Friday, July 24, 2015

Atlanta: President Carter, CNN, Coke, MLK, Braves

After Miami, St. Petersburg and Orlando, it was time to say goodbye to Florida and check out Georgia. 

Mom and Dad originally thought we'd fly from Orlando to Atlanta. But it's only about 6 hours by car, and by the time we did the whole airport thing and then rented a new car, it wouldn't really save time (and it would have cost a lot more than a tank of gas). Since I'm the driver, I offered to just do the work and let us see some of the sights along the way.

We try to eat at places we don't have at home. And since Chick-fil-A is out for political reasons, we had a hard time finding something along the freeway. Lots of Wendy's, but we have those at home. We ended up at Steak 'n Shake for some road-trip fueling.
We stopped at the Georgia welcome center to get some brochures, stretch our legs and buy a lottery ticket. We didn't win.
Atlanta is toward the top of the state, so we got to see it all. Georgia was very pretty with lots of green (I like green!) and rolling hills.

The weather was pretty horrible with storm cells throughout the drive north. I didn't mind, but it sure made for some tense miles. Fortunately, we passed through each cell quickly. 

We arrived in Tucker, just outside Atlanta, and went straight for food. Just around the corner from our hotel was Mellow Mushroom - a favorite restaurant that used to be in Portland. (The waitress said the Portland location closed because they were having trouble getting fresh dough that far away from HQ. The chain is working on a solution to bring more Mellow Mushrooms across the country.)
While we were inside, a huge storm was brewing outside. The National Weather Service issued storm warnings, and the local news was going wall-to-wall with coverage. Getting our luggage from the car into the hotel was a drenching experience - and a bit scary with the lightning and standing water! We just don't get storms like that at home.

Wednesday started with a run on the treadmill. I love the "act now, feel good later" sign on gym the mirror:
Then it was a trip into the city to explore the Carter Presidential Center.

And... President Carter just happened to be there that day signing his new book! Talk about good timing!
We had a couple hours to check out the museum and learn about the 39th president. Really fascinating stuff - I really admire this guy!

Oval Office replica:
Then it was time to get in line for the book signing:
It was all super-organized and ran like clockwork. We didn't have time to chat, but I did manage to say, "Thank you, sir!" and he said, "Thank you for coming!"
My signed copy!
Thai food for dinner:
Then my one Dunkin' Donut of the trip (such will power!!):
Thursday was CNN day:
Mom was SOOO excited!
We took the tour and saw some fun insider stuff. Control room monitors:
Mini display studio:
A kid doing the green-screen thing:
The newsroom:
Eryn and I had some minor PTSD flashbacks from our news days.
Like any good tour, it ended in the gift shop. Anderson Cooper!
Next door is Centennial Olympic Park: 
The city turned some run-down blocks into this large, beautiful, clean park. We were really impressed! A lunchtime concert was under way:
Olympic fountain:
At the other end of the park is Pemberton Place, named for the pharmacist who invented Coca-Cola:
And World of Coca-Cola:
Time for another tour:
The Vault holds the secret formula, which only a couple people have ever seen... ever.
It was all very dramatic:
The tour was full of interesting history and artifacts, like this original bottle for Coca-Cola Tonic "for headache and exhaustion". No one mentioned the cocaine in the original pharmacy formula, but I'm sure it really took the edge off those headaches and exhaustion!!
We learned that the bottling rights were sold for just $1. And the history of the bottle shape (super interesting!).

A little bottling line:
And then it was time for the tasting room, which featured all the common flavors, as well as sodas from around the world. I tried most all of them - and then felt really sick!! Urp!
They sent us home with our own little bottle:
And then a chance to buy souvenirs from the store:
Lunch in the park:
Our exercise for the day was the local Road Runner Sports Adventure Run - the same as our monthly Discovery Runs in Tualatin:
Friday morning was spent in the Center for Civil and Human Rights.
It's also in Pemberton Place, and the land was donated by Coca-Cola.

I know a lot about the civil rights movement, but this was still very eyeopening - and very sad. Since Martin Luther King Jr. was from Atlanta, the exhibit focused on Georgia and MLK's part of the movement.
There was also a section on current human rights worldwide:
After, it was time to finally visit a Waffle House so Mom would stop whining:
Then we stopped by Ebenezer Baptist Church, where MLK preached:
Enough with the learning - it's baseball time!
Turner Field:
Veggie dog!
Gorgeous view of the city:
Atlanta: check!
Saturday started with one last run - 6.25 miles on the 'mill before heading to the airport. It was one of those runs that started weak but felt great after a couple miles. If time had allowed, I would have kept going:
Mom and Dad were supposed to stay a couple extra days, but Mom flew back early with Eryn and me to attend the memorial service for our friend's daughter. Dad kept his original plane ticket and stayed to explore more and see another game. Here we parted:
Like any family vacation, there were moments of tension. Put four strong-willed people in a car together for 11 days and something's bound to explode. But overall, it was a good trip with lots of fun and good memories!

And we hit our goal of checking off three ballparks from our list. Click HERE to see my count.


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