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Football season is upon us, and that means tailgates are as common as touchdowns.
Whether you’re tailgating outside the stadium or watching the game on your RV’s outdoor TV while you tailgate at Crossing Creeks RV Park & Resort, you’ve got to show your team colors.
You can find a host of ways to do that, beyond (and including) apparel in your team’s colors: flags and pennants of many sizes, decals for your RV, logo-emblazoned grills, a fire pit to warm up the after-game gathering, and tables that look like the playing field. You can find gear that tout the pros or college ranks.
Here are a few items to help you back the team while you’re enjoying good food, fine beverages and great company. You can order just about anything team-related online, shipped right to your door. Not available: A victory, but that’s why you al get together and cheer on every play.
Fly those colors as the Falcons fly toward a Super Bowl berth. You can go understated with a garden flag, step it up with a 44-inch double-sided house flag or go all out with a 5-foot banner that mimics the Stars and Stripes. Each banner bears the Falcons’ black and red colors and the stylized Falcon logo. From nflshop.com. Cost: $14-$40.
Your RV may not be a ramblin’ wreck—at least we hope not—but you can let everyone know it carries genuine Yellow Jackets fans. Pick up precision-cut decals of many sizes for Georgia Tech and other schools at fanatics.com. Cost: $5-$12.
How ’bout them dogs? No, not the Georgia Bulldogs. The hot dogs. Or the steaks, the burgers or the salmon filets? You can cook them over a portable iron grill bearing the University of Georgia’s big “G” emblem. It’s got built-in handles for easy carrying and storage when the party’s over, and both ardor and the coals cool. From fansedge.com. Cost: About $80.
Even Southern nights get cool in September and October for that post-game gathering. You’ll feel a warmer glow with a fire pit that bears the Georgia Southern Eagles logo, or the emblem of another favorite team. This fire pit measures 24 inches in diameter. It includes a grate for grilling, a poker and a weather cover. The team pits are available from serenityhealth.com. Cost: About $250.
After grilling and whipping up some great side dishes, you’ll need a place to put out that tasty spread. How about an all-aluminum, non-rusting Georgia State tailgate table? At 2x8 feet, it’s got plenty of room for everything you prepare and whatever your guests contribute, but it folds to a mere 2x2 feet to slip neatly into one of your RV’s storage areas. The painted surface wipes clean faster than a tailback can hit a hole in the line. The table looks like the Panthers playing field, with logos at the 30-yard lines. Look for other schools, too, at Fansedge.com. Cost: About $200.
Bug splatter is a real problem with summer and fall driving, and the longer you wait to get the bugs off your RV, the more difficult it will be. Absolutely get rid of them before winter.
Even more aerodynamic RVs are like bricks on wheels. They’re bound to catch a lot of bugs, especially in Southeastern states, including Georgia. One look through a splattered windshield on your way to or from Crossing Creeks RV Resort and Spa in Blairsville gives you a good idea of what the bugs do to the painted front ends of your RV. They may not show as readily on paint as on a clear windshield, but the bugs are there.
Let’s look not just at how to get dead bugs off your RV finish, but also how to lessen the likelihood that they’ll become a real mess in the first place.
You can’t escape bug splatter, but you can reduce just how much bugs stick to paint and decals.
The best defense is to do something you ought to do anyway to maintain the value and appearance of your RV: Keep it washed and waxed. Any high-quality wax will provide a protective layer against insects.
There are other preventive products, too. RejeX Polymer Coating, for instance, coats paint and decals with a micron-thin shield. Originated to protect airplanes, it’s glossy like wax, so you can use it alone on the front of your RV. Wax or RejeX make it easier to wipe off insect residue, but wax and RejeX don’t mix, so don’t use them together on the same area. Rejex can also be used on headlight covers and windshields. Photo credit: Rejex.com.
One of the traditional methods, but one that’s highly effective, is to use drier sheets—yes, the same sheets you throw in the drier to soften clothing. Do this in the shade or at least on the cool side of the RV, away from direct sunlight.
For bug removal, place a dryer sheet in a spray bottle and fill it with water. Spray the mixture onto the bugs and wipe off with—what else?—another dryer sheet. You may have to repeat, but the method gets the job done.
When you’re finished, wash and apply a new coating of wax or sealant. Photo credit: ezvidwiki.com.
