30 Minutes in the Life: March 2015: We’re on the road again….

March has been a busy month.  I traveled to Columbus, Georgia on the 5th.  Returned home on the 9th and left for Nashville, Tennessee, on the 12th. In-between that I had to run payroll, and sit in a 4 hour meeting.  Why Nashville??  Country music…mmm, let me say right up front, this girl grew up on Rock and Roll.  Country did not play a huge part in my life.  My brother was flying into Nashville for a 4-day conference, and since he lives in South Africa, and I live in the USA, when he is in town, it is always my desire to spend as much time as I can with him.  His initial plans had him flying back out home the day the conference finished. So we agreed to travel to Nashville.

Let me start out by saying that Richards idea of a road trip is to get in the car and drive until we reach out destination.  My idea of a road trip is to meander.  Stop off here and there and walk around and take in the sights.  I guess for the most part the person in control of the wheel has the most say. Added to that he decided that we should listen to country music to get us into the spirit of all things country.  We left late Thursday afternoon, our destination being Valdosta and an over night stay.  Early the next morning we headed out, with another 8 hour journey on the clock.  Richard had made the decision to drive through the center of Atlanta, rather than do the ring road.  The weather had changed and it was bleak and wet.  The stress levels were high as we navigated the HOV lane and the Atlanta.  We did not know if we needed to stay in the HOV lane or jump out when the directions changed.  The atmosphere was charged….Rich and I will never do the Amazing Race together, that is all I will say…

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Atlanta was finally over and we were back to normality, and the rain had lessened to a drizzle, and we began to relax and enjoy the hills.  Actually after Florida I am pretty taken with the hills. 15 years of flat, and a bump in the road is a real pleasure to view.  I began spotting signs to different places like Rome, and Lebanon and Chatsworth and felt like I was traveling the world.  Actually the road trip would do that.  It is a long long way out of Florida when you are driving.

Just as the rain stops I see the sign Chattanooga.  Just the previous weekend I stood at the edge of the Chattanooga River in Columbus, Georgia and it was such a pretty sight.  So I decided I wanted to go down to the riverfront in Chattanooga.  Oh boy, that messes with the driver and his plans to arrive in Nashville at a specific time.  I had not planned to stop in Chattanooga or I would have done some research, but spontaneity is the spice of life.  We had now been driving some 5 or so hours, and this wall graffiti is the first sight I see as we drive into the city.   Here is where my 30 minutes starts.

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Mmm…donuts and coffee.  Right then I could have done with that.  Well lets be honest, coffee would have been good.  Donuts very rarely find their way into our lives.  So as we drive along “my scenic route” all I am seeing is factories and dock like views.  Hello, Sharleen, this is a harbor town.  Just as Richard is deciding that he has had enough we start to see some signs of residential areas.  Actually they reminded me of my visit to England, with the terrace houses.

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Something else that stood out to me that was so different to the lush green of South Florida, was the brown starkness of the trees.  Pretoria, South Africa looks a lot like this in winter.  The house are face brick, the grass is brown and the trees are leafless.

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The first sign that we have arrived at the river front was this beautiful building, which I have since found out was the Tennessee Aquarium.  Had I known I may have asked to stop a little longer.

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We are in Chattanooga, actually managed to find the riverfront, and we get out the car.  Oh man, it is cold.  We were already seeing signs of summer in Florida.  The warm days were happening and the humidity level was climbing.  So to get out of the car at 47F/8C, it was cold.  The Africans do not do cold that well.

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They are also not dressed that well for 47F.  I will confess though that Richard generally does not appear to feel the cold in his feet and legs, he always complains that his chest is cold. Today I think his legs and feet were also cold.  Me – hands, feet, face, they are all cold, and if they are cold I am cold.  However, I am also stubborn and determined.  I am going to walk as much as I can.

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To the left of the pier was this beautiful little lady, the Southern Belle.  Designed by Captain Alan L. Bates, she was one of 3 Riverboats built around 1985.  The Southern Belle now cruises the Chattanooga River offering lunch and dinner cruises.   Back in the 1800’s these riverboat cruises were a common sight as the boats went up and down the Chattanooga River

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To the right of the pier is the Market Street Bridge.  The draw bridge did not open while we were the but it was still pretty spectacular to see.   This visit really lent to black and white photos.  The day was gray but I did not want to take away from the color that I did see.


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In front of me was an old warehouse with graffiti all over the wall.  I love graffiti.  The building was pretty shabby and looked derelict but I loved how the colored writing stood out.

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By this time, I had turned around to hear Richard muttering something about going back to the car.  Nope I am not, I am still going to walk. So I said I will see you at the car.  This is where I am heading….

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Looking down from the pier, I quickly realize that walking on the grass is not an option.  The land was sodden, and the puddles were huge.  In the areas where I did go on the grass, it was squishy and my jeans ended up wet.

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So I headed off the bridge and along the pathway.  I am really taken with the trees.  I love the starkness of them.  They remind me of our home back in South Africa.  We lived in Pretoria for 7 years, and this was winter.  brown and dead.

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I cut across the grass towards the Riverboat.  Perhaps not the best idea, but I was starting to feel cold.  I decided to take the direct route. However, I paid the price with wet jeans for the rest of the trip to Nashville.

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I fell in love with this walkway.  The first image was going up it towards the bridge, the second was the same walkway heading back to the car, just slightly closer to the car than the bridge.

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Clearly one way to see Chattanooga is by bicycle, but the only place I am heading right now, is back to the car.

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A brief stop, a glimpse at a place different to home, and then 30 minutes later we are back on the road again.  Country music a happening, and Richard advising me that we are not stopping again other than to get coffee.  Goodbye Chattanooga, maybe will will visit again one day.

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On the road again
Just can’t wait to get on the road again
The life I love is making music with my friends
And I can’t wait to get on the road again

On the road again
Goin’ places that I’ve never been
Seein’ things that I may never see again
And I can’t wait to get on the road again

~ Willie Nelson

And so we are off to Nashville, the city of music, country music.  Keep a look out, for my visit to the Country Hall of Fame.  Yes I did it.  I discovered that someone decided that Kris Kristofferson was country.  I thought he was folk.  Goes to show what I know.  Now I knew Willie Nelson was country, but I kind of liked him because he was eccentric.  More in another blog.

Also look out for the blogs of the Gaylord Oprey, the Parthenon (although I have to add that I somehow deleted all of my images and will have to use my brother’s and Richards images), a night in Savannah, and a short stay in Gainesville.

Thank you for joining me for this month’s 30 minutes.  This is a circle blog.  Please take time to visit my sweet friend Sophie James | Bluebells on the Green Lifestyle Photography, Glasgow, and see what she has for you this month.  Keep following the circle to see what the other photographers have shared this month.  I had a peek at the single images we share and they all look great.  I cannot wait to read their stories.

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