2013-08-23_GA,Atlanta-World Of Coca-Cola Museum, Pemberton Place

2013-08-23_GA,Atlanta-World Of Coca-Cola Museum, Pemberton Place (Across from Centennial Olympic Park and next to the Georgia Aquarium)
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Today was a beautiful, sunny day – but having many high white clouds. We’ve had a LOT of rain this summer, but – few years ago we had a horrible drought. At that time, I said that I would NEVER complain about rain. Continuing … the temperature was in the mid-eighties – and not as REALLY HOT as summer in Atlanta can be. When I visited the Georgia Aquarium a few weeks ago, I had picked up a tourist brochure about the World-Of-Coca-cola Museum nearby and had never seen the ‘new’ museum. I decided that “today-was-the-day” for a visit that I had intented to take for a long time. (I had visited the old museum near Underground Atlanta several times. When the aquarium was built next to Centennial Olympic Park, Coca-Cola decided to build a new museum in the ‘tourist area’.) The landscaping of the area is wonderful and the flowers are beautiful. Nearby, there is a Civil Rights Museum under construction. Across from Centennial Olympic Park, a new ferris wheel (relocated from Paris) is now operational. I rode the rapid-transit train to the CNN area and walked to the museum from the train station. The walk takes about 10 minutes.
The number of tourists to the area declines when schools start in the fall -and, today, was definitely not as busy as in the “high-tourist-season”. I really enjoyed not having long lines. I entered the museum about 1:00 p.m. and left about 5:00 p.m. I heard an announcement at the box office when I passed that they would close from selling tickets in one minute. (I had read on the website that the museum closes at 6:00 p.m.) <Note: The retail store has a side entrance that can be used without going through the museum. You may notice that in the pictures.>
After purchasing a ticket and entering, you see a digital count-down timer above a theater door. A few minutes before the show, an employee with a microphone informs everyone to ‘line-up’ on the right – with wheelchairs and baby-strollers on the left. They enter first. An introduction concerning Coca-cola is played and the theater screen rises for entrance to the self-guided tour of the museum. There are several ‘pods’ to visit. The bottling exhibit, a theater with interntional commercials continuously playing, a 4D-theater, a display containing the ‘secret’ formula in a vault, aisles of artifacts, a pop-theme area, and a tasting area for the many products that the company sells.
The 4D-Theater is especially entertining. When walking to the entrance room of the theater, you are given some 3D glasses to wear during the performance. The announcer for the show tells you when you enter that the seats will shake, there are puffs of air, and drops of water during the presentation. It was a good movie. I enjoyed this theater as well as the one with the international commercials. This video also has a segment about the commercials through the ages of the United States.
This museum is ‘more interactive’ than the old one -and- has many televisions of information that is captivating. In addition, there are more employees to talk to visitors and tell them about the museum. Many of the pictures that I took have reflections on glass. There is a big vault containing the Coke recipe and a lot of information about ‘the recipe’ leading down the hall to the vault. They didn’t say, but many people know, that Coca-cola in the ‘early’ years contained cocaine and was used to help ‘calm’ people.
Undoubtably, the top museum attraction is the ‘tasting room’. You can take a plastic cup (and re-use it) to taste products from all over the world. There are melon-drinks, and many flavors of fruit not found in this hemisphere. I took many small drinks of products for my sample taste and enjoyed almost all of them. There is one from Italy that leaves a distinct bitter taste. When you have completed your tasting, you exit the museum and enter the store. You may not re-enter the museum at that point. The new store is many times larger than the old store – and the number of items sold has exploded. I enjoy all of the products, but – I didn’t buy anything because I do not really need anything.
After leaving the museum, I went to a nearby Subway Sandwich Shop for a special, all-day, $4 lunch. The meal contained a carbonated drink – that I didn’t need it because I had just finished tasting all the Coke products in the museum not long before eating. I should have just ordered a sandwich. Oh well – I need to “live and learn”.
Next to the Subway shop is the Segway Tour office. As I arrived in the area, a tour ended and many people on the segway machines rode past me on the sidewalk.

I hope that you enjoy the pictures. Please feel free to let me know that you have read the blog.

