Out of the snow and into the traffic!

A famous Scot wrote a long time ago that “the best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry,” and how true–time after time–his words prove to be.

In my last post I wrote of our plans to set out on our February “get-away” to points south: Atlanta, Savannah, Charleston, and Waynesville, North Carolina. And we hoped to be on the road and out of the treacherous winter weather by late Tuesday evening and drive through to Stone Mountain and spend a couple of days in and around the Atlanta area.

driveway before leaving
A clear path from our garage to the snow-covered street so we can begin our February “get-away!”  (Image property of CortlandWriter ©2014)

However, as seems to be the case this winter, whenever any plans are made, some major winter storm will set in on said date when those plans are to begin! Thus, our leaving was postponed until late morning on Wednesday, after first having to fire up the snow thrower so we could get out of the driveway.

Though not completely cleared of snow and dangerous ice patches, the interstate highways in northern Illinois were not too bad, but the farther south we went, the worse they became. Very tense driving was the rule for most of the day and early evening, until we decided to stop in Paducah, Kentucky, and revel in the joy of having survived the long, icy, snow packed haul.

Although there was far less snow piled all about than what we’re used to at home, there was plenty of cold and ice on the side roads and the hotel parking lot. But things were beginning to look up as the forecast was for no snow and I-24 to Nashville and Chattanooga was going to be dry and bare in the morning. Yea! I could actually drive the speed limit unlike our first day’s adventure. And so we were up and out and on I-24 by 7:30 this morning and enjoyed the drive on a mostly cloudy day and arrived at Stone Mountain right before 3 p.m.

I’ve often wondered where all of the people driving in and around Atlanta come from as there always seems to be millions of them going here and there and very fast. I’m used to Chicago driving, but I’m familiar with the lay of the land so can pretty much deal with it. Being in uncharted and unfamiliar territory today, though, in the midst of motorists in a mad hurry, we found it just a bit over the top.

In spite of the traffic, we found our hotel and checked in without any problem and soon we paid a short visit to nearby Stone Mountain Park and viewed the famous Confederate Memorial Carving on the side of the mountain. Over the years I had heard mention of this but never had the opportunity to see it up close and personal, live and in color!

The famous carving on the side of Stone Mountain. Quite impressive!
The famous carving on the side of Stone Mountain. Quite impressive! (Image property of CortlandWriter ©2014)

The museum and Memorial Hall provided some interesting information and background. We enjoyed seeing a couple of well-produced movies about the carving and the Civil War in Georgia.

Of course, Carolyn managed to squeeze in a quick visit to a gift shop just as it was about to close, and managed to purchase a coffee mug, a couple of post cards, and a Stone Mountain Christmas ornament. Uncanny, that woman!

So it’s onto the Margaret Mitchell House in downtown Atlanta in the morning. I’m already steeling my nerves to deal with the morning hum and buzz of traffic and trying to navigate more uncharted waters. It’s not surprising that Mitchell, the author of Gone With the Wind, died by being hit by a speeding automobile on Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta in 1949!

Assuming we survive the fun and games of Atlanta traffic, we’ll be on our way to the A.H. Stephens State Park in the afternoon, where we’ll spend two days browsing about and learning what there is to be learned.

My wife is very excited to gather as much information as she can on Alexander Stephens, a second-cousin twice removed and vice-president of the Confederacy. I, of course, plan to find some interesting tidbits to share in my next update. Since we’re staying in a cottage on the park grounds, it should be very unique and fun.

At this writing, I’m pretty confident that we won’t have to do any snow blowing or shoveling to maintain our planned itinerary. But then again, this winter really shouldn’t be underestimated and really shouldn’t be trusted!…CortlandWriter

Stone Mountain
Stone Mountain (Photo credit: ucumari)
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8 thoughts on “Out of the snow and into the traffic!

  1. Good thing you didn’t get caught up in the traffic shut-down in Atlanta last week. You might have been sleeping in your car or walking in the cold to a hotel!

    I’d love to go to Atlanta. I went there years ago for a conference, but it was a very busy conference (from sun-up to sundown) so I didn’t get to explore the city. I’m sure it’s lovely.

  2. Yeah, most of the folks we talked to today were still buzzing about last week’s winter storm. And, in all seriousness, Atlanta is a pretty cool-looking place. I poke fun of the drivers only because I have no idea where I’m going without OnStar, and they do! Out here in Stone Mountain, there are lots of nicely landscaped homes and developments. And the Stone Mountain Park is beautiful. Must be very busy in spring, summer, and fall. We didn’t have any problem with fighting the crowds today, however. I’m just happy to be off the road and ready to collapse into bed right now. At least we don’t have to get up quite as early tomorrow. Anyway, keep enjoying that northern weather and thanks for checking in, Carrie! :-)

  3. I just know I am going to enjoy this trip so much :) I love the way you write up the day’s adventures with just the right touch of humour and interesting content. I can’t wait to visit Margaret Mitchell’s home. Go Cortland Writer – keep the posts coming.

    1. Thanks, Fran. The tour of Margaret Mitchell’s home was pretty interesting, and I’ll be mentioning that in my forthcoming post (now that we have Wi-Fi access here in Savannah). Will try to bring all the gentle readers up to date since last posting from Stone Mountain. Thanks for checking in. :-)

  4. Gone With the Wind is one of my favorite books. I had no idea Margaret Mitchell died after being struck by a car.
    Wow, you’ve got a long driveway, Mark! Good thing you have a snow blower pr you wouldn’t have gotten out of town until spring.
    Enjoy your trip and be safe!

    1. Hi, Jill! Mitchell and her husband were on their way to see a movie in 1949, and she jaywalked and got hit by a drunken, off-duty cab driver. Guess it pays to cross where one is supposed to! Our driveway isn’t too long, except when it’s covered with snow and needs attention. This winter, I really would be up against it without my trusty, John Deere snow thrower. Thanks for checking in. :-)

      1. I don’t know if drunk drivers pay attention to cross walks. I’m not sure where you are at the, Mark, but the South is getting ready to get hit with snow, ice, etc. Did you bring this down here? :) Just kidding…enjoy!

  5. Jill: I heard some rumblings about some “weather” coming south, but all I know that driving down through the pines of Georgia today and touring Savannah in shirt sleeves was delightful! I did my best to leave all the cold and ice and snow up home where it still persists! :-)

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