2018-07-26 from Atl,GA to Crossville,TN and Knoxville,TN (motorcoach bus tour group)

2018-07-27_TNKnoxville(SeniorsOnThGoTours)-VolunteerPrincess (27)
2018-07-27_TNKnoxville(SeniorsOnThGoTours)-VolunteerPrincess (27)

2018-07-26 Thu. I rode on a motorcoach-bus with the tour-group “Seniors On the Go Tours” to Crossville, Tennessee. The bus was full and our tour-director, Cathy, had planned our trip. Google maps indicates that it is 195 miles and 3 hours and 12 minute drive. We normally leave at 8AM and stop near the Georgia-Tennessee border at a rest-stop. We had a lunch-stop at a food-court in a mall that was ‘on-our-own’ (i.e., not a paid part of the tour). I ate a slice of cheese pizza. Many of the others from the bus stopped at the Chick-Fil-A booth and all of us sat in the food-court table-area. Our first-stop of the tour was at the Stonehouse Winery. We tasted many of the wines that they sold and shopped in the gift-shop. We went to the Comfort Suites and returned to the bus for dinner at the Cumberland Mountain State Park and the Cumberland County Playhouse for the play “Smoke On the Mountain”. The play was truly very funny and it has sold-out all of the performances. With the time-change from Eastern timezone to Central timezone, we lost an hour. We returned to the hotel tired and ready-to-rest for another day of fun on the following day.
We ate breakfast at the hotel and left about 8AM. We went to Knoxville and rode on a private charter boat, Volunteer Princess, for a two-hour cruise on the Tennessee River. It was a very smooth ride on a wonderful day – with appetizers, a plated luncheon and dessert. After returning to the marina and the bus, we rode to the Mast General Store which is an old general store in the downtown area. The hot day on the river had some of us who wanted to wait-on-the-bus while about half of the group shopped. We returned to Atlanta and had many memories of a great trip!

The pictures below are in a ‘gallery’ of 10 pictures to a viewing. Click on a picture to enlarge it. (To return to the gallery view, mouse-click the ‘x’ on the top right -or- press the ‘Esc’ <escape> key on the top left of the keyboard. ) Notice that there are left-and-right arrows in the middle of the picture for navigation. )

<<As always, any comments that you have about the website would be appreciated. I have another website. It is about my 1971 MGB (old English 2-seater convertible-top car). The url address is : http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com

Note: When I go camping, I am often without internet service. I try to use my cellphone data plan sparingly as charges may be increased with usage. Therefore, I often let emails collect in my box and try to catch-up reading them when I return home.
Additional note: Since my posts have many pictures, it may take some time to load. Because of the pictures, it is best to view these webpages using a desktop (in my opinion. Because the size of the pictures will be larger.) >>

2018-06-03 Trip to Chicago,Illinois for a week. (‘Fly’ rather than ‘Drive’)

2018-06-03 To Chicago,Illinois for a week.

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2018-06-04_ILChi,ViewOfDowntownSkyscapers2

My younger son lives in Chicago and I visited for a week. I really enjoyed the trip – ate some GREAT food and went to a couple of city parks.  Took a lot of pictures and hope that the reader enjoys them.  (Click on a picture to enlarge it. To return,  hit the ESC (Escape) key on the top right of the keyboard.) 

<<As always, any comments that you have about the website would be appreciated. I have another website. It is about my 1971 MGB (old English 2-seater convertible-top car). The url address is : http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com Note: When I go camping, I am often without internet service. I try to use my cellphone data plan sparingly as charges may be increased with usage. Therefore, I often let emails collect in my box and try to catch-up reading them when I return home.
Additional note: Since my posts have many pictures, it may take some time to load. Because of the pictures, it is best to view these webpages using a desktop (in my opinion. Because the size of the pictures will be larger.) >>

2018-05-22 to Mt. Pisgah Campground, NC – on the Blue Ridge Parkway (184 miles, 3.5 hour drive from Atlanta)

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2018-05-24_NCMtPisgah,Sign-TheCradleOfForestryOverlook

