"Normal" Places We Go

Atlanta (or Kick This Pig)…

Following my exploration of South Florida, I headed to the north again and after spending another night with newlyweds Gary and Sienna, I headed up Interstate 75 to visit Mr. Downing in Atlanta…

interstate-75

Just over the Florida border into Georgia, I realized I was hungry and low on gasoline… I was driving through a rural area and remembered from the map that I was at least an hour away from any notable towns or cities. So, it was some relief to see a sign for the “Risque Cafe” an exit or two ahead promising to “Bare It All” and offering food and gasoline. What more could one reasonably ask for?

Inside were a gaggle of strippers one could only feel sorry for (with one notable exception). One was overweight, another had boobs absolutely riddled with varicose veins, one looked eerily like the tranny in the movie The Crying Game and all were covered in terrible tattoos (with the one exception I mentioned above). However, this was exactly the authentic Southern experience I was looking for…

And to her credit, my waitress had a cool tattoo on her hip of a guy getting his head blown off – the blood and gore from the impact of the bullet morphing into hearts that swirled up her side and around her neck…

I ordered a cheeseburger and an iced tea (listed as “ice tea” on the menu, of course) which both turned out to be surprisingly good while the girls took turns dancing without enthusiasm on the small stage. The girls showed far more enthusiasm and life when cleaning the poles than they did while dancing, but I can’t blame them because they were getting crap for tips from the two overweight, grizzled old men seated near the stage… One seemed exceptionally pleased with his generosity after giving one of the strippers a $1 tip as he was leaving. Oh well, it isn’t my obligation to correct the injustices heaped upon the single mothers of the world.

Very soon, the siren song of the open road was too much to resist and I was on my way again…

My arrival on Atlanta’s Peachtree Street was marked by a faux carjacking, courtesy of Mr. Downing, that absolutely shocked the driver behind me and a delicious cigar from this box…

god-of-fire-carlito

I was pretty tired though and before long crashed into my exceptionally comfortable bed made up by Mr. Downing’s girlfriend, Meg…

atlanta

We set out early the next morning to avoid the worst of the miserable heat in the region and soon stumbled across this photo shoot taking place at a nearby park. Almost immediately some black guys lounging in the shade above (and already drunk at 10:00 A.M.) began shouting increasingly sexually suggestive comments to her which amused us greatly…

photo-shoot-atlanta

As did these geese on the same lake in the same park…

atlanta

atlanta

Stopping over at a wooded park in the city for a reflective hangout session… This park was the site of a major Civil War battle and many men rested in this small ravine before climbing out over the top to their deaths… We were here for over an hour and only one other person came through the park while we were there. He was walking his dogs and ended up being quite a cool guy.

civil-war-battlefield-atlanta

This is the cobblestone entrance to the Pope House over which the battle mentioned above was being fought…

pope-house-atlanta

Next up, we headed to one of the largest (and most saturated with history) cemeteries in the area…

cemetery-atlanta

This Confederate civil war memorial immediately caught our attention… And would you believe it, we looked all over and somehow just couldn’t find a memorial to the Union dead?

confederate-civil-war-memorial

Damage in the cemetery from a large tornado that had recently ripped through Atlanta…

tornado-damage-atlanta

This weeping lion is another memorial to the Confederate dead. Too bad they had to plagiarize the design from the Swiss…

weeping-lion-confederate-memorial

Confederate graves…

confederate-war-graves

After touring many of the neighborhoods in the downtown Atlanta area, Mr. Downing showed me this spot by Emory University. Rather extraordinary to have such a site in the middle of one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world… Then again, this was certainly not the first (or last) time the South had surprised me…

river-bottoms-atlanta

river-bottoms-atlanta

We met a gentleman down here that was collecting interesting rocks and looking for Indian arrowheads. He turned out to be a physical education instructor/baseball coach that was rather focused on getting kids engaged in team sports and physical activities in order to expose them to life’s realities. As evidence of his focus and sincerity he threw in the fact that he had been intentionally celibate for the past four years. Interesting fellow…

river-bottoms-atlanta

After traipsing through the creek for a while (which felt damn good in the overbearing heat and humidity) we headed toward this railroad trestle seeking more…

river-bottoms-atlanta

Mr. Downing by the creek assessing our circumstances…

river-bottoms-atlanta

Something about the gritty, industrial look of this scene appealed to my artistic sensibilities…

river-bottoms-atlanta

As did this pair of pants hanging in a homeless encampment next to the trestle… A great deal of speculation on our part provided no further answers about either them or the owner.

river-bottoms-atlanta

Climbing up onto the trestle, we did not have to wait long for a train to come by…

csx-train-atlanta

train-atlanta

train-atlanta

Continuing down the tracks…

train-atlanta

We both thought this graffiti was pretty cool…

graffiti-atlanta

Proceeding through some of the nicer neighborhoods in Atlanta after our creekside layover, I present these two pictures as a representative sampling of some of the lovely homes to be found in the Atlanta area.

nice-homes-atlanta

nice-homes-atlanta

After this relatively pleasant introduction to Georgia, I was completely unprepared for what we would encounter over the next three days…

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