Trip to North Carolina / Georgia - 2006

This page was completed 7-9-2006

I am trying a slightly different approach to documenting this vacation. While it is still fresh in my head I am going to give dates and map locations to help guide you through my experience. Hope it works. I took this trip from June 4 to 16, 2006. I purposefully drove around 60 miles per hour to save gas due to the high gas prices and number of miles I knew this trip would take. I ended up driving about 3,200 miles which, included the sightseeing and tertiary travel needs. Gas prices ranged from $2.63 to $3.09 per gallon along my route.

This is the entire route of my trip
I started in Houston June 4 2006 and went to Dallas for one night (no pics yets). It's about 5 hours driving.
On Monday June 5 I left for Oxford, MS to spend the night at my friend Eric's house.
Okay, now the pictures start so no need to wait any longer hehehe.
This is a taste of the magnificent green pastures I saw entering Arkansas. This is truly a GREEN state and quite beautiful.
This is a really cool bridge going into Little Rock, Arkansas
This is the evening Mississippi sky as I am getting closer to my friend Eric's house. This and the next pic were so beautiful I had to shoot them.
This was shot while I was driving. If you look in between the blurred trees you will see a lake in the background reflecting the sunset.
This was taken Monday morning, June 6, outside of "Huddle House", a breakfast restaurant, in Oxford, MS where my friend Eric lives. L-R is Eric, Will and Me. We did not have much time to spend because I arrived much later than anticipated.
This is the only picture of Alabama. All I saw were trees along the highway. Maybe someday I will see the beauty they claim to have. Still Monday.
Tuesday evening June 6th 2006
I am in Atlanta Georgia.
The series of pics to follow start my touring stops in Atlanta.
This Monday evening in Atlanta, GA. I went out to eat for dinner and afterwards went on a trek for night time pictures. This is the downtown skyline.
Here is another night time shot of Turner Field where the 1986 Olympic Games were played. It is actively still used.
Another night time pic of the giant Coca-Cola sign in front of "The World of Coke" downtown.
My first tourist stop on Wednesday is of the historic "Sweet Auburn" street area in Atlanta where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. grew up and started his fight for Civil Rights. On the map I show the locations of the various sites of interest that I took pictures.
This is the entrance to the memorial and museum complex.
This is a shot inside the MLK museum showing a depiction of the various people that joined in one of the many marches for freedom.
This is Ebenezer Baptist Church where MLK went to church all his life.
The inside of the original Ebenezer Baptist Church.
This is the new Ebenezer Baptist Church across the street.
This is the MLK Museum shot from Auburn street. You can see a hint of the new Ebenezer Baptist Church to the left.
This is the "Behold" statue. It is to the left of the flowers (out of sight) in the previous picture.
Viewed from the other side. The "Behold" statue symbolizes the principles that guided MLK. Ancient African rituals showed this by lifting a newborn toward the heavens saying "Behold the only thing greater than yourself."
Across the street is where MLK and his wife, Coretta, are buried. Coretta's burial site is quite beautiful while Dr. Kings site is much more lavish.
You can see Dr. King's burial site to the left and behind.
Here is a close-up of Dr. King's burial crypt.
As you can see by this pic the burial site for Dr. King is quite lavish. In the background is another museum holding artifacts and special items of Dr. King's showing the inspiration he received from Ghandi. There are also items of Mrs. King's and Rosa Parks.
Here you see the eternal flame that is situated between Dr. King's and Mrs King's burial sites.
This is the firehouse where MLK would go play as a boy. He always wanted to be a firefighter. From one perspective, he was after all; Beating down the flames of oppression.
This is the YMCA where MLK also spent a lot of time.
This is MLK's birth home on Auburn street.
These are original row houses on Auburn street right across from MLK's birth home.
Here are the same houses shot from the other end of the street.
At this point in my "touring" I went to the Georgia Aquarium not too far from the MLK historic area. The aquarium is also in the downtown area. I took a ton of pics here but to save you from boredom I'm only putting a small portion of them.
This is the inside from one end. The pinkish rows of lights at the top actually change to the colors of the rainbows constantly.
This is one of 2 huge tanks you can walk right through. It's just so massive you just want to sit and look.
This is a school of stingrays in the other huge walk-in tank. (This is where most of my pics were taken)
This shark is about 10 feet long; simply massive.
I have no idea what kind of fish this is but it is huge. This is one of the larger ones at about 6 feet long.
Another huge amphibian. This turtle has a shell about 4 feet around and the length of this thing is like 6 feet!!
Don't know what it is but it was neat looking.
Same here. The green plant life is what caught my eye and this big angel fish gets in my picture !
After the Aquarium I went on to the Zoo. It's like on th eother end of downtown but at least it wasn't too far away. I still think of all the zoos I have been to San Antonio has the best. I still have not made it to the San Diego Zoo which, is touted to be the best...someday I hope.
No zoo would be complete without Pink Flamingos. This zoo actually had the most I have ever seen.
And of course, the elephant. I belive there were 2 of this type.
What about a zebra you may ask. Here it is!
No zoo could claim the name without a reptile house. Lots of snakes here. Various sizes, types and colors. I think one is enough :-)
And of course we can't forget the cute little turtles.
Both of these would fit in the palm of your hand.
Thursday morning, June 8th 2006
Now I move on towards North Carolina.
The next series of pictures are from various points along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The first detour I make is to see Tallullah Falls, GA. There wasn't much to see because of the overgrowth of trees. We should be fortunate there are still trees left in this vast cementland.
Now I have entered North Carolina. I saw this rustic old barn along the way. When I think of rural life, this is the picture in my mind.
This is the courthouse in Sylva, NC. This is a quaint, beautiful little town. It's obviously made for the tourists as there are MANY shops and restaurants to take your money :)
There are many mountain views that I never tire of seeing. I hope you find them as beautiful. Although, a picture can't begin to portray the shear beauty.
Blue Ridge Parkway Pictures
Here I am just getting started down the mountains in the Nantahala National Forest and saw bunches of creeks, waterfalls and quite scenic spots. More to come.
Here a peaceful creek that begged to have its picture taken...I obliged.
This and the next 2 pictures are of a private area of lakes/ponds. Here, a precious lily pond bigger than the picture lets you beleive.
Here is a boathouse on the lake on the other side of the road.
Another view of the lake the boathouse is on. Can you imagine retiring here? I could !!
A cute rustic animal pen on one of the properties along the road. Geez must be nice living among all this peace and beautiful scenery.
Yet another "babbling brook" so to speak. It was babbling about taking its picture. So I did :-)
A small but beautiful waterfall along the road !! Now for the scenic overlooks of the Pisgah National Forest from the. Blue Ridge Parkway.
Courthouse Valley Overlook was my first stop. Elevation here is 5,365 feet. You will see a distinctive blue haze that holds the identity for the name, Blue Ridge.
Devil's Courthouse here is at 5,720 feet while I was standing at 5,462 feet. Many of these vistas were similar so I won't include all of my pictures.
This is a very zoomed in view of John Rock. It is only 3,200 feet up but I am at 5,330 and very far away. That's almost 1/2 a mile. Here is where I am on the route.
This should be self-explanatory. Sorry the camera was not quite level when I took this. I usually back my suv up and put the camera on the spare tire.
This rock I took from several angles. I started here and the road took me around it "clockwise".
Here is a zoom in from this same location.
This is about 40 degrees around from Log Hollow Overlook.
Here it is again even farther, probably another 20 degrees and a lot farther away.
Ths last few of Blue Ridge and me in it LOL. The Pink Beds at 4,822 feet.
Here it is with a much wider, better view. This is where the Blue Ridge pictures stop. I am about here on the route.
This marks the end of the Blue Ridge and the start of my trip onward to Asheville. The pictures pickup with the main attraction at the Biltmore Mansion in Asheville. I was so surprised to find the entrance right off one of the main streets. Did not get a picture of that though. Just so you can see where I am on my journey click here to see the map.
Friday, June 9th 2006
Biltmore Estate Tour view map to see where it is

