Thursday, February 24, 2011

Downtown ATL... at least we tried

For my hordes of followers, don't worry, I know the last two posts have been about trips to cities. We haven't lost sight of the wilderness though. Winter weather isn't quite gone yet, so before we take our first spring backpacking trip, we're gonna give the weather time to warm up a little bit more. In the meantime, we decided to give Atlanta a try. I've been to Atlanta a handful of times, but those trips all revolved around a single event; a Braves game, a basketball game, my triathlon two years ago, a stop at R.E.I. on the way to the mountains. This time we decided to spend a couple of days being tourists.

We got there Saturday afternoon and after checking in at the hotel we headed down the street to R.E.I. to see about getting Laura a new bicycle. Last year we went to Wal-Mart and spent bare minimum money on mountain bikes for each of us to use to ride around town on, but in the case of her bike, we got what we paid for. The brakes didn't work, the gears were terrible, it just wasn't a good fit. With Christmas and tax-return money still in her pocket, she decided to make the investment in a nice hybrid from R.E.I. Two hours later, after settling on a nice Cannondale, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for a biking trip in downtown on Sunday.

Gabriel woke us up late that night with his stomach bug. We got him back to sleep after cleaning up the mess, and luckily he slept in Sunday morning. When I woke up, however, the stomach bug had claimed a new victim. Laura had been up hugging the toilet during the night. I slept right through it. So she was officially out for our downtown trip. This meant I had to get Gabriel, my bicycle, and a backpack with a day's worth of diapers, wipes and food, onto the MARTA, which I was completely unfamilar with, all by myself.

I succeeded for the most part, but the beginning was a struggle. Gabriel was fully aware that he was riding on a train and loved it, so at least there were no screaming baby fits for that part. We enjoyed our ride around Atlanta's Piedmont Park, and stopped at a few playgrounds along the way. We rode over to a little Mexican grill for some tacos and called it a day.

When we got back, Laura was still feeling down, but the extra rest helped out. That night we had even more Mexican food at Uncle Julio's. This was far and away the best Mexican food I have had outside of Texas. Every single thing was delicious, from the rice to the chicken enchiladas.

Monday was Zoo Day. We headed over to the south side of Atlanta after checking out of the hotel. The zoo was absolutely packed. Even with the crowds, it was still a nice experience. The weather was spot on. Nothing about this zoo was particularly amazing, although the gorilla exhibit was quite impressive. They had more than a dozen gorillas roaming a really large, wide-open space. As with the Greenville Zoo last week, I'll let the pictures do the talking.

After the zoo we headed home. It didn't exactly go the way we planned, but we still had a great time. It's hard to call any weekend where I get to spend 2 hours at R.E.I a disappointment.