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Ending the story, I will tell of my conversation near my car in the parking deck of the train station: I park my car in the bottom of the parking deck when I ride the train. Upon returning to the car, I talked with a couple of taxi drivers who were waiting for riders in the area. They had a speaking accent that sounded a bit British. They asked me if my car was “English” and I said that it was. They asked if it was expensive and I replied “no – you can get them pretty cheap”. (I use ebay as my guide.) They wanted to know what year it was made and I said “1971”. They said that they “liked it” and I replied that it IS an unusual car. If you would like to see my new blog about the MGB, the website address is:
http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com

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2013-08-14 to 2013-08-19 from Atlanta, GA to Copperhill, TN (Visiting Cuzzin Dick in his Condo Resort)

2013-08-14 to 2013-08-19 from Atlanta, GA to Copperhill, TN (Visiting Cuzzin Dick in his Condo Resort)
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Well, it is now evident that the ‘retirement “thing”‘ has settled in. It used to be that I would travel only on Saturday and Sunday, due to the work week. Now, I’ve grown accustomed to “doing what I want, when I want” so I tend to try and avoid traffic and week-ends. After all, the starting point is – traffic-bound Atlanta.
So, I made sure that the grass was reasonably cut and all the clothes were washed -and- I took a few days to visit Cuzzin Dick near Copperhill, TN. I bought some supplies on the way and ensured that I wouldn’t have to leave the forest until I was ready. The town is a few miles away from the campground, and there is a several mile gravel, rutted road for the travel. By the way, my van has a high center-of-gravity and handles the ruts well – that is, without the van bottom hitting the gravel. Anyway, we have had PLENTY of rain this year in Georgia, and the forecast was for about 60% probability of rain. I packed a book and some magazines to read if there was a lot of rain. And, they were used because we did have a good quantity of rain. Cuzzin Dick is also known as the ‘tarpmaster’ because he can install a tarp where most others wouldn’t bother. When I arrived, he had already installed a tarp over the concrete picnic table. He had arranged with a local to bring some firewood, and shortly after I arrived, I met ‘Jerry’ who had a trunk-load of wood. Dick has recently bought a small, barrel, cook-stove and needed the wood for both cooking and keeping the insects away.
I had previously met “Lacy Sue” (white, about 20 pounds, part pitbull) and she has grown since I saw her. She is now 11 months old and listens to commands like – “No”, “This Way” (for when she gets her rope twisted on stuff), and “Jump In” (for when Dick opens the van door and wants her to go inside). She is energetic and Dick has an electric scooter that he uses for her ‘runs’. She is constantly on a leash because she will run-away if turned loose. We walked to the bridge where the creek water flows through a culvert and where there is a stone pool. She likes to run through the water and splash. She goes back and forth across the creek for the maximum length of her leash.
On the week-end, Cuzzin Kenny came for a visit, bringing his dogs, Bella and Gracie. Upon arrival, Kenny immediately made a comment about Dick having his condo at the resort and inviting us to visit. I loved his idea and incorporated it into this post title.
Kenny gave Dick and me a tour of his bus and showed us where he has insulated his van windows. He said that he put a first layer of plastic bubble wrap against the window, a second layer of reflectix, a third layer of styrofoam and then covered all of them with some cloth that makes the interior look more ‘normal’. He said that his insulating the windows had made a huge difference of the inside temperature – as the windows allow a lot of heat to build inside during the summer and the heat to dissipate during the winter. He also showed us his Dometic refrigerator and said that it uses a very little battery electricity. He had an engine noise when he first started from Atlanta, but said that it only lasted a few minutes. He is afraid that his transmission needs replacement and thought that the noise was related to a worn transmission. However, Cuzzin Dick highly recommends using Marvel Mystery Oil for helping clean injectors and other slude in engines. Kenny said that he had recently poured some Marvel Mystery Oil into the gas and that maybe some slude or something loosened and the sludge or whatever was in his fuel system for a few minutes – then cleared. Kenny also told Dick and me of his recent surgery and car wreck. Recently, life has given him a few bumps-in-the-road, but he seemed well and mending.
Anyway, he was with us for a few days and didn’t have any problems returning to his home.
Due to the rainy conditions and having two dogs, Kenny decided to leave Saturday. Cuzzin Dick had several calls from Rita and she came on Sunday. She gave me a tour of her van and she calls it her ‘doll house’. When she was a child, she was unable to have a doll house. Now that she has a van, she’s built a bed, shelves and painted them. She has put in floor tiles and put up purple, netting for bugs. She has also covered the seats because the van was used and the seats showed wear. Rita has a small sewing machine and makes whatever she needs. Rita told me that when she was 3 years old, her grandmother would take her into the woods hunting mushrooms. She is now the ‘expert’ on edible mushrooms and between the rainclouds, she found some Chanterrell mushrooms that Dick cooked. We had a great meal and I had a great lesson on the many types of mushrooms that she found.
I had a great visit with Dick, Kenny and Rita -and- on the return trip to Atlanta, I stopped in Blue Ridge at Sue’s Best Hamburgers for a treat.
(Note: I’ve not had many others comment on these posts which leads me to believe that the blog is not being read. I’ve been posting a lot of pictures with the thought that others would be interested in them more than any writing that I may post. I’ve decided to continue the blog as long as I am able to post to wordpress ‘free’. At the point where I reach a data limit and there is a charge, I plan to discontinue the posts. At this point, I’ve used approximately 60% of the 3072MB space available. Any comments that you may have about this blog would be appreciated as creating the posts and updating it for trips is very time-consuming.)
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2013-08-10 GAStMt,StoneMountainPark (lawn laser-show) and Campground

