Originally created 05/16/02

Driving the state may be enlightening, confusing



Every time I drive along River Watch Parkway and look for the river, I think about how things don't always live up to their names. Where is the river? I'm watching, but I don't see it.

Someday, when I have a few days of vacation to spare and a full tank of gas, I might drive around Georgia and see whether there's much truth in advertising when it comes to the names found on the map.

I'll take a drive to Split Silk and see what they were thinking of when they named that place. I'll visit Emit, Between, Enigma, Ball Ground, Experiment, County Line and Benevolence and ask the residents how it feels to live in those places. Then I will gas up the car again and head into West Point, Social Circle, Free Home, Double Run and Doctortown.

I'll check out Orange, White and Gray. I'll rest in Greene County, which has three E's, and in its town of Greensboro, which has only two.

Unlike South Carolina, where many of the county seats have the same name as the counties (Aiken, Aiken County), Georgia is a study in mixed-up geography.

So that means Colquitt, the town, is several counties to the west of Colquitt, the county. Quitman isn't in Quitman County. The same goes for Appling and Appling County, Clayton and Clayton County, Macon and Macon County, Lumpkin and Lumpkin County.

Other oddities dot the Georgia atlas. Dawson isn't in Dawson County, but Dawsonville is. Franklin Springs, but not Franklin, is in Franklin County. Oglethorpe, Fort Oglethorpe and Oglethorpe County are scattered across the state.

Many cities and counties in the Peach State sound similar but have no connection geographically. Neither Brookfield nor Brooklet is in Brooks County. Thomas County contains Thomasville but not Thomaston. White County is home to none of the following: White, White Plains, Whitesburg, Whitestone or Whitesville; those are all in other counties.

My trek across the Empire State of the South may prove educational. I will drive through Athens, Sparta, Rome, Dublin and Alamo. I will find Cairo and Egypt, Boston and Oxford, Texas and Kansas, Denmark and Damascus, Nashville and Knoxville.

I will bump elbows with presidents: Washington and Lincoln, Madison and Monroe, Jefferson and Jackson, Coolidge and Johnson. And, of course, Jeff Davis.

I might see Alpharetta and Omega, Homer and Helen, Iron City and Lumber City, Isle of Hope and Dixie, Glory and Ideal, Mystic and Eden, Thrift and Needmore, Leaf and Cotton, Commerce and Hobby, Constitution and Liberty, Headlight and Fender, Bacon and Coffee, Stone Mountain and Rocky Face.

I might stop to have a picnic beside the road in Shady Dale, Powder Springs, Snapping Shoals, Lost Mountain, Flowery Branch, Mount Airy or Rising Fawn.

Then again, I might just roll up the window and drive swiftly through places whose pronunciations leave bad tastes in my mouth: Attapulgus, Ludowici, Uvalda, Hahira, Cusseta, Fort Mudge.

On my way back toward Augusta, I might wander through Hopeulikit, just to find out whether it really was named after a dance hall during the big band era. And stop off at Santa Claus because, well, just because.

Then, on my way home, I'll drive down River Watch Parkway one more time and watch for the river.

Reach Glynn Moore at (706) 823-3419 or gmoore@augustachronicle.com.