Day 1: November 18, 2004
A Big Boulder



Reasons this picture doesn't belong here include 1) it's dreaded divided four lane, 2) it was taken on the 15th, not the 18th, and 3) it's not in Georgia, Tennessee, or Kentucky. It's I-85 in South Carolina and it is here to show that I came through some rather nice looking country while getting to the work site.

The work site and the starting point for the discretionary portion of the trip was Royston, Georgia. That's where the "Georgia Peach", Ty Cobb was born. I didn't know much about Ty Cobb and most of what I did know I probably learned during the media blitz that surrounded Pete Rose's taking of the all-time hit record. I knew that he was a ferocious competitor and that he owns the highest lifetime batting average, .367, in major league baseball history. I didn't know that he provided the money for Royston's hospital and I didn't know that over 100 students attend college each year because of the Cobb Scholarship Fund he founded. To me, two things illustrate Cobb's importance to baseball. One is the fact that he was the first inductee to the new Baseball Hall of Fame. The other is more subtle. Ty Cobb had 4191 base hits in his career and when Rose passed him in 1985 the number 4192 appeared in headlines and TV screens. As a Cincinnati resident and a Pete Rose fan, I've always been a little aggravated that more people seem to recall that number rather than the 4256 hits he finally accumulated. But, now that I appreciate Ty a little more, I'm aggravated a little less.

On Historic Route 66, in Erick, Oklahoma, there is an intersection where the buildings on all four corners faced the intersection. I use past tense because one of those buildings is gone. It has been written that the corner is unique along the entire length of the route but I don't even have a guess at how rare that sort of corner is in the world at large. Here is one such intersection in Royston and I will now keep my eyes open to see how many more I can find.

Down US-29 to Athens then through town on US-78. There's no missing the fact that populating a city with painted symbolic critters has become a popular way to show a city's pride. And there's no debating the fact that University of Georgia's Bulldogs are fitting critters to receive that treatment for the city of Athens. Not only were the dogs good camera material, so was a little of the U of G campus.

I've often seen pictures of this giant sculpture at Stone Mountain and I knew there was a cable lift. I guess I figured that was all there was to it. That may once have been true but not now. Now the huge granite boulder is surrounded by an amusement park style village, train & riverboat rides, and other attractions and museums. Being the off season, not much was operating today but the only thing I was really interested in, the Skylift, was. I walked around the mostly closed village and eventually made my way to the Skylift and rode it to the top. On the way, we passed over the figures carved on the mountains side and even had a brief frontal view of General Lee. He's the middle figure in the sculpture with Jefferson Davis on one side and Stonewall Jackson on the other. There is lots of fall color in the tree and some good views are to be enjoyed during the ride. The colors were a little muted by the overcast sky and that also blurred the view of the Atlanta skyline but the view from the top is still pretty impressive.

The solid stone mountain is quite remarkable by itself and was probably a bit of an attraction before it was carved, cabled, and surrounded. Before leaving, I drove around the park area and was treated to some fine scenery. Some of it even looked like it might be entirely natural.

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