2013-08-10 GAStMt,StoneMountainPark (lawn laser-show) and Campground
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When I first moved to Atlanta, I lived near Stone Mountain Park. For many years, I bought a yearly-pass auto-sticker and would visit often. After I moved away from Stone Mountain to another part of Atlanta, I decided that I ‘miss it’ and need to make more effort to visit. In the interim between my years of living near the mountain and now, the park has created a management of outsourcing many things. There is a new ‘fun park’ (with rope-course, zoo, theater, and shops), a duck-ride, and a hotel and convention center (called Evergreen Center and managed by Marriott. I noticed a sign that indicated that the golf-course is also managed by Marriott).  The previous railroad and train ride is there (with a newer diesel locomotive) and updated lawn laser-show.
Many years ago, I would walk-up the mountain trail and watch a film at the top. The film building and water-reflecting pool has been torn down and I haven’t visited the top-of-the-mountain in a long time. I have also taken a ride on the train and had picnics. Today, after riding around the mountain, I decided that I would take a ride on the “DUCKS”. (I learned that General Eisenhower commissioned the building of the “DUCKS” during the war in order to transport wounded soldiers to ships. Each “DUCK” could carry 24 soldiers. The name DUCK is an acronym and we were told what it meant, but – I forgot.) When boarding a duck, the passengers receive a yellow, plastic ‘duck-call’. Just before launch into the water and just after returning to land, riders were encouraged to ‘make- noise’ with the duck-call. It was a hoot! From my pictures, the reader can get an idea of what the ride was like. (Note: During the tour, we were told that the carillon, organ tube-pipes, are played by a woman in a nearby house on the week-ends and recordings are played during the week.)

<Long Story 1= One Easter Sunrise morning, my older son and I walked to the top-of-the-mountain (called “walk-up trail”)  for a sunrise service. It was many years ago and at that time, the skyride wouldn’t be open at that early in the morning. The trail is over a mile long and I used to be able to go from the bottom to the top in about fifty minutes.>
<Long Story 2 = Just after moving to Atlanta, we had a flimsy tent and decided to go camping at Stone Mountain. We set-up the tent and had some supper. At sunset, we went to sleep. Well, it was in the summer and, of course in Georgia, there is always the possibility of a rain-shower at any time. Well,

…, at 3:00 a.m. it started raining,

… , at 4:00 a.m. all the bedding in the tent was wet,

…, at 5:00 a.m. the tent fell in and we crawled out,

…, and at 6:00 a.m., we packed up and went home.

(Once home, we put all of the wet items on the porch to dry. The flimsy tent was retired shortly afterward. Many years later, when the boys started camping with the Boy Scouts, we bought a hardy, 4-person tent and camped at Philmont twice with it.)>

After the duck-ride, I went to the campground and secured a parking-spot for the night. (In the campground ‘rules’, you are not supposed to sleep in a passenger vehicle. Well, I don’t consider “Vanna White” a passenger vehicle – so, I didn’t violate any rules.) I didn’t need to set-up anything, so I drove to the picnic area. I had some time to read a magazine while another summer rain-cloud passed over the area. (The first cloud passed over when I was on the duck-ride. The duck-ride had electric-controlled, clear-plastic, roll-down shades to protect us during the ride.)
I walked to the lawn with my camping chair and enjoyed watching other people arrive. I watched many groups play various kinds of games such as catch-the-ball, kick-the-ball and throw-a-frisbee .  Children would lay flat on the ground and roll-down-the hill or try to do hand-stands.

The sunset was uneventful as it was behind some clouds. Prerecorded music began playing two hours before the laser-show. As the sun went down and the light dimmed, more people arrived. Some of them brought picnics and set-up dinner on blankets. Others bought food from nearby concession stands. A new “VIP area” with metal folding-chairs and stone-wall plaza has been added to the lawn.

