Monday, August 23rd - Day 51 - Beauty and Art

Chattanooga Travel Blog

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I know I've said it before but this time I mean it... I mean it... I'm going to make this a quick one, lol..

Left Jacksonville and made my North to Savannah. I'd been told Savannah was nice, based around 'squares' in the downtown area, but that it was sort of small and Charleston father north yet was even nicer, and classier, due to the fact that at night you can smell the pulp mill over the water in Savannah.

Well, I don't know how amazing Charleston is because I didn't want to go that much farther north (another 100 miles I think) just to backtrack. But Savannah, people... is beautiful... incredibly so. It's old, the architecture is warm and historical, the scene is young, and relaxed, revolving around the Savannah College of Art and Design. So nice to be there!

Landed at a Starbucks where I could do some wifi and await my couchhost's dismissal from work. Tried to run my visa through the parking ticket dispenser. Didn't work. "oh well, fuck it then".

2 hours later, I had a ticket. So I wrote ON the envelope containing my ticket "Your machine wouldn't accept my visa, I have money, come in and see me in Starbucks".

Surprisingly, no one took up the offer. So I crumpled the ticket up and threw it away. I'm really hoping I don't have any problems at the border flying in and out or when I leave. lol.. or when I come back.

I should also mention that I've decided anytime I stop like this for long periods, i'm going to hop out of the riding gear.

Met up with my couchhost at their place in a lovely street off of downtown, where trees lined the streets and moss hung from the trees. Just beautiful.

They were studying to become an architect, and their ability in art showed tremendously. Photos of their paintings hung on lines on the wall, intricate street drawings were here and there (I was gifted with one! I didn't want to accept, 5 hours had gone into it, but in the end I accepted with great appreciation. I look forward to getting it from the post when I return), and I was also shown drawings from a soon-to-be-printed book from a local natural preserve.

As well, fantastic latin music played in the background. Babasonicas was a group I'll check out in the future, as was Paco De Lucia. Check them out. Paco makes Jessie Cooke sound like a fledgling Jr. High music student.

Then it was off to River street in search of a Fried Oyster Sandwich. Thanks Orson of RideOnTwo for that recommendation. Couldn't find the "Roebling Road" you said had the best food, but the Oyster Bar gladly put a basket of fried oysters on a bun with tartar sauce for me and some lettuce. FABU!!!!

After that we had some margarita slurpees from some place with a whack of flavors. 

On our way to a local pub too meet some of my host's friends, we ran into their friend TC who owns Melissa's Pizza. This guy was quite an entrepreneur with a wide variety of different ventures going on. It turned out the aged building he'd bought for the pizza place which was over 200 years old had some skeletons in the basement. Savannah tourism thrives off of ghost stories and even has trolly and horse carriage tours that go on so you can hear some of them, and he was going to be on TV soon. 

That morning while at IHOP's crossing the Stuffed French Toast off the list (pretty good by the way, worth trying once), I met a fellow rider about my age. Really good guy, friendly nature, and after talking to him a bit, it impressed upon me, that perhaps I shouldn't pursue the idea of a touring company in Romania. Not only has it become evident that people aren't drawn to the area, but I thought that maybe I was aiming in the wrong direction anyway. Either way, I wish him the best,

After telling my idea to TC who talked to both of us about our dreams and whatnot, and how he's helped local artists in the area become discovered, he suggested I look into doing tours from the North to the South. It's something to think about, but quite likely already being done. Regardless, it's always nice to hear other's become enthusiastic about your ideas.

We got to the basement pub and shared a couple pints, and that concluded the evening.

The following morning I was treated to Suzni's, an off-the-chart ... Not sure what to call it, not quite fast food, not quite diner, not a roadside vendor... Anyway, they make sandwiches, salads, whatever, and they make them well! Most things have a Mediterranean flare, but just awesome!

Went over to Horizon Gallery to see my host's exhibit. Interesting, imaginative, culturally aware pieces hung together to convey a theme.

And lastly, we hit Leopold's Ice Cream shop. World famous... The family started the shop in 1928 and makes the ice cream fresh. Superb. Later on, one of the sons became a movie producer and has produced such movies as Hamburger Hill, and Sum of All Fears (wretched!), and Mission Impossible 3. They were celebrating their 81st birthday, and the radio was there, as was the present owner's wife, a photographer was taking pictures. All very cool.

Noticing a painted portrait of an officer from the era of first or second world war, I couldn't help  but wonder if any of the family's money came from the shameful looting that often occured during that time, which many logistical officers took part of. They'd simply collect pieces of art, anything of value, even furniture, and have it shipped home, or shipped to nearby friendly, allied countries, to be stockpiled, and later sold off. Then refugees would return to their estates to find their family heirlooms and collected pieces gone. Sad really. Hopefully this wasn't the case. But I can't help but wonder where people with an abundance of money sometimes get it. It's not always from hardwork and a bit of luck. Even TC's stories of artists discovered left me with an unpleasant aftertaste; to think, a kid from a wealthy family, being given everything anytime they needed it, not having to work to pay their tuitions or even their living expenses, having the good fortune of some collector from the big city taking a keen interest in their work, while struggling students work while attending school and go without, and in the end may find they're pursued profession will forever remain a hobby, saddens me a bit.

Leaving Savannah, I knew it was one of those places I would cherish forever.

The funny thing is though, looking back, nearly everywhere I've ever traveled, I've imagined how nice it would be to live there. I suppose everything new is interesting, all the things still to be discovered. Like I've said before, perhaps the thing to do is to make the best of where I presently am, rather than try to find a means of getting away.

