I finally made it Marietta, which is a suburb of Atlanta. This is one big city with freeways everywhere, and thank heaven for my gps that talks to me via my helmet, as I would never have found my motel. Mik and Steve arrived about 9:30 pm so it gave me some time to do the bane of travelling, laundry. After meeting my friends and enjoying some good Bourbon we decided to meet at the bike rental place Eagle Riders in the morning.
All went well with the rental and we were about to get under way when two young black guys all in leathers arrived riding sport bikes. Steve the gun collector he is, noticed right away that they were packing semi-conceled weapons. While Steve was talking to them we were told that in Georgia you can pack guns anywhere including bars, schools, churches, etc.. What a scary thought!
We left Eagle Riders and proceeded to Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park real close to Atlanta. This was the site of the battle that Gen. Sherman waged before he took Atlanta and continued to devastate all of Georgia. The people hear in Georgia, especially in the small towns are still, after 150 years remember this with very bitter thoughts over what happened. In our swing through the south we will meet many people, and when the talk swings to the civil war they still don’t have much time for Yankees.
We were heading for Andersonville civil war prison and we arrived just when they were closing the gates so we decided to go up the road aways and get a motel. We stopped for the night in a little town called Americus before heading back to the National Park in the morning. We stayed in a real old pre 1900s hotel called the Windsor Hotel. Had a ball in the lounge talking to some real old southern people. What an eye opener, even Mik and Steve didn’t really think they were from this century.
The next morning we rode back to Andersonville National War Memorial. It was very well done with a small driving tour showing the grounds and the size of the prison. It was not very large when you consider that 45,000 Union soldiers were held here for 14 months and 13,000 died here. The sanitation was next to non existent and many prisoners died from diseases contacted while in the prison. There was only one little creek flowing through the grounds and the mens waste was also dumped into the creek. It was fitting as even today the creek with a small memorial built around it that has a water fall, has a sign saying the water is not fit for human consumption. The commander of the prison was later tried, convicted and hanged for war crimes. Some info says he was the only one tried for war crimes after the war, but other info differs. Pres. Lincoln was to something to the effect that enough hardship has been done and it is a time for healing and unity of the country. There was a short video and a very good display of all American war prisoners to this date. Mik and I both agreed it was a very depressing place.
Travelled on to the Barber Motorsport complex, what a place. I spotted a wild boar eating grass as we were driving in the curving well landscaped and paved separated lane driveway. It started to turn away from me and then it did a 360 degree turn and charged (tusks and all) straight for Mik who was just behind me. Later Mik told us he hit the throttle and it missed his back wheel by inches. Steve who was in the back said the boar had his head down and when he missed Mik he lost his balance and rolled over on the pavement, got up and ran into the trees. Mik said later that the Pigs just can’t catch him.
The museum that I was told about by another rider in the mountains of Georgia was just spectacular. There are 5 floors of motorcycles and you take the elevator to the top and when you are finished with one floor, there is spiral walkway down to the next floor. He has a minimum of 600 bikes on display at one time and he owns more then 1200. There was even a few of my old bikes on display but I’m afraid they looked better then mine did. They are all completely rebuilt to brand new status and all are within a couple hours of being on the road. There is every kind of motorcycle you can think of, and twice as many that you never heard of. At the back of the museum there is a GP Racetrack where you can watch the cars or bikes flying around the track from the full glassed in wall on that side of the museum. I was planing to visit a couple other bike museums on this trip but I don’t think I will bother as nothing can compare with this. Any biker within 500 miles of this place would have rocks in his head if he didn’t go. Mr. Barber was an Indy driver and he collected these kind of cars and then switched over to motorcycles. He had over 2/3 of the collection when he spent $80 million to build this museum and then turn it into a non profit operation. I never did find out were he made his money.
Here is but a few of many photos I took taken from my videos.
Did I say we enjoyed this day. I most likely have an hour of videos of this incredible place, which I will be suppling Mik and Steve with a copy and they get to hear my voice overs as I read what the displays say.
I will post this now and return to our journeys later as I am having a hard time after a gruelling day riding and a few beers to concentrate on the pictures.
I really do have a hard life.