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The 4th of July

Posted by Heliocentrism on July 26, 2010

fireworksJuly 4-5, 2010

All Pictures

Americans enjoying the 4th of July

The Rockets Red Glare

Mark and I got up early to pick up my mom. She was staying in the Omni Hotel next to the CNN Center. Then we met up with my brother, Malcolm, and waited for him to pack up his trailer.

Let’s pack and repack and repack again, kids!

My brother is notorious for not being on time. Add to this, his four kids, a niece, and a family friend, all of which are also known for their tardiness. They all, well mostly Malcolm, were packing up their trailer when we showed up.

Malcolm’s eyes opened wide when he saw our van. To him, our van was more storage space. He took a few of our clunky items and repacked our van with some of his stuff… and 2 of his kids… and then he took our food.

fireworks

When we finally reach Stone Mountain Park, the lines for all the interesting activities were really long. There was no way that we could do any of them. So we thought up a plan B.

There is no charge to enter Stone Mountain park. The charge is for the rides and activities. We didn’t buy our tickets at the park. We bought our tickets at Kroger’s with a $4.00 per ticket discount and we had until November to use them. So we stayed at the park to watch the fireworks and came back the next day to ride the rides.

The fireworks and laser show were amazing! It must have lasted an entire hour. There was music and pictures. When they played the Star Spangled Banner, everyone stood up. It was my first 4th of July in the US for a long time.

The actual mountain made of stone

The Klan Made this!?

Well, sort of. It started out as a giant rock. Then it became a quarry. Rocks from this site  are now in some locks of the Panama Canal, some of the steps of the US capitol building in D.C., and many other prominent buildings throughout the world.

It was actually a member of  United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) that had the idea of turning Stone Mountain into a carved memorial to historic confederates. They paid for the work in the beginning, but by the time World War I broke out only Lee’s head was completed and they had run out of money.

Later, inspired by the film  The Birth of a Nation a group of men re-started the Ku Klux Klan. The new klan made Stone Mountain their pet project. They held fundraisers and collaborated with the UDC to finish Stone Mountain. But, it was very much a stop and go thing. Sculptors quit. Lee’s head had to be re-carved. Designers and planners didn’t get along. Money ran out.

Then the federal government took notice and thought it was a great idea. The government kicked the KKK off the project, sold special coins to help raise money, and completed the monument.

Maybe as a way to atone for its earlier associations with the KKK, a sample of Stone Mountain rock was sent to be considered for use in the building of a Martin Luther King Jr. memorial. It was not chosen. The MLK memorial planners went with granite from China instead.

overcoming my acrophobia

What Fear of Heights?

The next day Mark, my mom, and I did the ropes course. I am acrophobic, but this looked like too much fun to pass up. Plus, I saw little children on the course. I will not be labeled as someone who is more wimpy than children!

I was scared at first, but after a while, I was so focussed on getting through the obstacle, I forgot about the being high up part. Once I was done with the first level, I had enough confidence to move onto the second level. Then the third.

There were many kids who got scared and needed someone to get them through the course. There were also some adults who were scared and needed someone to get them through too. There were also a few people who fell off. Most of them were able to pull themselves back onto the platforms without help.

We like mountains with cable cars to take you to the top.

After our day at Stone Mountain we headed to South Carolina. My brother’s van was already packed up, so he headed out before us. My mom, Mark, two of my nephews, and I made one quick stop first… at Best Buy.

RIP Rasputin

Goodbye Rasputin

My camera, the one that survived the Laotian scooter accident, started giving what would turn out to be its death throes. After taking pictures the lens would not retract without me having to push it back into place. I thought that it would be a good idea to invest in a new camera in case Rasputin passed while on the trip.

I got a newer version of Rasputin, the Canon SX120. Rasputin stop functioning completely 3 days after I bought the replacement.

All Pictures


 

The United States of America

How to get there:

You can enter my country by land, air, or sea. But I think flight would be your transportation method of choice.

I have no clue how to get a visa to the US or who needs one. Just assume that you need one if you are not American or Canadian and check with your local US embassy.

Phone:

  • Use 911 for the police, fire department, or to get an ambulance
  • Use 411 for information (This might cost money.)

