Get Excited Again about Roadtripping

roadtrippers.com

There is nothing I like much more than embarking on a road trip…except maybe planning it! Maybe it was all the summer vacations across America that my fearless mother took us kids on, that endeared me to road travel. More likely, it is the many many trips back and forth between Tampa and Atlanta. I often prefer driving the 7 hours to Atlanta over the quick Delta flight. I’ve got my car, and I’ve got the freedom to stop wherever I want, whenever I want, and even go off the beaten track.

I often wonder why Google hasn’t let me be more creative with my maps for travel purposes. I am always hearing about or web-surfing places I would like to explore in Florida, Georgia, and across the country. But until now, I hadn’t found an intuitive tool for me to discover hidden gems and then save them to a route for the future. Enter Roadtrippers.com!

I Stumbled Upon the Roadtrippers website in June. It is actually how I found my dream lodging destination The 1842 Inn for my next stopover in Macon. Roadtrippers is a simple, intuitive road trip planner, powered by local experts and travel writers. I just plugged in my starting point and my destination, and I could customize my route and build my own travel plan around incredible historical sites, restaurants, hotels, and attractions many of which I had never heard of.

These are the top features of the website:

Explore the best independent places in America. Browse by distance from your trip or explore everything on the map.

• Create “Bucket Lists” of your favorite places.
• Create road trips using the most powerful route planning features online, including instant fuel cost estimation. • Save your trips for quick access and further editing later.
• Share your trips with friends and family on email, Twitter or Facebook. They can even edit and share them back. • Become a guide and display your bucket lists and favorite trips to the world!
• Follow your friends or favorite writers/brands and see their curated trips and bucket lists.
• Print your itinerary or driving directions and hit the road!

http://www.roadtrippers.com

I hear Roadtrippers is also coming out with an incredible app shortly that will revolutionize how you travel. Imagine being able to book hotels from your map!

For me, road trips are a great metaphor for life. We are all on a journey, I have a destination where I want to end up; I set milestones along the way, and sometimes I take some detours. My goal is to savor the ride, treasure the lives of the people riding with me, and make a positive lasting impact on the people in the places where I stop along the way.

Question: Where are you going on your next road trip?

Something Worth Fighting For

On this 4th of July, we all celebrate the bold and courageous step our founders made in declaring independence from Britain. Liberty was at stake, but after the start of the Revolutionary War so were property, lives, and even states. Have you ever thought how just one battle or turn of events could have changed the course of history and even the physical shape of our country? You may not be aware of the battles for Georgia and even Florida during the Revolution. Below is a brief history.

Georgia

In the early days of the war, Savannah and Augusta were easy targets for the Loyalists to hold for the British and defend. But Elijah Clarke reformed his brigade in the Spring of 1781 and joined with a group of South Carolina militia under the command of Micajah Williamson as he was obsessed with the idea of freeing Augusta. Augusta was an outpost connected to Savannah by the 80 mile River Road. On May 20, 1781, Clarke and Williamson got welcome support from General Andrew Pickens, in command of a group of South Carolina militia and Lieutenant Colonel Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee, who had learned tactical cavalry support under Casimir Pulaski. A second group of Continentals, under the new Commander of the Southern Department Nathanael Greene was laying siege to Ninety Six not far from Augusta. Clarke and the other Georgia commanders were greatly relieved at Lee’s arrival. On May 21, Lee and Pickens raid Fort Galphinton on Silver Bluff, securing a significant amount of British stores including munitions.On May 25 they took Fort Grierson, and on June 5 the patriots secured Augusta. Grierson, who had been so abusive to the upcountry Whigs, was killed after the surrender of the city.

By July 3rd, 1781 (notice the date) almost every outpost along the Savannah River had been abandoned by the British allowing Georgia colonialists to regain most of their lost territory. Enter General Anthony Wayne, widely regarded as one of the best American generals during the Revolution, who after a supporting role in Cornwalis’ surrender at Yorktown Wayne headed south to assist the patriots of Georgia. Although outnumbered two to one, Wayne soundly defeated his British opponents in Georgia, culminating what was one of the most brilliant campaigns of the Revolution.

Florida

In September of 1779 the Spanish, who had joined the war on the American side, retook British West Florida. There were three engagements though between Americans and the British and Tories near today’s Jacksonville. The Battle of Thomas Creek, the Skirmish of Alligator Creek, and the Tories of Cow Ford.

In Cow Ford, my apparently 4th great grand uncle Captain William Cone, of the Richmond County Militia of Georgia, gathered a party of men in 1781 and drove the Tories back into Florida after they advanced into Georgia. But then Captain Cone, William Williams, and two of his men were captured by the British and imprisoned in the fort Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine. In 1783, Captain Cone and his men managed to escape. For his work in driving the Tories back into Florida, Captain Cone and his men were granted 200 acres of confiscated land on the south side of the Great Ogeechee River in northeastern Georgia.

English: Photo of the Castillo de San Marcos f...

Photo of the Castillo de San Marcos fort in St. Augustine, Florida, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After the loss of Savannah the Spanish walked into St. Augustine and claimed the city with little resistance from the British. February, 1783, marked the official cession of hostilities and on September 3, 1783 the Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the Revolution. The 13 colonies had defeated the most powerful nation in the world.

If you are interested in learning more about battles in Georgia and skirmishes in Florida here is where I found the information excerpted above. Thanks to Randy Golden and the Florida Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.

I also want to thank my other ancestors who were Revolutionary War Veterans for helping our founders achieve our liberty and all those veterans who have preserved it since. May God Bless America! Happy 4th of July.