This is actually a pic I took near the end but it seemed the best one to show the magnificance and size of the house and courtyard(foreground).
Click on this map to see the layout of the estate. Might help later to keep things in perspective.

This is a view of the courtyard and entrance from the top of the house. Paying extra for the rooftop tour was worth it ! To the right where is the Italian Garden made up of 3 large water gardens. They are filled with exotic fish and plants.
This pic is taken from the fountain in the middle of the courtyard so you can get an idea of the size.
Notice way up how big the man is next to the statue of Diana (goddess of the hunt).
Here is the statue of Diana up close. Quite a nice picnic area huh. There are in fact picnic benches under the trees behind it.
Here is a view of Biltmore from the statue. The trees were so full they actually block being able to see the whole house.
Here is a pic of me on the walkway between the house and the statue.
This walkway leads from the left side of the house, facing the house, down to the gardens. It also demarcates the fron side of the south terrace which, you will see later.
This is the walled garden. The walkway in the previous picture leads to this, about a 300 ft walk or so. Note these are only the flowers. There are other gardens of shrubs, roses and other varieties adjacent to this garden.
This is a closer view of the conservatory. Flowers and plants are still grown here to place on the estate to maintain the beauty of it all.
A fine example of the various species grown. Here a beautiful orchid.
There is a trail about 1/2 mile long that leads from the gardens to this lake. One of 2 ponds.
Here is the other pond. Seems much more inviting and peaceful to me...what you think?
Now for some shot around the house. Here is the stable that was used to feed the horses.
It has been converted to a nice resaurant for the visitors. For a perspective of where it is click here.
You may ask, "Why a picture of the South Terrace, it's just gravel?" Well, I want you to know some history about this that is not in the books and they won't offer unless you ask. That big gravel area used to be a swimming pool. I know because I saw it when my family came here when I was about 6 or 7 years old. The reason for removal they gave me was because of liability reasons (there was no fence around it) and the fact that it was not original to the house. It was in added in the 1920's.
Well, I think it is important to note that the famliy lived in this house everyday so the pool was something the family used when it became fashionable to have a pool. Just because something was added to a house does not make it any less important.
Notice the size based on the people in the background. This was a HUGE pool.
Another view of the front from the Italian Garden side. You can see the stable on the far right.
Ok, this is where I found an unlocked gate and went around to the back of the house. This part of the house is behind the indoor atrium at the stable end of the estate.
Click here to see where this portion is.

