20141201_171845A piece of lava led to a detour in our road trip.  Although we had no idea at the time, the detour originated a year-and-a-half ago on a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii, when George and I took a short hike through a sun-scorched lava field to see some petroglyphs.  Old lava flows are tricky to navigate.  They are hard on the feet, with unpredictable, contorted shapes.  I sprained my ankle running through some old lava on Kauai a few years ago. 

April May 2013 069

Trail to petroglyphs

This time it was George’s turn, when his foot caught an edge and he tripped and fell.  He broke his fall with his left arm and scraped his knee, but it seemed as if he had been lucky—no major injuries from the often razor-like lava edges.  We continued on to see the petroglyphs.

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Trust me, there are petroglyphs on these rocks

The first consequence of that fall hit us when we returned to the parking lot and realized that the rental car key was missing.  We had only one key and the rental car agency was on the other side of the island.  The key must have fallen out of George’s pocket when he tripped, so we retraced our steps and started searching.  We were soon joined by a sympathetic Japanese couple, who seemed delighted to stop and help.  After about ten minutes, when George and I had moved farther along the trail, we heard a commotion of exclamations behind us.  The Japanese couple found the key.  They were almost as excited as we were and I stunned the poor man, who spoke little English, by giving him a hug.  All was good—we thought.

But the second consequence of the fall was more subtle.  The next morning, George’s left shoulder hurt.  And it continued to hurt.  Likely some rotator cuff damage.  After we returned home, physical therapy and steroid injections improved things enough so that it appeared that he would not need surgery.  But during this trip, his shoulder continued to nag and he had it checked out again during our stay in Athens.  The MRI showed that he needs surgery for rotator cuff and tendon damage.  A dilemma—do we continue on the road and have surgery after we settle down or have it done now and stay in one place for a couple of months?  Not a choice really—sooner is better.

We lucked out and found a dog-friendly, affordable cottage to rent for two months on St. Simons Island on the Georgia coast.  We are putting our trailer into storage, George will have his surgery in the middle of December, and then we will have time to appreciate this amazing area while George recovers enough to hit the road again.  I will be able to appreciate it more than George, of course, because I won’t be in pain with my arm in a sling.  But this is good place to chill.


Marshes of St. Simons

We used to come to St. Simons—a small island on Georgia’s short coastline—on long weekends when we lived near Atlanta, but I had forgotten just how lovely it is.  There’s a funky-ish little town with a pier and lighthouse, a gorgeous curved, dog-friendly beach, an old fort, and massive live oaks dripping with Spanish moss, so dense that they create dusk underneath in the middle of the day.


Our little cottage is a five minute walk to the beach and a ten minute walk to town.  We won’t be driving much, except to explore.  We will be taking plenty of day trips, but there also is a lot to see on the island.  On our first evening here, I headed to the beach.  I emerged from a dense tree canopy to be met at the beach with a double rainbow, followed by a burning ball of orange sun dropping into the ocean at sunset.  Oh, yes.  I like it here.


20141201_171440Some equally magical walks followed—one in brilliant sun, with birds diving and swooping on the offshore winds and one shrouded in a soft fog.    20141202_133255


Dog photobomb--but he enhanced the shot.

Dog photobomb–but he enhanced the shot.

20141202_13593120141202_14000020141202_14253820141202_14240820141202_143704Having surgery while you are on the road is not easy.  In short order, we had to find a good surgeon, a place to stay, a place for the trailer, cancel our reservations, and readjust our plans.  It’s been a hectic scramble, but things seem to be working out nicely so far.  A twist, a turn, a trip, and here we are.

Heading into the foggy shore

Heading into the foggy shore


Fishing for mullet with the tide

Fishing for mullet with the tide


19 thoughts on “Detour

    • Thanks for the surgery sympathy. We were hoping it wasn’t necessary, but he needs it. St. Simons is perfect for post-surgery R&R. We were extremely fortunate to find a good place on such short notice. I imagine that St. Simons was a little funkier in the 70s, yes? Although it still has a very laid-back element, mixed with the high money. We really like it here. Dinner in town tonight, walked back to our cottage with an enormous full moon rising over the high-tide surf on the rocks. Aaaah.

  1. Reading this thinking of all our past surgeries but never on the road…wow!!! Perfect plan for recovery, nice to know about. Gheez, just finding about finding the right doc, etc. And then to turn around to post such beautiful photos…may all go well, speedy recovery. And lots more rainbows out your window!!!!

    • Thank you! Dealing with medical issues on the road certainly is a downside to traveling. But we had wanted to spend time on St. Simons anyway, and there is no campground here. So we were thrilled to find the rental and turn this into an upside, too. Most rentals on the shore were way too expensive, but St. Simons has some very affordable ones this time of year.

      Funny, I didn’t intend to take any photos on these walks and took these with my phone. It’s so lovely here, I couldn’t resist.

  2. Sorry to hear about the accident and consequent surgery, hope George makes a quick recovery. You have certainly found an idyllic spot to recuperate. Looks to be in a warm climate too.

    • Thanks for the speedy recovery wishes. We’re doing everything on our part to enhance the recovery, now the rest is left up to the surgeon. If we had to have surgery on the road, this is the place to be. It is a warm climate for us, although not as warm as your home. Lots of citrus and palms here, giant rosemary plants, and lovely camellias in bloom now.

      • Yes, I will continue to blog. There are a lot of interesting places to explore around here–old forts, Okefenokee Swamp, and Savannah, for example. Lots of bloggy fodder.

      • Look forward to seeing your posts, the name Okefenokee just rolls off the tongue and makes me think of swamps, Cajun music and trees draped in moss. Like you say “good bloggy fodder”…

  3. Oh, my… medical issues while traveling. You guys certainly did well with your coices. I had no idea St Simons had reasonably priced rental homes this time of year. Heal fast and enjoy the beauty of the Georgia coast. What an opportunity to enjoy nature and all those coastal birds… : )

    • I had no idea either! You have to dig a little to find rentals with monthly rates, which often are only slightly higher than the weekly rates. There were only a handful of dog-friendly affordable places, so when we saw one we liked, we jumped on it before we even finalized the surgery plans. It worked out really nicely. And it is a wonderful opportunity–I love it here in the winter. I rode my bike to the store this morning and was mesmerized for ten minutes watching an egret fishing about 20 feet from me in the marsh.

    • Yes, the surgery is necessary, but it was not easy to stop our travels just as we were about to head out west. Fortunately, we don’t have a set timetable and can be flexible. This is a beautiful and very interesting place. I’m glad that we will have some extra time here now.

    • Talk about serendipity. We had just arrived and settled in, I wanted a quick hit of beach, and found this. Rainbow, moon, sunset–it floored me–and I didn’t have a camera other than my phone.

    • Thanks Arlene, but we are not at all amazing, just trying to creatively roll with the punches. Zoe has been limping a bit and getting stiff after running around on the beach, so she had a doctor visit, too. Looks like arthritis. Aging is the continued adventure for all of us!

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