I didn’t take any pictures of the laser-show as it was night and the camera that I have doesn’t take night pictures well. It was a good show -but- it only lasted 40 minutes. The previous shows lasted an hour. The rain-clouds passed out of the area by the time of the show and the temperature was perfect for sitting on the lawn and enjoying a night out.
After the laser-show, I drove to the campground and spent the night. The next morning, I returned home.

(Note 1: The Stone Mountain Carving is: Left-to-Right=Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Ulysses S. Grant. The horse that Robert E. Lee rode was named “Traveler”. (Correction to horses name was made due to comment by a blog reader. Thanks for the correct name. I now remember that it was Roy Roger’s horse that was named “Trigger”.) The duck-ride captain told us the names of the other horses, but I can’t remember them now.)

(Note 2: Stone Mountain is the largest piece of exposed granite in the U.S.  When I was very young, my mother had a calendar on the wall. The top of the calendar was a picture of Stone Mountain and the bottom was 12-pages of calendar that had 2-staples holding the pages to the cardboard backing. When seeing that picture, I learned that it was a mountain, but, I didn’t know what a mountain was.  I was raised in the South Carolina lowcountry and I had never visited a mountain. Fast-forward in time to 1983: I hired a realtor to show me property in Atlanta – I had received a job offer and intended to move from Charleston. She showed me a townhouse in Stone Mountain. As we rode on the east side of Atlanta down Memorial Drive, I saw the mountain in the distance. I think that there was some vague memory of that calendar and picture of Stone Mountain that I remembered. I had never visited the park and viewed the mountain before – other than seeing the picture when I was young. I didn’t know until long after buying the townhouse and moving to Atlanta that Stone Mountain Park is the most popular tourist attraction in Georgia.)

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2013-08-08_GAAtl,GeorgiaDome(FalconsVsBengals-PreSeasonGame)

2013-08-08 Atlanta, Georgia Dome – Atlanta Falcons vs. Cincinnati Bengals pre-season game.

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I saw a post on Facebook that a friend of mine had an extra ticket for sale for the pre-season game of the Falcons and the Bengals. I called her and we agreed to meet at MARTA to attend together. I learned after meeting her that she has season tickets and has been attending the games for over 10 years. She told me that the Georgia Dome stadium has a new ‘bag’ policy. They have instituted a clutch-purse for women maximum size bag. My pocketbook is about a foot wide and would not pass the inspection. My friend had a much smaller bag and thought that her ‘stuff’ would not be a problem. We arrived at the Dome and I followed her to a nearby parking lot where we met her friends who drive and tailgate there. As I walked by a stadium crowd control man, he said to me “That purse is too large to enter.” -Ug!- What am I going to do now?
When we were getting ready to leave the tailgate lot, I asked if I could leave my pocketbook in the trunk of the car and return to the lot after the gave to retrieve it before catching MARTA home. I was told that it was OK, so that is what we did. I went through the security wand-type metal detector with some bills of money in my pocket (no change, it is metal) and my ticket. I put my car keys, cell phone and everything in my pockets into the car trunk for storage – and I was glad that I had done it. They are very serious about the new policy and intend on enforcing it.
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Policy:
If you need bring a bag to the game, the following bags are permissible in the Dome:
Bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12” by 6” by 12”
One-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziploc bag or similar) per person
Small clutch bag or purse approximately the size of a hand, with or without a handle or strap
Approved bags must be carried when approaching the queue lines prior to entry into the stadium.
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Once inside the dome, we were given magnetic Falcon schedules as a fan appreciation gift. One of the people in the group bought a new Falcons jersey from the ‘store’. The group that I had joined have attended together for many years and had purchased season tickets together.

