Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mr Benjamin

Mr B
Originally uploaded by wellingtonrabbit
We had a great sleep and awoke to find that Benjamin did too. He slept straight through until 6, his first all nighter. Lots of company will do that to just about anyone, but especially Mr Social Butterfly.

Andrew, Benjamin and I chatted for awhile and then Mr B was tuckered out and decided to take a nap. Donny got up and we had coffee and fruit while B Boy dozed. He woke after a short nap and Donny got his play time in, that is after Benjamin had 2nd breakfast.

Then it was again nap time and time for us to head home after a great vacation and marathon experience.

Scarecrow Town

Originally uploaded by wellingtonrabbit
Wednesday morning we had a leisure breakfast with Bud & Amy and loaded the car for the short trip to Greenville SC. Crisp fall was in the air and traffic was obedient on all roads. We elected to follow Garmily and traveled merrily along country roads to hook up with I-85. Suddenly I spied a row of scarecrows lining a fence watching a scarecrow (or dummy I thought at first until I saw a Got Scarecrows sign) football game complete with referees, cheerleaders and spectators in a small stand. We were intrigued. Donny stopped while I snapped pictures noticing that each scarecrow had a tag with Guiness World record and a number.

Back on the road we we pondered the set up. Probably a football game inspiration we reasoned. A few miles down the road we entered a small rural town to find MORE scarecrows. In every direction. One riding a scarecrow horse, mechanics working on a car, an angel choir, a gingerbread family. We took more pictures and finally moved on.

I googled scarecrows and got the answer. The small town of Hoschton, Georgia population 1,700 decided to enter the Guiness Book of World Records for the most scarecrows in one location for their fall festival in September. These were some of the still standing entries. The town made 5,441 scarecrows trying to beat Cincinnati's record of 3,331. No word yet on whether they won. But I read that it did not pay to try and thwart the project. Vandals that were caught knocking down scarecrows (one rule was that each scarecrow must be standing) were sentenced to make 25 scarecrows.

When we got to Grandma's and told Beth about this, she was ready then and there to go see for herself. They really are something if you happen to be in the area.

We had a nice visit with Mom and then headed to Raleigh where AJB waited with dinner. SSE came over but Edward needed to go home before we got there.

Benjamin was still up and greeted us with his ever present smiles!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


High Museum
Originally uploaded by wellingtonrabbit
We get an early start from the Big Easy Tuesday morning but we do take time to walk four blocks to Cafe du Monde, a 24 hour coffee shop on the corner of Jackson Square, that has real coffee and sweet beignets. We get ours to go and head east.

We are intrigued by the miles and miles of bridge systems over the bayous all along the way through Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Seems like the proposed Pea Island bridge project is nothing compared to these.

When we stop for coffee in Mississippi I am starving for protein and we find amazing burgers at a take-out called Steak Out. They charbroil your burgers to order. The cashier has a voice just like Tara's in True Blood. We ARE in the deep south!

We reach Atlanta in time for our tour of the First Emperor's Terracotta warrior exhibit. It is impressive. There are over 600 pits of which this exhibit has articles from two. Over 7000 warriors were created, to date 1000 have been unearthed. And the first warrior was discovered only 34 years ago in 1974 by a farmer plowing his field. I can see how Qin Shihuangdi rose to be First Emperor. Among many dictates, he demanded that every item, even parts of items, made be signed by the worker so blame, or praise, could be assigned if needed.

We meet John & Donna at Ted's Montana Grill after an anxious moment when they are late and I begin to doubt myself as to whether I have remembered the plan correctly. They have been in a traffic snarl. John recommends the entire menu but says the bison is wonderful and it is.

We bid farewells and head to Conyers where Bud & Amy await in their charming cozy home. We chat for a long time, have a nice lemon dessert and turn in for some delightful sleep.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Big Easy

Hotel le Richlieu
Originally uploaded by wellingtonrabbit
Monday morning we get on the road a bit later than planned after trying for breakfast at the exceedingly popular Gunther House a few blocks away amid the really huge houses in King William District. It is too crowded and we opt for our favorite coffee house only to find it closed and so we elect to eat one more time at the Hatters. Their food is great, the coffee is less but we endure.