Some automotive washing mitts do a good job of scrubbing off dead bugs. A good example is the Griot’s Garage Micro Fiber Wash & Scrub Mitt. Use a bucket of water mixed with the cleaning agent you normally use to wash your RV. The mitt soaks up plenty of water for a thorough wash.
One side of the mitt has tendrils of micro fiber for routine RV washing. The other side is textured with plastic edges for bug removal. The honeycomb on the textured side bites into bug splatter and helps to remove bug residue without scratching paint. You’ll still have to scrub, and possibly repeat. Photo credits: Griot's Garage.
Chemical cleaners—Maguiar’s Heavy Duty Bug & Tar Remover is an example—are formulated to soften bugs so they can be wiped off. You know Maguiar’s is working when it foams on the surface. Different cleaners may give different results. A soft rag or sponge should do for scrubbing, if necessary. When using any chemical cleaner, it’s a good idea to use latex gloves to limit exposure to your skin.
The makers of chemical cleaners say they engineer their cleaners so they don’t harm finishes, but it’s always a good practice to follow a vigorous chemical bug cleaning with a thorough wash. Apply a new coat of wax to keep more bugs from sticking. Photo credit: Meguiar's.
Some RV owners swear by dry washes, such as Aero Cosmetics Wash Wax All. You can use it in some RV parks that ban washing with water. You can also use it during stops while traveling. Spray it on, let it work in to soften the bugs, and wipe off with a micro fiber cloth. For stubborn splatters, scrub with a wet cloth before wiping dry. It leaves a slick sheen that will help to prevent future insect sticking.
If you want to cook outside the RV—and let’s face it, that’s what most RVers do on most days—you have to set everything up: the grill, the table, the chairs.
Now you can forget about the grill. No, sandwiches are not on the menu. You’re still going to cook out, but if you have one of the many new RVs so equipped—including trailers, fifth wheels, and Class A, B and C motorhomes—you’ll have a foldout grill or kitchen that makes outdoor cooking simpler. More comprehensive cooking centers are a tailgater’s dream.
Outdoor cooking areas aren’t new to RVs, but originally the outdoor food-prep areas were the only one the RV had, as on a teardrop camper. On a bigger RV, an outdoor kitchen is in addition to, not in place of, the RV’s traditional interior kitchen. And more manufacturers are making the external ktchens available as options or standard on upscale RV models.
You might just be surprised by how well equipped some of the outdoor kitchens are. Few are identical, even among those offered by a single RV manufacturer.
The more luxurious examples have not only a gas grill, but in many cases also a counter, a sink, a refrigerator, and cabinets and/or drawers for stowing away all the utensils and accessories, even dishes.
Outdoor entertainment centers have flat-panel high-definition TVs; stereo receivers, disc players and speakers; and in some cases, sinks with running water and bars, or at least a counter that can be used as a bar. There are even some kitchen/entertainment center combinations.
A good example of a basic kitchenette is available on some Keystone Hideout models. The kitchen has a slideout gas cooktop and a mini fridge beside it. There’s also a shelf/cubby area for storage. It’s compact and efficient. Probably best suited for breakfast, it does not include a grill.
More elaborate outdoor kitchens have everything you need to refrigerate food; cook it on a foldout stovetop or grill, or in a counter-mounted microwave; and serve with ease from the countertop. Almost any upscale outdoor kitchen will include a sink with running water, even if only a small one.
Grills and stoves may be mounted in drawers that slide out, or on arms that swing into position.
A nifty design on some outdoor kitchens is a fold-up door. The cover is flat when traveling, painted and decaled to match the side of the RV. When opened, it serves as an awning, deflecting rain and sun.
The Thor Outlaw Class A Toy Hauler has an entertainment center that seemingly has everything but the big game. It’s perfect for a tailgate bar setup. The 50-inch TV is nestled into built-in cabinetry. Below it is a faux stone countertop with a sink and running water.
Under the counter are built-in cabinets and a bar fridge. To the left of the entertainment center is a half-bath with an exterior door—perfect for accommodating party guests without having them walk through your living quarters.
Some manufacturers mount the giant TVs on slides. An end-mounted hinge allows the TV to be viewed from the kitchen, or when swung away, from the picnic table.
