Five States in Six Days: Day Four: Columbus, GA to Midway, FL

March 9 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (17)

28_RiverWalkColumbus.jpgI wake up, get ready and load the Electra Glide for the day, then head to the lobby of the BEST WESTERN Columbus for breakfast. I decide to make myself a waffle this morning. I probably haven't had a waffle in 10 years, and I can't figure out why. Delicious and filling. I'm ready to ride.

29_GoldenFieldColumbus.jpgI check out of the hotel, and head down to explore Columbus' historic district. Columbus' Broadway is a shopping street with buildings dating from the early 20th century, filled with modern businesses, shops and galleries. The wide median is dotted with public art, sculptures by local artists and places to sit and relax. It's a beautiful, inviting boulevard. Continuing south on Broadway, the neighborhood turns residential, with a mix of Victorian, Craftsman and other style homes lining the street, separated by the park-like median. Broadway ends at a park, RiverWalk, which runs along the Chattahoochee River for miles. Bike paths, walking paths and wide meadows invite meandering and leisure. A 5,000-seat baseball stadium, Golden Park, sits ready for a minor league team.

35_CarterBoyhoodStore.jpgOne block west of Broadway, the riverfront is being renovated for luxury living. Old warehouses and factory buildings are being transformed into swanky lofts and office spaces. The Coca-Cola Space Science Center stands over the river, and the Columbus Museum is just up the street. The Civil War Naval Museum is a mile up the road, just beyond the 10,000-seat Columbus Civic Center. This place is loaded with culture and potential. I have to come back to Columbus in five years and see what has happened. I'll bet that it will be an even more fantastic place.

But now I have to leave Columbus behind. My next stop is very exciting.

31_RiverWalkColumbus.jpgI'm a big fan of our Presidents. Not just our current President, but our ex-Presidents, too. I've been to at least eight presidential libraries (Carter, Nixon, Kennedy, Reagan, Eisenhower, Truman, Bush, Johnson), and a few presidential birthplaces. So I can't just drive past Plains, Georgia - birthplace and boyhood home of James Earl Carter, Jr., our 39th President.

Jimmy Carter was born in 1924, and served as President of the United States from 1977 to 1981. He never forgot his roots in rural Plains - in fact, Mr. Carter and his wife Rosalynn still live in Plains today. At 86, he is very active in humanitarian causes worldwide, but still finds time to teach a Sunday School class at Marantha Baptist Church in Plains three weekends per month.

The National Park Service owns and operates the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site. The site includes Plains High School, where Mr. and Mrs. Carter attended both grammar and high school; the Carter Boyhood Farm and Home in Archery; and Plains Depot, which has been restored to its 1976 appearance as Mr. Carter's campaign headquarters.

32_PlainsHighSchool.jpgPlains High School is part time capsule, part museum. Several rooms of the school are presented as they would have been during the Carters' youth, with old-fashioned desks, books and teaching aides. Other rooms are set up as political and social history of Mr. Carter's time in and out of office.

The Carter Boyhood Farm and Home is a quick drive away from Plains. The family home and several outbuildings can be toured, with Mr. Carter's recorded voice providing guidance and reminiscence. The Carter house is surprisingly cozy and warm, and there are some surprises. The Carters had a small general store next door to their house, and Mr. Carter's story about tending to the store during every mealtime is charming and sweet.

33_PlainsHighSchool.jpgPlains Depot really is a step back in time, back to 1976 this time. You can feel the grassroots enthusiasm in the cramped building, with vibrant 70s colors and design lending a bouncy feel to the place. Mr. Carter's status as a true Washington outsider is never more apparent than in his former campaign headquarters.

I drive by the other museum in town, Billy Carter's Filling Station, without stopping. It's cool to know that it's there, but I don't want to spend the time in yet another gas station.

I don't know if the Carters are at home while I explore Plains, but the Secret Service is definitely on duty outside their Woodland Drive home. Even though it is winter and off-season for the town, I saw at least two film crews roaming the streets. A local shopkeeper tells me that the townspeople are used to the cameras, and hardly notice them anymore.

34_CarterBoyhoodHome.jpgThe road out of Plains takes me to Albany, where I pick up US 19, the Georgia-Florida Highway. This portion of the ride is truly beautiful, with black ribbons of asphalt slicing through rolling farmland and woodland. Rows of pecan trees cast long shadows across the roadway. I float through the landscape aboard the Electra Glide, soaking it all in. The Georgia-Florida border passes by in a flash, and I'm into my fifth state on this road trip.

I come to the hamlet of Monticello, an artsy little village. At the center of town is the Jefferson County Courthouse, a Federal-style building fashioned after Thomas Jefferson's estate in Virginia. Of course, ornery Floridians have made Monticello their own, insisting on pronouncing it "mont-i-SEL-o," not "mont-i-CHEL-o." I pick up US 90 in Monticello, and head west again toward my evening's rest.

