Day 73 and 74
Gainesville, FL to Albany, GA to Carrollton, GA
Total trip miles to date: 15,033
Sorry for the late post today. Yesterday was a long, wet slog through northern Florida into Georgia on two lanes. I needed to make some miles, and did. I ended up in Albany, GA, close to my goal of Americus. I wanted to be close to Plains, the hometown of President Jimmy Carter. I was just 45 minutes away, so, given my slowing down for the rain, I was happy to get as far as I did.
This morning I awoke to clouds, but little chance of rain. I had a quick breakfast at Waffle House, where young Alexus, was my waitress. Her friendly smile was a great pick-me-up. Two cups of coffee also helped! I asked her if she grew up in Albany and she said yes. I then asked if she thought she might stay in the town. She thought for a few seconds, and said she would like to someday move on. I hope she does. I have a feeling she has a bigger future ahead if she can find the strength to think outside the comfort box that often keeps us from testing the waters. Her interest in my trip and the Spirit was authentic and brought a smile to me.
The forecast was for 20% chance of rain. I found the 20%, but it was just showers and I was dry by the time I got to metropolitan Plains (population 700). The high school where President Carter and first lady Rosalyn attended is now the Jimmy Carter museum and visitor center. It’s nicely restored and worth the stop. Plains is not a big place. Within a half mile radius is the HS, brother Billy’s service station, the Plains depot made famous in Carter’s presidential run in 1976, and the current home of the former President and Mrs. Carter. There was no traffic in this burg!
I voted for Jimmy Carter in 1976, but not in 1980. Change was in the air in 1976, and the country had lost confidence in those in office. I’m sure President Ford was a very good man, but he had a tough time distancing himself from Nixon and Watergate. Carter would have his own challenges and triumphs in his short 4 years. He, too, was a good man, a strong Christian, with no skeletons in the closet, and unwilling to play the typical Washington games. Washington would get him in the end for that unwillingness. His remarkable work after his presidency is what really speaks to me about this man. His motivation to serve and help others around the world separates him from others, in my mind. A very good man, indeed. My motivation to not vote for him in 1980 were purely selfish. President Carter had held us out of the 1980 Olympics, and that was just too close to home for me. I had trained for 4 years to make that team, and it was pulled out from under us several months before the Olympic trials. Of course, the luxury of many more years of wisdom in understanding the world makes my decision something I am not especially proud of. He was trying to do the right thing.
I drove on to Carrollton, west of Atlanta. I stopped for an overnight here because I have an appointment early in the morning at MSA Classics for an oil change in the Spirit. I stopped by there today and met owner Mitch and was impressed! He is passionate about restoring and working on British cars and I am thrilled he could get me in on little notice. Thanks, Mitch!!
With only one exception, dealers, mechanics, and Morgan owners have reached out to help in every way they can. It has been so appreciated! After the servicing at MSA, it’s off to Harrodsburg, KY, my birthplace. A long day of driving north through the remainder of Georgia, across Tennessee, and into Kentucky. It will be a full day getting there, but will allow me to spend a full day on Sunday with family members who live in Lexington, Harrodsburg, and Danville. It seems fitting, as I get near the end of this special journey to visit my birthplace, the place where my folks met and married, and where both sets of grandparents are buried. Just a few days left! It looks like I will arrive back in Grinnell on Tuesday at 1:00pm, turning the engine off for the final time in Central Park. Wow! It’s hard to even think that this long journey is almost over. What a journey it’s been!!