Maybe the neatest outdoor kitchen you’ll run across isn’t available from an RV dealer. It’s a roomy home-built mobile kitchen made from a used popup trailer, with the look of an old-time refreshment stand. It’s pulled behind a motorhome. Check it out.
Now, that is a tailgate party waiting to happen.
Photos: Courtesy of Keystone RV Co.
Any RV has fluids that need to be changed periodically and disposed of properly.
Fluid change requirements in an RV don’t differ significantly from those of a car or SUV you drive every day. The biggest difference may be the number of miles driven. If your RV is on the road for only 3,000 or 4,000 miles each year, you may not reach the change intervals in terms of miles, but you should still change the fluids periodically, and the filters along with them.
A motorhome has more fluids: motor oil, antifreeze/coolant and hydraulic fluid. An RV trailer may have only the hydraulic fluid.
Here are some fluid-change guidelines.
This is the lifeblood of your engine. Oil must flow freely to bathe moving internal engine parts. Oil lowers friction and heat, reducing wear. For oil to flow freely, it must be relatively clean, be the right weight for your vehicle and have a clean filter. All that information is available in the owner’s manual. A service department also will know it.
Generally speaking, an oil and filter change every 4,000 to 5,000 miles is sufficient. But certain conditions place additional stresses on oil and may call for more frequent changes: towing; driving under heavy loads, in extremely hot weather, and in high altitudes; and idling for long periods.
If you don’t travel as many miles as are recommended for oil changes, change the oil yearly.
If you change the oil yourself, buy a pan to catch the old oil. Save it for recycling. (More on that later.)
The difference of opinions on transmission oil changes is wide. Check your owner’s manual. Some sources say 100,000 miles; some say 50,000 miles. If you tow a trailer, your pickup’s tranny fluid should be changed under the “severe service” schedule, which would be more frequently. The Chevrolet Silverado “severe service” recommendation, for example, is every 45,000 miles. If you purchased an independent, extended warranty, check to make sure it does not require more frequent intervals.
It’s pretty safe to say that motor home transmission fluid should be changed under the severe schedule as well, since it’s powering thousands of extra pounds.
As a rule, check your transmission fluid seasonally, using the transmission dipstick, with the engine running. If the level is full, and if the liquid is clear and is its normal color—probably red—and doesn’t smell burnt, you’re good to go. If something is abnormal, have your transmission checked.
If you change the fluid yourself, make sure the fluid you buy is compatible. A dealer parts department or auto parts store will know the proper fluid. Catch and hold the transmission fluid for recycling.
Much like transmission fluid, hydraulic fluid is usually good if it is clean, the original color and doesn’t smell burnt. A good rule to follow is to change hydraulic fluid every two years, but always if it appears out of the ordinary.
Hydraulic fluid changes are messy. Filter requirements vary. Some models have not only an external filter, but also an internal filter. Make sure you use compatible filters.
Capture and save hydraulic fluid for recycling.
Safely and responsibly disposing of used oil isn’t as hard as you might think. The important thing is to keep it out of landfills, where it can leak and contaminate underground water and soil.
Many service stations accept used oil, including hydraulic fluid and transmission fluid, which are also classified as oil. Many service centers have setups that enable them to burn the oil, using it as heating fuel. Most Autozone parts stores and Pep Boys accept used oil, but many independently owned corner service stations do, too. Just call and ask.
Oil filters should be hot drained—kept at 60 degrees or above and allowed to drain into a container. For up to 12 hours. Drained filters can be sent to landfills in some states, including Georgia, but recycling is a more environmentally friendly practice.
Some municipalities hold annual hazardous waste collections and accept used motor oil and filters, even though normal used oil is considered regulated, not hazardous. Check your municipal government’s website or just call to find out. Hydraulic fluid, transmission oil and gear oil are all considered oil and can be recycled.
*Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Here come Georgia’s fall fairs. No two are alike, and all present great travel opportunities from Crossing Creeks RV Resort & Spa in Blairsville.
Fairs start in early September, with at least one fair scheduled each week through mid-November. Some are regional, some local. The biggest of all is the Georgia National Fair.
At almost any fair you can expect entertainment for all ages: food, of course, livetock competitions, cooking and baking contests, rides, concerts and fireworks.
