26 May 2008

Traveling to Jax (Days 1-3)

Greetings from Valdosta, GA! I left Kansas City on Saturday afternoon with Jared Riordan (he drove) along with another car (Jordan and Lee). We drove toward St. Louis and stopped for the night near Washington, MO at Jordan's aunt and uncle's house. They cooked steaks and chicken for us and set us up with nice beds and warm showers and a breakfast of pancakes, fruit and bacon.

Sunday was our long day: St. Louis to Atlanta. We made pretty good time. I hit a lot of first: first time over the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, first time in Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee. At 8:37am (I happened to be journaling and noted the time) I got my first glimpse of the Gateway Arch and seven minutes later, entered Illinois. Illinois was about as exciting as Kansas and the piece of Kentucky we caught was a bit more hilly...almost all the speed limits were 55mph, but the flow of traffic was a consistent 70mph. As soon as we hit Tennessee, trees popped up everywhere. I think we saw some of the Great Smoky Mountains, but I'm not for sure. Just after lunch we hit Nashville, and though none of us are big country fans, we stopped anyway, just so we could say we had been there. We walked and saw the Country Music Hall of Fame (from the outside) and walked over a bridge and saw the Tennessee Titan's football stadium and walked down 2nd street (really the only hoppin' street down there) and stepped inside B.B. King's (a blue jazz restaurant) for a look before heading out.

We made it to Atlanta in the early evening and decided to grab a bite to eat before setting up for the night at Rescue Atlanta. We headed to what we thought was the main downtown part of Atlanta...only to find a bunch of run-down, closed restaurants and quite the culture shock. There was also a jazz festival going on down there and we decided to just head back to Rescue Atlanta where we found our beds and showers and ate some crackers and granola bars and questionable turkey sandwiches that we had brought along with us for dinner. Jared hooked us up with half-pieces of sleeping pills.

Since we were a day ahead of schedule, we had all of today to check out Atlanta. We got up and went to Georgia Tech's campus before going to the Olympic Centennial Park and The Varsity for lunch. We also saw Phillips Arena and the CNN building and the Georgia Dome. Then we went to Turner Field and saw the Atlanta Braves play the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Braves won (at least I assume so; they were up 7-2 when we left in the 7th inning). We went back to Rescue Atlanta where we met up with some Nebraska kids who were just arriving. We let them in and showed them around until one of the staff showed them their rooms and then we got in the car and decided to head farther toward Jacksonville. Rescue Atlanta was sufficient for our night last night, but knowing there would be 120+ students joining up there tonight, we made it to Valdosta, GA and found a hotel for about $13 each. They have a pool and free breakfast and we can crank the AC up as much as we want.

Tomorrow we'll make the rest of the trek to Jax and meet up with our team. I'm sure the rest of the week will be insane. Look for more updates...check out my pictures on Facebook...and be praying for everyone as they travel and arrive and prepare for a challenging summer. Time for bed...it's 10:12pm here instead of 9:12 like I'm used to, but we're all pretty tired.


Ann said...

I'm so excited for you... :)

Andrew said...

Sounds like you are having fun. FYI, the Braves won 7-3. :)

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