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02/23/2004 Archived Entry: "P2P on Saturday Morning - February 21, 2004"
Our Park to Park (P2P) Skate
On Saturday Morning � February 21, 2004
Caroline B held to her word. Nine o�clock came around, and she was ready to go. Perhaps she over emphasized this to me, knowing that I�m practically always late. �I�m cold,� she said as I pulled my skates out of my car. Bingo! This was either a subtle hint, or an opportunity to warm her up and smooth her over with my warm, inner-lined denim-jeans jacket that laid on top of and was hiding my second skate from me.
�I�m going as fast as I can,� I said. �Let me just find my other skate.� Although the rear extended cab of my pick-up truck is fairly small, I sometimes have lots of crap in it. After digging through everything, usually something weird happens, like realizing something is amiss. Like my other skate being left at home for example.
�Oh, there it is,� I said after finding it under the coat and jammed halfway up under the passenger seat. (It was actually hard to overlook the bright orange, heavy as hell 100mm scooter wheels that I�ve now got on the things.) After putting on my jeans jacket to get warm, Caroline was satisfied for no more than three minutes. �Ok, ok, ok, I�m almost ready to go,� I said to her after having taken half the wheels off my frames to be what I thought was a quickie rotation job.
(I never was good at quickies as they always ended up taking hours.)
�You know Marc,� she responded half disgruntled, �we need to tell you that we�re leaving at 8:30, so that you�re ready to leave when we�re ready to leave 9:00!
This week�s P2P skaters on Sinclair Ave., near Little
Five Points. (Ben H, Caroline B, and David K in back)
The constant up hills & down hills of Dekalb Ave.
(Caroline and Ben)
Ben with Caroline in tow.
Caroline and Ben making their way to Stone Mountain via Church Street.
(I was praying that we�d make it on time.)
Once at Stone Mountain, I had a sudden & strong urge
to climb to its top. The day was simply too nice. The sun
was wonderfully bright, the temperature pleasantly nice,
and my mind was now stating to me: Just do it � Cause
it�s there! So I said my good byes to Caroline and Ben.
(David was a bit slower, so we dropped him a little ways
I then took off my skates & socks and proceeded to the
beginning of the mountain's granite trail. Then Mamie,
her friend Jonathan K, and Puck Kerr (the Wonder Dog)
discovered me. (Actually, most everyone at Stone Mountain
Park seemed to discover me as I was the only idiot around
who was barefoot, wearing spandex shorts, and looking
like a kid with roller skates slung over his shoulder.
Inwardly, I pretended that I was a most attractive young
man, since everyone was turning their heads to stare in
my direction. But I also came to realize that that was
somewhat short of what they were really thinking.)
I tried hard to convince Mamie & John to race up the
850' tall mountain with me. But they merely smiled and
continued to stare at me.
I then ran up the mountain. The skate that had been slung
over my backside repetitively smashed into my right arm�s
funny bone, near my elbow. And somewhere along the way,
I stubbed one of my toes. But all along the way, people
stared. Some simply shouted out, �Hey� You� you ought-a�
just put on your skates!�
Beautiful Stone Mountain and a section of its foot trail up to the top.
A sign discovered along the way.
About the Sweet Gum Tree:
1) The Sweetgum tree, Liquidambar styraciflua,
is a rapid growing shade tree usually grown for
its excellent fall color. It has an upright pyramidal
growth habit in its youth and then becomes
spreading, irregular, and open as it ages. The
star shaped lustrous dark green foliage turns a
spectacular fall color, often a combination of
green, yellow, orange, red and purple foliage,
but sometimes solid crimson, burgundy or scarlet.
2) It tastes good if you lick it.
More of the uphill trail.
Toward the top, there are fewer trees, and more people,
like me, huffing & puffing.
And like virtually any high-altitude mountain, the last 100 feet or so
is usually the most difficult to run up barefooted.
The pretty view looking toward Atlanta from my perch near the top of
Stone Mountain. With a steady, chilled wind, lying in the warm sun was
I suddenly decided that Life is GREAT !!!
So in turn, I took a picture of myself.
So here I am, at the top of a mountain, with no shoes on,
thinking Life is GREAT, and taking pictures of myself when
I hear my name being called out in the steady, chilled wind.
I at first thought it was God calling to me in praise.
But then I discovered it was David.
??? David ???
Oh my gosh, David�s up here too!
We had ditched him way back in Decatur or someplace.
Now he�s up here at the top of the mountain with me.
And he�s got no shoes on!!!
I couldn�t help but to stare at the crazy fool.
�David, what�s you doin� up here?,� I asked into the steady,
�The day�s too perfect, and the top of the mountain was too
close. Besides, I�m hiking up Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa later
this year, and I wanted some practice,� he said with a smile.
(I started to think of how Atlanta�s Stone Mountain compares
to Africa�s Kilimanjaro� but like a computer in an endless loop�
I was stumped.)
Marc and David at the top of Stone Mountain.
David standing at the point that I considered to be the very
top of Stone Mountain. (I should�ve given him an American or
Union flag to hold. Or better yet - - a Confederate flag!)
Heading down the mountain.
�Hey� You� ya� otta just put your skates on,� I again heard someone
An upper portion of Stone Mountain.
The other three sides of the mountain have slopes that are
at or near a vertical. On the vertical frontside of the mountain
is a massive carving of three Civil War era Confederate heroes.
These are President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee,
and Lt. General Thomas �Stonewall� Jackson. During the evening
in the Summer, a spectacular lazer light show is presented on
the vertical face of this frontside of the mountain.
David on �The Path,� heading toward downtown Decatur and
then on toward Atlanta�s Piedmont Park.
Somewhere around Church Street, David and I picked-up
Ulysses L. �I�m improving,� he said to us. �I�m goin� faster
all the time.�
�Lots of practice makes the difference,� I responded.
�Practice makes PERFECT !� was his reply.
Later, David said to me that he feels so small when next to
someone who�s been through so much hardship, and yet turns
around and accomplishes so much later in life. Yep. Someone
like Ulysses rightfully earns all the respect in the World !
David and Ulysses on Church Street.
The route back to Piedmont Park can be divided:
1) The traditional A2A route along Dekalb Ave.
2) Along McLendon Ave.
McLendon Ave is far, far more arduous with its series of
extreme up-hills. So, that�s the route that I chose. And
upon reaching these stairs at the top of the final extreme
hill� Congrats!!! You�re almost home! And it's basically all
down hill from here!