Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Tour Between The States. " Come on, everyone, lots to do!"

My pills are now officially gone.  I even was licking the inside of the holder of where lithium used to be.

No more pills. The spasms have returned, slightly but consistently there. A finger for no reason will flick, and, normally when I am holding something edible and attempting to place said food into my mouth for the sustenance I need, but just a flick of an index finger sends my cereal to my lap, a white drool of milk appears in my chin and is wiped away by me (hand) or Jackie (napkin).

Time to saddle up and hightail it around Atlanta.  But before we head to Georgia's capital, a word about the bus driver Doug.  If you can recall cigarette TV commercials from say, oh, the 1960s to the 1990s you might remember this fella on the right:

Actor Richard Farnsworth on the left, Mr. Marlboro on the right. Take the weary lined face of Richard (minus the hat) and place it on Mr. Cowboy in the other picture.  Old weary cowboy, got his gear and is waiting on someone.  That was our driver Doug, a slim cowboy, who rode a tour bus instead of a red roan, would patiently lean back on the side of whatever side of the bus was cooler when we tourists were touristing  and Doug could relax by leaning on his back on the cooler side of the bus away from the sun.  Wrap around sunglasses, blue jeans.  He didn't say much, but when he did it was loud, and mostly funny.  He had a great relationship with our tour guide Judy.  During the long wait due to the accidents I mentioned earlier, Doug would, if possible, find a Georgia State Trooper and get the info.  He'd bring back what he found out and then hash out the next move with Judy.  He was patient with we mere passengers, even asking the more seasoned travelers for advice on side roads, since many of the couples aboard had kids living in South and having learned the back roads long ago.  We all got where we needed to go,  and we did reach Atlanta while the sun remained percolating in the sky.

After a nice breakfast at the hotel (Thursday Morning,  May 17), we were joined by an Atlanta based tour guide and she presented the history of the "The Big Peach". Here's where you'll not find a large amount of Civil War battlefield remnants.  It's only in recent years that Atlanta has begun to honor the  soldiers of both sides and the battle in depth.  The map below shows the three major scuffles and you can see that the city was in danger of Union occupation.  Union General William T. Sherman put Atlanta under siege until September 2nd, 1864 when the city surrounded Union soldiers and artillery.

But Atlanta got a bit of a head start in the Reconstruction Era as General Sherman had decreed Atlanta was to be used as a military base, and instructed citizens to "hightail" it north or south.  Once the war was over, the citizens could return to a formerly occupied city to rebuild with some basics in place such as hospital.  General Hood of the retreating Confederate Army blew up his military works to give the Union soldiers a fireworks show of magnificent proportions.

And somehow in all this Rhett found Scarlett. All he needed was to yell "Scarlett" and poof! there she was!

Atlanta rose again the in post war years (note the nickname "the ATL"), and we're gonna see it all right after lunch.  But first we have a visit to make.

                                                   Battle of Atlanta, by Kurz and Allison (1888)

and the real thing..

So off we go to tour the city. We're brought around see the mighty mighty new stadiums...

What you see here is Mercedes Benz Stadium, which is a small hint on who the Falcons want at their games.  What those folks got was a 7 wins -9 losses for the just completed 2018 season.

The cost to build and complete the edifice was 1.6 Billion dollars. The following teams/events are annual events.They even gotta"peach" something in there, though it must be a mess after the game for the grounds group to gather up the pulp, skins, and the pits off the floor, hoping to get done before the Chick-fil-A game.

Atlanta Falcons (2017 - present)
Atlanta United FC (MLS) (2017–present)
Peach Bowl (NCAA) (2018–present)
Celebration Bowl (NCAA) (2017–present)
SEC Championship Game (NCAA) (2017–present)
Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game (NCAA) 2017–present

But there is one thing that there was unanimous admiration for. The Falcon descends:

Magnificent! The stadium opened in 2017, with the roof (that resembles a flower opening and closing its petals, probably peach tree). They're still working on it, had it working the last time I checked.  

Super Bowl 53 (LIII) will be at the stadium in February 2019.  The Falcons will not be there, alas.

The soccer team (Atlanta United FC) won the professional soccer/North American version of foot ball in December 2018.  I'm not sure if any Falcon players attended this game, but there were more fans in the stadium for Atlanta United championship win (73,019) than any Falcons game.  

All we had time for was a slow drive by for pictures, but fear not, for Atlanta has more Stadiums that you can count with either hand, such as:

This is Georgia State Stadium, also known as Centennial Olympic Park (1996), then as Turner Field 1997) as the home field for the Atlanta Braves baseball team (or, if you are NY Mets fan like me - Hell on Earth) and now home to the Georgia State Panthers.  The Braves now play in the poshy Sun Trust Park, which for which I remain grateful.

All I could think was I don't want to see Centennial/Turner/Georgia field ever again.  

Doug made the twist and turns of the Atlanta's small streets and arrived at a stop with a Catholic church on one side of the street a Baptist church, old but still mighty for when we walked into the voice that welcomed us was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s. And just as in Dallas, the call for a nation's return to its values and creed was silenced, left us just another body to bury.

Still, like the Eternal Flame in Arlington National Cemetery, we are reminded of Edward Kennedy's words in 2008: "the work begins anew. The hope rises again. And the dream lives on."[

More soon!