Stone Mountain-Atlanta, GA and Barber Motor Sports Museum-Birmingham, AL
We sadly left the fun mountains of northern Georgia and headed to the Atlanta area. We
are there to see a couple of sights but not the city itself.
The first is Stone Mountain, a privately owned rock. It claims to be the biggest
granite monolith on earth. It also has three civil War heroes carved into the side
of it. The carving is larger than a football field.
There is an amusement park, lake, campground, a railroad that circles the rock and
a tram to the top.
We declined to pay for any of that and decided to walk the trail to the top, about
600 feet up, where it was very windy.
That afternoon we went to the Cyclorama. Sadly this is the only picture you get,
the front door. Pictures are prohibited in the room with the painting.
The painting is of the Battle for Atlanta in the "War of Northern Aggression", the
"War Between the States" or the "Civil War". What it was called depended on your
The painting is 42 feet high and 328 feet long, and is hung in a circle. You are
led in groups to a tiered seating in the center which rotates as the recorded voice
describes the section in front of you. Between the seats and the painting is a scaled
diorama filling in the foreground. It depicts in very fine detail much of the battle
for Atlanta. It was created in the late 1800's while some of the survivors were
still alive to help with the accuracy of the scenes and the names of participants. But
the creators took some liberty with space and time. There was no single place where
all of this could be seen at the same time.
Lastly we had a late lunch at The Vortex, a bar and grill we had heard about on a
Food Channel program about heart attack type hamburgers. We had hamburgers but we
did NOT eat the famous burger. The inside is very eclectic and I bought a t-shirt
for their motorcycle club.
And that was enough of Atlanta. As we left the campground we passed a large graveyard
with the "Unknown Confederate Section" labeled. The South has not forgotten the
We went on to Birmingham taking the freeway for a short while and then onto 281,
a fun road through Cheaha State Park leading to the outskirts of Talladega. It started
out as two regular lanes but deteriorated to a lane and a half or less as it wound
thru the hills and past lakes. It was well worth the detour.
The sole reason for coming to Birmingham is to visit the Barber Motorsports Museum. This
museum houses the largest collection of motorcycles in the world. Or so they say,
and I can easily believe it to be true.
There are five half-floors of bikes and some race cars. The elevator in the center
has a stack of bikes at each corner and is encircled with a walking ramp. You start
by riding it to the top and then walking down. There are sections of antique bikes,
military bikes, race bikes, historic bikes, foreign bikes, significant design bikes,
They even had my first ride! While not actually a motorcycle this Cushman Road King
was my first ride. Mine was red and didn't look this nice. When I was 15 years
old I bought it from the man living across the street from our house. It was a basket
case and in pieces. By the time I had my learner's permit at 15 and a half it was
together and running. At that time in California a student driver could ride two
wheels alone but had to have a licensed driver with them if on four wheels. The
sign gives some data and says "These little scooters were virtually indestructible
and introduced many a kid to the thrill of two wheels." How true in my case!
An assortment of bikes.
Left, an 1890's steam bike.
Right, that is not a side car.
Left, The horizontal piston rods drive the rear wheel directly.
Right, a power unit for a bicycle.
Left, a 1910 Pierce 4 cylinder.
Right, an Orange County custom.
That was a very fun day. Next we go to Jack Daniel's distillery where they make
whiskey in a dry county. No beer, wine or liquor is sold. But after the tasting
tour you can buy a bottle which just happens to come filled with free whiskey. We
were too early for that tour so we missed out on that great bargain.
Next we are on to Murfreesboro, TN where we will meet us with Sean. You do remember
him and Lynne from Mardi Gras don't you? Lynne has to continue working in New Orleans
so we'll only get to meet Sean this time. A great loss for us. But the future is
bright, Sean will lead us to the famous "Deal's Gap" and a road known as"The Tail
of the Dragon".