To find your own way, here’s a list of county fairs in Georgia. Here are some highlights:
One of the first agricultural fairs of the season is the Northwest Georgia Regional Fair. The Cherokee Capital fairgrounds in Calhoun are less than a 2-hour drive from Blairsville. This is pretty much an old-fashioned country fair, with livestock competitions, 4-H and FFA exhibits, clowns, puppets, rides and traditional fair food. Gates open at 5 p.m. weekdays and 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $5, age 5 and over. Parking is free.
With just about every kind of family entertainment imaginable, the Georgia State Fair runs for 10 days. It’s staged inside the Atlanta Motor Speedway, so there’s plenty of parking, including limited RV parking (call 901-867-7007). The speedway is about two hours and 40 minutes from Blairsville.
Kids entertainment abounds: a petting zoo, the Puppetone Rockers audience participation show, a white tiger display, pig races, monkeys serving as jockeys and racing dogs, a circus, magic and motorcycle daredevils. There’s also a midway and a walk-through butterfly encounter. The $10 admission ($5 ages 5-12, seniors) includes all attractions, including music; rides are extra. Tuesday is ride all day for $10. Other days, ride all day is $25. Thursday, each ride is $1.
Tickets are available only at the gate.
Sponsored by the state of Georgia, this is the biggest of the fairs. Traditional livestock shows are a Georgia National Fair highlight, with competition for cattle, hogs, sheep, goats, horses, rabbits and llamas. The Invitational Steer and Heifer Shows welcome 4-H and FFA exhibitors from Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina and Mississippi.
Music includes Emmy winner Peabo Bryson; Neal McCoy; a College Night ticket shared by Aaron Tippin, Sammy Kershaw and Collin Raye; 1990s and Southern Rock revivals; and gospel and Latin music. Other entertainment: pig races, antique tractors, hypnotist Tammy Barton, magicians, midway exhibits and lots of rides.
The Georgia National fairgrounds are about a four-hour drive from Blairsville, just over two hours south of Atlanta. Online ticket sales begin Aug. 24.
The regional Elberton 12-County Fair in northeast Georgia is less than a 2½-hour drive east from Blairsville. Daily admission is $5, and all-morning or all-afternoon ride tickets are available. In addition to blue-ribbon livestock contests, time-honored competitions include vegetables, jellies, jams, crafts and art. Here’s a different contest: 4Hers vie for best scarecrow. Musical acts entertain nightly, and there’s even pro wrestling.
One of the final nearby fall fairs is the North Georgia Agricultural Fair in Dalton. Ribbons are awarded for pies, cakes, pickles, preserves, jams, jellies, Christmas ornaments, quilts and much more. Crops judged include string and lima beans, corn, honey, nuts, peppers, tomatoes and many more categories. Livestock also is judged. Oh, and there’s a contest for voices: Karaoke preliminaries are Oct. 19 and finals, Oct. 26. There are food and rides aplenty.
Dalton is to the west of Blairsville—an hour and a half away by U.S. 76, or an hour and 50 minutes by the scenic route through south Tennessee on U.S. 74.
*Photos courtesy of Wikipedia.
So, you like to eat, do you?
Fruit juice, eggs and bacon for breakfast. Cream in the coffee. A fresh salad for lunch. For dinner, a juicy steak, maybe, grilled to perfection under the awning outside your RV, along with a baked potato and sweet corn. Ice cream with fresh berries or a Georgia peach sliced overtop for dessert. Peanuts for an evening snack with drinks.
Yeah, I know: I’m feeling hungry, too.
All that delicious food might have been purchased at a supermarket, but it started out on a farm—except for the coffee, there’s a good chance it was a Georgia farm. Lots of planning, work and care—and these days, technology— go into every farm that produces great food. Touring a Georgia farm or two to see how it’s done, and maybe even picking some fruit yourself, will make you appreciate your meal for more than how it tastes.
Here are some places in Georgia that invite you to learn firsthand about agriculture:
A five-generation working family farm, White Oak Pastures raises grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, sheep, goats, turkeys, ducks, geese, guineas and hogs. It slaughters the animals in one of only two USDA-inspected on-farm abattoirs in the nation. You can dine in the White Oak Pastures farm-to-table restaurant for lunch Monday-Saturday and for diner Friday or Saturday evening. Stay in one of the on-farm cabins. The general store sells handcut meat, seasonal sausages, preserves and pickled items. Tour the farm on foot (wear boots—it’s muddy!) or prearrange a tour on horseback.
