Below are the diary entries for June 24, 2007. We drove 80 miles (128 km) today; in total, we have driven 782 miles (1251 km). Also, check out today’s photos.
Today we explore Atlanta. After having breakfast in our hotel room, we head down to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.
Driving up to the site we notice how this is not one of Atlanta's better neighborhoods. Initially we drive straight by the site because we expected something with a big parking lot, and that just isn't there. Eventually we back up and park on an empty lot.
The tour of the house was impressive; thinking about how Dr. King grew up here, a "regular" boy. To me, it was interesting to see how he grew up in a pretty well-to-do family; that had never quite hit me before. Unfortunately, photos weren't allowed in the house. I loved to see how they tried to recreate some of the atmosphere of the house, and the guide was able to add a lot of little day-to-day details.
Right next to MLK's birth home were a couple of "alley houses" which used to house low-income families -- two houses in each of the green buildings. That must have been quite a contrast with the well-to-do family next door.
From the birth home we went to the King Center and walked around the reflection pool. This has the shrine for Dr. King and his wife, Coretta Scott King.
Back in the visitor center, I was struck by a quote from a Maryland law (not repealed until 1967) forbidding interracial marriages. To me it is still unbelievable that people would think it to be OK for government to have laws about who can marry whom. Of course, in a way that has not changed (think "gay marriage")...
After visiting the Dr. Martin Luther King Historic Site, we head further downtown into Atlanta. We wanted to see the "World of Coca Cola" but first we found they had moved, then when we got to the actual museum, we found that parking plus entrance for us would be $70. That really is a bit too much just to see the history of Coca Cola. Those kind of prices are OK if you're just on a short trip, but with an eight-week trip like ours, we just have to think very carefully about spending that kind of money on attractions.
After this we left Atlanta for the International Airport, which Frank really wanted to see. We parked in the daily parking and he was able to see planes taking off and landing from the top of the parking garage. .
We have by now established a pattern where Nicoline and I trade places behind the wheel; whenever I'm driving, Frank and Mark get a chance to sit up front. After the airport, we went in search for some place to connect us with the history at the time of the Civil War, but all the places we tried were closed on Sunday. Eventually, we went back to the hotel. Nicoline made us sandwiches for dinner, which we ate at the pool.
I wake up in my sleeping bag on the floor of a hotel room. Frank is not a hygienically clean person, so I'd rather sleep on the floor then next to him... It's about 8:00 AM and a start ambling around, I'm not yet awake. After a few paces I begin to ask Mom what's for breakfast. She makes us cereal. Dry cereal, without milk, we don't have it. I also have a boiled egg. After breakfast, we start talking about what we want to see today. It's going to be upper 90s today, so we keep that in consideration. We settle on this: First we go to Martin Luther King house, then Atlanta Airport, then at last we go to the "Gone With The Wind" stuff. We get out of the hotel and head to the MLK house. We get there and walk around a little bit. Mom wants to go to the church, but thankfully, we talked her out of it. We head to the house and follow a tour. We aren't allowed to take photos inside, so I can't show you those.
We continue and go to the Freedom center, outside of which is the MLK and his wife's tomb. We stop to see the tomb and cool off a little with the water.
After we leave the MLK house, we head to Atlanta Int. This is for Frank, he really loves to see airplanes and what not. We, after some searching, get to the top of a garage where Frank and Dad go see some planes. Mom and I stay behind to watch the car and not have to listen to Frank.
Sadly to say, after we leave, we can't seem to find the "Gone with The Wind" Stuff. We try to find a guest services; impossible. The signs said to look in the mall. Wrong mall. We look in the other one only to find a sign that said: "Guest services relocated to" To where? We asked each other Nowhere. They removed guest services...
We do eventually find the things, but, guess what? They're closed! Poor Mom! This was the only reason she wanted to visit Atlanta! Awww... We head back to the hotel dismayed. We take a long swim in the pool, and get the shower fixed by a VERY nice plummer.
We all had a tiering day, so we fall asleep quickly. Goodnight!
The weather forecast for Atlanta said that temperatures would climb into the mid-90s today (that's about 35 degrees Celsius) with poor air quality, so we decided to go to the Dr. Martin Luther king National Historic Site first, because that would involve some outside activity. It was pretty impressive. I had wanted to attend services at Ebenezer Baptist Church, but I didn't bring any remotely dressy clothes and I didn't want to offend worshippers by walking in in shorts and t-shirt. But the house was fun to see, and even though the exhibit at the visitors' center did not tell us anything we didn't know, it is strange to think that only about 40 or 50 years ago, we would have seen "whites only" signs all over the South. It reminds you that, while "Gone with the Wind" is a great novel, the period it is set in isn't one we ought to be nostalgic for. Nevertheless, we came to see the GWTW sights, so after some searching (really, highway signage in Georgia needs work!) we managed to find a visitors' center, but it was closed. So was the restored antebellum mansion we had wanted to visit. Drat! Not wanting to drive back into Atlanta to visit Margaret Mitchell's house, where she wrote GWTW, we decided to give it up and head back to the hotel. So we lazed about at the pool instead, to brace ourselves for tomorrow's drive to Memphis.