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Saturday, September 4, 2010

(Mis)Adventures in Atlanta

Hope you're all having a fabulous Labor Day! Since my birthday falls on or near this weekend every year, it's one of my very favorite holidays. :-) This year, we're celebrating with a staycation in Southern California and we're having a blast! Of course, more to come on that front later. For now, I'll share a few of our adventures and misadventures from Labor Day last year. After celebrating my birthday in Alabama, we headed to Atlanta for the 3-day weekend. Sit back and get ready for a long post, my friends. (If you're not in the mood for a long read, I'd recommend numbers 1 & 3!)

(Mis)Adventure #1: The Braves Game that Wasn't
When Matt and I sat at our anniversary dinner and discussed favorite memories from our first year of marriage (there were many!), "The Braves Game that Wasn't" made the list. You know a memory has to be good when you give it an official name! This one just makes me smile, shake my head, and count my blessings that I married such a fun, easy-going man.

Matt and I purchased fairly decent tickets for an Atlanta Braves game which was starting at 7:05 p.m. on the Friday night of Labor Day weekend. He typically got out of the classroom by 4 on Fridays at ASBC, so we figured we'd take off the second he got "home" and be just a little bit late for the game since Atlanta is 3 hours away from Montgomery. Problem #1: Matt didn't get home until 5 that day, so we were an hour behind schedule. Problem #2: A mere two minutes into the drive, it dawned on me that Alabama is on Central time and Georgia is on Eastern, which meant that we'd be losing an hour on the drive. Why had I not thought of that before? So, if you're keeping score, we were now two miles down the road and two hours behind schedule. "Well, at least we'll get there for the most exciting innings," we said as we drove merrily down the road. And then we ran into Problem #3:
Bumper-to-bumper traffic all the way to Atlanta! Oh, no. At that point, we knew we'd be lucky if we made it to the city before midnight! I used our Garmin to find an alternate route that ended up saving us big time, but it still took us four hours to get to our destination. As we walked toward the stadium, we could hear the final pitches being thrown and by the time we were inside, the grounds crew was on the field.
You know what, though? We had such a great time! Those four hours in the car could have been so stressful and frustrating. But instead, we cranked the stereo, sang our hearts out, and car danced like there was no tomorrow--all the way there. We even busted out our sunflower seeds to commemorate the hours that should have been spent in a ballpark. Matt and I turned that drive into a fun party and then got to celebrate our arrival in Atlanta with post-game fireworks. The Braves Game that Wasn't turned out to be so much more memorable than a Braves Game that Was ever could have been. Sometimes, life is more exciting when it goes all "wrong!"

Adventure #2: The World's Largest Aquarium
The next morning, we headed back into Atlanta to visit Georgia Aquarium, which just happens to be the world's largest. It felt like we'd just been to the Denver Aquarium so we weren't sure if we were going to go or not, but I'm glad we did! We were blown away by all of the neat exhibits. The one that took the cake for me, though, was the beluga whales. I'd never seen one in real life before, and they're such cute creatures. It took all of the willpower I could muster to keep from singing "Baby Beluga" at the top of my lungs.
(From Google Images, since I somehow neglected to take a picture of the outside!)

(Mis)Adventure #3: The Hilliest 10K in the South
About two days before leaving for Atlanta, I saw that they had a big 10K race on Labor Day. I thought this sounded like a super fun idea and signed up for it on a whim. In fact, I'd love to run a race in all of the big cities in America at some point in my life. So, great! Check Atlanta off! Especially since I'd been getting plenty of miles in every day in Alabama so obviously I'd be ready for it, right? Alabama = flat and hot and humid, so therefore Georgia would be the same since they're both in the South, right? Well, I was right about the last two! Imagine my horror when I drove out to the course to pick up my packet the day before and saw this:
Oh, my. Huge hill after huge hill after huge hill after huge hill, for 6.1 whole miles! Normally this wouldn't scare me to death, but I'd been running on flat, flat, flat and knew that my muscles were in for it. I decided I'd definitely not be going for a PR and would just enjoy the race. So bright and early the next morning, I faced my fear and conquered the hills. I did alright, actually--coming in around 53 minutes--but it was my slowest 10K ever. Immediately after crossing the finish line, I informed Matt that at some point, we needed to come back to Atlanta over Labor Day so I could train properly and kick that 10K's rear end!

Adventure #4: After-party at the Water Park
The race entrance fee also included admission to the Six Flags water park, which happened to be located right at the finish line. Yes, please, and thank you very much. The nice, cool water was such a refreshing respite from the heat and humidity and felt so, so good on my freshly-thrashed thighs! Matt and I spent the entire day at the park and loved every single minute of it. And while any form of a swimming pool would have sufficed that day, to Six Flags' credit, their water park was probably the best I've ever been to.

Adventure #5: A Not-So-Spectacular Show that We Liked Anyway
One of the supposed must-see's in Atlanta is Stone Mountain's Laser Show Spectacular. We had nothing else to do that night so we figured, why not? The laser show itself was cool in some parts, but sort of long and definitely not something you have to see in Atlanta. But luckily for us, we're very easily entertained and mildly obsessed with fireworks, so the post-show fireworks redeemed any ho-hum-ness on the laser show's part. Really, anything involving pyrotechnics will end up getting a thumbs-up in my book!

So, there you have it--our trip to Atlanta. I feel like we covered the tourist spots in Atlanta pretty well, but there's so much more that I want to see in Georgia. (Just the very thought of Madison or Savannah makes me swoon.) Someday...


  1. Ashley! I just LOVE reading about all your many adventures on your blog! You guys look so happy and enjoying life!! :) So keep blogging like you do because I love it!

    P.s. Me and my husband are in Georgia right now for the summer for his work and were in Valdosta...which is like the most southern city in Georgia and is in the middle of nowhere ha ha! So I'm thinking we need to make a drive up to Atlanta and make some adventures! :) Is there any other places that you would recommend there? Or places that we MUST see?

  2. As your blog manager (or whatever I am) I dub it inappropriate that I have to do this... and probably only you know what I'm talking about. But yes, just unacceptable.

  3. I was raised in Atlanta and i love all the spots you went to! I am glad you had a good experience there and definitely go back...there is so much more! The mall of Georgia, Coke factory, and LOTS of yummy restaurants!!! Oh and I was born in Savannah and it is GORGEOUS!YOU MUST GO THERE SOON:O)

  4. Char-I'm so jealous you're down in Georgia! I love the South. And I'll send some recommendations your way for sure! I'm super busy today but will swing by your blog with them as soon as I get a chance. Get ready for a long comment :-)

    Bethany-What an amazing place to be from! I really do want to go back soon. It's so beautiful and full of things to do! We were going to go to the World of Coca-Cola actually, but there were some big football games that Saturday so we spent most of it in our hotel room with ESPN instead haha. And seriously, I dream of places like Savannah. You lucky girl!

  5. Even your miadventures sound like a blast. I think your good attitude made all the difference!


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