2018-05-22 I drove from Atlanta to Mt. Pisgah Campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway. (Distance 184 miles and about 3.5 hours without stopping. However, I did stop for some fast-food lunch and a break.) Mount Pisgah is near Canton, NC and the Google address of 408 Blue Ridge Parkway cannot be used with a Garmin GPS. When I first started with Garmin and the address wasn’t found and I knew that the Google address was wrong (or that Garmin depends on street address and the 408 number is the closest parkway mile marker). But, I decided to use Garmin to get near the campground, and then use iPhone maps for the remainder of the distance. I didn’t realize when I started the trip, that my cell phone battery was not charged completely and there could have been a big problem because I depended on it. Fortunately, the battery lasted until I turned into the campground entrance. I planned to stay with 2 women friends for 3 nights, and they arrived about an hour after I did. We had campsites that were very close and they told me that they planned to stay an extra night. Well, I decided that I enjoyed the campground so much, I would stay two extra nights. The rangers at the registration desk indicated that many campsites had been reserved for the upcoming holiday week-end.

One of my friends had bought food for cooking and enjoys food preparation. We had wonderful meals while camping – not the hamburger/hot-dog quick food. My friend who had previously camped in the area knew several hiking trails.

On the first day, we rode about 10 miles South on the Blue Ridge Parkway to a trailhead. We took a short hike and then visited the Mt. Pisgah Inn, giftshop and convenient store. The next day, my friends had seen a hiking trail that started at the campground registration area. I walked with them to the start and I returned back to camp. The following day, we had the same idea – they took a long hike around the area, and I took a short one. Our final night together, there was a larger threat of rain. We had several days of clouds and possibility of rain, but we no ‘real’ rain until my last day. Rather than cook outside and then pack, my friends suggested that we dine at the nearby restaurant, which we did.

When driving home, I decided to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway south to the beginning near Cherokee. It was a beautiful day and at times, I was driving through clouds. Note: Large RV’s cannot drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway because there are several tunnels that are too small for them. I did see an unfortunate RV owner with his RV on the side of the road near a tunnel and he was looking at his driving options. I’m certain that he had to turn around and not attempt going through the tunnel.

(Click on any picture to enlarge it. Once inside the gallery, you may navigate left and right using the arrows in the middle of the picture – on the left and right of the frame. To exit the gallery, use the <Esc> (‘Escape’) key on the top left of the keyboard -OR- mouse click on the top right ‘X’ on the end picture.) 

<<As always, any comments that you have about the website would be appreciated. I have another website. It is about my 1971 MGB (old English 2-seater convertible-top car). The url address is : http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com Note: When I go camping, I am often without internet service. I try to use my cellphone data plan sparingly as charges may be increased with usage. Therefore, I often let emails collect in my box and try to catch-up reading them when I return home.
Additional note: Since my posts have many pictures, it may take some time to load. Because of the pictures, it is best to view these webpages using a desktop (in my opinion. Because the size of the pictures will be larger.) >>

2018-05-20 Lake Lanier Islands – Northeast of Atlanta, about 40 miles and 45 minutes to drive

2018-05-20 Lake Lanier Islands – Northeast of Atlanta, about 40 miles and 45 minutes to drive

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2018-05-20_GALakeLanier,MargaritavilleWaterPark,BigScreen-LottaSound

Lake Lanier is the nearest fresh-water, large lake to Atlanta. The Lake Lanier Ialands area is a luxury resort with camping, horseback riding, boat rentals, golf course, water park, and many other things. The water park used to be called something else, but – it has recently opened as “Margaritaville”. When I heard the name, I thought that a chain-type restaurant had opened with that name and didn’t realize that the name was “Margaritaville Fun Park”. (Basically, upgrade to the resort beach area.) Anyway, the week-end before Memorial Day Holiday week-end was ‘free’ to enter (from an article that I read in a newspaper). There is a guard gate at the resort with a sign that everyone must pay to enter the resort. I stopped and told the guard that I wanted to go to Margaritaville, and was allowed to pass since there was an advertisement that entrance was free for a few days. I have lived in Atlanta 26 years, and think that the only other time that I have visited the resort (in the summer) was about 20 years ago. I went camping with a group and we had a ticket to the beach as part of the camping fee. At that time, the only part of the water-park that I remember  was a concrete sidewalk near the lake beach and a bath house. Also, one rental place for chairs and umbrellas.  The beach area has now been expanded to include much more concrete, more sand, several different types of waterslides, a large screen for video and music, and more food concessions.  On the lake is a boating area and a blow-up water-toy that allows many people to play on. I didn’t have to pay a fee to walk around the area and take pictures. I had on street clothes and no intention of swimming. I’m sure that the area is PACKED on the week-ends. They even have a fee-schedule for people who attend after 4pm.

