Sunday, June 03, 2007

1485.4 Miles - Part II - Road Trip

When I got to Atlanta I was prepared to sleep the day away and drive into the night if her commitments prevented an early departure. She seemed excited to be going so I was counting my lucky stars at this point and was willing to acquiesce to anything.

She got over her shock. She decided to depart Atlanta at noon.

I was also excited about the road trip. I have driven around the county most of my life. Driving is, in my opinion, the only way to see the real America. I grew up taking family vacations in the family station wagon. We visited my grandparents in Florida often, usually twice a year. I remember my Dad driving "straight through" all night to get to Florida. I remember laying in the back of the family station wagon watching the stars as we traveled through the Carolina's and Georgia when I was supposed to be asleep. I could see the Milky Way, we were so far out away for cities and lights. My brother and I planned a family vacation to California, to go to Disneyland Those trips were magical.

She and I have also enjoyed many many interesting road trips. Our trips have usually been shorter than my childhood trips. None the less we have spent many many enjoyable hours learning about our country, close up.

To get to Alligator Point FL from Atlanta you generally head due South. Fortunately there is no Interstate going there.

Atlanta to Alligator Point FL
Total Distance: 316.1 miles, Total Time: 5 hours 3 mins (approx.)

Based on media reports I was anticipating a long hard drive with a lot of traffic. Again the media was mostly wrong. Inside Atlanta gasoline was expensive and traffic heavy. Heading south on I-75, again traffic was heavy. Fortunately it moved pretty well and we were only on it for about 75 miles. In Albany Georgia we turned off I-75 onto GA 300. The change was immediate and beneficial.

Georgia 300 is mostly a four lane highway pointed directly South. It is also a fairly new road and doesn't have a lot of the road side relics of the old highways made obsolete by the Interstate System. Once on GA-300 we traveled easily south though farmland and small towns. Many of the towns deserve further investigation places like Albany, Pelham, and Thomasville.

Approaching the Florida border we encountered a smoky overcast from wild fires in the area. It continued for miles and miles. The smoky air added an almost surreal feeling to an already magical environment of oaks and Spanish moss.

Yahoo maps, cryptic as ever, none the less guided us into and through the heart Tallahassee's FL, past the State Capital and on to Crawfordville. I am a Genius for being able to follow the directions without a supplementary map and an Idiot for leaving the map in New Orleans.

Passing Tallahassee we entered Wakulla county, home of the Wakulla Springs State Park, location of Wakulla Springs. The Springs are the opening of an underground river and the water is so clear you can see the skeleton of mastodon deposited at the bottom of the spring. The lodge and glass bottom boat ride are not to be missed.

The Lodge is an interesting place to stay for a short time. We visited there several years ago and never knew that a beach awaited just a few miles south. Oh yes the Creature from the Black Lagoon was filmed there.

Continuing south we passed through Panacea and on to Alligator Point.

My dry recitation doesn't do justice to the scenic rolling beauty of the South Georgia farm country, the Florida panhandle moss covered oak trees or the coastal splendor of Alligator Point.

The journey was worth the time spent.


Sophmom said...

I love long trips in the car. I'm actually particularly fond of taking them alone (or with one of my boys).

"Fortunately there is not Interstate going there." Now, those are words you aren't going to read often, but I understand. Yes, I do. You make me want to go there. Now.

mominem said...

You haven't heard the good stuff ...

... yet.

Mark said...

Damn, I have a picture of myself on the glass bottom boats at those springs circa 1963 I'd say from the look of me. They also shot some TV series involving skin diving there (I don't remember the name of it. I prefered Sky King, and for a good old underwater knife fight, Bwana of the Jungle).