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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Off to the South, again!

Monday 2/11

It 's been a busy travel start to 2008 for us. After our January trip to the deserts of Utah, Nevada and Death Valley, we rested up at home for two weeks. Now we are off to the southland heading into Atlanta for a tour that should take us South to Key West and then back up as far North as Virginia.

Up early on Monday morning we were greeted by a temperature of minus 2 as we headed out to the airport at 5:30 for our flight into Atlanta, GA. After a bit less than two hours in the air we landed to find the temperature near 60 degrees with bright sunshine. We picked up a brand new Chevy Impala with only ten miles on it and headed South on I-75.

Our first chance to stop for tourist information was at Macon. Macon bills itself as the second oldest city in Georgia. (Savannah is the oldest) A very helpful transplanted Ohioan, Greg Webb, gave us a number of suggestions for seeing the sites in Macon. With a metropolitan area of almost a half-million, and unscathed by Civil War battles, Macon has an interesting history and boasts numerous ante-bellum homes. An historic trolley tour is available downtown. Macon also boasts a strong music history being the home town of Lena Horne, Little Richard and Otis Redding among others. Macon is home to the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.

Unfortunately, we didn't have time to explore Macon on this trip. We have set Key West as our goal and reaching that point and returning North to points in North Carolina and Virgina is going to cut back on our usual flexibility. We headed back to the freeway.

Some things can't be passed up, however. Everyone has to eat and I had spotted billboards advertising JL's Open Pit Bar B Q as "The Best Barbecue in Georgia." Located at exit 3 on I-475 as you bypass downtown Macon, JL's proved to be in the running for best at the very least. For $5.50 you get a meat and two sides plus a great garlic toast. Highly recommended!

And we weren't far beyond Macon before we'd already passed up several Pecan stores. Another fixture of the South, these stores usually go well beyond the sacks of pecans and peanuts that I remember at Pecan stands in the 1950s and 60s.

We pulled in at Adcock Pecans in Tifton, Ga. The selection of Syrups, Sauces, Jellies and Marmalades alone made this worth the stop. We picked up some Pecan brittle and Wild Cherry Hard Candy and were quickly back on the road.

As we passed Valdosta and neared the Florida border, I was badly tempted by the $3 book sale billboard advertising "over 200,000" books. Linda talked me into leaving that for another trip too.

As soon we crossed the border, the scenery changed noticeably and the soft Georgia pines began to give way to more tropical palms and magnolias. Was it my imagination or a serious planting project by the Florida Chamber of Commerce? I can't say for sure.

We pulled in at the Tourist Information Center and there my dawdling pace would come back to haunt us. It was ten minutes past five p.m. and the Information Center was closed. We picked up a current state map but nothing more and headed on.

Soon we approached a river and noticed a series of musical notes underneath the name "Historic Suwannee River." Another mile or so and we noted an exit sign for White Springs and the Stephen Foster Culture Center State Park.

We continued on another ten miles and spent the night in Lake City, Florida.

1 comment:

Lisa Fitzer said...

was wondering if your connections were "out" or if you got caught up in some kind of "Deliverance" experience....
you guys are so live and learn....
guess you are gettin' a Real Taste now....Mickey Ds was never so important, HUH?!

Lisa... belle!
I'm puttin' the tea on....