Madison – Day 45


Day 45 – May 15, 2003 – Thursday

It’s the last day of the first round of the trip ‘Round America.  I’m in Nashville – headed for Atlanta.

J.P. at the Fairfield Inn asked about the beads, so he, Tammy, and Tom from Michigan heard the Floating Neutrinos story, and I was off.

I drove the 2-lanes today.  I’m anxious to get home, but I couldn’t end the first loop of the trip on interstate highways.  That wasn’t the program, and I want to continue following the Rules of the Road that say we will avoid the interstates and use them only when necessary.

Cloudy and ugly all day.  I was so excited to get home that I forgot to eat today.

I took a number of barn photos today.  That was about all I saw for several hours – farm and ranch land and barns.  I reached Chattanooga just before noon, but I’m just going to have to come back and do the sights here later.  Lookout Mountain, Rock City, Ruby Falls, the Chattanooga Choo Choo, the Tennessee Aquarium, and the International Towing & Recovery Museum will have to wait as I need to see Bozzie Jane, Brittany, Miss Madison, and Kitty B Kitty.

As I drove through Trion, Georgia, I saw a sign for Paradise Garden, and I hit the brakes and hooked a U.  I had read somewhere about Reverend Howard Finster and Paradise Garden.  He was a minister who became a prolific (and renowned) folk artist late in life.  He built Paradise Garden and churned out massive numbers of folk art pieces.  He also did album covers for REM and Talking Heads.  Two blocks and I was there.

Grace Kelly and her husband, Michael, were trying to get the swampy grounds ready for the annual Howard Finster Fest to be held this weekend.  Nice, nice people, and they gave me a great tour and told me a lot about Howard and the place.  It’s in bad shape.  There’s no money to maintain it, and the swampy conditions make it really difficult.  They desperately need a rich benefactor who will provide the money to save Paradise Garden.  I took a lot of photos, and I will write a lot more about it and what I learned in the book.  The rains have been torrential in the North Georgia area, so I was really worried about the Howard Finster Fest over the weekend; the forecast was not good.

Smyrna, Georgia – 4:45 pm.  I was at our daughter’s home with Bozzie Jane, Brittany, Ace, and granddaughter Madison.  I missed these guys.  Madison is even more beautiful — almost 11 months old.

At 6:30 pm, I pulled back into the garage of our home in Atlanta.  44 days and 10 hours since I left.  40,325 on the odometer – 12,289 miles since we started the trip on April 1.  Kitty B Kitty isn’t being friendly.  We are very close, so she’s just mad.  I hope she gets over it before I take off again.

I will spend longer in Atlanta than planned as we have a house problem to deal with, and I need time to get caught up on my writing and photo processing.

We’ve learned and/or relearned a lot of lessons on the trip.  The only thought I have tonight is that there is a lot of comfort in being at home with the ones you love.