Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Atlanta is a strange and interesting mix of old and new, brand spanking modern high-tech new, with miles of fibre optics, steel and glass towers, technology buildings, CNN Headquarters, vs. old memories of South, The Confederacy, racism and civil rights struggles.
Aggressive panhandlers, slightly scary first time on MARTA, ranting and raving, wanting to engage, shouting and swearing, but I walk away and ignore, just the same strategy as with the Invader from Mars.
MARTA to Fivepoints, can't get to Eastbound to King Memorial, so I walk through Underground Atlanta, where another street guy spies me eyeing a map. He asks, "What you looking for?” but this guy smiles, doesn't seem crazy, so I get directions to the ball park, and when he asks for money, I give him some and he seems pleased. Stroll past the State Capitol, statues of great Georgians (including Jimmy Carter) but also plaques describing the heroics of Confederate Army leaders during Sherman's occupation, destruction of the city, and then the March to the Sea, right there, on the Capitol Mall.
Turner Field was locked up tight, so I peer through the gate at a modern (retro) facility where KevMck and I saw a playoff game some ten years ago. Old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium footprint is directly outside the Braves' home, and is marked with a blue wall, now serving as a parking lot.
Returned via CNN Headquarters, remarkable as a huge atrium, with food court with all the usual suspects of fast (and bad) cuisine, adjacent to basketball/hockey arena. The building opens up to Centennial Olympic Park, a civic jewel with fountains, open spaces, artwork, monuments to 1996 Olympians, lots of people using, walking, touch football, both Atlantans and tourists. Decided to forgo World of Coca-Cola ($15 for more diabetes!) and worked my way northward.
While stopping to snap a photo of an old Carnegie library, still another street person comes up. This time, the line is, "Are you an American patriot?" I reply, "I'm an American....," and the pause cracks him up...he claims to be a gulf war veteran, family man, on food stamps, kid at home......I tell him I'll give him a dollar, and he's pleased. On my way again, passing Gladys Knight's Chicken and Waffles restaurant.
Instead of waiting in line, hoofed it to the Varsity, an Atlanta institution that serves two miles of chili dogs daily, or so they claim. Gut bomb time. Great pictures of famous eaters, including Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Roy Blount, George Bush Sr, Evander Holyfield, Warren Buffett...."What'll ya have?" Fed my face and digested by walking around Bobby Dodd Stadium at Georgia Tech.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Chilly Hilly on Sunday, circumnavigating Bainbridge counterclockwise with 6000 + of my closest friends, plus a few pirates from point 83 who didn't see fit to pay the CBC man. Weather was dry and spring like and while hilly, definitely not Chilly. total mileage = 55+ but I think that that Garmin included the ferry ride to and fro, so a little overstated. For February, I clocked 169 miles, down somewhat from January.
But, the Bleriot was also in the shop for a week, as I popped a derailleur cable on President's Day and decided to have the good folks at REI do a complete 'performance tune,' including washing all parts. They scratched up the rear Shimano Ultegra derailleur, so that got replaced free of charge. With the coupons from the State of Washington Health Survey, the total was quite reasonable for what now rides and shines like a brand-new bike.
Also cutting into the miles was the weekend trip to So Cal for Auntie Char-char's memorial. Since I missed three-hour tour on the White Light for Joe's service, I got another opportunity. Williams family members, shirt-tail relatives, Macdonalds from hither and yon, including France and one Invader from Mars attended on a sunny but blustery day. The cruise route took us out of Newport Harbor, passed the bell buoy populated with sea lions to a spot a few miles off shore. Poignant words, voices, ashes and flowers overboard and then a return trip that stopped at Pirate's Cove for some visual memories. Great lady with a complicated life that touched many and now gone. One last link to a past, the last of her three siblings, and now we'll see what happens to the family bonds. Those bonds were severely tested a few days after my return to Return Address Space on America's envelope when the stupid and crazy Invader from Mars chose to engage in a flame war where he managed to dis me, my family, my family's culture and our intentions, plus the memory of my father in a ridiculous email exchange that ruined my good feeling about the reconciliation that had occurred, that we had managed to create, over the previous weekend. I'm done with that one.
Back to cycling mode after family rant.