White Oak Pastures is a five-hour drive from Blairsville in the state’s south, about three hours south of Atlanta.
How sweet is this? The Vidalia Onion Museum tells you everything you wanted to know—and maybe more—about the Vidalia onion. The Vidalia onion is exceptionally sweet, partly because it is grown around Vidalia in all or parts of 20 Georgia counties where the soil lacks high sulfur content. This sweet onion was discovered quite by accident during the Great Depression. According to the USDA, you can’t call an onion a Vidalia if it’s grown in California or Pennsylvania or anyplace other than those counties, even if it’s one of the species that becomes a Vidalia onion. These onions are a rarity in that they’re hand-cultivated. You can also pick up some recipes at the museum and some delicious onions almost anywhere you travel around Vidalia from April through the summer.
The Vidalia Onion Museum is about 4 hours and 40 minutes from Blairsville, and about 2½ hours southeast of Atlanta. Admission is free of charge.
Fruit doesn’t get any fresher than when it comes right from the farm. Southern Belle Farm grows lots of it: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and 10 varieties of peaches. You can pick your own when each crop is in season or buy pre-picked items, plus jams, honey and other products, at the farm’s Country Market. For the summer, count on blackberries, blueberries and peaches. The farm grows vegetables too. This is a real family experience. In Belle’s Barn you can see chickens, donkeys, cows, calves, goats and horses.
Southern Belle Farm is about 2 hours and 40 minutes from Blairsville. McDonough is about a half-hour southeast of Atlanta.
Photo Credit: White Oak Pastures
Nothing is better with a summer meal than an ice cold craft beer.
Georgia is home to several brewpubs, where you can get good food and beer brewed on the premises. There are enough Georgia brewpubs to put together a really enjoyable tour in summer—or any time of year.
A brewpub serves food and its own beer. Some distribute their beers for sale by retailers and other restaurants; some sell only to onsite customers. Annual output may range from a few hundred to maybe 7,500 barrels a year.
Obviously, you’ll have to drink responsibly and drive the following day to your next destination. To make this trip extra safe, download the Uber app or the Lyft app to your iPhone or Android device so you can get safely ot wherever you’re staying. The apps are free.
Consider these brewpubs for your tour:
Widely honored in Atlanta and nationwide, the Wrecking Bar Brewpub occupies a late Victorian hybrid building that has been a home, a church, a dance studio and, before its current incarnation, an architectural antiques shop called the Wrecking Bar. The building near Inman Park was designed by architect Willis F. Denny, who designed other key Atlanta structures in the early 20th Century.
The Wrecking Bar menu revolves for food and drink. Brunch, anyone? Try Choco Mountain Imperial Breakfast Stout, with flavors including bittersweet dark chocolate, mocha, dark fruit, oats and wheat, and a half-gallon of Guatemala Antigua cold-press coffee in every barrel. Later, try the truly light Fruit at the Bottom Mango-Pineapple Milkshake IPA. Among the ingredients are lactose and vanilla beans. It’s very smooth.
Recent dinner entrees included Salmon Tagliatelle and slow smoked Aspen Ridge Brisket. The crew will help you pair any entree with a Wrecking Bar brew or other libation.
Rick Tanner’s Cherry Street Co-Op brewpub was the Grand National Champion of the 2017 U.S. Open Beer Championship. It won three gold, a silver and two bronze medals. Its location is Vickery Village in Cumming, Forsythe County, about 20 minutes northeast of Atlanta.
Choose from 25 of its brews on tap in the Cherry Street Taproom. There’s a whiskey-tinged brew, the Bourbon Barrel Aged Biere de Garde, and what the pub bills as the “wee heavy” Strong Scotch Nitro, an ale. With dessert, try the unique Coconut Porter. The bar packages some beers for takeout. Dining is informal, featuring Rick Tanner’s Rotisserie Chicken, well-known around Atlanta. Added to that recently are handcut steaks and grilled fish.
Nighttime and weekend entertainment, from live music to trivia competitions and cornhole tournaments, is common.
Moderation and balance in all things. That statement is behind the philosophy of Reformation Brewery “to set beer free.” The Woodstock, GA, eatery and brewhouse says it values everyone’s story. The Reformation story began with a homebrew that outgrew the number of guests who could drink it. After five years of home brewing, the brewery was born.
