Atlanta, GA

We’re on a ‘mission’ to get to Louisville, TN for the 143 Kentucky Derby. We have found that our recent travel style is to pick an event and then drive towards said event, pitstopping in various locations along the way to test out the local food, culture, and auto-parts stores. Ok, ok. We haven’t needed to stop at as many auto-parts stores recently (I’m over hear knocking on every hardwood surface within reach), but I have noted Jake’s PTSD type habit of verbally announcing every auto-part store that we pass as we’re entering our current destination. He does this with a strange tone of excitement. Living with Dyna has changed us – that’s for sure.

We planned our visit dates to Disney pretty close to our intended target of this year’s Kentucky Derby. We would have preferred a bit more time between the two events – they are 900 miles apart. And 900 miles in Dyna is no day trip. We ride low-n-slow. But, our nephew and niece are now ‘big kids’ and go to school, so we planned Disney during their April break.

Anyways, we’ve been hauling diesel butt to get to Louisville within our two week timeline. And again, by hauling butt, we mean ‘traveling at safe, controlled speeds of 55-62mph’ on the interstate. We like to live up to the expectation of being in our 70s. We also prefer not to drive more than 4-5 hours a day. I get physically tired from driving the beast; I haven’t totally figured out why. She has cruise control. But she also has the potential for a tire blow out catastrophe (more wood knocking). Maybe I’m a worry-er? I’ve seen video. I’ll stick with being a worry-er with a plan to push on that gas pedal instead of that brake pedal. Diesel engine gods help me do that if the time ever comes…

Anyways (for real this time), we decided to pit-stop in Hotlanta for a day on our trip up to Louisville. It’s on the way. Also, it can be called ‘Hotlanta’. I like that name.

We got in on a Friday afternoon, pulled into a COE campground North of the city (which was beautiful, btw), and finished up some work related tasks. On Saturday we headed downtown with intentions of walking about Centennial Park (Atlanta Olympics stuff), then hitting the Aquarium and Coca-Cola World (why wouldn’t be want to pay $17 to be advertised to?)

Well, the NRA had different ideas. They were in town doing gun stuff, which apparently involved closing off most of Centennial Park. No access to the plentiful pokestops statues and fountains within the park’s confines. While the NRA thwarted our plans to stroll about the park reliving the feats of Olympics past, they did catalyze a prime people watching situation – so, it wasn’t all disappointment.

We found out pretty quick that the nickname ‘Hotlanta’ is for real. It was freaking hot. I like heat and it was hot. So, after stopping for some German food (and beer), we hit the Coco-Cola Museum situation that is right near all the rest of Atlanta’s tourist stuff. Yes, we paid $17 a piece to be inundated with more Coco-Cola advertising than that documentary about Warren Buffet (it’s pretty good if you haven’t seen it). It wasn’t as interesting as we’d hoped. Except for getting to witness the world’s creepiest life sized Coco-Cola bear mascot. That was interesting. Also, we lived through the ‘4D movie’ experience within the sugar water dealer’s confines, which was horrible. If you enjoy horrible advertisement plot lines and being violently jerked about your seat and then being jabbed in the back by some strange stick device at a random point during the ‘film’, then this experience if for you and I completely recommend it.

Anyways, we drank a bunch of Coco-Cola brand samples and busted out of there pretty quick after the ‘violent jerking unwarranted back poking’ experience.

Conveniently, the Aquarium is just across a little park, so we went to hang out with the fishes.

I had actually visited the Atlanta Aquarium a few years back during the ASHA convention with my awesome friend and former supervisor, Beth. I remembered it being super rad, so I wanted Jacob to experience its radness. Well, even without comped snacks and wine the aquarium is above par. We spent a while sitting and watching pretty fish, big ugly fish, little ugly fish, funny fish, and regular fish swim through a variety of different portals into their fish world. And we got to see get soaked by a dolphin show. I had never seen a real life dolphin tricks show – the closest I had been prior was this real gem of a film called Free Willy. I loved the dolphin show – too awesome. Then, to top off the day, the penguin team marched their penguin friends down the ramp in the foyer so everyone could see them up close. I didn’t realize that penguin people can hold penguins like we used to hold chickens when we were growing up. Except the penguins didn’t poop on the penguin people like our chickens pooped on me when I held them. Maybe penguins like being held more than chickens…

All the undersea creature viewing re-built our hunger, and there was only one place that could satiate us. The original (OG) Chick-fil-A. While I’m not a Chick-fil-A diehard (I came to appreciate their food after the whole ‘we don’t like gay people idiocy’ crap, so that dampened my love), Jake grew up on that crack chicken. He loves it. So for him, this was a pilgrimage. Honestly, the OG Chick-fil-A is a bit run down in comparison to most of the Chick-fil-As that we have patronized in our travels. But, it is OG. So, gotta respect. Also, this OG Chick-fil-A still serves through their ‘Dwarf House’ diner, which was the predecessor to the crack chicken sandwich restaurant that we eat at more often than we’d care to admit. The Dwarf House serves several additional non-chicken items on their menu and is home to a wall where some 40’s style cardboard dwarves (SnowWhite style) creeped along, on a loop, incessantly, the entire time we dined. I was mostly grateful we weren’t #blessed with creepy dwarf music to accompany their never ending stroll through a dated backdrop. I think we crossed a secret bucket item off of Jake’s list that day.

With bellies full of Dwarf House Chick-fil-A, we rolled out on Sunday morning towards Nashville – our final stop-over to rest our wheels briefly before planting in Louisville for a bit of pony watching, mint-julep drinking action.

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