(Click on a picture to make it larger.) 

I just wanted to look-around the area and have a light lunch at the restaurant. What I thought was a restaurant, is actually called Landshark ‘bar-and-grill’. I ate a chicken salad and piece of key lime pie. Both were very good. By the way, the ‘bar-and-grill’ does NOT have a restroom in the building. There is a nearby bathhouse up the hill or to the right of the entrance, a ‘restroom trailer’ that can be quickly visited.  Interesting place. 

Note: The large screen always has a video playing of something and about every third or fourth song is a Jimmy Buffet one. Also, the music is loud enough to be heard through the whole area. The ‘bar-and-grill’ also play every third or fourth video of a Jimmy Buffet song.  Also, note that I didn’t go under the road and through the tunnel to the other side. There is a large wave-pool and other commercial enterprises there. 

I also drove by the open-portion of the campground and took a couple of pictures. (There was a road with more campsites that had a closed gate across it.) The resort is hilly and campsites are in the woods overlooking the lake. They had electricity, picnic tables and, I presume, water. I did not investigate any bath-houses and did not see any. Maybe the campsites are intended for campers with their own bathrooms.

The weather has been hotter-than-normal so far this year.  On the day that I visited, I believe that the mid-afternoon temperature was around 80 degrees F.  It was hot enough to cause me to travel slow up and down the hills.  Many others were enjoying both the lake and the waterslides. It was definitely not too-cold to start the swimming season at the lake.
I hope that the blog-reader enjoys this post.

<<As always, any comments that you have about the website would be appreciated. I have another website. It is about my 1971 MGB (old English 2-seater convertible-top car). The url address is : http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com Note: When I go camping, I am often without internet service. I try to use my cellphone data plan sparingly as charges may be increased with usage. Therefore, I often let emails collect in my box and try to catch-up reading them when I return home.
Additional note: Since my posts have many pictures, it may take some time to load. Because of the pictures, it is best to view these webpages using a desktop (in my opinion. Because the size of the pictures will be larger.) >>

2018-05-05 GA,Gay Cotton Pickin’ Fair (1st week-end of May and Oct)

2018-05-05 Georgia, Gay (about 2 hours drive south of Atlanta, about 80 miles from my house)

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2018-05-05_GAGay,CottonPickinFair_SeniorsOnTheGoTravel (2)

I went to Gay, GA with Seniors-On-the-Go-Tours. The motorcoach bus left Lawrenceville about 8AM and we returned about 6PM.  It was a WONDERFUL Day at the “Fair”.  Gay Georgia is a very small town and the previous owner of a cotton gin processed materials in several buildings. Now, the buildings are not used for business, but the area hosts a twice-a-year “Fair”. There were around 350 vendors and it was great just looking at the booths and creativity. Some of the vendors did not encourage pictures of their wares, so I honor their creativity and won’t post them. The day was cool in the morning, and there were high clouds and a slight occasional breeze with rain in the next-day forecast. There were many spectators there and many choices of food available.  I listened to a bluegrass band for a while and stayed to enjoy the “Sharpsburg Line Dancers”.  Everything there was ‘rustic rural Georgia’.   (Mouse click on any picture to make it larger and then scroll left-or-right in  the middle left-or-right using the arrows to view more images. Use the right ‘x’ at the top right to quit the gallery viewing, or the <Esc> ‘Escape’ key on the top right of the keyboard.)

