Queen of Trades; Travel and Photography- Category [Travel/Stories/Tips]

I was in Atlanta this past week. I went mostly because I had a friend that was actually in town this time and I wanted to see her and catch up a little bit. For me it was a nice change of pace and as usual I stayed with my friend R and his dog Ataneq who I have come to adore and look forward to seeing. So I asked for four days off and left on Wednesday after I got off work and went to the gym. It was a night driving kind of trip and I must say that it was nice to know that I got everything done before I left and I felt good with my routine that I was building. 

So Once I was in Atlanta I got settled I went through the routine. R had to work so I stayed home with Ataneq and worked on what I needed to and did my running routines while I was there. As we went through the four days I realized that I needed to plan ahead on what I wanted to do if I wasn’t seeing people in town. So when Saturday came around we both were chilling around the house and chatting when he asked me if there was anything I wanted to do and from there he listed a few places. One that came up with the Atlanta Botanical Gardens and I knew that I wanted to go see this place but by the time we had finished what he needed to do, watched a movie, and let him nap it was pretty late in the afternoon and I knew that we weren’t going to make it there in time to see it. SO I decided that we should go the next day. 

So of course Sunday was the day that we got out and stretched our legs. Personally I love it when I can walk around, take pictures, and be somewhere surrounded by nature. I know for R it wasn't the most exciting thing we had done together but Botanical Gardens for me are a gold mine in terms of photography. So we spent a few hours talking and walking around with the occasional stops to take photos. 

It was quite beautiful and I think we chose a day where it wasn’t too hot and we could actually survive the day. 


Personally the botanical Gardens is quite the treat and I was pretty impressed with all the garden statues and I loved the plants. The fees to get in were pretty reasonable, especially since we spent a good 3-4 hours there. To get into the gardens its about $21 before taxes and to park they charge $2 an hour. Sounds like it’s a lot but if you take your time and really want to enjoy everything around you I think that the price isn’t too bad. Of course if you have a big group of people then that’s where things get a little pricey and it might change your mind on going inside. The nice thing about the gardens is that its attached to a big park that you can walk around in for free so at least you have a second option if you change your mind. 


If you’re in that area during the holidays (Like Christmas or Halloween) I hear that they have some special events where they decorate the gardens so if your one of those people that likes to see places on special occasions then that might be more your speed. 

Either way, if you enjoy nature but don’t like to go "into" nature then I recommend checking out the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. It’s quite the treat and it’s a nice way to get away for a bit and get some of the precious Sunlight.



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I have seen some things while traveling. From crazy people arguing in traffic, to flipped over cars, burned cars, tires popping, and so much more. WHen you drive as much as I do you really do learn quickly about the way people are and what can happen. So for me I am always on my toes, keeping an eye on everything and everybody. The one thing in particular that I rally watch out for is semi's. There have been too many times when I have been boxed in by them and I have seen them come just a little too close to me.

Everytime I see a semi ready to turn, get into another lane or just swerve a little bit I always try to find a way to get as far away as possible. I can just see one of those tires popping or one of them crashing into me and making me into a pancake. There is one time in particular that really stands out to me and I really did think that I was going to die. Of course it would have been his fault completely for not paying attention but either way it was not a fun time.

A few months ago I was driving in Texas and I was on my way to see my friend in Burleson. I just happened to be stuck in a traffic jam and we were slowly moving at a speed of 5mph. NOw being a stick shift that meant assessing the situation and going between 1st and 2nd gear while you're also making sure that no oen hits you. There were three lanes and I was in the middle lane. This semi was all the way over to the left hand side and was looking for somewhere to turn. Traffic moved and following the traffic I moved forward. The semi not paying attention to the lane started to come into my lane and try to squeeze in.

Freaking out and realizing he was not going to stop and quickly made an escape to the only opening I had on my right side. The driver didn't seem to notice at all that he was about to squash me and make me into a pancake. Luckily the people on the right side let me in with no problems and didn't get angry at the sudden abrupt way that I got into traffic. For that I was grateful. I know my heart was beating out of my chest and I know that I saw my life flash before my eyes.

What is the one thing you keep an eye out for when your driving?

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One of my favorite things to do is to drive at night with the music blasting and the bass as high as it can get. For me its so nice to just sit back and let the car cruise while I get a chance to sing and listen to my favorite music. Its almost theraputic and I really enjoy the time I have letting everything go. Music in general is a great was to let stress go and when your driving it can be quite stressful, especially when your driving through cities. Driving through any city can have its ups and downs so for some people its no big deal while for others it puts them on the edge of their seats. 

