Way Down Yonder on the Chattahoochee…

So, down in Georgia, there’s a river called the Chattahoochee. According to Alan Jackson, it gets hotter than a hoochee coochee and it’s a great place to learn to swim, love, and live.

Back in the 70’s, which is when I assume he’s talking about, that might have been true, but these days there’s so much industrial pollution and waste water run-off in the Chattahoochee that if it’s hot, it’s because it’s burning your skin. Atlanta pumps a lot of waste into the river, ruining it for all of the cities downstream.

Chattahoochee River, River Walk, Phenix City side.

Chattahoochee River, River Walk, Phenix City side.

That hasn’t stopped both Columbus (on the Georgia side of the river) and Phenix City (on the Alabama side of the river) from both trying to develop the area. One of their projects is a river walk. I remember when the Columbus government first started building the river walk back in the mid 90’s. If I remember right, I did a March of Dimes event there when I was a sophomore in high school. It was pretty nice. The view was good. Even going back there now, after having seen the skylines of so many cities in and outside the US, it’s still good, though that may be partly the nostalgia.

Blown dam on the Chattahoochee River

Blown dam on the Chattahoochee River

The other project that Columbus is working on is something to do with white water rafting. The city government has this idea in their head that if they build it, ‘they’ will come, in the hundreds of thousands, so, sure enough, several historic dams that were built to power factories that used to operate along the waterfront were blown open to create a ‘white water’ effect in the river. Personally, I think it looks more like a ‘lazy river’ ride at a theme park, way too tame for someone seeking a real white water thrill, but maybe they haven’t opened up all the dams yet.

My wife and I went down the Phenix City riverwalk with my dad and he was telling us about how the city made a big deal out of blowing the dam we happened to be looking at, at the time. It was televised and people were expecting a large explosion, but it wasn’t really anything special. I still wish I’d been there to see it, but mostly because I’d have been interested to see what was at the bottom of the river. I bet they pulled a lot of neat stuff out of there.

Covered over square tunnels visible in far walls.

Covered over square tunnels visible in far walls.

Across the river from where we were, for example, there was a wall built of large square stones that was previously submerged. In the side of that wall there were square tunnels running back into the bank. I wonder what’s in there? Was it used fro waste run-off or sewage? The way it was built, with two walls in terraced set-up, it seemed like there used to be a road down there.

Old factories and a power station (small building 1/4 from the right)

Old factories and a power station (small building 1/4 from the right)

Anyway, there’s a lot of history in that area. One of the last major wars of the Civil War was fought in Phenix City. Columbus used to produce most of the boots and swords for the Confederate Army. Columbus was also the end of the line for river cargo from the Gulf of Mexico, since it sits on the fall line. Now, those old factories are being converted into expensive lofts and the river is being turned into a commercialized tourist attraction (which will probably fail due to health concerns), but at least the river has a bit more character now. I wish I could get down in there with a metal detector…

Two Quiet Weeks in Georgia

My blog has been pretty quiet lately, and that’s because I’ve been down in Georgia visiting family.  It’s nice and quiet there, so quiet in fact that the advertisements in the newspaper are sometimes thicker than the newspaper itself.  So… that doesn’t leave much to talk about.  The paper even covered the disappearance of a Ronald McDonald statue, though that is kinda funny.  Somewhere in Columbus, Ronald McDonald is always sitting on a couch, ready to hang out with the person that stole him from a McDonald’s bench.

That’s not to say nothing interesting happened though.  Well, interesting to me at least!

Super WalMart is huge!

We did a lot of shopping!  We did so much shopping, in fact, that I had to pack a box to mail back to NYC.  Thankfully, the shipping cost was less than the checked baggage fee on Delta and it showed up the day after I got back to NY, spending only two days in transit.

Dunkin Donuts ground coffee.

We also did a lot of grocery shopping for big family dinners.  While browsing the shelves I kept finding new stuff that I hadn’t seen before, like Dunkin Donuts having their own line of ground coffee.  I also got excited about stuff I hadn’t eaten since before I left the US, like Toaster Strudels and Fudge Shoppe cookies.

Kadie the cow in Columbus, Georgia.

I finally got a picture with Kadie the cow.  This giant cow used to sit in front of the Kinnett Dairy plant, which has since gone out of business and been replaced by a Best Buy.  The original plan was to remove the cow, but it had been there for so long that the plan caused an uproar in the town and it was allowed to remain standing.  There used to be a baby cow next to it, which is why there are those extra blocks stuck in the ground.  The baby cow was stolen, returned, and is now supposedly in storage somewhere.

Old toys from when I was a kid.

I saw this red box and the wooden toys that were inside it for the first time in years.  That red box is at least 21 years old.  I thought it had been thrown out a long time ago.  The wooden blocks have marbles inside and you have to twist and turn them to get them to come out.

This yard needed some serious work!

I did a lot of yard work.  Raking up these leaves took about 6 hours over the course of two days.  It was hard work, but in a way it was also relaxing.

A real cat named Garfield.

I met a cat named Garfield that thought the perfect place to sleep at night was right on top of my chest, and would purr until I fell asleep.

I had a good time doing a whole lot of nothing on this trip, aside from the shopping I mentioned.  It was all about hanging out with family and relaxing before coming back to NYC to get back to work.  Now that I am back in NY, I have a bunch of errands to take care of and then it’s time to start a new job.

It’s also time to start really blogging about NY!  So, look for that in upcoming posts.