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Florida or Bust: Jack White's Bronco, A Tennessee Mystery Cave, Georgia Mountain Camping, A Diner with Talking Birds and Alligator Bait

Day 3

Paul was already at work when we woke up. Since we arrived at night Erin offered to show us their giant backyard. The previous owners had atv's and made trails through their little woods. 

Little Wally wanted to show us his new walking skills. 

He couldn't quite walk the entire property. 

There is something lovely about a rural property like Erin and Paul's.

He must love being able to run around so free.

He loved the tire swing. I wish we could have stayed longer. We may have to take a trip back again sometime.

 Wally is going to have so much fun playing in his yard.

This was Meadow's second time playing in grass.

She loved getting her fingers in the greenery.

They also had wild chives growing all over. As well as bamboo in their little woods.

I'm a little jealous of the size of their garden.

I think we all wanted to stay for the day, but we had a deadline to get to Florida.

Erin's homemade lady bug hotel. I didn't even know to make one. 

We parted ways and Erin sent us with a list of things to do and see in Nashville.

I wanted to check out the farmers market. I like to see what other cities have. I was surprised at how few vendors were actually selling food.

I'm guessing it's too early in the growing season.

Their farmers market also had a bunch of small eateries.

Blake and I made the world go around.

We decided to walk through the adjacent Bicentennial Mall to the state capital.

This modernist tower beneath the capital was oddly mesmerizing. 

They were really proud of Andrew Jackson being a president. It's weird to think Minnesota and Wisconsin have never birthed a president.

We thought we would check out the capital. When we finally made it in they needed to see our I.D.'s. I didn't bring mine with. Do I really have to prove I'm American to see a building?

I think they just want a photo id no matter what country you are from. I find it weird to require metal detectors. We tried a different entrance, but that also didn't' work out so well. It was locked.

Nashville was too hot for us Northerners. We had to air out our pits.

We made a detour on the way to Jack White's Third Man Records to see Music Row.

Once we arrived we perused the premises.

Everything was yellow, black and white apart from the White Stripes merchandise.

We assumed that this was Jack White's red, white and black Bronco. He's certainly got style. Now, if only he'd make a record as good as the White Stripes days.

Erin suggested we try out Edley's BBQ. It was the best food we'd had on the trip to this point. I felt like we were really in the south now.

Blake and I went on another micro-adventure while baby got fed by Brooke.

After lunch it was back to US 41.

Blake and I wanted to to stop to see this quintessential southern town hall.

The hills of central Tennessee gave way to the mountains to the east.

I kept seeing ads for a Rock City.

The best part about not taking interstates is you get to see some of the old attractions along the US Highways. I saw a sign for a Wonder Cave and turned right away.

We were disappointed to find out that the place was closed off. Wonder Cave no more. 

Blake ignored the no trespassing signs and went to investigate. 

While Blake broke the law, I checked out the farm across the street.

These heifers looked like they enjoyed living in a peaceful valley. 

Right before the point where Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia meet we blew past this fireworks shop that also sold cold beer. I guess that's no weirder than the fireworks and scooter shops in Indiana.

Dinner time. We picked the first Mexican joint we saw in Chattanooga.

Scott was apparently really hungry.

It was like $9 for the whole shebang. I was really full afterward and gave half to Blake and Brooke.

We decided to spend the night at the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. We got way lost and drove around the forest trying to find "The Pocket" campground. Scott stopped at a gas station to ask for directions and picked up some Miller Fortune.

Eventually we figured out where we had gone wrong and arrived at the campsite.

Again we arrived late, but this time we weren't near other campers and it was drizzling. 

We forced down the Miller Fortunes. They were disgusting.

I couldn't even finish mine, I thought I was going to throw up.

Day 4

The nice thing about getting to campsites at night is that when you wake up you get a surprise of the scenery.

The pocked lie in a valley between some northern Georgia mountains.

We happened to be camping near a creek. After Blake took a bath we let Meadow take a dip. The water was chilly, but she didn't seem to mind.

I missed out on the fun because I was putting the tent away.

Actually you were still getting dressed.

Pines. I love pines.

We decided to head toward Atlanta. I already missed this magical corner of Georgia.

I needed to take a photo of Meadow since I hadn't in a few hours.

It looks like you took of blue bear instead.

We had to take another detour off of 41 to go somewhere that Blake picked...Duluth, GA. After driving for hours through strip malls we arrived.

It was a pretty cute town, from what I saw nursing Meadow in the car.

Blake wanted to see the city hall. Once we got there we realized it wasn't actually old. It was just built to look that way.

I think Blake is going to move here.

I highly doubt that.

Atlanta was a hot mess with towers in the most inappropriate places. And the roads. I felt like I was driving down a speedway that was posing as a road.

My cousin Stacey travels to Atlanta a lot for work so I asked her where a good place to eat was. She suggested a few places to eat and see. The place that stood out to me the most was the one with parrots and weird stuff, R. Thomas Deluxe Grill. I suggested we go there. It did indeed have lots of parrots and other birds.

It was indeed a little bizarre. 

I liked that all the food was fresh and had lots of vegetables. It was a bit pricey though. We have a budget on how much we can spend a day and it was more than half. I'm still glad we checked it out though.

Meadow thought the burger was great and the parrots were a nice touch.

We drove on through downtown. It was odd to say the least. All the skyscrapers were blocks apart.

And another stop to feed Meadow outside of Atlanta.

I had to use the facilities. There weren't any gas stations so Scott stopped at a Subway. I was like, no way that's for customers only.

Blake and I talked her into going.

Sorry Subway. Actually...I don't think any of the employees noticed.

We kept seeing these tree farms everywhere. Blake said it was a nut tree. Then we saw a sign for Pecans. I have to admit I had no idea pecans were grown in the south. Now I know why pecan pie is so popular.

We then took another stop when we spotted some hot air balloons.

Meadow was sleeping so she missed out.

This was one of my favorite parts of the drive. Driving through pecan farms and old plantations. You wouldn't see this on the interstate.

After seeing about a billion of these we had to try it out.

The menu looked OK.

Meh. It was no George Webb's.

Average breakfast. I'd rather eat at Original Pancake House if there were one in town. It was really cheap and made up for splurging on dinner.

Our next Meadow feeding stop was at gas station near the Florida border.

Once it was dark we hopped onto the interstate. We needed to get our butts to Florida.

Near the border we kept seeing signs for "Free Orange Juice" "Free Maps" and the such. We were excited for this free stuff only to find out it was closed already. Boo hiss.

Driving into Florida, aka Alligator country, we started talking about all the creatures that live in this state. The two times that I've been here I remembered there being lizards and snakes everywhere. Scott made the comment, "Why do people live here?" I was getting a little nervous about what we would run into on our next camping adventure.

We stopped by this tourist outpost for some fresh OJ, but it was closed.

We picked the Ocean Pond campground in the Osceola National Forest.

It was the closest campsite. So, why not?

 To me that sounded like alligator city. As we looked for a site in the dark we settled on one that seemed okay.

 After registering (where we spotted a super huge millipede) and pulling into our site we noticed the tent pad was right next to water. I told the guys this was why no one picked this site. I made them set up the tent while I waited with Meadow in the car.

Brooke looked so scared. She claims she wasn't. Suffice it to say we were not gator bait that night.


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