Next Stop 1842!

1842 Inn Bed & Breakfast – Macon, GA

Macon has always be one of my favorite places for an overnight visit. Only an hour outside of Atlanta, it is still unaffected for better or worse by metropolitan encroachment. The chamber of commerce may encourage you to go there in order to see another up and coming southern city, but I am much happier reveling in days past, enjoying the peaceful historic hamlet that is Macon. I just recently determined my wish-list destination for our next visit!

The 1842 Inn is right down my alley. It appears to be richly infused with antebellum charm and southern hospitality. With 19 guest rooms, a library, and parlors complete with period antiques and tapestries, the hotel listed on the National Registry of Historic Places will hopefully launch me back in a hurry.

The Magnolia Room

What appeals to me most are the names of the guestrooms including the Cotton Merchant’s Room, Jefferson Davis, Lyman Hall, Magnolia, and Sidney Lanier. How do I know they are not just paying lip-service to Georgia history and culture? Each room description on their website (complete with pictures)  includes an historical account of the namesake for that room!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Front Porch at the 1842 Inn

 
 
 

Throw in the seventeen column, wrap around verandah, the garden and courtyard, and it sounds like a recipe for relaxation. If that is not enough, they even have complimentary evening shoe-shine service.

 

That’s what the drive between Tampa and Atlanta does for me, it takes me back in time…before cheerfully being jolted back into the vibrancy and congestion of my favorite big cities! A slower pace gives us a chance to appreciate where we’ve come from and check where we are going.

What’s your favorite pit-stop on I-75?

Ever since I started driving regularly between Tampa and Atlanta, or for that matter hopping a ride in my buddy Dave’s 1984 beamer aka “The Pimp Mobile,” my favorite pit-stop has been the RaceWay gas station at Exit 5 in Lake Park, GA. You’ve just crossed the state-line, you breathe easier at the lower rates in gas, and you are looking for a populated exit with lots of food options. The station used to be one of the largest in south Georgia…I think it was a RaceTrac not that long ago…and consistently has one of the lowest prices on gas in the state. The restrooms are absolutely nothing to write home about, but it is dependable. If you can tell me what is unique about the men’s room, I have a prize for you!

When I stop there with the family it still reminds me of weekend jaunts home to Tampa with my friends from Georgia Tech, and all of the times we had stopped to load up on fountain drinks, candy, and oh yeah Swisher Sweets. With a Chick-Fil-A next door, what more can you ask for? Even though it is no longer a RaceTrac and is nothing like its glory days, I still return just out of convenience, habit, and memories.

What is your favorite place to stop for gas on I-75?

 

WELCOME TO TAMPATLANTA! Population YOU!

Have you ever felt like you were right where you were meant to be, but yearned to know what life would be like if you still lived somewhere you had previously? Have you been really happy in the city in which you live, but find that a little piece of your heart is still in that someplace else? For me, those two places are Tampa and Atlanta!

English: A collection of photos around Tampa

English: A collection of photos around Tampa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Tampa

I grew up in Tampa, Florida like my dad and grandfather before me, roots dating back to the late 19th century when my great-grandfather moved to nearby Plant City from north Florida. I love everything about Tampa Bay from our climate, to our storied history, our beaches, and our industry.

 

 

 

 

 

Montage of Atlanta images. From top to bottom ...

Montage of Atlanta images. From top to bottom left to right: Atlanta skyline Georgia State Capitol Olympic Centennial Park Old World of Coca-Cola museum Downtown skyline Turner Field (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Atlanta

From an early age I began making trips through Atlanta, always en route it seemed to another southern mecca.

Not until I attended Georgia Tech and made the move to Atlanta did I really get to know the city that would teach me that it is completely possible to be intensely Southern, fiercely innovative, and welcomingly international all at the same time.

I lived in Atlanta for 8 years and strived to understand who and what made the city tick, discover how an Olympic Games could change it forever, and soak up all of the constantly evolving dining, culture, and entertainment that I could. I have traveled to many places in this world, and none of them give me that same thrill that I feel, every time the Atlanta skyline comes into view as I travel north into town on I-75.

Interstate 75

List of crossings of the Saint Lawrence River ...

Over those 8 years from 1997 to 2004 and beyond, I have experienced an intimate fondness for that 500 mile stretch of Interstate 75 between Tampa and Atlanta. Hundreds of trips over the years make turns in the road, rural exits with road-side stands, and even some hills and trees feel like family. Anyone who makes the same trip often, knows what I mean!

Florida Clearwater Beach sunset

Clearwater Beach sunset (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Back to Tampa

After graduate school and work in Atlanta, I found myself moving to Ocala, FL to start a company that quickly expanded the rest of the way down to Tampa. This gave me the excuse I needed to return Home.

Everyone knows what Home feels like, not everyone knows the feeling of or has the same experience in, returning home. For me, it was the perfect fit. I soon met my future wife and established a life right where I left off in the sunny city by the Bay. But Atlanta will always be a part of me, and I look for every excuse to return.

I realize I am not the only one that shares a connection between these two great cities, and I hope that this blog will appeal to residents or visitors of either city and any place in between. I ask that you please share your experiences with me! I love both history and visionary city plans for the future, driving and traveling, and hearing the stories of people of all ages. Our destinations in life are crucial, but I find that the road traveled is often where all the scenery is found. WELCOME TO TAMPATLANTA! Population YOU!

Tampa, Florida

Atlanta Skyline

Atlanta Skyline (Photo credit: k1ng)