Saturday, October 17, 2015

Atlanta and Home

So basically on Friday it wasn't a great day.  It was raining and not much exploring was going to happen on account of this inclement weather.  We did get out to a playground and park in Roswell and sussed that out, and unfortunately we poked ourselves into a giant Wal-Mart to take in that business; but we didn't buy anything.  After that we went to this indoor trampoline park called Sky-Zone.  We had a bit of a family pass and a jump around.  I suppose I have already mentioned that.

On Saturday we just sort of hung around the neighbourhood.  It was still raining and it was enough to impede an outdoor exploration.  Perhaps if we were at home we would have went out, but we were travelling and had on clothes or footwear to suit.  We went to Buckhead and headed for Lennox Mall.

Shelly and Marsha toured the mall and got that business done, while I took the kids into the Legoland Adventure area.  It was okay - the kids seemed to enjoy it.  It was a 2 hour affair that included so interactive Lego building, a history lesson about Lego, a ride, and a few other exhibits to check out.

On Sunday it was still misty and overcast, but Stone Mountain would be our ultimate destination.  This is a odd geographic landscape that over millions of years, has created this enormous rock heaving out of the ground.  The perimetre of the rock must be a few kilometres, and it would go a few hundred feet up.  There is a walking path, but that wasn't going to be an option with the company we brought, so we thought we would take the gondola up - the gondola was closed of course.  But we were still able to walk around the base of it, and the shops were all open in the consuming area.  They had it decorated really nicely, and the fall colours were evident.  There was an impromptu parade which we participated in, and overall it was a fantastic trip despite poorer weather.

On Monday morning we pushed northeast towards North Carolina.  Boone, NC would be our ultimate destination.  I had last been to Boone, NC in 2002.  I remembered its distinct vibe and feel as a mid sized, hip city.  I thought Shelly would enjoy going into the artisan shops, and I really wanted to go to the Mast General Store.  Eventually we got to Boone, got a hotel, and had some time to explore and see the city.  Without fail it was pretty much as I expected, and I was very impressed by the easy going feel and mountain-like community it presented.  It would be a lot like Nelson, BC, maybe a bit Stratford-ish, ON too.

Mast General is a great store.  It is a store that time has forgotten.  It is a general store with an operational post office and such, a huge wood stove in its centre, lots of candy and crafts, hunting supplies, and just generally cool things.

On Tuesday we found Interstate 77 and proceeded north.  It was a really, really great drive.  No construction like on 75, you drive through a few tunnels through mountains, great scenery, and just different, but neat.  We weren't making great time, but eventually we got to Akron after 7:30 at night and thought that would be a good enough highway haul.

There was only 450km left to drive - So we headed out on Wednesday morning and it was sunny and warm.  Travelling with the kids had been fine, and continued to be fine.  Wally traveled very well and pulled more sleep then he had every slept before in his life it seemed.  Molly not so much or as good.  She wasn't too interested in movie watching, book reading/looking/, colouring, or anything involving a solitary activity....  However we did alright and kept her mostly engaged.

We got all the way to Port Huron and gassed the car and fed the stomachs.  It would be see-ya-later to the states and let's get the you-know-what home.  We would make a quick stop in Bright's Groove to visit Janet and Pete, and then onto the last 80km leg home.  We arrived by 3:30 or so.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Got To Atlanta

So we got to Atlanta no problem on Thursday by 4:00.

The driving was soooo much nicer; less traffic, no construction, and just all around nicer views through Kentucky and Tennessee.  You really do see and feel the smoky mountains for a bit of a stretch along the interstate during this point.

It rained a lot, but that would be the theme for the next few days.  We made it to Knoxville and ate a cool place.  It was a chain restaurant, but it had gourmet tomatoe soup and grilled cheese.  So obviously it doesn't make too much of a difference, although it did have a different feel then the regular chain-type eating establishments that are prolific along the interstate.  It was called Tom-Chee I think?  It was good.  I had the chilli - I hate tomatoe soup and I didn't feel like a grilled cheese.

We got to Marsha's and noticed her kids were across the street at a neighbour's house.  So we went over because we saw a huge bouncy castle with a gaggle of kids going insane.  Once there, Alden and Loch recognized Molly so I just tossed her into the castle like I was a long lost neighbour, rather then the tired traveler I was.  The house owner thought nothing of it because our kids knew one another.  After 30 seconds I introduced myself, Marsha was also now in the frame, and we had a beer in no-time flat.

Thursday night we just had a few more drinks and order some pizza.  It was still raining.  But we had made our destination.

On Friday we had strong intentions and plans to make a dent in Atlanta, but we didn't.  It was raining and there would be no fun in 5 points, or Little Five Points, or Piedmont Park, or Virginia Highlands, and all those places....  So we went to riverside Park up in Roswell and walked around a bit and played on some equipment.  Later on in the afternoon we cruised a WalMart which is embarrassing, but then we went to a trampoline facility which was fun.  And on Friday night Marsha and I went to the Roswell vs. Walton high school football game in the rain.
It was a good day all in all - a bit different then expected, but it was nice spending some time together and doing things with Marsha at times, and of course with my more immediate family too.


Family Trip to Atlanta

Going back to where some adventures started from 1999 - 2002.
We actually made it to the airport past Cincinnati which is in Kentucky.  We left Goderich full of energy by 11:30, and zipped over the bridge in Port Huron, ripped through Detroit, and scooted along I-75 south. 

Shelly drove the first 400km.  She had never done such driving, in such traffic, or under those conditions.  All in all it wasn’t a big deal, but she quite often needed reinforcement, or a plan of attack to get through the different sections of the road.  I am not sure if she would have made it without someone else around.  But now it is done, each other time gets easier.

All through Ohio the conditions of the road wasn’t that great.  There was lots of construction, and enough traffic.  Notwithstanding there isn’t really too much to look at in terms of scenery or points of interest.  Lots of high school football teams were at practice, and the Bowling Green Falcons were running drills too. 

We stopped for dinner at a Bob Evans.  Got some gas there too, and continued on another 90 minutes.  We were in the car and on the road for about 8.5 hours and got 640 km.  Walter slept for 6.5 hours and hardly fussed whilst awake.  Molly was up for most of it and had a few pockets of silliness and restlessness.  We had a video system, but it was only on for about 45 minutes in all.  Molly is like Shelly; she’d rather talk.

There were no shortage of places to sleep at.  For whatever reason - well my decision, we stopped at a Super 8.  It was more like Super Shi-8.  “Smoking or Non Smoking room”, was the first question posed from the receptionist...  That just sort of lays the foundation for the type of facility.  It was right beside the interstate so it was kind of noisy.  The television didn’t work, and for the first 55 minutes in the room Molly was an animal.  Wally was in no mood for sleeping because of the rest he got all day.  Shelly and I were tired of course because it had been a long enough day....  So the first section of driving was awesome, and the night was sorting itself to be not so good.

As it was the kids settled and found their groove, it was about 10:00 at night, and the noise subsided quite a lot from the highway.  I slept all the way until 7:00 uninterrupted, and so did everyone else.

The rate on the room also provided a continental breakfast.  It was not terrible, it was not great.  I ate none of it.  Packed and on the road by 8:30.

Kentucky is a much more picturesque state to travel through.  There are large areas of deciduous trees, bits of valleys, and fog which hugs the bottom of the sky and tops of the trees.  It isn’t that long of a state to drive through either.  It is only about 3 hours from top to bottom.  There were plenty of spots along the way for gas and food, but feeling fine we galloped through the bluegrass area.  It rained through most of the drive.