Group prepares for its 60th annual Savannah River journey

Thursday, June 14, 2012 8:19 PM
Last updated Friday, June 15, 2012 2:10 AM
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This year – just like every year since 1984 – David Hargrove plans to celebrate Father’s Day by having breakfast with his family while taking in the view on the Savannah waterfront.

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Shown on the annual boat trip down the Savannah River are Jason Blackburn, Amanda Brookins Lively, Caroline Hargrove Blackburn, David Hargrove, Amy Lively, Art Lively, Melanie Jenkins, Matthew Jenkins and Travis Jenkins.  SPECIAL
SPECIAL
Shown on the annual boat trip down the Savannah River are Jason Blackburn, Amanda Brookins Lively, Caroline Hargrove Blackburn, David Hargrove, Amy Lively, Art Lively, Melanie Jenkins, Matthew Jenkins and Travis Jenkins.
Steve Crawford
Columbia County News Times Publisher
Twitter: @scrawfordccnt
E-mail | 706-868-1222

“My girls always have a card for me,” Hargrove said. “They always come down and give me a big kiss and wish me happy Father’s Day.”

It is not so much the view, however, or the breakfast or the card he looks forward to every year – its the trip.

Hargrove and more than 100 others will spend this weekend continuing a Father’s Day tradition that has lasted for six decades – making a 370-mile-round-trip journey to Savannah by water.

The trip begins this morning when a flotilla of about 30 boats departs from a landing on the Savannah River in Burke County. It will return the following afternoon, said Hargrove, who will be making his 28th consecutive trip.

The tradition began with his father, Cliff Hargrove, and others in the Augusta Boating Club back in the early 1950s.

Hickey Dewberry, 81, said the first trip was in 1952. The boats were smaller and the trip took longer, he said.

“We had a lot of 25-horsepower motors,” Dewberry said. “We put in below the Lock and Dam. When we arrived, the Savannah Boating Club met us and had drinks and sandwiches for us.”

Dewberry said the small boats could not carry enough fuel for the entire trip so they had to arrange for refueling along the way.

“A fellow from Sylvania had a gas truck, and he would come to the bridge and fill us up,” he said. “We had to carry our tanks up to the bridge.”

Today’s boats are bigger, faster and carry a lot more fuel, he said.

“That’s why I quit going,” he said. “The motors get bigger and everything turns into a race.”

Over the years, the number of families has waxed and waned, but Hargrove said about 120 to 150 people take part each year.

“Our high-water mark was 106 boats sometime in the late ’90s,” he said, estimating that as many as 500 people made the journey that year.

The six-hour journey downriver to Savannah is basically a moving party that stops at sandbars along the way for food and refreshments.

Hargrove said the trip has become an important tradition for his family. His two daughters and their husbands also go every year.

The group departs from property his father purchased on the river in 1956, he said.

“I really feel compelled to do it because my dad (was) a part of it for so long,” he said. “The river has become a big part of my life.”

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Newsflash
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Newsflash 06/14/12 - 11:04 pm
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Have a safe trip !

That is sure to be a fun trip.My dad met Cliff Hargrove while fishing on the river in the mid eighties and was invited up from the river for lunch.They became fast friends and dad visited and stayed in the river house up until he passed away in 1990.I think the river house is called ''Cliffs Folly''.The Hargrove family is one of the finest families in Georgia and put the name southern in hospitality.Hope you folks have a fine trip and keep this tradition alive.I'm sure those that have passed on are smiling.

JRC2024
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JRC2024 06/15/12 - 03:19 am
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Made the trip numerous times.

Made the trip numerous times. Alot of fun but a long way especially back up the river the next day. Some started having someone pull their trailer to savannah and not going back up river. Lots of sun burn but a good time.

itsanotherday1
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itsanotherday1 06/15/12 - 09:38 am
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David

David is just a prince of a person. I've made the trek a few times and always had fun. Had to get a couple of people out of jail in Effingham Co. for BUI along the way, but mostly a non-eventful, safe trip. My buddy who has the boat quit going after gasoline costs got out of hand, and the dockage fees got way pricey. Couple that with freeloading friends who wouldn't pitch in on costs and it became too much for he and I to foot the bill.

JRC2024
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JRC2024 06/15/12 - 01:01 pm
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Itsanotherday. I remember

Itsanotherday. I remember years ago when savannah inn overbooked and did not save the rooms and the boats that arrived an hour before us got mad and threw things around. When we arrived at the dock the staff had us rooms at a downtown hotel, transportation and paid dock fees. We did not cause any problems and liked the downtown hotel better. When we got back to the docks the next morning all the boats of the trouble makers were under water but ours were not even touched. It was rumored that the mafia owned the hotel at the time. Glad we were sober.

Just My Opinion
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Just My Opinion 06/15/12 - 04:00 pm
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That sure does sound like

That sure does sound like alot of fun! Too bad I don't have the right friends who own a boat or make the trip! Y'all have a great time and keep'em between the shores and off the stumps!

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