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books: 

Notes:

  • It’s a big country. You’re going to need a car.

Stone Mountain

How to get there:

Address:

1000 Robert E. Lee Drive
Stone Mountain, GA 30083

Phone:

  • General Information 770-498-5690 or 1-800-401-2407
  • Group Information 770-498-5636
  • Campground 770-498-5710 or 1-800-385-9807

In the U.S. 800 number are free.

Website

Download:

Cost:

To get a $4 discount per ticket, buy your tickets from any nearby Kroger.

Hours:

Notes:

  • There is a lot to see here. Get here early.
  • You do not need a ticket to get into the park. The ticket is only needed to get on the rides or into the activities.

Map:

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Like Walking in a Movie

Posted by Heliocentrism on July 26, 2010

July 3, 2010

All Pictures

No. I didn’t look inside this outhouse.

Two Movies I have not Seen

Mark and I spent the night at another KOA in Forsyth. It was just the nearest campground outside Atlanta. We were delighted to find that we were near two interesting movie-centric towns.

We were to meet up with my family for the 4th of July and to kick off a huge multi-state camping trip. But that wasn’t going to be until the next day. We had to entertain ourselves for one day. I had the idea of breakfast at the Whistle Stop Cafe and then to head off to Atlanta.

The Famous Southern Fried Green Tomatoes

We first went to Juliette. Nothing was open except the Honeycomb. We went inside to look around. Mark bought some gifts for his mom and we chatted with the owners.

We really wanted to have breakfast in this cute little town, so we played checkers and walked around until the cafe opened. I have never seen Fried Green Tomatoes or read the book, but after walking around the town, I pretty much have an idea of what happened in it.

The fried green tomatoes were wonderful, by the way!

Movie Opening night relics

Next we went to Jonesboro, the town that was the setting for Gone With The Wind. This was another movie that I have never seen and book I have not read. But we headed off to the Road to Tara Museum anyway.We walk around the props from the movie and speculated about which house was used as the inspiration for the Tara.

We found out that Martin Luther King, Jr. sang at the opening of this movie as a kid with his choir. Even though it wasn’t planned, this whole trip to America followed the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Can’t wait to go to Japan and try it there too!

Samples From around the World

We drove into Atlanta and visited the World of Coca-Cola. It’s a little brain-washy. You hear them give you reason after reason why Coke is your favorite drink. I personally hate Coke… or any soda. I think if I spent a couple days here I would be convinced that I liked Coke. But I had to see the World of Coca-Cola because that’s what you go to see when you go to Atlanta; that, the Airport, and the CNN building.

My advice is to skip the “movies” except for the 4D movie. Make sure you have enough time in the sampling room. They have 60 flavors of Coke-Cola products from all around the world. You get a little cup and you can sample as much as you like. Even though I hate soda, my favorite drink was the pineapple stuff from South Africa. The worst was Stoney from Tanzania.  (In the video below, it’s Stoney that I’m trying  to drink when I, well… you’ll see.)

Martin Luther King Jr.’s resting place

We Can Just Walk There

Mark and I were lucky enough to find a place to park for a flat rate of only 3USD on the weekends. So when we were done with the World of Coke-Cola we thought it would be a good idea to walk down Auburn Ave. We took our TomTom and headed down the street.

This turned out to be a bad idea. On the TomTom the birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr. was about 8 minutes away. But that’s if we were driving. We also couldn’t get TomTom to give us walking directions, which meant we were walking in mini circles to avoid walking the wrong way on a one-way street.

Then the sun started to set. Harmless Atlanta started to look a bit seedy. We got nervous any time someone drove too slowly passed us completely convinced that we looked like to two out-of-town rubes needed to be mugged or scammed. We stopped in front of the Ebenezer church and stood there looking at it. Then some guy walking on the other side of the street started yelling at us.

The Ebenezer church

My first thought was that he, obviously, mistook us for some other people. He kept yelling. He was trying to tell us that we were at the wrong church. What we were looking at was the New Ebenezer church. The one we were looking for, the one in which MLK worked, was across the street, where he was standing. We thanked him and he went on his way.