30_GoldenFieldColumbus.jpgUS 90 passes right through Tallahassee, Florida's capital city. For those of you keeping track, that's my third state capital on this ride (after Jackson, Mississippi and Montgomery, Alabama). Tallahassee is also a college town, home to Florida State University, the Seminoles. Traffic is heavy through town, with several accidents complicating passage. I avoid the temptation to stop at the Tallahassee Automobile Museum -- I must really be tired today.

36_BWMidwayFL.jpgTraffic thins as I leave Tallahassee. Just 10 miles up the road, I come to Midway, Florida and the BEST WESTERN Panhandle Capital Inn & Suites. Tremaine at the front desk welcomes me as I check in. Ross, the other front desk clerk, points out the guest laundry. He assumes that I must not have much luggage with me on the Electra Glide. He's amazed when I show him how much carrying capacity the bike has - I won't be needing that laundry today, thank you.

Fine dining is in short supply in Midway. In fact, there isn't any. That's okay by me. I'm perfectly happy to sample the Lindy's Chicken across the parking lot from the hotel, which I take back to my room to eat while I watch coverage of the Westminster Dog Show on television.

Now that's living.

Tomorrow, I'll be riding along the Gulf of Mexico. No more chicken for me, unless that chicken is a fish.

Miles ridden: 273

Next: Midway, Florida to Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Categories : Packed & Ready

0 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry


    By Lottie on June 23, 2011 2:44 AM

    What a neat article. I had no iknlnig.

    By OlsonCourtney27 on March 27, 2012 3:13 AM

    One knows that our life seems to be not cheap, however different people need money for different things and not every one earns big sums cash. Thence to get quick home loans or college loan will be a correct way out.

    By writing work on April 2, 2012 2:22 AM

    I will thank you very much for your good facts just about this post! And you know, that the job for writers service should take this at the custom essays.

    By college research paper on April 2, 2012 9:51 AM

    Nobody can be an experienced papers writer without a writing experience. Moreover, it is risky to accomplish academic papers having no professional assistance! You should learn how to craete engaging term papers if buy college research paper. It surely can help.

    By blog commenting services on April 4, 2012 10:20 PM

    Seo tools at blog commenting services are extra effective for PR raising. Hence, I try to use that constantly and it really aids me a lot!

    By dissertation service on April 5, 2012 2:57 PM

    This is the best column I have of all time read! Outstanding column nearly college! When I have studied at college I as well suffer problems of do my dissertation and topic exercise, because I had a job and individual interests in life, and I never had pretty much time to think up article. And then my buddy tell me about custom dissertation! Since then my life has become improved!

    By dissertation writing on April 8, 2012 3:07 AM

    Studying in the university students have to make better their thesis papers writing skillfulness. Therefore, a reliable thesis writing service can to help with thesis discussion completing.

    By buy an essay on April 8, 2012 3:27 AM

    We always encourage university students to buy essays online because it is good resolution for men who have poor writing skills.

    By plagiarism checker on April 11, 2012 3:41 AM

    Some students pass the duty to qualified writers because they don't have the talent to compose a good paper about this good post so that the argument why you need to use plagiarism checker, but such guys like composer don't do that. Thank you very much for the article

    By thesis writing service on April 11, 2012 4:35 AM

    Very often, it could take a long period of time to be a great dissertation research proposal performer, but I do see that your theme associated with this topic seems to be hot. Lots of different students are willing to have a writing talent as you have got. Because a dissertation service examine the writing skills choosing the dissertations writers.

    By custom essay term paper on March 26, 2013 10:00 PM

    Have no time to write original writing services? Save your time and check this link to buy an essay from the professional team of writers!

    By buy political essays on March 29, 2013 12:41 PM

    Check this link to get to know more about how to buy essays online and make the best of our wonderful company when it comes to best essay writing services.

    By Check here on April 9, 2013 11:38 AM

    Come over here in case you are anxious to buy perfect academic papers and enjoy our best academic writing services.

    By essay papers on April 9, 2013 7:26 PM

    When you buy essays "", it will be a fair, just because it shows that you are result aimed.

    By essay writing uk on September 6, 2013 3:28 PM

    You should select this agency whenever you are in want to get custom term paper uk. click here and put your feet up.

    By term paper for sale on September 8, 2013 2:58 AM

    I think, this is very good theme just about this post. You would buy essays "" or already written essays at the research paper writing services.

    By Anne Lawrence on January 31, 2014 8:26 AM

    I was only in Tallahassee for a short time, but I absolutely loved it! I even considered moving there. I'm still trying to convince my husband, actually.

    Leave a comment


    Your comment may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.