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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.


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.


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






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

Stone Mountain

How to get there:


1000 Robert E. Lee Drive
Stone Mountain, GA 30083


  • 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.




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



  • 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.


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