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25 July 2011

Summer Road Trip 2 of 2

These all-night drives are becoming a road-trip tradition for us. At least we left home before sunset on our way to Georgia; the trip to Arkansas earlier this month started at nearly midnight. It works out, because we are both night owls anyway, I guess.

We're at least well-equipped for it; we made the trip with an inverter plugged into the Decepticon Maxima's cigarette charger powering the iPod (which was plugged into the car stereo so it could play on real speakers), both our cell phone chargers, and his Netbook. The latter was partially used for my sporadic attempts at writing, but mostly for taking turns reading to each other from same the slightly-more-than-novel-length fanfic we spent most of Greg's deployment taking turns reading to each other at bedtime over Skype. They tell me some people buy books on tape, but I'd rather hear my husband's voice.

We made it to Georgia in time to surprise Greg's dad (who apparently hadn't been given an update on our plans beyond a two-week window during which we might visit) for a late breakfast. This allowed me to discover that despite my husband's insistence, the Waffle House I had eaten at all my life was not in fact a "fake" Waffle House and the "real" ones in Georgia serve pretty much exactly the same stuff- which is handy, because I do like waffles.

The house my husband grew up in is still owned by his family, so I got to see it with him as a tour guide. It's a really cool house, the kind of place I always wanted to get to explore when I was younger; it has lots of room, and being a split-level, the stairs give it a very interesting topography, and it still had a very comfortable feel to it. It really made me miss my own childhood home (which, I have to admit to be fair, isn't intrinsically as cool a house, but it's home and I still miss it).

We made it back to his dad's house in time to take a quick nap before dinner- which inadvertantly turned into two naps, because unintentionally but sort of inevitably, I guess, we dozed back off a couple of times after being called for dinner. After dinner, we stayed up long enough to introduce Greg's dad to an awesome strategy game called Cathedral since we picked it up in Austin the week before (his entire family evidently has some kind of genetic affinity for board games, because they all love them and they're all generally challenging opponents at pretty much anything, which makes them extremely fun to hang out with).

Tuesday got off to a not-unjustified late start, and after lunch we wandered over to Marietta, an adjacent suburb, to do some sightseeing around the town square- unlike many places closer to home, Marietta still has a very active town square, the kind of historic district that's full of markers and well-preserved old buildings but also has real, current businesses in those buildings instead of just tourist traps; the locals actually seem to hang out there, and there are apparently concerts and things in the square proper.

That kind of thing is, I think, what made me really like the Atlanta area.

Growing up in Houston, we had historical sites everywhere- places that had been significant in the colonization of Texas, or the Texas Revolution (which is still one of my favorite bits of history), or occasionally the Civil War- and even though most people probably never took the time to notice outside of school trips, I did, because my parents took the time to show me, so I got used to living in a place that had a lively and interesting past, and I got used to having bits of that past or its memory kept alongside and part of the world of the present. I had, sort of without realizing it, really missed that in the last couple of places I've lived to some extent.

We got to experience a bit of that firsthand Tuesday afternoon; Greg's brother had recommended a self-guided walking tour of the square and surrounding historic district, so we decided to spend our afternoon on that while we waited for my brother-in-law to join us for dinner (which I was excited about because this was also the first time I actually got to meet said brother-in-law, who turns out to be a cool guy, interesting to talk to and lots of fun). The museum had already closed for the day (who the hell closes a museum at 1600 on a weekday in the middle of the summer, guys?) but the Visitor's Center next door was open, so we got our walking-tour map and set out.

It seemed totally innocent at first.

The first couple of stops were buildings near the edge of the square, just a little ways down the street from the Visitor's Center and the museum- but then the next stop led us across the modern major thoroughfare, away from the square, to a very picturesque historic house, then further down the street, to a nicely restored bed-and-breakfast next door to another restored late-nineteenth-century home which Greg identified as the place where his dad had gotten married a few years before... then further down the street, out of sight of the square, the museum, and the Visitor's Center altogether.

And further.

And further.

And further.

The street was lined with gorgeous shade trees, and the breeze was conveniently nice, but even so, this was turning into a long walk, and most of the items on it were houses; I'm as dedicated a history nerd as the next nigh-archaeologist, but unless you're an architect, and interior decorator, or a specialist in some aspect of the cultural development of domestic life, once you've seen one or two historical houses from about the same period, you've pretty much seen plenty of them at least for one day, especially from the curb.

In addition to this, we discovered two other things: one, this was a long tour and we had only completed about a quarter of it; two, it was labelled a walking and driving tour. Brother-in-law had forgotten that part and we hadn't bothered to check. That seemed to be our cue to wander back toward the car, from whence we decided we could probably view the cool houses just as well as from the sidewalk.

By the time we got to the car, we decided a shower sounded even better, since we were both sweaty and gross, and I determined that I was in no condition to make a first impression. Once clean, we caught up with Greg's brother, and after giving him a bit of good-natured teasing for sending us off on such a long hike without warning, we walked around and took some pictures, got a quick lesson on the history of the immediate area from my brother-in-law (who along with my father-in-law forms the component of the family which seems to have paid the most attention to geneology and local history), had a great dinner, then were joined the my brother-in-law's girlfriend for ice cream and conversation while wandering around the square for a while.

It was a very pleasant evening after a nice walk (which was good for us and which really was a nice change after being stuck in the car for so long the day before and then sleeping most of that day), and we headed home to make it a relatively early evening in preparation for Wednesday's sightseeing trip to Atlanta proper.

(to be continued...)


  1. Hooray fun roadtrip and in-laws! Can't wait to hear more!

  2. It sounds like an interesting tradition. It does feel a bit different, driving at night instead of during the day. Still, day or night, I hope you enjoyed your road trip and driving!

    -Jolandi Kerstetter

  3. Thanks! It's more of an accidental habit than a tradition, but calling it a tradition makes us sound cool and quirky instead of just like bad planners. In any case, it was a wonderful, fun, awesome trip.


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