You don’t have to go far for to travel. There is beauty in your own backyard if you just look for it. New Yorkers probably don’t trek to see the Statue of Liberty but it’s a tourist hotspot. I’ve met Minnesotans that have never been to the Big Cherry, but it’s on plenty of websites as “Things to Do in Minnesota.”
I’ve been using different websites to find roadside attractions and pulling over when I see signs on the road. I do have a whole list of places I absolutely want to visit (the white sand desert in New Mexico, the fluorescent colored caves and hot springs in Wyoming, Nantucket). Some places are planned, others are aren’t.
I lived in Atlanta for six years and visited all the attractions, all the places that are on those “must-do’ websites but I never traveled outside the city limits. Well, I did once. We went to the Georgia Guidestones.
This time, we had two places in mind. We wanted to go to Cabbage Patch Kids Babyland Hospital and stop by Sam G Land. I wanted to get a photo next to the Biggest Grit to go along with all my other soon to be photos posed next to the Biggest/Longest/Smallest attractions along the way. I got more than a photo, I got to meet Sam G himself. I was thrilled that he was willing to talk to me and share more about his life and his work.
He decided to become an artist at the age of 37 and his yard is stockpiled with his creations. His home is off in the cut (we found the entrance thanks to the clerk working at the gas station). If you find it, you’re in luck.
I found our conversation inspiration. A lot of people get stuck in a box of what they’re supposed to do and who they’re supposed to be. This is true freedom. Stay tuned for the next blog post about my conversation with Sam G!
Afterwards, we were headed back to the city to stop at one of my favorite restaurants (I spent a lot of time eating in and around Atlanta when I lived here, so having favorites was a challenge), but Sam G told us about another place to visit that wasn’t too far away – Tallaulah Gorge. Now, there was an interesting story there. In 1920 a man walked on a wire across the gorge. I also made this Jayla’s assignment. She didn’t know what a gorge was, she looked it up, explained it to me – assignment complete!
The road trip isn’t quite over. We’re back on the road. Still ready to go eat and I see a couple parked on the side of the road. But, they’re walking up the side of the hill with a camera in hand. In the rearview window I see another attraction! Now, I had already saw this on Roadside Attractions but I thought it was in the opposite direction of where we were going so I didn’t include it in our days journey. That place was the School Bus Graveyard.
So, I went to the next turn and circled back. When I got to what I thought was an entrance, there were just a bunch of ‘do not enter’ and ‘no tresspassing’ signs. I didn’t want to chance parking on the busy side of the road but I saw an opening on the side we were on. I pulled into the the grass, hit the emergency lights, and told Jayla to hurry!
We climbed up the side, over some trees, and into the Graveyard. I wish Verche could’ve been there.
We did all that in one day, less than two hours away from the city. We didn’t make it to Mangos but we did grab some fruits and veggies from the Farmer’s Market (my other favorite).
And, not a dollar (of my money) was spent.
You don’t have to spend a fortune or save for months to find unique and interesting places to visit. Hop in your car and drive 🚐💨