Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Stone Mountain and Atlanta

Hmm. Well, I am months behind on my blogging again. Too much nice weather to be out geocaching. No complaints there. We now take a trip down memory lane to the end of last July, which will put us in Atlanta, Georgia. This was how I got to Atlanta.

And this is how I got around Atlanta--at least on the one day I had to get around before I had to go to work. I decided to take pictures of the car so I would know if I put any dents or scratches on it. Not to jinx anything, but I have not had a problem like that yet.

The hotel I stayed in on the first night was across from a Best Buy. That's cool, but I never did go in the Best Buy.

I stayed at a Doubletree hotel. This is the desk in my room.

This is the cookie they give you when you check in. How cool is that? Actually, it's warm. And I never did eat the cookie, although I carried it all over Atlanta with me.

This is the bed. It was comfy enough.

This is one of the mirrors in the room.

And this is the other. I never used them, either.

This tacky curtain was an eyesore. A shame they couldn't do something better there. It might have been better just to leave it open.

And this is what it looked like with the curtain open. I didn't use the iron, ironing board, or the closet. Or whatever you would call it.

This is the sofa in the room. I didn't use it.

A stand with in room coffee, ice bucket . . . yeah, I didn't use any of them.

The bathroom, which yes, I did use.

There was a staple in the carpet, which I noticed before I stepped on it. I meant to pick it up and throw it away after I was done taking pictures. I was so surprised by the fact that I had an actual balcony that I forgot. I never did step on it.

These are just some pictures from my room. I was staying on the top floor of this hotel. This is the view left.

This is the view center.

This is the view to the right. I was as far away from the interstate as you could get in this hotel, I guess. I don't remember any road noise being a problem. You can also see the pool.

Here's a closer look at the pool. It has a nice fountain next to it. There's also a fountain in the lobby of the hotel, but I forgot to take a picture of that.

The pool area was very nice. I actually took these pictures after I checked out and returned my key. Turns out, you need a key to get into the pool area--and to get out! Fortunately, the maid who let me into the pool patiently waited for me to quit taking pictures and find that out.

The pool also has a grill. I don't know if guests can use it or not. But there it is. And I didn't use it. Or the pool. I really didn't spend much time at this hotel. Basically I just slept here and that was it.

My hotel was next to an immigration office.

These are an artistic way to keep people from being able to drive a car into the building and blow it up, I guess.

This construction was going on next to my hotel and the immigration office.

In case you wanted to find out more about the construction, here you go.

This is exactly the type of situation I was trying to avoid in my rental car!

I was on my way to Stone Mountain. It costs $10 or so to park in the Stone Mountain park. I am cheap, so I parked in this relatively nearby (relative to Maryland, anyway) commuter parking lot.

There were not a lot of commuters. Of course, it was a Saturday.

This was the other car in the lot. It was messed up. Again, I was really hoping to avoid this situation in my rental. The lot was OK in the day, but I knew it was going to be late at night when I got back, and I didn't know what exactly went on in the lot after dark. But the lot is near some houses, kind of. So I hoped for the best and off I went.

The cannon in this yard was my first indication that the neighborhood I was walking through, near Stone Mountain Village, had character.

I knew I was in friendly territory when I walked by this house. Note the small Gadsden flag flying underneath Old Glory.

I thought this was a cool sign to put on a house. I'm not sure that exact line shows up in 1984. I've looked for it, but couldn't find it. Plenty of people say it, but it seems to be a mangled version of "we have always been at war with Eastasia," which is in 1984. Google agrees. "We have always been at war with Oceania": 11,700 hits. "We have always been at war with Eurasia": 27,500 hits. "We have always been at war with Eastasia": 31,400 hits. I think it's pretty clear we've always been at war with Eastasia! These folks need to get their history straight . . . .

Ron Paul . . . yup. I am pretty sure I would get along with these folks.

Here's the map at the entrance to Stone Mountain park.

The Blue Star Memorial Highway sign, behind Confederate Hall.

The Confederate Hall sign, in front of Confederate Hall.

Confederate Hall, situated as it is, between the two signs. It was closed by the time I reached the park on the first day.

There is a train that runs around Stone Mountain.

The train hauls tourists (and a caboose).

The sign for Stone Mountain's Historic Walk-up Trail! The sign was excited, why shouldn't my blog be excited, too? And yes, they found it necessary to highlight the prohibition on alcoholic beverages.

The flags at Stone Mountain. Note that they have given the United States flag a nice high flag pole. And the Confederate flag a position of honor to the left (or its own right). I think that means they are compliant with the United States Flag Code.

This is a telephone pole at the base (more or less) of the trail. The spots you see are actually pieces of chewing gum, formerly chewed, and stuck to the pole. Up close, it's really not that pleasant to look at.