We then walked along the street and saw MLK’s grave and his birthplace. A few weeks later we would visit Montgomery, where he led the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Memphis, where he was shot, The William J. Clinton Presidential Library, where his influence can be seen, and later the Washington Mall, where he did his March on Washington.

MLK’s eternal flame

Here is Mark’s first video of our Visit to America.

All Pictures


 

The United States of America

How to get there:

You can enter my country by land, air, or sea. But I think flight would be your transportation method of choice.

I have no clue how to get a visa to the US or who needs one. Just assume that you need one if you are not American or Canadian and check with your local US embassy.

Phone:

  • Use 911 for the police, fire department, or to get an ambulance
  • Use 411 for information (This might cost money.)

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books: 

Notes:

  • It’s a big country. You’re going to need a car.

KOA
(Forsyth)

How to get there:

  • 33°06’24.2″N 83°47’58.6″W

By car –

Take I-75 exit 186.

Address:

414 Frontage Road
Frontage Road
Forsyth, GA 31029

Phone:

  • (478) 994-2019

Website

e-mail: ke123@msn.com

Notes:

  • This KOA comes with only 1 hour of free wi-fi per day 😦

The Honeycomb

How to get there:

  • 33°06’02.5″N 83°48’11.4″W
  • Take I-75 exit 61 to Forsyth.
  • Head east for about 8 miles to get to the town of Juliette.

Address:

474 McCrackin St.
Juliette, Ga 31046

Phone:

  • 478-992-9996

Notes:

  • Most stores were closed when we got to Juliette.  But this one was open. The owners were very friendly.

The Whistle Stop Cafe

How to get there:

  • 33°06’23.9″N 83°47’55.9″W
  • Take I-75 exit 61 to Forsyth.
  • Head east for about 8 miles to get to the town of Juliette.

Address:

443 McCrackin St
Juliette, GA 31046

Phone:

  • (478) 992-8886

Website

Hours:

  • Sun – F 11:00 – 16:00
  • Sat 11:00 – 20:00

Road to Tara Museum

How to get there:

  • 33°31’17.2″N 84°21’15.7″W

Exit 228 off I-75, follow the brown signs to the Road to Tara Museum

Address:

104 N. Main Street
Jonesboro, GA 30236

Website

Hours:

  • M -F 8:30 17:30
  • Sa 10:00 – 16:00

Cost:

  • 7USD – Adults
  • 6USD –  Seniors, Kid, Students

World of Coca-Cola

How to get there:

  • 33°45’46.2″N 84°23’33.6″W

by car –

  • Go Southbound via I-75/85.
  • Take exit 249C Williams St.
  • Turn right onto Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd.
  • The Parking garage is on the left at the second traffic light.

Address:

121 Baker Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30313-1807

Phone:

  • (404) 676-5151 or
  • 1-800-676-COKE (2653)

Website

Cost:

  • 15USD – Adult

Hours:

  • Check website for hours

Notes:

  • At the end of all the exhibits, right before you exit, there are soda fountains with 60 different flavors of Coca-Cola products from around the world. You might want make sure you have enough time to sample all the drinks.
  • You also get a free bottle of Coke as you exit.

The MLK Tour*

The Birthplace of MLK:

  • 33°45’18.9″N 84°22’16.1″W

450 Auburn Ave NE
Atlanta, Ga 30312

For more information visit this website.

To go inside the house, you have to be on an official tour. Mark and I just saw the outside of the house. We got there too late for any tour.

Martin Luther King’s Church, Ebenezer:

  • 33°45’19.0″N 84°22’27.0″W

There are two Ebenezer churches, one across the street from the other. One is the historic site where MLK preached. The other is the new church where people come to worship each week.

The Resting Place of MLK

  • 33°45’18.1″N 84°22’23.2″W

This spot is always open.

Notes:

  • There are tours that will take you through all the places mentioned above while giving you historical information.
  • I’m not sure how much these tours cost or the times these tours are available.

*A walking tour made by Mark, Me, and our TomTom.

Map:

Posted in Atlanta, Forsyth, Georgia, Jonesboro, Juliette, United States, The | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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