I probably wans't even supposed to be here but it was so intrigueing I had to go scope it out. This shot is the next section going towards the South Terrace. If you can imgaine me reaching up and touching the 3rd brick that is how big this thing is.
Click here to see where this portion is.

This is at the end of the house with the South Terrace just to the right.
Click here to see where this portion is.
Here, a montage of the varying styles of architecture applied to the home. Notice in the middle the "GL" on the oxidized copper. This is on all of the green panels that line the top of the house. Look back at the pic of the house and see what I mean.
From one of the rooftop balconies this view can be seen. See if you can find the pond in the picture.
Okay, if you couldn't find the pond in the last picture I zoomed in on it for you here. Note this is all Biltmore Estate property.
To close the Biltmore pictures, here is one of the several ponds. This one is on the road to the winery.
Saturday June 10th 2006
I am on my way to Savannah GA. I stopped here in Flat Rock, NC to see Carl Sandberg's home.
Hopefully, you can read this placard describing a bit about Carl. What it does not say too clearly is that Carl was a very learned historian of Abraham Lincoln. He was also a great admirer of Walt Whitman's writings and was known to quote both of them extensively.
This is the view from the entrance to the estate. The Sandbergs actually only moved to this place in 1945 after he was already a famous poet. He moved here at the prodding of his wife, Lillian who was rather famous in her own right raising champion goats. Click here for house closeup.
Lillian actually worked out the details of buying this property and had it all ready for Carl to move in because he did not want to be bothered with it. Here is another view of the lake. Looks like a mirror almost doesn't it?
The main living room.
The most amazing thing I find about Carl Sandberg is that in this house of 2 floors and a basement he kept 11,000 books. There was no room for all of his books, over 14,000. This is a remarkable contrast between the library at the Biltmore that hold 23,000 volumes and is almost as big as this house. Carl was definitley an avid reader.
This view is nearly typical of every room and hallway in the house...BOOKS.
Here is Carl's bedroom. Note the tv. It is a Zenith. Every electronic appliance in the house is a Zenith. The head of Zenith liked Carl's writings so much he sent them a new "gadget" every year at Christmas hoping he would promote Zenith.
He never did promote Zenith but accepted the gifts nevertheless. The radio in this pic is one of them. Note, more books.
The Sandberg dining room. Notice the books?? Look at the next picture.
This is the other wall of the dining room. MORE books! Ok, enough pictures of the house. Don't want to bore you. I have lots more so if you're interested let me know.
This is the barn where Lillian raised her champion goats. It's about a 5 minute walk from the main house. Beyond it are miles of trails covering the whole property.
That's it for North Carolina. I made quick drive through South Carolina and landed in Savannah, GA this afternoon. The next few pics I took this evening before the sun went down.
This is the bridge that connect Georgia to South Carolina.
The bridge by itself.
BTW, on the other side of the bridge...there is nothing. I was shocked.
These next few building I shot at night were near the waterfront. This is the old Cotton Exchange building.
This is the Customs House.
This is City Hall. Quite a magnificant architecture I think.
This is Christ Church. Savannah has LOTS of churches.
Sunday June 11th 2006
I start my official tour of Savannah, GA.
I decided to take a trolley tour. It would get me around the city and I would still learn the local history. The walking tour with an audio recording means lots of walking. I am more inclined to sit and ride :-) It wasn't air conditioned but at least I was sitting.
Ayway, the weather was absolutely beautiful. A bit warm but still very nice. The map they gave me was quite good in helping me to get around later when I DID decide to do some walking. I started about 11am and it was already warm. I rode the trolley through several stops before I got off. I intended to get back on and finish the tour but I never did. Ended up walking the rest of the afternoon.
The First African Baptist Church was my first stop. This is the first and oldest African church that is still worshiping the Lord. In operation since 1773.
Click here for the plaque.
Telfair Mansion. Now a museum, covered in pink stucco.
Click for Plaque
Telfair Manion from side. The stucco on many buildings was an attempt to give the city a face lift. Most buildings are all brick underneath. There are some remaining homes of wood that survived the great fire that destroyed most of savannah in the 1800's.
Here, a stucco building being restored to its brick structure. One by one the city is restoring the old building and houses to their original beautiful brick. The historical society is making sure the momentum is not lost.