<<As always, any comments that you have about the website would be appreciated. I have another website. It is about my 1971 MGB (old English 2-seater convertible-top car). The url address is : http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com Note: When I go camping, I am often without internet service. I try to use my cellphone data plan sparingly as charges may be increased with usage. Therefore, I often let emails collect in my box and try to catch-up reading them when I return home.
Additional note: Since my posts have many pictures, it may take some time to load. Because of the pictures, it is best to view these webpages using a desktop (in my opinion. Because the size of the pictures will be larger.) >>

2018-04-16 from Atlanta to Stevenson, AL (about 155 miles and a 3 hour drive)

2018-04-16 AL,Stevenson – from Atlanta (155 miles, about 3 hours drive)

I drove “Vanna White” to Stevenson, AL to camp with other RV’ers on a Yahoo group email list. I think that this is about the fifth time that I have been to this location and have come to love it. We have a host who picks the date and location. We’ve always met her during the spring and it is “magical”. When I arrived, it had been previously raining and everything was green. The first couple of nights I was here, it was cold. Then the ‘spring-magic’ happened = the sun came out, the wind stopped and the trees started growing and it was BEAUTIFUL. The mood of this campout was to watch the butterflies float across the green grassy field, it was very relaxing. I also listened to many birds and watched the fisherman who caught some large fish. I stayed 6 nights and when I left on Sunday, we had rain again. Many of the people who attended were previous friends, and there were several new ones. In total, there were about 20 people who were there. (Sorry that I missed some of my previous friends who left before I arrived.)

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2018-04-17_ALStevenson,RaccoonCreek_Butterfly

<<As always, any comments that you have about the website would be appreciated. I have another website. It is about my 1971 MGB (old English 2-seater convertible-top car). The url address is : http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com Note: When I go camping, I am often without internet service. I try to use my cellphone data plan sparingly as charges may be increased with usage. Therefore, I often let emails collect in my box and try to catch-up reading them when I return home.
Additional note: Since my posts have many pictures, it may take some time to load. Because of the pictures, it is best to view these webpages using a desktop (in my opinion. Because the size of the pictures will be larger.) >>

2018-04-05 from Atlanta to San Antonio and Waco, Texas (7 nights) with a bus tour company

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2018-04-07_TXSanAntonio-Alamol-SeniorsOnTheGoTravel

I went with Seniors-On-the-Go-Tours (Cathy Stokes, owner) on a motorcoach bus trip that she called “Deep in the heart of Texas”. Below, is a short description of the trip: (7 nights)

<The pictures are arranged in “galleries”. Click on any picture and view them larger on the screen. At the end of the gallery, click on the “x” at the top right to close the gallery.>

2018-04-05 Thursday. Leave at 7:30 and drive on I-10 to Drury Inn, Baton Rouge, LA. Lunch stop at Evergreen, AL – Shoney’s for me. Other restaurant options for many people on the bus.

2018-04-06 Friday. <Note: Each day we ate breakfast at the hotel.> Leave at 8am. Lunch at the Art Museum of Southeast Texas, Beaumont, TX. Visit both the Art Museum and the Texas Energy Museum, which is next door. Stay 2 nights at Drury Inn, San Antonio, TX. Note: Many on the bus also ate supper at the hotel.

2018-04-07 Saturday. Eat breakfast in the hotel and meet at Riverwalk for a barge tour. (The tour started outside of the door of the hotel.) The tour was an hour long and the highlight-tour of the trip. Then, we had a ‘step-on’ guide show us many sights around the city and a stop at the San Jose Mission. Back on the bus, we saw much of the city and ended the tour at the Alamo. The group met for lunch at the Menger Hotel which was a block away. We had time ‘own-our-on’ and Linda and I walked to the Alamo Plaza park. We also shopped at the nearby stores.

2018-04-08 Sunday. We left San Antonio at 8:30 and went to Wildseed Farm. We toured some of the area by taking the “Bluebonnet Trail” to Waco. We stopped at Bucc’ees for a break and almost everyone shopped for “things that they just couldn’t live without”. We checked into the Hampton Inn in Waco about 5pm. We had a short break before boarding the bus and going to dinner at the Cameron Park Zoo Aquarium.

2018-04-09 Monday. We had a “HGTV Fixer Upper Tour”. We had a ‘step-on’ guide show us the following: Common Grounds Coffeehouse, JDH Iron Design, Harp Design, and a couple of houses which had been renovated. Our lunch was at Magnolia Market. I enjoyed the Cheddar Box Food Truck – mac and cheese. We had time to tour the area on a free trolley. Some of us opted for the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame. Then, another shopping stop at Spice Village. Our buffet dinner was at the Dr. Pepper Museum.