I am one of the people who irritates the people who live in the cities and drive the roads daily. I go the speed limit, sometimes under. I'm looking out very mirror paying attention tot he crazies to make sure I don't get hit. I'm even that person who will make sure to have a gap between me and the car in front of me. For some people that really pushes their buttons but for me its the only way I can manage to get through those drives. I like to have my car in one piece and I really would rather not have to deal with going to the hospital and having to pay more bills then I can afford. 

So of course I am usually resort to night driving. Less Traffic, a more enjoyable ride, my stress is on a all time low, and I can just take my time. Of course most people find that night driving is annoying and they rather sleep but I quite honestly think that if you can stay awake, be attentive, and make appropriate stops when your tired that you can do it. Now ten years from now I might feel a little different but for now I will take what I can and take advantage of everyone sleeping. 

Do you like to night drive? 

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The next day we decided to go out and walk the Atlanta Belt Line. I had never been there before and from the way that R talked about it, it sounded pretty damn amazing. It’s this area in Atlanta where people can walk their dogs, go out for a run, or just chill and have some fun while they are all surrounded by art pieces that they pay artists to put up. So we decided to go ahead and go out and do that for the day. The weather was perfect, we had a nice breeze and I generally love getting out and seeing new places. I’ve been to Atlanta a lot in the past year but I hadn’t really had the chance to explore and really see what was around. 

So we packed up, got Ataneq ready and went to the belt line. After we had found a parking spot we went ahead and started out on this wonderful journey. It was about a half mile to the belt line we took our time and enjoyed the graffiti and murals. It was quite the site and I enjoyed the idea that the area was given to the artists themselves. Once we got through this tunnel we made our way to this restaurant that looked and sounded absolutely delicious. It was this cool little Mexican restaurant that had a outdoor patio. I went inside while R took care of Ataneq and asked if they allowed dogs on the patio. They said yes and I gave them my name and number. It was a thirty minute. To pass the time we walked around a little bit and I got to check out the inside of this little indoor mall. Very quick and brief but still fun to see. 

Once the thirty minutes was up we got our table and made ourselves comfortable. It was a wonderful day out and really I wanted to enjoy myself and the just be in the presence of my friend. The nice thing about R (besides the fact that he always has something going on and is never boring) is that he and I can sit in comfortable silence and it’s not awkward in the slightest. Sometimes you meet people that get lost in their technology or cut off conversations or just in general make you feel like you’re never interesting but with R that's something that I haven’t experienced yet. So we sat, lightly chatted, had some laughs, and I got to learn about his friends and all the drama that comes with it. In general it felt good to just have some time together and to get to know more about this guy’s life. 

After we had some food, a drink, and some delicious desert we got up and started the trek down the Belt line. Let me just say that I understand why it's a popular spot. Its right in the middle of everything and the art is amazing. They had murals; graffiti, statues, sculptures, and just little random areas of spray-paint. They had places you could shop and areas where you could walk and play in the grass. We even went by a bunch of houses and apartments. All along the way I took some photos and enjoyed the nice weather. Soon it’s going to be blazing hot and doing something like the Belt line will be a chore. 

When we reached the end of the belt line we went inside this cute little dog store and had Ataneq pick out a treat for being so awesome and for putting up with our adventures. We could tell that he was tired and that he had definitely had his fill. 

Once we got that for him we started back on the belt line and really just walked in silence. It was a little over five miles so we both were pretty tired. Good food, nice weather, Ataneq to keep us on our toes, and some time alone was really quite the adventure. So we decided that once we got back to the car that we would go and get some bubble tea as a reward. 

And of course something always happens with R so the adventure doesn’t stop there. We get to the car, he unlocks the car, opens the door, is helping Ataneq out and suddenly there is this clanging sound. At first I thought that it was his phone that dropped and I was feeling the pain of his screen possibly cracking. Yet it was worse than that. I turn around and I hear him as he curses. Right underneath him is a drain and he just so happened to drop....-dramatic drum roll-....his key! Yes the key to the car is in the storm drain. He looks at me, looks at the drain, and curses. He takes a moment, turns on his flashlight on his phone and looks down into the drain. I don’t know how he got so damn lucky but the key was in sight and it was reachable if he had a long stick and some tape. So without a moment’s notice he decides to move the car back so that he can see if he can lift the grate. He takes of the emergency brake and the car moves back (it was on a slight hill) and once it stops he gets out and moves it back further until he tells me to pull the brake up. 

