Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Great Southeast American Indian Mound Tour of 2010. Part XIV. Drive to McKinney COE Campground

Click here for the first post in this series.

Etowah Mound A Up unusually early yesterday morning to drive to the next Mound Site. The Etowah Mounds near Cartersville, Georgia. At 4:30 a.m.! The drive would take about 7 hours, according to directions printed out from MapQuest prior to departure. It’s never any fun to unhook and set up in the dark at an unfamiliar campground. So, up and at it at 4:30!

Highway In the event, the drive didn’t take seven hours. Rather than follow the printed MapQuest directions, I relied on the GPS. It routed me up through Alabama much of the way. Very nice highway for quite a ways. Then on to heavily traveled interstates, around Atlanta. And finally northwest toward Cartersville.

McKinney Gate The McKinney Corps of Engineers Campground is on Corps-maintained Lake Allatoona. A delightful find. Camp Host, Ms. Charlotte, was at the gate when I arrived. Southern Alabama friendly, she was full of helpful information about the Park, the area, and even the Etowah Mounds.

Host Charlotte and her husband, George, shared duties at McKinney with Marvin and JoAnne. Both couples long-term McKinney hosts who know the ins-and-outs of the campground and the area. The importance of competent, effective camp hosts can’t be over-estimated.

Aliner on Site 144 I selected # 144 site-unseen, so to speak, when making the three Tour reservations a few months ago. And it proved ideal in every way. Well, almost every way. It had an excellent view of the Lake. The site’s parking surface was paved and smooth. Although other sites were close by, they weren’t occupied while I was there.

The site’s only drawbacks were the narrowness of the paved portion of the site, and the slight downward grade of the paved area. The Aliner Mobile Studio is light enough to maneuver by hand on a smooth level surface. So I normally turn it 180 degrees, to face the water. And did that here.

Sunrise The narrowness of the raised paved part of the site, though, made turning the Aliner around more of a chore than usual. Though the lake view, especially in the morning, was worth every bit of it.

Bath House Corps of Engineers campgrounds nearly always have well maintained facilities. McKinney was no exception. Here you see the bath house. That included a convenient coin-operated washer-dryer. All in working order. I visited the bath house several times during my stay and never found it anything but spotless.

Deer On-line reviews of the McKinney Campground often describe how convenient it is to I-75. Ideal for a one-day in-and-out rest on the way to another location. Well, don’t be misled. This Park has nothing in common with those paved parking-lot-with-hookups sorts of places we sometimes find near large super highway intersections. Click the photo above to see part of the herd of deer at breakfast along the road.

Park roads at McKinney are well paved and well maintained. But they are curvy mountain roads! Some quite steep. With tight turns in places that must give fits to drivers of those enormous Class A motorhomes. So, if you drive a big motorhome, be sure to reserve one of their many motorhome-friendly sites.

This morning, on the way to the Etowah Mound Site, I chanced to meet maintenance crew member, Ms. Jane. I asked her assessment of the weather for the next couple of days. And then told her of plans to visit the Etowah Mounds.

Ms. Jane was full of useful information. She’s a member of the Georgia Tribe of Eastern Cherokee. A recorded interview would have been nice. But that she declined. I later learned that she’s a celebrated Cherokee dancer. Often performing at public festivals.

Ms. Jane kindly took time this morning to describe the history of the area, the significance of the Etowah Mounds from her perspective, and the relationship between the area of the Campground to those mounds. It was a valuable chance meeting.

Thanks again to all the folks at McKinney Campground. Hosts Charlotte and George, Marvin and JoAnne. And especially to Ms. Jane. You all helped to make my stay enjoyable and productive. Hope to see you again one day.

Click here for the next post in this series.

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