500 miles later we are in New Orleans at the hotel we have booked a room in, the only hotel in the French Quarter that has free self parking. It is older and quaint. Our desk clerk gives us directions to Coops a few blocks away for some real creole food. It is marvelous. A fun casual hot spot. After filling up, we wander over to Bourbon Street and try to find Preservation Hall. We have a map but keep walking by where it should be. It is either give up, ask, or go back to our hotel and look up more details online. We opt for asking and soon discover our problem. Amid all the bustle of Bourbon Street it is exactly where the map states but is so subtle as to be easily overlooked. And it is not on Bourbon Street but just off on St Peter St.

We are in time for the last set tonight featuring Willie Smith on trumpet and Marie Watanabe on piano. There are enough folks to make it seem real but not so many to crowd us out. We have a few minutes before the start. The house cat makes friends with us and ends up siting on my lap until half way through the set. How homey is that. Perfect legendary New Orleans jazz with a purring cat on your lap.

We head home and gather the camera for a few shots of this charming town. And then it's back to our hotel with a real room door key that you turn in when you leave and pick up from the desk clerk when you return. I love every quaint little quirk of New Orleans!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

San Antonio

Alamo chapel
Originally uploaded by wellingtonrabbit
Saturday is tour San Antonio day. First we checked out the path to get us to the shuttle bus so we won't be wandering around at 6AM. Next we walked through the quaint neighborhood next to the Alamodome where the original train station which has been refurbished into a restaurant and shops is located.

From that it was a quick walk to the Alamo. Yes, it is tiny but that is only the mission chapel we learn. The entire Alamo that was defended is huge. Most of it today is under streets and buildings. There were survivors of that fateful day in 1836, March 6, but they were women and children; all the men perished.

Next we strolled along Riverwalk home. This amazing project, a series of paths, steps and bridges along the river that goes right through town, was started in the 1920's and today is truly worth all the work, time and money. Someone had a great vision and followed it through. The Riverwalk meanders only two blocks from our apartment. Once out of the downtown area the complexion changes into wide landscapes and tranquil vistas. In the heart of the city it is bustling with cafes, shops and many walkers.

We have pasta dinner at an Italian restaurant a few blocks from home and then it is bed time. We agonized over the 31 degree weather for the start but our only choice is to plan clothing accordingly.

Race day dawns with the promised cold but it does not feel too bad. We end up in a monster shuttle line that is still huge by race start! We get on the first add on bus which happens to be a cushy upgrade from the city buses.

They are on corral 16 when I get to the start, good enough for me. Donny shoved me on wanting to adjust his shoes. He dropped into corral 21. In comparing our times later we paced each other perfectly.

Along the marathon way after we split from the half marathon at mile 10, we run out Mission Road. It is very tranquil and nice. We pass Mission San Jose, Stinson Airport and run alongside and back and forth across the San Antonio River coming back. I did great until mile 21 when everything fell apart. I felt bad and so wanted to quit and definitely wanted the race to be over. I spied a girl who was doing well but she kept stopping to stretch more and more often. Finally I turned back to where she was and asked her if her calves were bothering her. She said it was her hamstrings. I told her to come along, we could do this. I had no doubt that she would finish but I was thinking it was going to take her a really long time. And so we walked those last five miles in shared agony. We listened to our own music until mile 26 and then chatted. She is finishing up law school at UT in Austin and is headed to LA to practice. This is her first, and last marathon! We walked across the finish line together. She could not even sprint and I was okay with a slower time of 7 hours flat.

I so wanted to get my shoes off but first I had to walk the mile home. And then finally there it was with Donny, who completed his race successfully, waiting with a tub of hot water and fresh pecan pie. He had been tracking me online. Bless his sweetness.

We tried for a Tostada burger recommended by Donald but the place that offers them is closed on Sunday so we had a burger at the Hatters and free beer from Lone Star who had brewed a batch and shared a keg with the restaurant.