Friday, May 13, 2011

Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina - May 2011

May 13, 2022 - Atlanta, GA to Asheville, NC 

We left Atlanta about 9:30 and made the 3+ hour drive into Asheville, NC.  Matt was so excited that he would drive through 3 states today (GA, SC & NC).  It was a fairly easy drive for the first half, but the last half was a bit tougher as we drove though lots of small towns, however, it was beautiful with lots of rolling green hills.

When we got into Asheville, our first reaction was "Oh My Gosh, It's Beautiful - How Long Can We Stay???".  There are so many great hiking trails, waterfalls, etc that we have decided to extend here for just a bit.  We drove through town today to get an idea of where everything is and of course to scope out the Biltmore.  We can't believe how big the estate is (or how much the entrance fee is $69), but we are hoping for a bit better weather to visit the house and grounds.  We spent the evening planning our hikes and trying to get a handle on all the wonderful things to do around here.

May 12, 2011 - Atlanta, GA

We woke to another hot day in Atlanta so we decided to enjoy some indoor activities today.  We drove downtown to visit the "World of Coca Cola".  Now, we were expecting a nice exhibition on the bottling of Coke, but were we ever surprised.  We were first greeted by huge lines of school kids on field trips.  We braved our way into the building and found ourselves in the midst of a mini wonderland.  

This was the ceiling in the initial room we went into.
 We were first ushered into a room filled with wonderful memorabilia and a quick story on how Coca Cola was started.  Our next stop was the Happiness Factory Theater - A great animated film that the kids loved.  We were then released in to the general exhibits to explore on our own.  They had a great exhibit on the history of Coca-Cola that we really enjoyed.  Did you know that Coke does not bottle its own soft drinks but sells the syrup to bottlers who do the actual bottling and distribution?  We then made our way up to an art gallery dedicated to pop culture of Coke art.  We then donned our 3D glasses (well it was advertised as 4D) for a great little film complete with moving seats, air flows and water sprinklers.  We then made our way down to watch some glass bottles of Coca Cola being bottled.  This is the smallest bottling activity at 20 bottles per minute while some of the larger bottling plants can do 2,200 per minute.

Cool glasses!!

Our last major site was the Tasting room, over 60 different brands of Coke products from all over the world.  Needless to say about 1/2 way around the world we were both feeling a little queasy from all the carbonation and different flavors.  And needless to say, not all products tasted good but we quickly moved onto the next tasting.  Now remember that I mentioned that there were bus loads of kids in there, imagine the sticky mess on the floors.  My shoes are still sticky!!!  I am guessing that as bad as we felt when we left that there were a lot of puking kids on the buses, NOT where I want to be. 

After lunch, we did a bit of shopping and then headed back to the RV to get it all packed up to leave on Friday as we have decided that we are going to leave Atlanta a day early and extend our stay in Asheville, NC.

May 11, 2011 - Montgomery, AL to Atlanta, GA

We had probably the easiest drive of all today.  The 3 hour drive from Montgomery, Alabama, to Atlanta, Georgia, was all on Interstate 85 and very well signed and even going through the middle of Atlanta at mid day was a breeze - Why can't all drives be like this one???  Its still very hot with temperatures into the 90's but I think we are supposed to get some storms beginning tomorrow and it will cool down some.

We left Montgomery about 8:30 this morning and arrived around 1 pm (Eastern time, darn it, lost an hour).  A quick setup of the RV and we were off to explore Atlanta.  Our stop today was Margaret Mitchell's home when she wrote Gone With The Wind - Yeah...  you knew I had to stop there....  

Lets see how up to date on your "Gone with the Wind" trivia:  Did you know 
  • that Margaret Mitchell actually wrote the book from end to beginning?  She knew how the book would end but had no idea how it would get there.
  • that Margaret heard stories of the Civil War from relatives and did not understand until the age of 10 that the South had lost the war and not won it?
  • that she wrote Gone With The Wind while recovering from a broken ankle in the small apartment we toured today (she called the apartment the "dump" even though her ice box is larger than the one we have in the RV).
  • that she did not want anyone to know that she was writing a book so she hid her typewriter under a towel when anyone would visit and also used manila envelopes to hide portions of her book in all parts of her home?
  • that the actual writing of the book would take 2 years of her time?
  • that the editing of the book to bring it all together would take 8 years?  (Imagine piecing together hidden portions of type written pages)
  • that she never wrote another book and wanted no part of writing another one after Gone With The Wind was done?
  • that Scarlet's name was not originally Scarlet but was changed to Scarlet in the final editing process?  The original name was "Pansy" - Just doesn't sound right...
  • that the movie won every award the year it was released and beat out the Wizard of Oz for all awards?
  • that Gone With The Wind is the #2 best selling book of all time?  What is the first?  The Bible.
OK, so maybe I got a bit carried away, but it was a very entertaining tour about her life and I definitely learned some things about both the book and the movie that I did not know before.

May 10, 2011 - Montgomery, AL

We left the RV a bit before 10 and after finally finding parking in downtown Montgomery, we set off for the visitors center to find the trolley that goes through downtown. We found that it was actually a bus but it was nice to not walk in the hot sun across town.

Our first stop was The First White House of the Confederacy. This was the home of Jefferson Davis for a few short months in 1861 before the capital of the Confederacy was moved to Richmond. It was a beautiful town home. The unique feature of this home was that the man of the home had his bedroom on the first floor of the home next to the front door to protect the home and it's occupants.

The White House of the Confederacy

Our next stop was Old Alabama Town. Two blocks of historical buildings representing life in the 1800's complete with homes, a schoolhouse, cotton gin, store and blacksmith.

The school room of Old Alabama Town
 We retired back to the RV to cool off, although our poor air conditioner is running constantly to keep us cool on this 90+ degree day.

May 9, 2011 - Vicksburg, MS to Montgomery, AL

We left Vicksburg about 8 am to make the 5 1/2 hour drive to Montgomery, Alabama. We arrived at our campground, Capital City, and found it very nice and clean. Boy is it ever hot & muggy here. We relaxed at the RV and planned our site seeing day tomorrow.

May 8, 2011 - Vicksburg, MS

We spent a relaxing day around the RV today with only a short venture out to check out the flooding in town.

We definitely saw the waters had risen in several areas around town, but no major flooding was making it past the walls surrounding the town.

We leave for Montgomery, Alabama tomorrow so we will spend the evening packing up the RV and getting ready to head out early in the morning for the 5 1/2 drive.

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