2018-04-10 Tuesday. We left Waco about 8am and traveled to Bossier, LA for lunch. We had a wonderful lunch at Ralph and Kacoo’s – fried catfish for me. Another stop at the Biedenharn Museum and Gardens in Monroe. Our overnight was at the Drury Inn, Ridgeland,MS.

2018-04-11 Wednesday. We left about 8am and rode the rest of the way to Atlanta. We arrived about 6:30pm and happy to have enjoyed a GREAT TRIP!!

 

<<As always, any comments that you have about the website would be appreciated. I have another website. It is about my 1971 MGB (old English 2-seater convertible-top car). The url address is : http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com Note: When I go on a trip, I am often without internet service. I try to use my cellphone data plan sparingly as charges may be increased with usage. Therefore, I often let emails collect in my box and try to catch-up reading them when I return home.
Additional note: Since my posts have many pictures, it may take some time to load. Because of the pictures, it is best to view these webpages using a desktop (in my opinion. Because the size of the pictures will be larger.) >>

 

2018-03-08 Mystery Trip (Bus) to Montgomery,AL (about 2.5 hour drive from Atlanta)

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2018-03-08_ALMontgomery(SeniorsOnTheGoTravel)-CapitalBuilding

2018-03-08 I took a motorcoach bus trip with a group called “Seniors On the Go Travel” (tour-director is Cathy Stokes) from a suburb of Atlanta to Montgomery, Alabama. Cathy designs the trip as a “Mystery Trip”. (It is one where you don’t know where you are going until you get there.) As usual, we left Atlanta about 8AM and stopped for a bathroom break at a rest-stop. We first stopped for lunch at the City Farmers Market in Montgomery. Cathy told us that she had visited there with a ‘tour-director’ group and thought that we would enjoy it. The restaurant isn’t “fancy”, but they have a fast buffet line and good food. We had a room “in-the-back” and a-good-meal-was-enjoyed-by-everyone.

The day was chilly when we started the trip, but the sunshine brought warming temperatures and the weather turned out to be ‘almost perfect’. First, we visited Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. A docent told us about the church and sang songs for us. She was a ball-of-energy and told us about her Joy-In-Living. We went downstairs to see Dr. Martin Luther King’s office. 

Then, we boarded the bus for a short trip to Hank Williams Museum. (We were not allowed to take pictures inside the museum.)

Next, another short bus ride to the Rosa Parks Museum. We were able to take pictures on the outside, but not inside the exhibit. We checked-into a Hilton Garden Inn near East Chase suburb of Montgomery. We had a few minutes to rest and returned to the bus for another mystery location. The bus-driver took us to the Blount Cultural Arts location where we had a tour of the Museum of Fine Arts and dinner. There was an incredible sunset over the lake and a very interesting tour of the museum. We had a buffet dinner and wonderful time. 

The next morning, we ate breakfast at the hotel and rode about a hour to the American Village. Cathy had driven somewhere nearby and saw the village as she passed it. She stopped and learned that it is a re-creation of an American Village and used by many school groups for learning history. The web-site is http:www.americanvillage.org . (Cathy said that she had never seen it advertized at conventions or rest-stops.)  It was a perfect spring day for our visit. We started at the historic church for a presentation/lesson about an educated slave and how she lived. It was very dramatic. Next, we walked to the nearby building honoring veterans. After learning about the many paintings and history of our many wars, we returned to the main-area/admissions for a bag-lunch. Then, we walked (or rode in golf-carts) to the Mt. Vernon building where there was a re-creation of the President’s Oval Office, a Continental Congress room, and the parlor in George Washington’s plantation, Mt. Vernon.  Johnny, the historian, told us about the items in the President’s office and how each President gets to re-decorate.  We went to the Continental Congress room and he talked about the significant items there as well as the plantation room.  Then, we walked to the “Tulip Garden” and picked a tulip to take home and plant. It was WONDERFUL! Before returning to the hotel, the bus drove us through the nearby Veterans Cemetery.

We had dinner at Martha’s Place, a restaurant that Cathy knew about from her previous tour. Martha, the owner, greeted the group and told us about her story. (She has also written a book.) I was able to video the majority of her speaking to the group and have included the link to the video <on youtube.com>=( https://youtu.be/UmuBH1HQGGU ). We had a blessed and delicious, Southern meal.

