The next stop on our journey was Atlanta, a place where Hector and I lived when we were in our thirties. Although we’ve visited a few times since then, the last time was over ten years ago. Atlanta is the place where we bought our very first little old house and here is where we learned most of our home renovation skills. This is also where we had a series of New Year’s Eve parties and once almost literally brought down the wood floor of said old house while dancing. Good times and good friends.
We stayed in beautiful Stone Mountain Park, a place we know well. It’s a huge park with an aerial tram, a golf course, a lake, rides, restaurants and a campground. But the focal point of the park is still the Confederate Memorial Carving, “a sculpture that depicts three Confederate heroes: President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson” on horseback. It’s the largest high relief sculpture in the world.
During the time we lived here, Stone Mountain Park began to project laser shows at night on the sculpture. They still do it on Saturdays in May so on the Saturday we arrived, we signed up for the laser show. The weather was iffy, but held out through the show. It was not quite as spectacular as I recalled, but I think that’s because we usually saw the show on the fourth of July. But a great nostalgic way to start our visit.
Our plans for the rest of the week included taking the crashed Apple computer to the Apple authorized dealer, RV repairs for our bedroom slide and a few other RV issues, follow-up X rays for Angel, getting together with various friends, and a Jimmy Buffet concert. And we had all of a week.
Our friends Mark and Sandra hosted a great dinner for us and some other friends; Jim, Lisa (of Okefenokee Swamp levitation fame) and Bernie joined us. We had lots of laughs looking at old photos of hiking trips on Cumberland Island, the canoe trip on the Okefenokee and other adventures.
Meanwhile, the rains followed us from St. Augustine and the Okefenokee, and our campsite got swamped – ah, good old Georgia clay. So Angel got a few good soakings while being walked, she was NOT amused.
After appointments with the Apple, dog and RV doctors we met Jim and Lisa to go to the Jimmy Buffet concert. The weather was actually perfect for the outdoor concert, no rain, and a lovely evening. And the usual crazy Parrot Heads were running around. A great night with great friends.
The following day we met Sandra and Mark once again. Mark had suggested we go kayaking on the Chattahoochee River, which has fairly mild Class I and II rapids. I had some reservations about our kayaks, which are sit on top, and not meant for white water. But even though Mark offered us his extra tandem sit inside kayak, Hector insisted on using ours.
We set off to the Chattahoochee. It’s a great resource right within the city; but once you’re on the river you feel as though you’ve left the city. As a “bonus”, the water was four feet above normal from recent rains. So, as we came to the rapids on the bottom half of the river, many rocks which are normally visible were submerged. This meant that Hector and I had to make each of our fourteen foot kayaks turn pretty quickly once we spotted rocks as we approached them. Not so much.
Hector’s kayak tipped first, right in front of me. And, miraculously I managed to steer around him and he got back on his kayak. Then, on the next rapid, Hector tipped again and I right after him. Hector lost hold of his kayak and it went down the rapid without him. I held on to mine (barely) and he helped me get back in. Then I tried to get down with him hanging on to my kayak and tipped, leaving him behind.
Long story short, Mark and Sandra recovered Hector’s kayak and its contents, got it to shore and Mark came back to help both of us. Hector wound up spending about ten minutes in the 50 degree water so I was pretty worried. Fortunately we both had dry layers to change into and that warmed us back up. There are no photos of the final portion of this trip (except for one from Sandra’s cell phone below) because our camera got swamped (it’s now in the camera hospital). So with bruised bodies and egos we made it down the rest of the way (I portaged around one rapid with help from our friends).
Many thanks to Mark and Sandra for rescuing us! And, yes, next time we’ll take you up on using your kayak.
The next day I met our friend Katherine while Hector waited for the RV repair guy to return with some parts. Katherine and I went to the High Museum of Art to see their Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exhibit. Their art, especially hers, depresses me, but also fascinates me. Later that evening Hector and Katherine’s husband Erik joined us. Erik, who is from Belgium, served us the “world’s best beer” (Duvel) so named by Michael Jackson, the world’s best selling beer writer (not the singer). Then we all went to dinner at an old haunt, Manuel’s Tavern, which happily hasn’t changed much.
The following day, Hector and I met Katherine at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. I found this an especially fascinating presidential library because of their added bonus of providing information on the work that the Carter Center it is doing around the world. Beautiful grounds also. I highly recommend it for those traveling to Atlanta.
And, finally, on our last night we set out for Madison, Georgia to meet our friends Richard and Rick for dinner. Madison is a beautiful town that was spared by Sherman in the Civil War (with various interesting stories about why this happened). It has over 100 antebellum homes, most of which have been restored. Rick and Richard have a landscaping business and of course have beautiful gardens at their home. I remember seeing the gardens shortly after they were planted and now they are like a beautiful forest. We thoroughly enjoyed our evening at their home, these guys can make me laugh like few others.
So, the Apple is back along with our restored files, Island Girl’s bedroom slide works again, and Angel got a good progress report on her leg. And somewhere along the Chattahoochee River lays one Croc shoe with cute octopus and shark shoe charms from Puerto Rico…