Our 2019 Road Trip, Part 28: At the Mountains of Fitness

Kennesaw Mountain!

155 years ago, over four thousand casualties were incurred here. Today, the things lost most here are calories.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. My son tagged along from 2003 until 2013 when he ventured off to college. We’ve taken two trips by airplane, but are much happier when we’re the ones behind the wheel — charting our own course, making unplanned stops anytime we want, availing ourselves of slightly better meal options, and keeping or ruining our own schedule as dictated by circumstances or whims. We’re the Goldens. It’s who we are and what we do.

For years we’ve been telling friends in other states that we’d one day do Atlanta’s Dragon Con, one of the largest conventions in America that isn’t in California or New York. We’d been in Atlanta, but we hadn’t really done Atlanta. Hence this year’s vacation, in which we aimed for a double proficiency in Atlanta tourism and over-the-top Dragon Con goodness. Before we went to D*C, there was the road trip to get there, and the good times to be had before the great times at the big show.

Before we left Georgia, Anne wanted to see one more mountain. We’d already seen a mountain, but it wasn’t enough. It had a historical significance, a Visitors Center, and a road leading relatively close to the top, presumably for a scenic vantage point and for some value-added historical markers or whatever. Best of all, unlike that other mountain, access appeared to be free. We figured why not. We wouldn’t have time to explore the entire park or the surrounding tie-ins, but a drive to the mountain and possibly a jaunt up its access road seemed doable. How hard can it be to go up a mountain these days?

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Our 2019 Road Trip, Part 18: Eighty Stories Over Georgia

Atlanta panorama!

I can almost see Dragon Con from here!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. My son tagged along from 2003 until 2013 when he ventured off to college. We’ve taken two trips by airplane, but are much happier when we’re the ones behind the wheel — charting our own course, making unplanned stops anytime we want, availing ourselves of slightly better meal options, and keeping or ruining our own schedule as dictated by circumstances or whims. We’re the Goldens. It’s who we are and what we do.

For years we’ve been telling friends in other states that we’d one day do Atlanta’s Dragon Con, one of the largest conventions in America that isn’t in California or New York. We’d been in Atlanta, but we hadn’t really done Atlanta. Hence this year’s vacation, in which we aimed for a double proficiency in Atlanta tourism and over-the-top Dragon Con goodness. Before we went to D*C, there was the road trip to get there, and the good times to be had before the great times at the big show.

After we were finished gawking at the largest Confederate monument we’ll ever see in our lives (Lord willing), we took the Skyride up to the top of Stone Mountain and surveyed the vast views around us.

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Our 2019 Road Trip, Part 17: The Stone-Faced Sentinels of Slavery and Secession

Stone Mountain Patio...

Wondering if all around Georgia, kids wake up their parents chanting to them, “Will you take us to Mount Slavemore? Will you take us to Mount Slavemore? Will you take us to Mount Slavemore?”

Extremely high vantage points are usually among the coolest tourist attractions. There can be a powerful thrill in visiting faraway cities and lands, riding stories into the air above them, and getting a bird’s-eye view. Usually we’re talking skyscrapers such as 30 Rockefeller Plaza or One World Trade Center in NYC, Chicago’s Willis Tower, or Baltimore’s World Trade Center. Sometimes they’re natural protrusions such as magnificent Pike’s Peak or Pittsburgh’s Mount Washington. At such places it can feel positively empowering to look down upon all those new surroundings. It’s not quite so endearing to ride up the side of a monolith that looks down upon an entire race and the armies that fought for their freedom.

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Our 2018 Road Trip, Part 41: Tunnel Visions

inside Squirrel Hill!

Past a certain point on some road trips, you’re okay with not looking left, right, or up — only forward to the end.

Day Six would prove the least exciting day of the week. We were glad to check off two sites on our master list — Valley Forge and James Buchanan’s grave — but otherwise anxious to get through the rest of Pennsylvania and closer to home. We hit that same wall on every trip, when fatigue and homesickness begin to dampen our enthusiasm, when our meal budget is well over halfway spent, and when the impulse to make extra stops along the way loosens its grip on us.

We left a few attractions in store to ensure Day Seven wouldn’t be a featureless slog. But first we had to get Day Six over with.

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Our 2008 Road Trip, Part 4: An Appalachian Trail But for Non-Hikers

me at overlook!

Whenever a long drive through vast panoramas threaten to turn dull, break up the pretty monotony with a stop at a scenic overlook! Then quickly get back in the car and floor it.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 Anne and I have taken a road trip to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, marvels, history, and institutions we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. Beginning with 2003’s excursion to Washington DC, we added my son to the roster and tried to accommodate his preferences and childhood accordingly.

Our 2007 drive down to Orlando had one personal milestone for me: my first contact with the Atlantic Ocean. My moment lasted about ten minutes before thunderstorms chased us away from the coast. As Atlantic beach experiences go, Florida gave me a lousy first impression. For 2008 we decided a second try was in order. Rather than take back-to-back trips to the same state, we researched other east-coast beach options, judged them by their nearby attractions, adjusted for our modest budget that couldn’t possibly afford upper-class oceanfront accommodations, and settled on what we hoped would be a suitable sequel.

Thus in this year of our Lord did we declare: the Goldens are going to Virginia Beach!

The morning drive through the West Virginia mountains was beautiful, and not just because the traffic was light and I made great time. Their wilderness panoramas are many and vast and spacious and layered and wondrously three-dimensional.

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Our 2017 Road Trip, Part 39: Pennsylvania Piques

Madonna of the Trail!

She’s a familiar face to longtime MCC readers…

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. For 2017 our ultimate destination of choice was the city of Baltimore, Maryland. You might remember it from such TV shows as Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire, not exactly the most enticing showcases to lure in prospective tourists. Though folks who know me best know I’m one of those guys who won’t shut up about The Wire, a Baltimore walkabout was Anne’s idea. Setting aside my fandom, as a major history buff she was first to remind skeptics who made worried faces at us for this plan that Maryland was one of the original thirteen American colonies and, urban decay notwithstanding, remains packed with notable history and architecture from ye olde Founding Father times. In the course of our research we were surprised to discover Baltimore also has an entire designated tourist-trap section covered with things to do. And if we just so happened to run across former filming locations without getting shot, happy bonus…

Day Six was a long haul through the southern half of Pennsylvania, a six-hour drive on country highways if you avoid the expenses of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. We drove nearly the entire length of the Turnpike on our 2010 road trip to Philadelphia and on our unforgettable visit to Manhattan in 2011. Between those two vacations, we exhausted several pounds of spare change on tolls in the process. Avoiding the tolls wasn’t our primary objective here, merely a happy benefit. Everything on our to-do list this time was south of the interstate. Fortunately our route through the Allegheny Mountains and/or the Appalachian Plateau was nonstop scenery and points of interest.

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