My husband truly knows me. Mostly that is a good thing. In the case of this trip to Georgia, it was a great thing.

It all started out as a “pack your bag with enough clothes for five days and bring a bathing suit too” mystery. This was to be my 59th birthday present. He would not tell me what we were going to do. Oh, and I was to bring my camera and gear.  That part at least I could get onto. So, since I enjoy surprises I did as I was told and got in the car like a good girl.

Once we had crossed the border into South Carolina he told me we were going to go chase waterfalls. What? Yea! I love the challenge of shooting waterfalls! This was going to be a good trip. Little did I know what else he had in store for me.

We arrived in the mountains of western Georgia on an overcast afternoon in the little Swiss replica town of Helen. No kidding. This place looked like it was plucked out of the Swiss Alps and plunked right down in Georgia. We stayed at a Holiday Inn that looked like a Swiss chalet. It was all so kitschy. Every building in the town had to be decorated this way, it was a mandate of the town. So the McDonald’s and other familiar businesses all had this same chalet-style decor. Cute. In a weird Stepford Wives kind of way. 

Helen, Georgia is a tourist attraction because of the Swiss Alps village thing too. Lots of shops boasting German and Swiss-type “collectables” made in China. There were some real Swiss/German crafts, and certainly lots of international food; imported beer and hand-made pretels being two of the staples. We managed to walk about town a couple of times while we were there, and we had fun just checking things out and eating the obligatory pretzel.

We spent a day-and-a-half driving out to the various popular waterfalls, and I did my best to capture them in full day-light, but I wasn’t really thrilled with end results.

After a few days we packed up and headed out on the next mystery leg of our adventure. Alan told me I needed an exta pair of pants and shoes in case the ones I was wearing got wet or muddy. I was allowed to try and guess what was coming next, but white water rafting, kayaking and canoeing were not the right answers. Finally I started using my heat for something other than a hat rack – using deduction I started down the rabbit hole of going mudding. Nope but I was heading in the right direction. Oh! Four-wheeling? Nope, think bigger. Bigger? Well, now I’m back to mudding. Nope. Then it came to me, something I’d wanted to do for a few years now, drive a tank. Bingo. For my birthday I was going to get to drive a real tank, and bonus, crush a car. Yeehaw!!