Back on the bus, Cathy wouldn’t tell us where we were going and we had a ‘tour of an apartment complex’. She told us that there was a ‘party’ for us and we just had to find the right-place. (Ha-Ha=<Driver took a wrong turn!>)  We ended up returning to the Blount Cultural Arts area and attended the play “Miracle Worker” in the Shakespear Theater. We were not allowed to take pictures of the play, and since it was night, I didn’t take many pictures of the area. 

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2018-03-09_ALMontgomery(SeniorsOnTheGoTravel)-BlountShakespear
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Saturday morning, we had breakfast at the hotel before our next surprise. We had to pack luggage because our last destination was the parking lot where we had left our cars. We had another beautiful spring day and went to Jasmine Hill Gardens. (Web-site is: http://jasminehill.org/ ) This garden is known to most of the locals, but I had never heard of it before going there. It is filled with “beauty” (My definition of “beauty” is = you know it when you see it). There are many statues of Greek gods and goddesses. Also, many ponds of water, fountains, etc. You have to see the pictures to believe how beautiful it was – especially in the spring!

 

For lunch, before the drive back to Atlanta, we ate BBQ sandwiches, potato salad, a pickle and ice cream from Sweet Creek Farm Market on Pike Road. A “Good-Time-Was-Had-By-All”!

(“Puddin” is the nickname that my Dad called me. I call my Ford van, “Vanna White”. This blog contains many pictures about the places that I visit.) 

<<As always, any comments that you have about the website would be appreciated. I have another website. It is about my 1971 MGB (old English 2-seater convertible-top car). The url address is : http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com Note: When I go camping, I am often without internet service. I try to use my cellphone data plan sparingly as charges may be increased with usage. Therefore, I often let emails collect in my box and try to catch-up reading them when I return home.
Additional note: Since my posts have many pictures, it may take some time to load. Because of the pictures, it is best to view these webpages using a desktop (in my opinion. Because the size of the pictures will be larger.) >>

2018-02-06_GAAtlanta – Downtown and Perimeter (Comments and Pictures)

2018-02-06 Georgia, Atlanta – Downtown (Peachtree Center area) and Perimeter Mall area (North Atlanta – I-285 intersection with GA-400 vicinity) <Note: The distance between Peachtree Center and Perimeter Mall is 14 miles.>

I used to work downtown and now I return occasionally to have lunch with friends.  I was amazed at all of the changes since I worked downtown. Buildings have changed and been updated. While in the area, I took some pictures that I wanted to share. Note: Peachtree Center is the name of many  tall buildings near the center of Atlanta. 

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Next are some buildings near the Peachtree Station MARTA. There I saw landscaping and security cameras. Also, there trash bins connected with recycling containers. 

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There is a large ‘modern art’ figure in the middle of an area across the street from the rapid transit rail station. (Peachtree Center MARTA.)

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My friend and ate lunch at dined at Amalfi Pizza which is in the location of the old Daily’s Restaurant.  (Google Maps: 17 Andrew Young International Blvd NE, Atlanta, GA 30303.  Website: amalfipizzaatl.com) Note: We were supposed to go to the Hard Rock Cafe. There was a large sign in the entrance that they were closed today for a special event. A large box truck was in front of the entrance and 3 men were transferring covered boxes from the truck into the restaurant. 

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My last set of pictures were taken from the platform of the Dunwoody MARTA station while waiting for a train. The new State Farm building has recently been completed. It has an entrance from the MARTA station to the lobby. Many years ago, I read that State Farm had decided to locate all employees in the area to a ‘campus’ – near rapid transit. The first building is now complete and others will be built nearby. Across the street from the new building is another being built. 

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Here is a gallery display of the pictures attached above. The gallery display is larger and gives a better rendetion:

 

Final note: the station is about one and a half miles from my house.

