The Color of Dirt: Atlanta Recap

In Atlanta, there is more than Coca-Cola. But, let’s be real. There is a ton of Coca-Cola. So much, in fact, that we had to entertain the idea of going to the World of Coca-Cola museum where I was on the edge of a stomachache from taking sips of 6 different soda flavors coke flavors, and where Jeremiah felt fine after sampling 25 flavors. You could say we deal with sugar differently.


Atlanta, or Hotlanta as I’ve heard it referred to it, is not actually all that hot in May. It’s a whole lot cooler than Orlando. (Our Orlando stay was cut really short because Life was like, “Hey, can you fly out of Atlanta in a few days. K thanks bye.”)

Muggy it is, but just not the extreme I had expected. Instead, we’ve had cooler weather these last few days than Portland, and I’ve been sporting an oversized black sweatshirt that makes some reference to fishing. I’m allergic to fish, don’t really care for fishing, and haven’t gone since I walked along the river with my dad about 20 years ago. Holy shit dad, was it really 20 years ago since we went fishing last?!  I am not allergic to that sweatshirt though, and wear it, well, as soon as the weather dips below 70.

(Jeremiah just reminded me I went fishing with his family about 8 years ago. It was not my most memorable time. I did not catch a fish.)

When I heard that Atlanta was hot, I thought, “Hell yeah, that’s my place.” I’m the person that sits outside in the sun in 100 degree weather to read Harry Potter.

When we flew to DC a few years ago in August, the sauna-like weather was like a gift to me and a poison to my best friend. He wilts like a hellebore in sunshine when it gets much about 75. He’s been enjoying this about-70-degree weather, and I’m contemplating how I can ever bear to travel back up North again.  And that Northern travel? It’s rapidly approaching.

Red and Gold: the color of dirt

The rust-colored soil outside Atlanta fascinated me, so different from the dark brown soil of Oregon. It also, apparently, drew Bernadette’s attention on our walks.

During a walk near the park where we’re staying, Bernie was insistent that we needed to check out a large swatch of bright red dirt. It was littered with bunches of broken glass, so I started to pull her away from the glittering ground. Just as quickly, I noticed it was tiny pieces of pyrite, not glass. Her little paws were safe. We wandered through the patch, the pyrite bouncing light up.

As a kid, my parents had a statue made of pyrite.

“Fools gold,” they told me.

I asked what they meant and they said people had mistaken pyrite for gold sometimes while mining many years ago. I assumed that if we ever went broke, we could sell the statue for a good lot of money, as long as we could stumble upon a foolish person. I spent a lot of time touching the surfaces of this mineral statue, wondering how we would find someone dumb enough to buy it from us. This was (shocking, I know) before the internet, so I assumed the best way was to put an ad in the local paper, the Bend Bulletin: the same place I looked for puppy ads. As an aside, I was often concerned that there were a lot of dogs name OBO.  That does not seem like a great dog name.

We never did sell that small statue of Fool’s Gold, but we did end up adopting a puppy in 1993 that was listed in the Bend Bulletin, so I’ll count that as a win.

Hot Clam, Cold Clam, Street Art

During our first weekend in Atlanta, we trekked down to see some street art at Krog Street Tunnel and Cabbagetown. (The best two names of anywhere, really.)

The scent of spray paint and exhaust fumes linger in Krog Street Tunnel, a place overtaken by colorful graffiti art. The walls, ceilings, and floor of the tunnel are covered with bright paint – some done with style, other more haphazard. It was muggy and warm in the tunnel, and the echo of cars was loud inside: not exactly Bernadette’s favorite thing. We walked from one side, to the other, only to be greeted with murals several stories high.

The bright murals in Cabbagetown are bright and huge! The messages they portray vary from just being beautiful to advocating for specific social views. Others  were painted in memorial of individuals had recently lost their lives.

As we viewed the large murals in Cabbagetown, tiny splatters of rain fell. Half a mile from our car, and without an umbrella, we started the jaunt back – only to realize the rain had stopped as quickly as it began.  The hot sun and moisture created a sticky clamminess that Jeremiah and I refer to as “hot clam” and “cold clam” when holding hands in humid areas. Turns out we hold hands a lot less in the South.

Postcard Happy Hour

We ended the afternoon at an outdoor patio where we sipped on margaritas and ate warm, fresh chips while people watching. Bernie slept under our table after drinking ice water and realizing she wasn’t getting chips. When we got our bill, a simple, blank postcard had been included. As Jeremiah can attest to, I was more excited about this small piece of thick paper than the happy hour itself. On the drive home, we debated who I should send it to. Postcards are one of the delights of this trip for me – it doesn’t really matter what a postcard says because what it really means is, I was just thinking about you.

Atlanta hasn’t been quite as hot as I’d expected, but everywhere that we go, I find that we learn something and see something we hadn’t expected. We’re heading up to Maryland next week, and we are hauling butt to get there by the 22nd! We’re planning on meandering through the Carolinas after, and then heading to Chattanooga, where I think we may find we leave a piece of our hearts.

Thanks for coming along on this journey – if you’d like a postcard or a sticker, let us know! I am always happy to say hello in the form of a piece of paper and a stamp.

Tips: Wanna know more about the history of Pyrite in the US? There’s some cool info on this blog, written with someone with more credentials than I have.

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