What a whirlwind weekend! I visited Atlanta, Georgia over Friday, Saturday and Sunday (8/7 to 8/9/2009).
I flew out on Frontier Airlines. I really like Frontier. The flight was a little late at first (Friday) but left around 40 minutes late. It was supposed to leave at 10:20 AM but did not leave until almost 11:00 AM. That is not bad on the Denver side, but made for a rush on the Atlanta side.
Generally, I am a confident man. Not so much in new situations. I tried to set up the GPS unit in the rental car, but it had a problem locking in to the GPS signal. I started to get calls on my cell phone inquiring as to where I was. I explained that I was in a parking lot trying to find out where I was.
We had set it up to meet at the Aquarium in Atlanta. The GPS did not have a location or address for that facility. Through a conversation, I found another location (basically) across the street and headed out for it. Once I was in the area, I just had to follow the signs to the aquarium. I found the parking garage, parked, and headed out for a new adventure!
I called again and soon I saw a party of people that looked very familiar to me! I knew each and every one of them. We had been friends for a while, we had just never met! How fun it was to meet!
It was Tim and Nanette from the For Whatever Reason podcast. I also met Dale and Julie from the badgercast podcast. I knew Julie and Dale from Twitter and the Bearcrawling podcast where we often talked in the chat room during the live show.
Now, many of you know that I work a swing shift. I love to work the swing shift. It gives me my mornings free and I never wake to an alarm clock. That does affect me when I travel, though. I search for flights mid-morning so I can actually make the flight on time! The downside of that is that a flight that heads East at 11:00 AM won’t land in Atlanta until 4:00 PM. Then, I’d have to find my way out and over to the rental car.
BTW… The car I ended up with was a black Volkswagen Bug. Overall, very nice car, but it was the first car I ever drove and was responsible for that had a flower vase on the dashboard, I’m so glad that the exterior and interior was black! It looked as menacing and masculine as a Bug with a flower vase could look!
I think my friends were hungry far before the time that I could catch up to them. They ate. But, as good friends always will, we went right back to the same Deli they ate at, and I had my dinner! What fun!
Tim and I had a running (pun intended) joke. He has listened to my small, insigificant portion of the Bearcrawling podcast and had threatened to slap me because of it. I would find myself telling a pun and moving quickly away from Tim to avoid any mishaps!
The aquarium in Atlanta is a fascinating place. We were there to participate in a Jazz concert and as that happened, we wandered about and some some waterful wonders! Beluga whales, Shark whales, Groupers (there was a whole grouper them), otters and a lot more. There were tanks where you could touch sharks, rays, and small fish and animals for the tide pools. You went under, around and there was even stadium seating to observe the large pool! A very cool place! If you can, please go and sea it (was that a typo?)
For Whatever Reason -
After the aquarium, Tim volunteered to assist this directional deficient guy with finding his house. We found the car somewhat easily, but I couldn’t get it started. I respect other people’s property. So I was a little tentative. Tim was not. He got in and the bug was started soon after. He told me how to start it and there were no other troubles.
We were off. Problem was, we got to talking and missed a turn. We went the long way and I was able to see a little bit more of the Atlanta area. We ended up explaining to everyone else that directional deficit disorder is contagious.
We retired to Nanette and Tim’s house. Pleasant conversation, adult beverages, cracker, cheese and some homemade preserves soon followed! It was a delightful way to spend times with friends.
Next morning, Julie went for a walk, Tim and I ran. I saw a small part of the community where they live. It is a beautiful area. Very green and verdant! It was also hot and humid! I started sweating almost immediately and felt like I was out swimming by the end.
All part of the fun for an experience in a new area of the world. When I got back, I knocked on the door, but elected to stay outside for a walk and a cool down. It is such a lovely area.
Nanette fixed us a delicious breakfast of biscuits, bacon and eggs. Nanette prepares jams and preserves that really added to the meal. It was great! After breakfast, we explored the garden together. We also met Cressly (sic) one of the cats!
We posed for pictures. We enjoyed each other’s company for just a little bit longer and then, all too soon, it was time to go!
You know, it is good to have friends! It ended up that Dale was the navigator for our group. Julie and Dale were so kind as to allow me to follow them to our mutual destination. I did program the destination in my GPS unit, a TomTomOne. The voice on the unit was no other than Big C from Bearcrawling himself. It was eery as I listened to him as he directed me along the way.
Julie and Dale are two very cool people. I like (and appreciate) them very much. They are so friendly and helpful. They added to my trip in a major way.
It was a drive. In Conyers, we stopped so they could check into their hotel. While they did that, I went for some ice, cold water that all of us could enjoy. Soon enough, we were on the road again!
It took another hour. We left an interstate and headed along on a two lane highway. It was beautiful,green country. It reminded me of a strip city with large property plots that were well maintained and nice. Interspaced among these were small retail centers that offered services to the area.
Everything went along swimmingly, until… My GPS unit was telling me to turn. Unfortunately, Julie and Dale headed on. I waited a moment for them to brake and turn around. They didn’t. I hesitated and they were gone. I had no choice and had to follow the instructions from my GPS unit. But I traveled slowly and followed Big C’s voice as he instructed me where to turn. I succeeded and arrived at the house before Julie and Dale did. Unsure (because of of my lack of confidence), I approached the front door! This was it! I was at the place! I was greeted at the door by World Traveler Jim, himself! What an honor!
