Ok, we’re now into the original itinerary of Rogue Trip, which heads north from Jacksonville and treads through some more of Hailey’s past. Along the way, we shacked up with another handful of her close friends. Apparently having friends everywhere is what happens when you have an unwaveringly positive personality. Who knew?! I’d always thought yelling at people on the subway was the path to righteousness.
Both H and I are decently familiar with Savannah, so we made our stay brief. A cruise through Bonaventure cemetery (backdrop for the novel Midnight In the Garden Of Good And Evil), a walk down River St. (oh, it’s Restaurant Week? Don’t mind if we do…), a stroll around the historic district, and our very first night spent sleeping in the minivan, Odie, after brushing our teeth at a Planet Fitness.
Schedule-wise, that panned out to dinner followed by working out followed by drinks at a cocktail bar. I wouldn’t say we nailed the timing. As we write this post from the future (Alabama), I’ll take the time to reassure all parental units that we’ve since gotten better at planning. Kinda.
Above: the Cathedral Of St. John The Baptist. Below: the Fountain in Forsyth Park.
At some point along our first year dating in New York, Hailey divulged that one of the things she found most attractive about me was my parallel parking skill. Now we drive a 74-ft-long minivan with three additional feet of bikes hanging off the back. It’s an exercise in failure, make no doubt about it. Here’s me narrowly missing the bumper of a $100,000 BMW.
Ok, let’s get the hell out of Savannah before the owner of this BMW comes back.
Sleeping in a car pretty much guarantees you’ll wake up early — luckily, we found a great local health-food-slash-yoga-studio in Savannah at 7am: Beetnix. Good stuff. Now, onto Hailey’s alma mater in Athens: University Of Georgia.
As with all our trips, Hailey took the opportunity to snap a pic of me sleeping. Meanwhile, see this photo of a black gateway arch leading to campus? You’re only supposed to walk through them if you’ve graduated. Maybe it’s my competitive school spirit coming into play, but… you can do better, UGA. Still, nice campus, and comfy sleepin’ chairs.
In the evening, we met up with one of Hailey’s college roomies, Kristen (and hubbie Stephen) at a neat little brewery, Creature Comforts. Like everyone we’ve met up with so far, the first thing Kristen wanted to do was hop in the back of Odie and take the tour of our home on wheels.
The brewery can’t legally sell you beer per Georgia law, but they can sell you a “tour” for $28 which includes six “free 6oz. tastings” of the beer they have on tap. Hence, the wristbands. Good brew there for sure (and you can actually take the tour.)
Before we go any further: big props to Kristen and Stephen for hosting us as Pit Stop #4. Beyond donating their guest room for two nights so that we could venture outside the area and come back to rest our noggins, they also cooked us chili for dinner and pancakes for breakfast! Road tripping really makes one appreciate the comforts of home. Thanks guys.
We used our second day in the Athens area to dip through Chattahoochee National Forest — the first of two Georgian hikes that tested my knowledge of the South’s topography, as I just assumed everything in here was flat. About 20 minutes from the house, we drove past a nice slice of Americana: the School Bus Graveyard, painted by local artists each year.
And then, the good stuff: Tallulah Gorge State Park. Below: Tallulah Falls, and a mostly vertical walk down to the suspension bridge overlooking Hurricane Falls. Georgia’s park facilities are quite nicely appointed, if sometimes a bit intrusive on the scenery. I guess we shouldn’t complain since we wouldn’t have hiked down that thing if it was a mere dirt path.
Know what else they’ve just plopped down smack in the middle of Georgia? A little alpine town called Helen. This time of year, it was like walking through Disney World after hours. Just us and an endless sea of out-of-place paraphernalia.
Hot Gluhwein is now available! I know a lot of you have been asking for it.
Two days in the area was all our schedule allowed, so don’t fault us for missing Toccoa Falls and Anna Ruby Falls. We’ll get ’em next time. Ok kids, get on the bus…
Here’s Hailey with one of her other UGA besties, Kaley. And here’s Kaley’s kid, Chloe. Avert your gaze if you have trouble stomaching cuteness:
Kaley, Peter and Chloe hosted us for an astounding 9 days during Pit Stop #5… half of that time being the result of both Hailey and I having to take work trips to Kansas City and NYC respectively. Just wonderful people overall, as all of Hailey’s friends have been.
Side note: in his spare time (you know, after having a job, and being a dad who stays home with the kid so his wife can go out partying with her freeloading roadtripper friends), Peter’s building a music rehearsal/jam project called Riot Space. He gave me the grand tour, and I can’t wait to come by and see it in full swing. If you know anyone in Atlanta looking for rehearsal space, I’d love to connect them with Peter.
Some good eats were had in the ATL, as we scarfed down meat at Fox Bros BBQ, and gorged on seafood at Beetlecat. To be sure, Beetlecat is one of the most well-designed restaurants we’ve seen in a long time. The bar downstairs would make anyone yearn for the ’70s… don’t miss it.
This image was swiped off the web. I don’t have any good photos because my fingers were too busy being full of grub.
We weren’t the only ones who ate well: one of the Decker family dogs has a very close relationship with baby Chloe and her unwanted food. More on Oscar and other pups of Rogue Trip in a future post!
Knowing we’d overstayed our welcome, we stuffed some breakfast bacon in our pockets and left the Deckers in our dust, due south to take in what has been dubbed “Georgia’s little Grand Canyon”: Providence Canyon.
If you’re from pretty much anywhere else in the country, I have to imagine you’re as shocked as I am to see this kind of nature in the South. That said, it’s actually not natural per se: the canyons are in large part a result of subpar farming practices in the 1800s, resulting in the erosion that helped to form these wonderful shapes. Hey, if this is what crappy farming gets you, throw me a backhoe and an oil drum of turpentine.
Thus endeth our time in Georgia… but wait, we’ve got a bonus stop!
Wow, we’re in Alabama. No native New Yorker ever imagines they’ll end up in Alabama at any point in their lives. But, here we are, crossing the border into Eufala (possibly pronounced “Ya Folla”, as in Robert Shaw’s tagline in The Sting) and eating BBQ at Phil’s.
Notable: the third pic marks the “world’s smallest city block“, which is of course just a triangular island in the middle of the road where this plaque sits. Has a nice circular logic kind of feel to it, that.
The fourth pic is Pit Stop #6, which we unfortunately didn’t get to snap with our lovely hosts, Kirk and Rachel. Nevertheless, we want to call them out, because in a town where you’d never expect to find a single couchsurfing option, these fine folks have started the scene and offer the quintessential Airbnb experience. I don’t know how anyone would end up in Dothan, but if you ever do, stay with Kirk and Rachel.
That’ll do it for this round of updates! If you didn’t get your fill of Alabama adventures, we’ll have more in a future post; for now, it’s back down to Florida for some serious panhandling. Stay tuned…