I know one thing, I couldn't help but feel a rekindled interest in art inside of me. And perhaps when I return home I should put an effort into making it a part of my life again, an active hobby. Thanks to Jeff in Ohio from RideOnTwo for suggesting I see SCAD galleries, I'm sorry I missed it, but being hosted by a SCAD architectual student who showed me their art felt pretty close.

As I raced on towards Atlanta to try and arrive before sunset (never fun being on the freeway in the dark, full of cars), I passed a sheriff's car, stopped at the exit point of a weigh station. 

Of course, this is where my sense of adventure, kicks in, add a dash of stupidity.

I think that because I went by him at a reasonable pace, surely he's not going to pull out and follow me. So a reasonable thing for me to do is to get in front of a large truck so his radar is screened, and then hit the afterburners and take off. So I do just that, and I'm doing 120 mph thinking he can't see me, and I haven't seen anymore pairs of headlights creep into my line of sight so obviously, I'm still alright, and I'm just giving her like nobody's business for who know's how long when finally, I see flashing blues in my mirrors.

Oh boy, time to pull over, no sense trying to evade, I'd only dig the hole deeper.

Because I'm Canadian, he has to take me to the station where I need to pay a bail bond or some crap. I guess if he gives me a ticket, there is the potential I will flee and not pay it. Hrmm.. where would he get that idea. I suppose me paying $280 bail is a sort of happy-medium.

He ended up ticketing me for 100 in a 70, and gave me a warning about my improper lane changes (as I was not signalling while changing lanes. Can I be blamed? If I'm faster than everyone, no one needs to know I'm about to enter their lane, because they aren't going to drive forward into me, right? Right.)

Having to follow him to the station took some time and not only was it dark when I go into Atlanta, but my GPS also died. Fun!

Fortunately the GPS died only 2 blocks from my hostel. AND, because the sun was down I got to see the beautifully lit skyscrapers in their full splendor. There was one, I don't know the name, but it was so tall, and it had this lattice work of steel beams built into a pyramid at the top, all of which was illuminated. Stunning to say the least. I would find my eyes going back to that massive building again and again the next day while with my coffeehost. To the point of a light mocking even, hehe. Couldn't be helped.

Anyway, Midtown in Atlanta has some great venues, and I found myself at Cosmopolitan/Lava Lounge.

The next day I rolled all my riding gear up into a ball and cargo netted it to my bike so that I could stroll Peidmont Park with my coffeehost and their friend. What a gorgeous park! And to see all the people running in it and enjoying it! I was filled with envy!

We made our way to a restaurant called Quattro that had very reasonably priced sandwiches, and dishes. Then it was on to downtown to see the World of Coke. The soda kind. 

I must say that I was quite surprised by the modernness of Atlanta. Not as much as New Orleans mind you, but Atlanta was strikingly metropolitan, and I had not anticipated that.

I was also surprised, and mildly entertained to find that some people from Atlanta are quite loyal to Coca-Cola, beyond that of preference for soda, but almost to that of 'nationalism'. I liked that though, and could appreciate it. 

Didn't end up having time to see the World of Coke as I had to meet that evening's couchhost at around 4 in nearby Decatur, so we went off to The Varsity, an old Drive-in from the first half of the century. We'd just eaten so we skipped all the food, even the oh-so-tempting onion rings, and ordered Frosted Oranges. SHABAM! Those were amazing! like drinking a bunch of blended orange Popsicle Pete creamsicles!

After that headed to Decatur and landed myself in The Brick House Pub, where any connoisseur of beer would be in heaven. Over 100 flavors of ales and.. umm, i don't even know what other types to call them, or if Ale covers them all... but as the gentleman beside me said, "Beer is the new wine", and it was apparent.

he also happened to be the owner of a BMW motorcycle from 1973 if I recall correctly. I parked beside it, and took some pictures. He was extremely flattered when upon realizing he was the owner, I pulled out my camera and showed him, no bluffing!

Either way, when my couchhost finished work, we headed over to Leon's Full Service, an old gas station and mechanic shop turned into a bar and eatery. Great place, great prices, fantastic decor, style, atmosphere, really enjoyed it. It was also here that my host was able to find the beer for me (after 5 failed attempts with samples at the Brick House... what can I say, I like "shit-beer" lol)

Being as both of us had been burning the candle at both ends as of late, we headed home and watched Chris Nolan's Memento. What a mind-job.  I don't want to say anything as I don't want to ruin it for anyone, but what a fantastic movie. Same guy that did the new batman movies, The Prestige, and now Inception.

It just so happened my couchhost was also an artist, but of photography primarily. I only saw a couple of photos, some Corona's on a beach, but they were totally awesome. I hope their move to San Francisco helps their exposure because they deserve it.

Tonight, in Chattanooga, it's a quiet one. A time to reflect, and a time to rest. Although it's now nearly 2 as I complete this blogpost as much for myself as for you. This way I will always have the memories of this journey, and not just in the form of pictures.

I did make it downtown to the river walking path as was suggested to me, and this was yet another well taken care of city park.

I felt inspired once again; this time, to go tomorrow and purchase a good pair of running shoes. My time is short, but I miss running, and I don't get the amount of exercise I cherish and truly enjoy, so being as there most likely won't be long days of riding for quite some time, I should be able to get into town early enough to put some shoes to good use.

I look forward to that. Also discovered my camera seems to be functioning fine again and have begun taking more pictures when possible. 

Had dinner at Buffalo Wings and... something.. meh.

Anyway, I'm tired, on to Nashville tomorrow, for a 3 o'clock appointment with Apple.. hoping to get my iPhone healed, or at the least, replaced.

Take care, Ride safe.

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photo by: efincher0812