We decided to avoid I-75 at any cost, but that also means no more Chipotle at that Man O' War exit in Lexington, Kentucky. The drive through WV, VA, NC, and SC was really beautiful. Most of the fall colors were still around. And the rest stops are much cleaner. And the welcome centers have more pamphlets than this girl could ever read. Score!
We stayed at Ft. Yargo State Park. It's about halfway in between Atlanta and Athens. We had been there earlier this year and really liked it. It's very calm and quiet-- two things that we need sometimes.
Zoo Atlanta is a beautiful zoo, even in the rain. It's not flat (for those who need the arthritis report), but it's in a lush garden setting and has some unique animals. Top of the list-- lots of pandas! This year Chris and Rachel went behind-the-scenes to feed the pandas. They were thrilled with that. If you go to zoos or aquariums, try behind-the-scene tours once in awhile. I have never been disappointed.
Looking for a park that was unsaturated was a challenge. We headed towards Athens for the day, and both parks we went to were more than 70% under water. But we did see an unusually placed clown on a trash can in the first park office where we stopped. Maps of the park, attractions, disc golf, and this...
and a beautiful nature center at Sandy Creek. We couldn't see anything else there. All roads and trails in the park were saturated.
We found Bear Hollow Zoo in Athens. It was correctly advertised. There was a bear. It was in a hollow. And there wasn't much else there, but it was very pretty in the rain.
We stumbled upon a place for lunch in Athens called Grit. It was an odd confluence of hairy-legged women, organic vegan food, and 70s music. I haven't heard that many Bee Gees' songs in a long time. All was good until Chris discovered that his steak sandwich wasn't going to be real steak. But he was a champ and ate it anyway. Outside of Grit, we saw a very strange thing....
I'm not sure if this is a common thing in Athens, but we were a little bit surprised. And we also thought that drunk students on High Street during football season might perpetrate evil with something like this.
There were some other odd occurrences that I cannot explain.
Stone Mountain, Georgia, was beautiful. We spent a foggy and rainy afternoon there. I laughed out loud on the tram car when the tour guide said, "This carving is of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Harrison Davis." I'm pretty sure that Jefferson Davis is wondering who Harrison is. There is a walk from the top of the mountain down to the bottom. It's a couple of miles and I thought about it for a minute. But then my wiser self thought about rain + incline + me and didn't do it. I would love to hike that someday. I was wearing sensible shoes, unlike every foreign tourist I saw.
We wanted to visit the Puppetry Museum, but it was under renovation. Doesn't that sound like fun!?
We did visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Site. That was magnificent. I know that I rave on about parks and particularly our national parks, but this site was truly amazing. The displays, the history, the video and photograph gallery, and the Ebenezer Baptist Church were moving. Please go there if you ever have reason to be in Atlanta.
The "new" Ebenezer Baptist Church on the site was the only disappointment. When I saw the "black lives matter" sign in the window, it seemed out-of-place with King's message.
And I am always amazed when there is a major traffic problem... and it's the last hour of the trip. Thanks, Zanesville!