Woodstock is about 45 minutes northwest of Atlanta on Highway 5, via I-75 and I-285. Reformation plans to open a new pub at 105 Elm Street in Woodstock in August. The original brewery was a nice gathering spot but had food only on special occasions. Queenie’s, a Southern-style restaurant in Woodstock, will operate the kitchen at the new brewpub.
Patrons will be able to offer opinions on up to 24 unique brews to help guide production decisions. Upstairs will be the Study, with booths, sofas, chairs and a second bar. A gathering hall will have games, a giant screen and space for a singer-songwriter to perform. Reformation will preserve an ancient elm on the grounds, enhancing outdoor events.
Brews include rotating IPAs from Wander North Georgia, the award-winning Cadence Belgian-style dubbel, Haddy Belgian-style white ale, and Stark, a toasted porter. A sampler of canned brews is available for takeout.
Check out detailed list of Georgia brewpubs and breweries.
The high humidity and heat in Georgia summers can cause an unwanted problem in RVs: interior mold or mildew growth. Mold and mildew can trigger allergic reactions, headaches, irritated eyes, sore throats and nasal congestion.
Prevention is possible, although eliminating all sources of moisture in an RV is not: The shower, sink and cooking will increase moisture levels. You can, however, reduce interior moisture to 50 percent or less.
Double-pane insulated windows found on luxury RVs and upgraded lower-cost models do for an RV what they do for a home: prevent condensation on the interior side of the window. They do that with an empty pocket between the outer and inner panes that decreases temperature transfer.
Tinted or reflective panes also help because they reduce interior heat buildup. That’s important because heated air holds more moisture than cooler air.
You can buy tint and fit it to the inside surface of single-pane RV windows as long as it’s permitted where you license your RV. It usually takes just scissors to trim the flexible plastic sheet, a spray bottle to apply water, and a squeegee to press the wet film onto the window.
More effective against interior heat buildup is window insulation. You can buy custom covers or make them yourself from a roll of insulated Reflectix or similar material. Place these inside or, if the weather is producing extreme, prolonged heat, outside windows when you are parked.
Measure the window and cut the Reflectix larger than the opening. You also can make a pattern out of newspaper sheets. Work in the shade; the silver finish on Reflectix can be painfully bright in sunlight. Place the cutout against the window from the inside and tuck it into place. Trim excess with a utility knife.
Reduce humidity inside your RV with a dehumidifier.
There are three kinds:
One more thing: Be sure to kill any mold or mildew you find with a cleaning agent containing a disinfectant.
Image Credits: Ivation, Reflectixinc.com
Music festivals in Georgia satisfy nearly any musical taste. Georgia festivals already are underway, with the season picking up steam as the temperatures rise in May and continue through summer.
Venues are easily accessed by driving from Crossing Creeks Luxury RV Resort, with at least one—the Georgia Mountain Fair—only 15 miles and 20 minutes away.
Music genres include jazz, hip hop, rap, indie rock, electronic dance, bluegrass and Gospel. Some music events double up with arts and craft fairs, amusement rides or prayer services. Many are two- or three-day events, one runs a week and the biggest—the Atlanta Jazz Festival—runs the entire month of May. Costs range from free to several hundred dollars for multi-day events.
The Atlanta Jazz Festival hits the trifecta: It’s huge, it’s critically acclaimed, and it’s free. Billed as 31 Days of Music, it offers performances from rising talents throughout May at venues around the city: the airport, Chattahoochee Hills, Peachtree Center, the Suite Jazz Lounge, and city parks.
The top acts entertain Memorial Day weekend on the Next Gen Stage, Contemporary Stage and the Legends Stage, al in Piedmont Park. The Saturday show closes with an 11 p.m. Late Night Jazz Jam at Park Tavern with the Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra. Headliners in 2018 include vocalist Dianne Reeves, Joe Batiste with the Dap Kings, Jane Bunnett and Maqueque, The Bad Plus and The Fuller Quartet. It’s a two-hour drive to Piedmont Park. Throughout May; featured acts, May 26-27.
What a party! The Shaky Beats Music Festival in Atlanta’s Central Park books nearly 50 acts playing indie rock, electronic music or hip hop. Headliners are Marshmello, Friday; Zedd, Saturday; and Kygo, Sunday. Late shows start at 11 p.m. for attendees 18 and older. Ticket prices are $95 for one day or $179 for three days. The drive is two hours, more or less. May 11-13.