If you looked at the map of Savannah above you will notice the entire city was built on a design of 24 squares of which 21 remain.
This is but one of these squares named after John Wright.
Click for plaque to read more
Owens Thomas House
Designed by William Jay this house has very unique features in that some parts of the house are fake. Where a hall has an odd number of doors, a fake door was added to maintain the balance.
Kehoe House
The only thing interesting about this house is its former owner. The Kehoe family is the primary manufacturer of the wrought iron fences and gates that adorn most houses and buildings in Savannah.
Davenport House
The story to save this house is the intrigueing point. A small group of ladies wanted to save this house from being destroyed for a parking lot. The owner, not knowing their abilities, offered to sell it to them for $20,000. The stipulation was it has to be paid for in 24 hours. You see it still stands!!
Colonial Park Cemetary
Same, and wish I had some thing to say besides the crypts look neat and its like a park.
Comer House
Where Jefferson Davis was a visitor in 1886.
Armstrong House
Now Armstrong College, part of the Univ of GA system.
A fountain in Forsyth Park. This is a huge park undergoing some restoration at the time but quite nice, peaceful and geautiful.
A view of Savannah from the bridge. Best I could do while driving.
To finish off Savannah, a shot of the horizon at sunset from the baclony of my hotel room.
Monday, June 12th 2006
I am heading towards home now...next stop, Tallahassee, Florida.
I had to stop and see this tree. The AAA book said it is thought to date back to the 1200's. I just had to see a tree that was over 800 years old. It was in here in Brunswick, FL, one of the few things to see here.
Turning around behind me I found this view even more interesting.
I crossed over the causeway to St Simons Island and caught this wonderful old histoic lighthouse built in 1882.
This bridge took me out of the Brunswick area toward Jekyll Island. I like bridges. They make connections between two peoples.
Interestingly, this bridge is almost identical to one I use to go to work sometimes.
I intended to use Tuesday to see the plantations between here and Georgia. Tropical Storm Edwardo decided I needed to stay in the hotel room all day. So I went to the store and bought food for the day. The hotel I stayed in, Towne Place by Marriott, had a full kitchen. Isn't that special!
Wednesday, June 14th 2006
Heading for Baton Rouge, LA.
Saw this cute park on the way out of Tallahassee.
A handful of pictures from the Florida Caverns. I was shocked they would let me take pictures. Since, it is a dry cave there is no real harm. Thank goodness !
Btw, these are called curtains.
Don't really remember what most of the stuff is called so enjoy the views. Oh, I forgot, click here for the map.
This is it for Florida. I breezed on through Alabama and when I got into Mississippi I hit a traffic jam. I used my GPS to take an altrnate route and found myself looking at the destruction hurricane Katrina caused along the coast. Below are some shots of this.
I head on to my friends house in Baton Rouge, LA. While here I toured the Magnolia Mound Plantation and BREC's park. So, it is now Thursday June 15th 2006 as I tour around Baton Rouge.
This is the front of the "Big House"
The living room
Living room from a wider angle
The Lady's bedroom
Other end of the Lady's bedroom
Children's bedroom, vanity area. Only wealthy families had these.
Children's bed. Notice the trundle bed that pulls out. Beds in this day did not have boxsprings. The supports came from a rope in a criss-cross fashion.
The phrase "Don't let the bed bugs bite" comes from this era when ropes were used as supports. The ropes were known to attract bugs. Keeping good distance from them meant using many layers of bedding and making sure they were clean.
Dining room. Notice the wood mounted to the ceiling with a rope over to a chair in the corner.
The maids used this to fan the guests and to keep flys away while dining.
View of the dining room from the maids chair. Also worth noting, the kitchen is actually in a separate building as it was not consider proper to have it inside the house.
Office, where important documents were drawn up and signed by government officials.
Beautiful flower I found in the garden.
A bee feeding on the pollen of this pretty flower.
Workroom in a remote building used to make clothes.
Pidgeon coop, for lack of a better phrase. Pidgeons were a delicacy in this era.
Another of the "few" pics of me on my vacation with the "Big House" in the background (back side of house)
Wish I could remember the significance of this tree but it is very old. Several hundred years at least.
I stayed another day in Baton Rouge and decided to come back a little earlier on Friday the 16th. Below are the last 2 pictures I took. I just passed through Beaumont, TX and saw this double rainbow off to the left and these beautiful clouds in front of me.