Once that is done and the car is out of the way he tries to lift the grate. Its sealed into the ground. Fantastic. He looks at me and we start trying to figure out what we can do. We can go to a CVS but it’s a 20 minute walk and we would have to take Ataneq with us. We think that we can take an ober but I already was tired as it was. We would have to get the ober, get the spare, get another ober and come back. Jesus, it was a lot. After a minute of thinking he realizes that he has an umbrella in the back of his car. He tests the length in the storm drain and it can reach the key but he needs tape to make a sticky surface. Once that is established he decides to make his way to the church nearby so that he can ask for tape. Luckily though he didn’t get far before he ran into some people who were walking by. They had groceries so he asked where they got them from and behold, they know people who live in the neighborhood who can help us. 

So they come over to the car, we tell them what happened and they head off to the house of a friend they know. After a few minutes they come out with some supplies to help reach the key and of course a roll of tape. These guys had tongs, a spatula that was long but not long enough, and a wire. R takes the tape and makes a wide surface on the end of the umbrella. Then very carefully he makes his move. The key sticks to the tape and with patience and slow movements we get the key out of drain. I literally have never felt so much relief. No extra walking, no extra spending, just luck. 

We thanked the people who helped us and after some laughs, a photo, and a smile we all departed our ways. I can say that after that we definitely deserved some bubble tea and the wait was so worth it. 

So next time your key is in a storm drain just remember. If you have a long stick and something stick to put on the end of it, you may be able to save it and get it back. 


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There’s this awesome park just outside of Atlanta called Sweetwater. Its taken care of by the state so the condition it’s in is top notch. R and I went there to go do some hiking and to get outside for a while. Not only but Ataneq needed the time to run around and burn some energy. As a husky he is always ready to rock and roll and because of that you have to be ready to tire him out. So R and I took Ataneq and went out to have some fun. I had never been there before so it was nice change of pace and it was beautiful outside. The temperature was in the 70's- 80's and there was a nice cool breeze to keep us from overheating. 

Once we got to the park we got everything together and got out of the car. Then with the three of us we started on the trail. One of the things I like about R is that he is never boring. There is always something going on and he always seems to have things happen to him. This hike was no different. 

WE start on the trail and were talking a little bit as we walk when we walk past this family who seemed to be in hysterics. At first I thought it was because the mom was handling so many children at once. There had to be at least four with her and I know from experience that handling a lot of children can be a lot for one person. So we kept going and then R stops and tells me to wait. I stop and listen in. The mom is asking one of the kids where her mother was. She was looking around in a panic and seemed to be unsure of what to do. R turns around and starts asking what was going on. Apparently one of the kids got separated from her parents and was trying to figure out where they went. 

R started asking for her name, what she remembered and so forth. In the process he hands me Ataneq so that I can keep him occupied while he tries to help out. All things considering this girl was put together and knew the names of her parents, the type of car they drove, their names, and even a phone number. With that information R and I decided to let the child stay with the family while we went to the ranger station. So the three of us took off and made our way there. 

Once we arrived R went inside to report that he had found a lost child while I kept Ataneq distracted. While I was waiting I happened to overhear a conversation between a women and one of the rangers. Let me just say that the ranger seemed completely calm and didn’t seem like she was all that concerned. Her response to the women was "Well we let everyone know, if we find her we will notify you immediately". Taking a second I jumped in the conversation and asked if the lady was missing a child. The women immediately looked at me and I could tell that her eyes went wide. She stepped forward and nodded, "yes, yes I am missing a child". Moving towards her and keeping a firm grip on Ataneq I told her what happened and that we found her up the trail. She started asking where and I told her that she was at the start of the trail head and we would take her there but first I needed to get R so we can head that way. 

The ranger offered to hold Ataneq but being cautious and knowing that he wasn’t mine I held onto him and waited. A minute later R came back out and quickly we started back the way we came. It took a few minutes and in that time we learned what happened. This mother was all by herself and had only the one child to look after. From her story it seemed that her kid had ran ahead of her and was going back and forth on the trail head. Somewhere in there she lost track of the child and started going hysterical. The mother and child were at least a half mile apart from each other and I was completely blown away that she just lost her and that she wasn’t more aware of her surroundings. I mean it is your child, I would think you would be more attentive then that. 

Once we reached the family we sat back as they were reunited. It felt good to see them together and to know that they were safe. WE all shook hands, smiled at each other and thanked one another and from there R, Ataneq and I departed and started our little hike for the day. TO say the least I was glad that we showed up when we did. I’m not sure if they would have found each other so soon or what the other mother would have done. Honestly it could have been a very long day for them. 

Now I can say that I did my one good thing for the year. 


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