Billing itself as THE Christian Music Festival, AtlantaFest attracts some of the biggest names in Christian entertainment to Six Flags over Georgia. Featured in 2018 are Colton Dixon, Danny Gokey, Michael W. Smith, Mandisa, Phil Wickham and Tedashii, taking turns on the Main Stage on June 14, 15 or 16. The complete schedule includes other entertainment, speakers and worship. No alcohol, tobacco or pets. Tickets start at $51 for one day, to $115 for all three days. Group tickets are $100 for the full festival. Figure on a two-hour drive to Six Flags. June 14-16.
Country, Gospel: Georgia Mountain Fair
The annual Georgia Mountain Fair means country in the country. The Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds are just 15 miles from Blairsville in Hiawassee. Headliners include the Bellamy Brothers, Joe Diffie, Malpass Brothers, comic Etta May and British Invasion pop legends Herman’s Hermits. The Sunday Gospel show features The McKameys, The Primitives and The Inspirations. RV campsites start at $26 a day. July 20-28.
The Raccoon Creek Bluegrass Festival in Dallas, GA, is a two-hour drive from Blairsville. The festival runs Friday ($10) and Saturday ($20), but a weekend pass is $25. The Wiseman Brothers are booked for Saturday. This family event allows no smoking, alcohol or pets in the covered concert area. Because of the sheltered vene, the event runs rain or shine. July 13,14.
For more information on schedules, ticketing and parking availability, visit the respective event websites above. Discover more Georgia music events on the music festivals page of Georgia.org.
Photo Credits: Wikipedia, Dianareeeves.com, georgiamountainfairgrounds.com
If you’re a family where cell phones and vehicles last for years, you may be missing out on the latest tech features and conveniences, including hands-free calling.
But don’t think you have to scrap your older but perfectly maintained Ram, F-150 or Silverado tow vehicle, or an old but trusted dinghy, just to get something as simple as hands-free calling. That would be as wasteful as buying a new cell phone every time the manufacturers bring out a new model—which, as with truck manufacturers, is every year, or close to it.
To be able to safely take a call or make a call while driving should be a priority. In some states, it’s not even legal to take or make a call any other way while on the road. Fumbling with a phone can take your eyes off the road longer than you might think. An AAA analysis of data from the Virginia Tech Transportation Safety Institute indicates that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chance of an accident.
Here are affordable ways to get hands-free calling.
Many aftermarket radios facilitate a wireless connection between the radio and phone. Incoming calls go directly to the radio for two-way conversation if you enable the phone before driving. And you’ll be able to place a call hands-free with voice recognition.
A quality aftermarket radio provides other advantages, too, such as Sirius radio reception (with a paid subscription), better AM/FM reception, and an input for external devices such as an iPod. Bluetooth would mean no physical connection is needed for music or calls. In vast stretches where radio reception is nonexistent, being able to play your favorite music or an audio book can help you to relax and keep you alert.
Make sure the radio you buy is compatible with your year, make and model vehicle. Sometimes inexpensive dashboard fillers are needed; to fit, an aftermarket radio can be too small, but not to bigYou can keep your old speakers if they’re in good shape.
Cost: $150-300 for radio; $0-75 installation; $10 per month and up for Sirius subscription
As an alternative, you can add an aftermarket device that mimics General Motors’ OnStar and handles your incoming and outgoing cell calls.
A good example is the Hum from Verizon. This small black box clips onto the driver’s sun visor. It’s physically unobtrusive and reasonably attractive.
The Hum and similar devices wirelessly link to all cell phone calls while you’re driving. A microphone picks up your voice and a speaker plays the incoming call. Since Hum’s wireless receiver plugs into your vehicle’s onboard diagnostic port, it alerts you to potential problems, and it knows when your car breaks down or is in an accident. A service provider will call and ask you if you need assistance. You also can tell it to call 911.
If you use your vehicle for business, it logs your location and mileage. Logging miles just for calculating fuel mileage or maintenance needs is helpful.
Hum has an internal battery that must be recharged every month or so by plugging a cord into your vehicle’s power outlet. If you forget to recharge and your battery runs low, you’ll get an email reminding you to do so.
Cost: $80-$100 to buy the device, plus $10 per month service.