 

2017-12-05 to Winston-Salem,NC from Atlanta, GA (about 4 hours and a half driving – according to Google maps)

 

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2017-12-05 to Winston-Salem,NC from Atlanta, GA (about 4 hours and a half driving – according to Google maps)
Seniors On the Go Travel tour director Cathy Stokes offered a “Mystery Trip” to the group. I had never been on a mystery trip before and on the Greenbrier trip, a friend said that they knew someone who was looking for a roommate on the upcoing mystery trip. When I arrived home from the Greenbrier trip, I checked my calendar and I didn’t have any conflicts with the mystery trip, so – I contacted the person who wanted a roommate and we called Cathy and I signed-up. This trip, as many others that I had joined left about 8am from Lawrenceville, GA. I had to wash clothes and pack the previous day and arrived for the trip without any problems. My roommate happened to sit near the front of the bus, and since I boarded near the end of the people attending, I sat near the back of the bus. I learned after the trip started that Cathy doesn’t tell you where you are going until you get there. I was under the impression from a meeting with the group, that when you got onto the bus, you were told where you were going. We were told at the meeting that the destination would not be a beach and would not be south. (In other words, pack heavier coats for going north.) After a lunch stop at Jackson’s Cafeteria in Gastonia, NC, we rode a couple of hours and arrived in Lexington,NC. We went to the visitors center and were told about BBQ starting in that area with ‘dipping sauce’. We went to the location of the first BBQ cooking pit and saw it inside of a new building. When the old building was being torn down, the BBQ pit was found and plans for the new building had to be altered to include a showing area for it. The town now has a BBQ contest and displays the winners.
We walked from the visitors center through town and boarded the bus at the back of the hardware store. Everyone had a great time shopping in the area and learning about the town.

Here some pictures of Lexington. (Mouse click on a picture to make it larger.) —

Then, it was on to where??? We didn’t know, Cathy wouldn’t tell us until we got there! We stopped at a Hampton Inn outside Winston-Salem and Cathy told us that we would stay there for 2 nights and explore the area. We didn’t know where we were to go the next day, until we got there.
After breakfast at the hotel, we boarded the bus and Cathy introduced us to “Kay, our tourguide”. She gave each of us a hot, fresh Krispy Kreme doughnut and the tourguide told us about Krispy Kreme being in that area and the story of the company. It has recently been sold to a German company and she said that the area is concerned about headquarters and jobs being changed. We rode the bus around the town of Winston, old Salem and the Reynolsa area. We had lunch at a local restaurant and the tourguide left us to explore the area.

We went to Mrs. Hanes Moravian Cookies Bakery and Cathy told us that we had a tour there. It was very interesting hearing about the company. A farmer started the business and his daughter continued with it and expanded it. Many years ago on the Oprah tv show, she had a special show called her “Favorite Things” and Mrs. Hanes Moravian ginger cookies was included in the show. After that, the company had an explosion of orders and struggled to fill them. The company does a lot of mail order and we saw many tins and boxes filled. The front of the bakery has a local store for the cookies and family made pottery. The back area has viewing to more operations and packing. Mrs. Hanes grandchildren now run the business and her daughter still works packing them. Travis, Mrs. Hanes daughters husband, gave us the tour and said that he was 85 years old. He certainly didn’t look that old and he knew everything there was to know about the business. After the tour, we both tasted and bought the cookies before boarding the bus for our next unknown destination.

Pictures from Mrs. Hanes Morovian Cookies Bakery ====

We had supper at a local restaurant. All of the food that we have with Cathy is good. After eating, we boarded the bus again and we were treated to a drive-through Christmas light display in Clemmons,NC. My pictures did not turn out well and I posted 3 in the top gallery as an example of how bad they were. The flash tried to brighten the subjects and reflected from the bus window.  (Note: in one of the galleries of pictures, there are some other pictures of us eating in Jackson’s Cafeteria and some random pictures at the hotel breakfast.) 