I met Intern Alex and Erin, Big C’s wife. About then Julie and Dale arrived. Then Big C himself came in! We looked at each other, smiled, threw the hands out for a shake and ended up in a man-hug! I finally met my friend, Big C, in person!
Bearcrawling * -
The rest of the afternoon was spent meeting people (Hi Spazz! – Douglas), drinking ice water, and watching as the house was prepared for the 100th edition of the Bearcrawling podcast!
You may or may not know that I do a short presentation on the Bearcrawling podcast. It is called “PUNishment by Charlie White!” I generally explore some odd news items and them review them in a PUN filled way (hence the name). I enjoy doing it and Big C has been very kind in allowing me to do that presentation as a regular part of his show.
Our decision was to do the show live. I didn’t want to prepare. I wanted to listen to the “News Roar” as it was presented and I do perform an immediate retort. I think I did pretty well.. Some were silly, some went over like a lead balloon, but everyone seemed to enjoy them. Once the show is edited and released, I will put up a link to it.* AND… Here it is!
A lot of revisions were made for the podcast that night. Steve C was announced as the new co-host. A new, revised website was released. Everyone that attended received a goody bag with all kinds of things inside.
I met a lot of people that night. I would introduce myself and I got statements. Some knew for my tales of “The Mighty YJ,” a 1993 Jeep wrangler that I often discuss. Others would remember my running at the back of the pack but completing what I set out to run. Some knew me from contributions to other podcasts (thanks, Randy and Andy!) Some knew me from Twitter. Most, though, at this outing, knew me from the Bearcrawling podcast.
Now, I forgot some names, and I apologize if yours is one of those. I know that I met Bruce (Lycanthropic One), MIL (Mother In Law), Hans & Backwoods Misfit. There was Brenda, June, June’s husband and many, many others. Thanks, everyone, for making me feel so welcome and comfortable!
This is a large world with a lot of people in it. The internet, it the many forms it takes, makes it a lot smaller. People were calling in from all over. I am usually a member of the chat room during the live show on Ustream.tv.com. I couldn’t attend the chat room that night, but I know that it was busy. It was great hearing so many of my friend’s voice as they called in!
There was an open bar, clear cold drinks for youthful people of all ages and a major feedbag was put on! No one should have left that house hungry! Things wrapped up around 11:00 PM after a massive photo session.
I slept in the actual podcast studio. I was tired and slept my full 8 hours. There was hot coffee and breakfast the next morning. I had some coffee but had to get going. I wanted to see The Varsity, a fast food place in Atlanta that is not to miss. “What’ll ya have?” is the shout as they take your order. Julie, Dale and I wanted to see it!
I was able to program the path to Julie and Dale’s hotel, but Big C wanted a ride to the bowling alley where the celebrations would continue a little later that day. That gave he and I a chance to talk. It was a good half-hour. I call him a good friend now!
* Bearcrawling Podcast is for an adult audience. Be aware of that should you decide to listen to the show!
I had watched a Food Channel Network that showed the Varsity. Much like this show with Rachel Ray. Now I was in Atlanta and had to try it. We met at their hotel after I dropped Big C off, and headed for the downtown store. I was very glad the Julie and Dale decided to experience it, too, as the battery in my GPS gave up the ghost just about that time.
We found it and had a lot of fun. We were going to experience the carhop side, but, you know, the heat and humidity had not subsided as of yet. So, inside is where we went!
“What’ll Ya Have? What’ll Ya Have?” We heard time after time. It took a while to decide, but I had a grilled chicken sandwich, onion rings and a Varsity orange drink. While Julie and Dale got their food, I sought out and secured some paper Varsity hats for their family and for some of my friends.
Julie liked them so much she even took a picture of me in one. I think her camera is Ok, though…
It was a lot of laughs and waves of people came and went. A lot of fun and it was a huge store. Cool!
After our repast at the restaurant, the time had come for us to head for the airport. We got to the airport a touch early.
Nanette had prepared some preserves for us to take with us. They were in small jars that I thought would be OK. Julie wanted to take no chance, so she checked her bag. That’s right! TSA confiscated my preserves. I was so looking forward to them, too. I can just picture Julie and Dale enjoying them with their three kids. << Sigh >> Oh, well!
My plane was leaving first so we went to my gate in the D concourse. We enjoyed our last little bit of time together talking about school, work and the real need for athletes (even casual ones) to carry a Road ID with them or on them. You never know what might happen while you are out exercising. Be prepared and think of yourself and your family. Just get one!
As was usual, or so it seemed to me, the plane was running late. I thought that we’d leave very late again, but it was not to happen. The gate agent took control and got departing passengers off, got it cleaned up, then quickly loaded the new passengers. We left the gate just 5 minutes late. The flight was smooth and comfortable I got window seats in both directions.
The flight back was uneventful! The take-off was 4:05 PM and we landed @ 5:00 PM even! How’s that for fun?