A photo of Rayleigh, Ainsley, Dillon, and Grayson standing in front of the wood framed entrance to an underground structure with a grassy mound forming its roof

32 Days in America, Day 18


  • Miles traveled: 246.8
  • Miles traveled to date: 3250.1
  • States visited today: 2 – Georgia, Alabama
  • States visited to date: 10
  • Tanks of gas pumped to date: 11
  • Meltdowns: 13
  • Loads of Laundry: 15
  • Illness: 4

Daily recap

Today, we visited Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park in Macon, GA, and drove to Birmingham, AL for the night.


  • Hiking around to see the mounds
A photo of Grayson running far ahead on the path up to see one of the mounds
Grayson was really excited to see what the mounds looked like up close.
A photo of Rayleigh, Dillon, Ainsley, and Kevin walking on the path toward the mounds
Everyone else was medium excited to see the mounds up close.
  • Seeing the inside of the Earthlodge
A photo of Rayleigh, Ainsley, Dillon, Grayson, and Kevin inside one of the mounds, which contains a packed dirt floor with straight clay walls and a roof supported by wood beams
This is the original floor from when this mound was used as a meeting place over 1,000 years ago.
  • Going for a nature hike
A photo of a pond in a wetlands
Kevin, Dillon, and Grayson hiked around this pond.
  • Hiking to the top of the Great Temple Mound, the highest point in the park
A photo of Dillon, Grayson, Ainsley, and Rayleigh running up the hillside to mounds that were built on the top
Lesser Temple Mound is on the left, and Great Temple Mound is on the right, which sits much higher.
  • Listening to the ranger program
A photo of Grayson, Dillon, Rayleigh, and Ainsley along with other park goers listening to the ranger's presentation.
Listening to the afternoon ranger presentation on the history of the park.
  • Getting Junior Ranger badges
A photo of Rayleigh, Dillon, Ainsley, and Grayson taking the Junior Ranger pledge in the visitor's center
Hard work pays off! Taking the Junior Ranger pledge to get their badges.
  • Getting a glimpse of Atlanta on our way from Macon, GA to Birmingham, AL
A photo of Atlanta, GA taken from the highway
This is all the more we saw of Atlanta. We passed through on our way to Birmingham, AL.
  • Going for a swim
A photo of Grayson, Kelsey, Dillon, and Rayleigh soaking in the hotel hot tub
A soak in the hot tub is great after a day of hiking.

Other photos from today

A photo of Grayson and Dillon on a walking bridge above a railroad
The boys went on a hike that took them on a pedestrian bridge over a railroad.
A photo of Grayson and Dillon making scared faces in reaction to a sign that says "Notice: alligators are common in this area. They can be dangerous and should not be approached, frightened or fed. Please give them the respect they deserve. Keep your distance."
Oh no! Alligators!
A photo of a sign that says "Caution: wild hog activity Wild hogs typically avoid contact with people, but may charge if they feel threatened. If you see a wild hog: do not approach hogs or piglets. Move slowly away and leave the area. If a hog charges, put a tree between you and the animal, climb a tree, or climb other object above the ground."
Try as we might, we didn’t see Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, or William H. Macy.
A photo of wild hog tracks in soft mud
Although we never saw any wild hogs, we did see their tracks!
A photo of Dillon and Grayson in a vehicle tunnel under a railroad
Part of our hike took us under the railroad. And yes, it does sound cool when you yell in the tunnel.
A photo of a dugout canoe that was manufactured recently
This dugout canoe was made recently by descendants of the Muscogee (Creek) people who lived in the area of Ocmulgee Mounds. It was created using mostly traditional methods, with a few modern tools used to speed up parts of the process.
A photo of Kelsey sitting in the front seat of the van and sticking her legs out the window
Rayleigh and Ainsley didn’t feel so great at the start of the hike, so they went back to the car with Kelsey after touring the first mound while the boys hiked on.
A photo of Ainsley holding a circular stone with a hole punched in the middle
This is an example of a “boiling stone,” which is a stone with a hole punched in the middle of it which was placed into a fire to be heated to several hundred degrees, then lifted with a stick by the hole in the middle and placed into a cook pot. The heat from the stone would make the water in the cook pot boil and cook the food.
A photo of Grayson filling out his Junior Ranger book on a bench outside
All of the kids did the Junior Ranger books, even Grayson.
A photo of Rayleigh, Grayson, Ainsley, and Dillon sitting on a replica of the four seats that are inside of one of the mounds
This is a replica of the four seats that are inside of the mound that was used as a meeting place.
A photo of Dillon, Rayleigh, Grayson, and Ainsley sitting on a fence in front of one of the mounds
In the background is the Funeral Mound, which was a burial site for important members of the tribe.
A photo of Kelsey in the foreground with Rayleigh, Dillon, Ainsley, and Grayson standing atop Great Temple Mound far in the background
Great Temple Mound was really tall, and all of that earth was moved by hand in small baskets that carried about 60 lbs of material at a time.
A photo of Kelsey and Dillon standing atop the Great Temple Mound with the city of Macon, GA visible in the background
The Great Temple Mound is about as high as some of the skyscrapers in nearby Macon, GA. The surrounding area is clearly visible from that height, which would have been an excellent strategic advantage for the people who lived there.
A photo of Rayleigh and Dillon swimming in the outside part of an inside/outside hotel pool
The hotel had one of those inside/outside pools where you can swim under the barrier.
A photo of Ainsley sitting on a hotel bed playing cards with Kevin's hand visible in the foreground
Ainsley and Kevin played rummy in the hotel room while Kelsey and the other kids went for a swim. Squishy and Space Kitty were the audience.

And now for your moments of zen…

A photo of Kevin holding up an enormous pinecone and making a horrified face
Kevin is horrified at how large these pinecones are.
A photo of Kelsey holding a giant pinecone up in front of her face so that it looks like her head is a giant pinecone
It’s the attack of the giant pinecone people!





Leave a Reply