We sat in the assigned seats and shortly after sitting-down, the pre-game jumbotron (tv-display/videotape) started with a fanfare. The video was the same one of the playoff game that I had previously seen – but, it is impressive. A choir of women dressed in red church robes singing a background vocal starts the introduction. Next, the well-known actor, Samuel L. Jackson, wearing a black suit and shirt with a red tie starts talking. I was unable to distinguish all of the words as the sound system inside the dome becomes muffled to my ears when the crowd noise mixes with the announcements. He talks about “Rise Up” and the words “RISE UP” in capital letters are on the screen as the crowd cheers. The cheerleaders precede the Falcons players from an entrance tunnel and fans are on their feet yelling for the players. The moment was memorable (even if the game wasn’t). Anyway, the referees and players toss a coin for the team to receive the football and the game begins shortly afterward.
I had a wonderful time at the game. For the 2010 Falcons playoff game, I bought a last-minute ticket from a website. It has been about three years since I had attended a game. I knew that the consessions for food are expensive, and when I go to the dome/arena/GWCC area, I usually go to the CNN building for a fast-food mall meal. My friends had tailgate items, but – by the time we arrived (after driving in typical Atlanta bumper-to-bumper traffic and riding MARTA), it was time to go in the stadium. For a quick meal on this trip, I ate a hotdog from a concession in the dome. The ‘plain’ hotdog cost $5.50.  (Beer is $7.50 – I didn’t partake.)
I enjoyed the pre-season game more than the playoff game that I attended a few years ago. The pre-season game was a lot less crowded and the noise inside the dome less distracting. The teams played without much comment and there were no television commercial breaks. (Note: One of my friends said that, typically, the Falcons loose pre-season games which was prophetic of this game.) Even though the game was a pre-season, ‘quick’ one without the many delays in regular season games, I had a wonderful time and was really glad that I went.  (We talked a lot and enjoyed each others company.) I didn’t get home until after midnight, but I didn’t have to go to work the next morning so I slept late.  For the regular season games, I hope to find other people interested in watching the games at local restaurants/bars as I will probably not be able to find tickets for sale at face value. I’m now hooked with the other fans and have ‘football fever’.

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2012-09-02 Trip From Atlanta, GA to Branson,MO and return

2012-09-02 Trip from Atlanta, GA to Branson, MO and return
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Day1 = I attended the 3pm show of Legends show at the Dick Clark Theater had Blues Brothers, Elvis and others. It was good – but the van was parked in the lot and it was very HOT. It stayed Hot and I tried to cool it down. 8pm – Tony Roi as Elvis at Carvelle Theater. I was on the second row aisle. Two women in large red cubic-zirconia decorated felt hats were on the front row and they were screaming and clapping when he wiggled. He kissed everyone on the front row and they had a photographer come and take many pictures with the women.
Day 2 = 10:30am = Neil Diamond Tribute (Keith Allynn) at the Jim Stafford Theater. Keith talked about how he to “be” Elvis, got married – and his wife told him that he would be a better ‘Neil Diamond’. He changed his act and said that he enjoys it. His wife has a cancer and has been in the hospital, but is now slowly doing better. 2pm = Mickey Gilley at the Mickey Gilley Theater. He recently fell and had spinal surgery – the doctors said that he wouldn’t walk again. He had intensive therapy and is now able to walk – with his left leg sometimes not working the way that he wanted. I thought that he was pretty good. 8pm = Presley’s Country Jubilee at the Presley’s Theater. The family is very good – and the show is entertaining, wholesome. Funny and unexpected things like a child in the back of a bass instrument popping out.
Day 3 = 10am = Tribute to John Denver (James Garrett) at the Imax Mall theater. The singer has been awarded many awards from the Branson area for the show. He talked about travelling with John Denver and his mother and aunt coming to his show several years ago. 2pm= The Platters at the ICON Theater. Of course, it was not the original group – but the singing and dancing was great. 5:30pm=Dixie Stampede at the Dolly Parton Theater. There was a pre-show of a juggler and a 14-year-old showing incredible balance. The show was good and the food was good.
Day 4 = 2pm=Hank Williams Tribute at the Imax Mall theater. The performer also had his 3 kids come on stage and play a small part of the show. 8pm=#1 Hits of the 60’s = high energy 3men+3women dancing and many songs. There was a contingent of 8″ howitzer WWII vets and an Army Troop celebrating their gathering.
Day 5 = 11am = IMAX show about filming Tornados $11 and 12n = IMAX $5 show about an Ozark family and their times and music. 2pm= 3 Redneck Tenors at the American Theater. This show advertizes with them dressed up in overalls and it starts out talking about house trailers,etc. A guy in a white suit calls himself ‘The Colonel’ and helps ‘the boys’ get performances at county fairs, girls places, etc. After the break, they all come out in tuxedos and the colonel has a white tux. They sing the high-brow music and tell where they sang previourly and end with an Italian tenor song.
8pm=Smoke on the Mountain – a family sings at a country church and have many problems with their relationships etc. It’s a Saturday night – church service without a sermon and with lots of singing.
All if the shows cost about $32-$34 each (except dinner Stampede = $54),
I ate fast food from the mall, quick stop areas and had nothing special.

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((My Dad has a nickname for me and it is “Puddin”. He started calling me that when I was very young. I named my van, “Vanna White”. When I decided to start a blog, I wanted a unique name for my travels and the names “Puddin” and “Vanna White” came to mind.))