Flashback to the 1996 Summer Olympic Games

I am having a great time sitting in my living room cheering for Team U.S.A. at the Rio Olympics. Twenty years ago I didn’t get to see much of the Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta from my living room. Instead, I was volunteering with the Yachting events (now called Sailing events) near Savannah, Georgia.

Before the games began, we saw the Olympic Flame arrive in Savannah on the Schooner America. After torch bearers ran through Savannah  they wound their way around Georgia to the Olympic Stadium in Atlanta. The world then watched as the final torch bearer Muhammad Ali lit the Olympic Cauldron.

1996 Olympic Flame arrives in Savannah aboard Schooner America
1996 Olympic Flame arrives in Savannah aboard Schooner America

Two of our friends participated in the relay through Savannah. It was such a thrill to see the Olympic Torch relay in person.

1996 Olympic torch relay in Savannah
1996 Olympic torch relay in Savannah

For the Olympic Yachting events, a Day Marina was constructed in the waters of Wassaw Sound near Savannah.  To get there, we had to drive a few miles, ride on a bus, and ride a shuttle boat to the Day Marina along with other volunteers and athletes. For two weeks, Henry, our daughter, and I got up at the crack of dawn and put on our volunteer uniforms to help with the launch and recovery team of volunteers on the Day Marina.

Volunteers arriving by shuttle at the day marina
Volunteers arriving by shuttle at the day marina

Tents were set up on the Day Marina to provide a home for the athletes during the long days on the water. The larger countries had their own tent and ramp to launch their boats while smaller countries shared a tent. I was assigned to work with Fiji, Guam, Jamaica, and Thailand who were sharing a tent between Team USA and Team New Zealand.

1996 Olympics Yachting Day Marina in Wassaw Sound near Savannah, Georgia
1996 Olympics Yachting Day Marina in Wassaw Sound near Savannah, Georgia

Our days were long and hot but it was worth it to be able to meet athletes and trainers from all over the world. I was even able to do a little pin trading and get a few autographs.

1986 Olympic Pins
1996 Olympic Pins

There was a flurry of activity as each team prepared to launch their boats to go out to the race course. Things got busy again when the sailors returned after their event.

USA Atlanta Olympics Bronze Medal Soling
USA Atlanta Olympics Bronze Medal Soling
USA Olympic Bronze Medalist Courtney Becker Day returns to the Day Marina
USA Olympic Bronze Medalist Courtney Becker Day returns to the Day Marina
1996 Olympics Mistral Gold Medal winner from Greece
1996 Olympics Mistral Gold Medal winner from Greece

The races were too far away to watch from the Day Marina. One day we got to ride a boat out to the race course to see one of the events.

1996 Olympic 470 yachting race
1996 Olympic 470 yachting race

Being an Olympic volunteer was a once in a lifetime experience. Meeting these amazing Olympians and watching them prepare for their events was something I will never forget. I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to do it.

Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch

Last summer as I was browsing through some blogs I stumbled upon a post on Winged Beauty Butterflies that mentioned Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch, a butterfly habitat in Eatonton, Georgia. The next time we were visiting near there I stopped by the habitat and fell in love with it. I posted about my first visit to the habitat at Wandering in the Briar Patch.

My latest visit to the habitat was this past weekend in July, 2016. While I was wandering through the garden I had the pleasure of meeting Virginia Linch, the woman with the vision to create this magnificent butterfly habitat. Her enthusiasm was contagious as she gave me a tour and introduced me to many of the native Georgia nectar plants that I wasn’t familiar with. She also knew where to look for caterpillars and showed me some so tiny I would have never seen them if she hadn’t pointed them out.

The blooms were vibrant throughout the garden.

Mexican Sunflower
Mexican Sunflower
Blooms in the Briar Patch
Blooms in the Briar Patch
Bee on Black Eyed Susan
Bee on Black Eyed Susan

I could see swallowtails, monarchs and other butterflies landing on the blooms but none would stay around long enough for me to get a picture. A Viceroy landed on the ground in front of me and paid no attention to me at all.

Viceroy in the Briar Patch
Viceroy in the Briar Patch

This Gulf Fritillary wasn’t shy.

Gulf Fritillary
Gulf Fritillary

I would never have spotted this Giant Swallowtail caterpillar if Virginia hadn’t pointed it out to me.

Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar
Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar

You can see how small it is compared to Virginia’s hand.

Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar
Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar

There are benches for resting and even a new porch for sitting.

Porch sitting in the Briar Patch
Porch sitting in the Briar Patch

Thank you Virginia for giving me a tour and for all of your hard work!

Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch is Certified Monarch Way Station No. 9045 and is also an official site for geo-caching.

Celebrating Ten Years of Wandering

What an amazing ten years! Each marker on this map represents a place where we camped in our RV.

Ten years ago, on July 1, 2006, we spent our first night in an RV park in Tampa, Florida. Two weeks later we left Georgia with no reservations anywhere and a bucket list of what we wanted to see. You can see highlights of that trip at Looking Back on our First RV Trip. Last year I posted a few of our most memorable experiences from our first nine years at Celebrating Nine Years of RVing.

Many of our trips revolved around either visiting family or attending a special event such as a wedding or Titanium Rally. Sometimes we traveled just for the fun of seeing new places. No matter where we were going, we always took the long way around to get there.

We discovered beauty in every state and province we visited. Sometimes the everyday things were the best.

I love watching the changing landscape and seeing the many farms and ranches.

I love seeing the farms as we drive along
I love seeing the farms as we drive along
We always enjoy seeing lighthouses.

Split Rock Lighthouse on Minnesota's North Shore
Split Rock Lighthouse on Minnesota’s North Shore
Seeing wildlife is always a treat.

Black Bear beside the road in British Columbia
Black Bear beside the road in British Columbia
And of course we loved visiting many of our National Parks.

Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View Overlook
Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View Overlook
Sometimes we enjoyed watching the sunset from our campsite.

Mount Redoubt sunset in Ninilchik, Alaska
Mount Redoubt sunset in Ninilchik, Alaska
We did a few amazing hikes.

At the Summit of Enchanted Rock
At the Summit of Enchanted Rock in Texas
Chilling by a camp fire is always fun.

Enjoying the campfire
Enjoying the campfire
Now that we have ten years of RV’ing under our belt, our priorities have changed. Of course, we are ten years older and it is more difficult to make long trips. When we started our wandering, we only had two grandchildren. Now we have four and we want to spend as much time with them as we can. Going on long trips takes us away from them for too long.

Our wandering days are not over. There are still many places we haven’t seen in and near our home state of Georgia so from now on we will travel a little closer to home.

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