Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pine Mountain

After last weekend's Shining Rock adventure, I'd had enough of the outdoors for a while. I didn't do anything this past week. No riding to work, no weekly beatdown, no Bowmans Island exploration, no nothing. I worked, ate, hugged my family and slept.

After a week off, I was ready to ease my way back into it a bit though, and I do mean ease my way.

Friday night, we all jumped in the car and headed down to Pine Mountain, Georgia. We spent the night at a Days Inn and I got way more sleep than I usually do. I woke up feeling seriously refreshed, looked over and it was 3AM. Ahhh, long sleep.

Saturday morning we ate breakfast at Chipley's. By breakfast, I mean 3 sticks of butter flavored with a little egg, pork and flour. The ensuing itis was indescribable. Farmers and ranchers do enough work to burn that off BEFORE LUNCH. I can't even imagine that kind of hardness. I'm pretty much going to avoid "Country Cooking", "Country Kitchens" and all other food self-described as "Country". Such food is wasted on me. I cannot burn it.

From there we rolled through the Wild Animal Safari, which is basically a drive-thru zoo. You rent a barely-running van and creep along a little road while deer, zebra, cows, pigs, ostriches, bison and 50 other kinds of animals stick their heads in your window begging for sticks of generic animal food. They slobber all over you too. It sounds creepy but it's fantastic and the kids loved it. The only trouble we had was that our van was literally barely-running. It overheated and they had to bring us a replacement about 20 minutes in.

They also had a walk-thru zoo with bears, monkeys, hyenas and several large cats including tigers, lions and ligers. That's right, ligers. You can google up the Napolean Dynamite reference. I don't remember it exactly.

I'm seriously conflicted about zoos. On the one hand, it's cool to see the animals, but they're cramped up in tiny quarters. Do they care? Is living on easy street satisfying or do they yearn for the wild? I wonder. I want to see them in the wild, but then there's that whole threat of death. I'm not really into that.

We ate lunch at the Country Store at Callaway Gardens. And by lunch I mean butter soup, lightly flavored with chicken. Tasty, but ugh.

Next stop, Butts Mill Farm. Best name ever. They've got all kinds of fun there. This is where the easing back into the outdoors occurred. We played mini golf and rode horses. Well, the kids and I rode horses. Sophie and I rode Blackjack. Iz rode Rambo. There were 8 of us total, plus the trail guide. Man, what a good time. I've never ridden a horse before. I always figured it would be fun, but now I have a good feel for the appeal. We followed the trail guide through a maze of trails in the woods behind the farm. Up and down hills, through creeks, around and around, for about an hour. We never went faster than a trot, but still it was great. The horses pretty much know what to do, but you have to keep them from stopping and eating, make them keep up with the horse ahead of them and stop them when the rest of the group stops. Sometimes you have to make them go left or right. Sophie and I rode together but Iz rode by herself. She figured it out and after 10 minutes or so she seemed pretty confident. Sophie kept looking back and saying "Isabel's doing a great job." She really was. I don't want to own horses, but we'll definitely have to go on trail rides from time to time.

We ate dinner at Crickets. I had Spaghetti. Not the best spaghetti in the world, but a welcome change. After dinner we bailed out back to the ATL and were home by 10PM. Nice little mini-vacation. We'll be doing more of those for sure.

Kathryn brought her camera and took photos but hasn't gotten them off yet. I'll update this post when I have them.

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