I have no idea when this was carved. While I do not agree with carving it into the mountain here, I certainly agree with the sentiment of the carver!

Even without the sign, going past this point would be a risky undertaking.

I heard someone say this was Atlanta.

And they said this was Buckhead.

I am sure this mountain also has a name. It appears to be similar to Stone Mountain. It is perhaps Arabia Mountain or Panola Mountain.

I'd been walking up the mountain for about twenty minutes when I came to these handrails. And what is at the top of the handrails?

If you guessed, "more up," you guessed right.

This is an area that is fenced off from touristas. It's supposed to be undisturbed.

This is the visitors center on top of the mountain. It's a nice visitors center!

This is a U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey reference marker on top of the mountain.

The observation platform at the visitors center.

There are little pools in the granite everywhere on Stone Mountain, even at the top.

I have no idea what is up with this tree. It was one weird-looking tree.

There is a cable car that goes to the top of the mountain for people who do not or cannot walk up the trail. I think that's great!

There's a red car.

And a blue car! Red and blue--go figure.

The car travels over this tall tower.

You can't really see it in this picture, but the car rocks back and forth when it goes over the tower to go down the mountain. People always yell when it does. Or at least they did every time while I was there.

There is a steamboat that tools around the lake at the base of the mountain.

In the months of June and July, there is a laser light show ("Lasershow Spectacular") each night. This was the crowd gathering to see the show the day I was there. I never did see the show. I watched the sun set from the top of the mountain instead.

Playing with the zoom feature of my camera. There's lots of development in Atlanta!

Apparently, there are lots of traffic emergencies, too. The flashing lights caught my eye, even on the top of the mountain. Once again, my camera's zoom is at its max.

I wanted to take some pictures of the trees on the top of the mountain without any people around. That's a tough thing to do!

Another tree. There's actually a coke can in this picture, but it's nothing more than a little light blur at the base of the tree, so you really can't make out what it is. Why people would come to the top of the mountain and litter, I just have no idea. There are trash cans. It is not like you have to carry it down off the mountain. Yeesh.

I tried to take some pictures of the sun setting. Here it's behind those clouds.

Now it's out from behind the clouds. The sun was really too bright to photograph like this.

It just went down behind the mountain on the horizon, but my camera decided to take a flash picture. At this time, I would like to point out that I had no flashlight. The disappearing light was becoming something of a concern. That's why I couldn't stay on top of the mountain to watch the laser light show. I think it would be neat to watch it at the top and the bottom of the mountain.

I tried to fix the picture a few different ways using GIMP, but to no avail. This picture turned out kind of freaky, though, so I kept it.

I passed this building, Magnolia Cottage, on the way back to my car. Apparently they serve lunch and brunch there. I never saw anyone there, though, mostly because I never made it there when it was open.

After I was done the first day at the mountain, I stopped at this restaurant, The Village Corner, a German restaurant. Not only did it have German food, but it also had free wireless Internet access. Great, huh! This picture is from the next day, when I was headed back to Stone Mountain to do some geocaching.

Because I had my suitcase in my car, I didn't want to park it in the abandoned commuter lot. So I parked it in the middle of Stone Mountain Village, right next to the police station.

I figured my car was safe parked next to all of these cars.

This bell is named the Freedom Bell. It was placed to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., according to a nearby plaque.

The Duck Car, one of the attractions at the park. These people were busy playing kazoos.

This is a picture of the part of the mountain where there used to be a quarry.

And this is what they carved up and hauled away! This chunk of rock weighs 66,000 pounds!

What the cable car tower looks like from the ground, near where the crowd had gathered for the laser light show the night before.

The Stone Mountain Memorial.

Me at the Stone Mountain Memorial. That's it for Stone Mountain! Some day, I would like to go back. There are lots more geocaches that I did not find!

After Stone Mountain, I said goodbye to my rental car, and hello to my room at the Omni.

The closet had doors.

The bed had an excess of pillows.

The only extravagance on the bathtub was a shower rod that bowed outwards at the top. Actually, that was pretty nice. It made the shower feel roomier. Well, because it was roomier, I guess.

There was a chair. Exciting stuff, I know!

The mirrors in the bathroom, as seen reflected from the mirror in the hall.

My bathroom also had a scale. I am not a small person.

There was also an armoire. Every time I stay in a room with an armoire, take a picture of it, and post the picture to my blog, I have to look up how to spell armoire correctly.

And what better to watch in CNN Center than Fox News! Honestly, I was surprised they even carried the channel!

The view to the right out of my window.

The view to the left out of my window.

I was in town to support MGX once again. We had a great event. I do not think the registration process could be much better! It might be a challenge to live up to it next year!

The first full day of registration was a long one! That's it for my trip to Atlanta!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009 

Category: Life