Thursday, 6 May 2010

Sheriff's and Shooting Star's - Welcome to White County

Tuesday 4th May

Despite feeling fragile Andrea managed to get out of bed early and visit the Challenged Child facility again. This time she was delighted to be able to get some real hands-on experience and work with some of the children in the class room. Steve also enjoyed a delicious breakfast at Long Street Restaurant with Fire Chief Jon Canada. Grits is the perfect cure to a hangover! Jon then took Steve on a quick tour a more run down area of the town, known locally as ‘Little Mexico’ where ‘illegal Aliens’ line the sidewalks early in the morning waiting to be picked up to work on the black market. With the economy in a bad way most of these unfortunate souls were waiting in vein. This was a side to America that we had been shielded from so far on our trip and was a true insight to the dirt behind the shine.

The rest of the team enjoyed a slow morning at the coffee house in the town square and at 10.15am Brian picked us up again and we went to pick up Andrea from the school. From the school we headed back to the highway and our next destination – White County.

After being dropped off at a bank car park (they have drive-thru cash machines here by the way) we were met by Rick and Mustang Jack. This is not to say Jack was a wild horse – but he did have a great deal of horse power under the bonnet of his 2008 Mustang convertible. A tidy 4.6 litre engine! The girls leapt at the opportunity to bask in the Georgian sun and get a ride in the car while the boys followed in convoy behind.

This already sounds pretty cool, does it not? Well, that is not the half of our entrance into that charming county! As we flew down the highway we were given a Sherriff’s escort. Road junctions were held up for us, cars pulled to the side of the road, flashing lights, sirens, the works! The girls took the events all in their stride however and treated the motorists to the ‘royal wave’ as we sped along.

We challenge any other rotary district to top that one – a fly by from the Air Force perhaps?

Too soon our journey was over however and we were met by a welcoming party at the doors to our next rendez-vous – the White County rotary meeting. Here we met more lovely people and president of the Rotary club of White County, Maria Flynn. We thanked Sherriff Neil for our spectacular entrance and tried to tame our windswept locks for the photos. We delivered our talk to the 50 strong crowd and enjoyed a lunch cooked by Melissa’s (American GSE team member) husband and staff.

After the lunch and laden with gifts from the Sherriff and Fire Chief and a signed copy of ‘In the Shadow of Yonah’ by local author Garrison Baker, we were taken to Blackstock Vineyard for a tour and wine tasting. Some of us may have treated ourselves to a bottle or two! The wine was lovely and thanks.

Feeling a little snoozy we then crawled back into the van (which is not looking too tidy now, as you can imagine) and were driven to our evening destination – Lucille’s Mountain top Inn. What a place! Stunning views of the wood covered mountains, a huge bedroom each with en-suite, enormous veranda complete with porch swing and rocking chairs.

The team with Maria Flynn at Lucille's Mountain Top Inn

The team had some ‘down time’ in the afternoon and at 6.30pm a select few arrived to enjoy the delicious food prepared for dinner.

After having been spoilt rotten again and each given a hamper of White County produce, we sat on the porch and watched shooting stars go by, sipped on wine and rocked (in more ways than one).

If only Gareth had agreed to be spread in meat juices and hover near the woods, we could have topped off a perfect day with a bear sighting. Sometimes that boy can be so selfish!

By Allison

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