The next morning we had breakfast, again, at the hotel. We boarded the bus about 9:15 and went to the Salem Welcome Center. We were not told where we were going until we arrived. We saw a short video about the old Salem restoration. Then, we went into a nearby auditorium and listened to a Moravian built organ that was played for a couple of songs. We were told how Moravians were ‘peaceful’ and did not want to participate in the Civil War. Also, that music was an important part of their everyday life. We walked across a wooden bridge over a 4-lane road and entered the Historic Museum. We viewed the handmade fine furniture, swords, rifles, etc. It was cool, but a nice day outside and we were advised to visit the baker’s house in the village. One lady showed me the house on the map. She tried to tell me to go past the park then look for the house, but – then she saw that I had a map from the visitors center and showed me the house on the map. I walked up the hill and stopped for a few minutes in the gun shop. It was a small wooden house with a man building a flintrock rifle in the front. He had a fire going and it was warm. In the back of the house was a blacksmith hearth and it was not warm. We talked a few minutes and I continued to the baker’s house. Inside, a man and a woman were making sugar cake. I took many pictures and enjoyed being there. Upstairs was a tea room, but the stairs were steep and I had already walked up a hill, so I didn’t visit it. I returned back to the visitors center and thought that I would be getting back on the bus soon. It turned out that I had the wrong time for returning to the bus in my mind, so I sat and talked with others who were at the visitors center. Many students were touring the area and there were picnic tables outside for packed lunches, but – the leaders thought that it was too cool outside for them and they sat on the floor. When we drove away, I noticed about 7 school busses in the parking lot. The students seemed to enjoy visiting the village very much. I thought that they were about 10 years old and in the fifth grade.

Pictures of Old Salem ===

We drove from Salem village to a local restaurant for lunch. Cathy had called them and we had a back-room for the group. The restaurant had an excellent salad selection and the salads were large. After eating, we rode to the Reynoldsa museum and toured. We had heard about R.J. Reynolds wife finding the location and hiring an architect for the building. On the tour, we were told that Harry Truman lay on the couch in R.J. Reynold’s office. I forgot the story, maybe that he was to give a speech and lay down to rest a few minutes before it. The swimming pool is still used in the summer by some local children.

More pictures ===

After the tour, we returned to the bus. Our next stops were Camel City BBQ (named Camel  City because Camel cigarettes were produced in Winston-Salem). 

After lunch, we shopped at Mast General Store. It was nearby. 

Cathy gave us a break and we returned to the hotel. My roommate and I took short naps.

We returned to the bus about 6 and rode about an hour. We turned into a street and Cathy told us that we were attending the “Barn Dinner Theater”. After getting out and being seated, we had a program that told us the “Barn Dinner Theater” is the longest-running dinner theater in the US. The announcer asked us to not take pictures of the show. We had a buffet in the middle of the room and each person served themselves. Waiters brought drinks and took away used plates. The buffett middle was removed and a wooden platform lowered from the ceiling. The band included a drummer, a bass and regular electric guitar, and a keyboardist. The cast included 4 women and 3 men. There was a large variety of Christmas songs that were entertaining. All of the songs were quick-paced and the time of the performance flew by. The food was good and the entertainment very enjoyable. We noted from the show notes that tomorrow would be the last night of this show. The entrance included a picture of Patsy Cline being there, as well as many other famous people.

The next morning, we ate breakfast at the hotel and stopped at the Childress Vineyards for a wine-tasting and sandwich/wrap lunch. 

The drive back to Atlanta included some snow on the road, and we viewed some accidents. Many people on the bus had reports of bad weather and there was snow in Rock Hill at the Visitors Center when we stopped. Barry, our bus driver, was able to return us safely to the parking lot about 7:30PM. We were happy to see that the parking lot had no standing snow and that we could return to our cars without slipping on ice. I had a pole scraper and pulled the slushy snow off of my windshield. I had decided to drive on main roads home and hoped that traffic would not be bad. The interstate was surprisingly clear. (I saw a couple of abandoned cars on the interstate.) Schools and many businesses had let everyone go in the middle of the day and traffic jams resulted. By the time we got home and unloaded, the snow was slushy and was not freezing on the ground. We were lucky. It could have gotten colder and the roads would be icy. I do not have experience driving in snow and went slow. Near my house, the streets were deep with snow, but it wasn’t frozen so I didn’t slide. I was thankful to return home safely from a wonderful trip.
<<As always, any comments that you have about the website would be appreciated. I have another website. It is about my 1971 MGB (old English 2-seater convertible-top car). The url address is : http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com Note: When I go camping, I am often without internet service. I try to use my cellphone data plan sparingly as charges may be increased with usage. Therefore, I often let emails collect in my box and try to catch-up reading them when I return home.
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