It wasn't a long vacation, but it sure was productive. A couple weeks ago I flew solo to Atlanta for the opening night of Rush's "Snakes & Arrows" tour.
Also, when I was in town, I hung with my wife's cousin, Dustin Warner, who has lived there for eight years, and toured the city and surrounding area. He's a Sandusky native.
First off, flying is so much better than driving. One hour and 15 minutes in the air sure beats 12 hours of hell-on-Earth traffic.
I will say Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is a city unto itself. You ride a subway car to get to the right concourse all while some computer-operated woman keeps telling you what stop you're at. It was a small miracle aided by cell phones that I jumped right out the front door of the airport and right into Dustin's vehicle. He had said the airport was so busy all parking spaces were taken. A woman flying out of Atlanta said Hartsfield has more takeoffs and landings than any other airport in the world.
Back to traffic, that's the first thing I noticed about Atlanta.
Interstates 75 and 85 go right through the city and it's insane. I'm so glad I was a passenger. It's seven lanes of high-speed and high-volume lunacy. They even have a lane at the far left called "high-vehicle occupancy" where you must have at least two people in the vehicle to drive in that lane.
Upon arrival, I learned it hadn't even sprinkled in metro-Atlanta for about a month. It only took about two hours for that streak to end, as it poured for about three straight hours. The storm even included hail, which Dustin said he hadn't seen in his eight years in Atlanta. He said the rain would do wonders for the grass, but I didn't see much grass. Don't really know what to call it and the ground was unusual, as I later learned it was called, "Georgia clay."
Being from Ohio, I knew I had to find a place to watch Game 3 of the Cavs-Spurs series and luckily a place right around the corner had the game on correction had every game on. Dustin said this giant television we watched games on was a combination of 27 televisions and cost $3 million. That's a lot of Blatz sold to pay for that TV.
June 13 was the reason I was there. It was Rush's tour opener at the HiFi Buys Amphitheater. But we had several hours to kill. It was time to tour the city.
The first place I saw was the Georgia Tech campus. It seemed really spread out and I didn't notice any parking anywhere. For some reason, I never consider parking garages as real parking.
I saw Bobby Dodd Stadium where Georgia Tech plays football and also noted the baseball field.
Next, we drove past the giant aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola and CNN, though we didn't have time to properly visit these locations.
Before I knew it, I was coming up on the Georgia Dome and Philips Arena. The Georgia Dome is where the Atlanta Falcons play, while Philips Arena is home to many concerts, the Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta Thrashers and a variety of other sports teams.
After that I saw the Olympic Park and the spot where the Olympic flame was lit.
Still, we had time before the concert, so it was off to Turner Field home to the Atlanta Braves since 1997.
The coolest thing is the parking lot for Turner Field is right where Fulton County Stadium used to be. On the parking lot, which I have a picture of, are the outlines of the bases and base paths, where they sat at Fulton County Stadium. I stood right on home plate and felt if someone threw me a "get-me-over" fastball I could have homered.
After that, we headed south to the amphitheater in south Atlanta.
The area the Hi-Fi Buys Amphitheater is called Lakewood. The welcoming sign says, "Historic Lakewood."
I'm just going to say it was an interesting neighborhood and leave it at that because I might visit the amphitheater again.
The HiFi was pretty nice inside. I liked the lawn area, though the grass, which had been treated, was weird. It wasn't Ohio grass. It was sort of like Astroturf.
Rush, as I said last week in my column, put on a dynamite performance. It was a great cap on a fast, but most worthwhile trip.
The next morning I was on the plane, though after a two-hour delay, headed for Cleveland.