garmin to see what it might suggest. One of the more interesting sounding items was the Laurel and Hardy Museum about eighteen miles west of Augusta. I reached Augusta in the early afternoon and headed off to the museum. The museum is in Harlem, Georgia, Oliver Hardy's birthplace. There is also a museum in Stan Laurel's birth town of Ulverston, England. The museum is one huge room packed with Laurel & Hardy memorabilia and a theater room which, besides showing L & H movies "on demand", is lined with posters and such. Displays include several full size mannequins some of which look quite real.

Just before I left the museum, a fellow came in, signed the guest book, and asked if I was the guy from Cincinnati. He was from Columbus and had come down "just to get away". Poor guy is heading home on Sunday. I'll be heading home soon enough.

Another item that Roadside America had turned up was Hitler's telephone at the Army Signal Corps Museum. I'd decided to skip this but, when my path back to Augusta ran right by the gate, decided to take a look. Turns out it's closed on Saturdays and Sundays so I changed my mind again.

It was still early so I slipped across the state line for lunch at the Sno-Cap Drive-In in North Augusta, South Carolina. Unlike that place on Route 66 in Seligman, Arizona, there's no 'W' and no pranks but it's a very friendly bunch and they do serve tasty cheeseburgers -- with cheese.

No visit to Augusta is complete without a visit to the hardest working statue in show business. Too bad we can't get something behind this guy besides empty storefronts. Augusta actually looks fairly prosperous just a few blocks away.

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