Location: Lehigh Gorge State Park (Glen Onoko Access)
Book: ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’ by Jules Verne
We intentionally spent as much time as we could in South Carolina before we set out for Georgia, so we left around 1pm. Our next destination was Stone Mountain Park near Atlanta, Georgia. I didn’t know much about this park, only that it looked kind of touristy. Well about 4 hours later we arrived to crazy traffic and signs that said it was, ‘Spring Break Fun’ week! Just great. Parking was $15 so we debated for a while if we should go in (we had a long wait anyway), but decided that we drove all the way here and might as well go in.
So we paid our fee, got our map and drove around looking for a secluded spot to take a few photos with the Orange Chair. The place was packed! We stopped for a bit at a nearby playground and let Hobbes play, and then we proceeded to drive around the park. It seemed challenging to find a spot where you could see the mountain, and pull over to take a few pictures. Going the long way around we soon found a bridge and a distant view of the mountain with budding trees. So we took some photos as a few teenagers speculated and laughed at us.
Then we drove around some more. We found a cool covered bridge that we drove across and then trying not to get sucked into all the tourism looked for a place to get a postcard. I dropped Antonia off at a gift shop and looked for parking. Lo and behold right in front of my spot was a great view of the mountain with no people around! So while I waited I took a few photos there as well. I love some of the shots because the mountain looks almost like a close up of the moon which is the subject of my book ‘From the Earth to the Moon’ – obviously.
Directly after these photos we took off, once again, for Alabama. Our car had a slight scare as soon as we got on the major highway by Atlanta (some issues bucking as I accelerated), but after stopping seeing that everything was normal we pressed on and had no further issues.
It took a little while but we eventually reached Alabama just as it was getting dark and turned on some ‘Robert Johnson’ as we found ourselves submerged in Southern Culture. We pulled off at a welcome center, changed Hobbes into tractor jammies, booked a hotel in Atmore, and let Hobbes walk around barefoot in the grass before moving on. It was a nice short break, but we had a lot of driving to do before the severe weather hit Alabama.
We were told that severe thunderstorms and possible tornados were on the way, so our goal was to make it to Atmore, AL (just above the pan handle of Florida) to spend the night. Then from there we would wait for the storm to blow over and proceed to Mississippi as the storm moved way from us. We reached Atmore around 11pm and proceeded to check in to our room, and went to sleep.
Crazy winds, heavy rain, and an alarm in the hotel woke us up, but after an hour or so things calmed down and we went down for breakfast. We hung out in the hotel until check-out then drove around to find a place to eat lunch.
On our way to lunch we accidentally drove into Florida and so got a picture on the state line with the book ‘To Have and Have Not’ by Ernest Hemingway, and then turned around to head back into Alabama.
We found a small little catfish shack back in Alabama. It seemed like a nice place to eat so we got a table in front of the jukebox and ordered catfish sandwiches. After a little while of playing with Hobbes (we set up cups and pushed his toy tractor back and forth between them) I was tempted to put some quarters into the jukebox. I looked through the selections and saw a song called ‘Blue Monday’ by Fats Domino, and some songs by Chuck Berry. They seemed fitting for the occasion. I proceeded to put my money in, typed in the number and, suddenly, the music started to blare. (I think I scared the other people in the ‘shack’ – it was dead silent before that). From that point on Hobbes would only eat with the jukebox playing, and he danced around when he ate. It was one of my favorite memories from the trip.
The catfish was quite good and filled us up enough to proceed through Alabama. Right before the border of Mississippi we found a random spot off of a scenic byway and took a photo with Harper Lee’s two books ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and ‘Go Set a Watchman’. It took a while, but somehow we actually got Hobbes to hold the book in front of his face.