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Nashville to Atlanta

Homeward bound. Thinking, thinking, always thinking. A trip homeward always seems to make me ponder, and on this trip, there's been plenty of time for pondering. 

I left Music City around 9 this morning and headed toward Georgia. Midday I was approaching Chattanooga. I had a little bit of time, so I decided to go up Lookout Mountain and see Ruby Falls and Rock City...since every billboard and barn roof for miles had told me to do so. 

Ruby Falls was the first stop.

I don't remember ever having been here before.

The cave in which Ruby Falls was discovered is 1,100 feet underground, deep inside Lookout Mountain.

Some feeble attempts at capturing the sight.

It's impressive when lit up. 

Then it was across the mountain to Rock City. The last time I was here was over 50 years ago. I wasn't even in school, brought here by my then young parents. 

Of course, they have the famous birdhouses.

Beautiful rock gardens.

Narrow passageways.

Gnomes. This one is playing golf. The gnomes invented mini golf. They started playing it here on the mountain. Incidentally, they don't let you see them. This one is a fake. Gnomes are shy. They can live to be 400 years old.

This is not a gnome.

Atop The mountain one can see seven states.

Here they are.

The "Fat Man Squeeze."

"Lover's Leap." 

Here's the story.

More gnomes. Making whiskey. They invented it, too. It's why they live to be 400. 

Fairyland gardens. Great stuff for little kids. I remember it from when I was here over half a century ago. 

I remember these little guys, too. I remember hearing my mother saying "Look up, Kenny!"

Gnomes have treasure. Think of it. Treasure, whiskey, and golf. It's not a bad life to be a gnome.

Fairyland Gardens has underground scenes from all the famous fairytales. 

Gnomes on a Ferris wheel. They invented that too. I'm tellin' ya, they got it made up here. 

As I enjoyed the view from the top of the mountain, I got lost in vague memories of when I was here before, as a little child, with my beautiful mother and handsome father. They were so young, and so poor. She would have been in her early twenties. Back then, we didn't even have a home. We lived in the back two rooms of another family's house. I've been blessed to have been able to visit places like London, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Warsaw, and on and on. To them, given their modest means, a trip to this place must have been a big deal. 

As I sat there atop The mountain, enjoying the beautiful weather and the magnificent view, thinking about those two young people who struggled so much, in so many ways, I caught myself blinking back tears. I missed them, and I guess it was the first time I'd allowed myself to miss them. 

I wonder how they are. 

To the coast today. 

God bless. 

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Post Script

The ride home from Murrell's Inlet was an easy run right down US 17. For the first time, I didn't need a GPS. It was also the first time since Vermont that I wasn't cold. Finally, I was able to ditch

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