My Trips to the South - Florida, Alabama, & Georgia and Tennessee, North Carolina, & Virginia

Updated on June 21, 2018
Guckenberger profile image

Alex has taught at two public schools, been accepted into two honorary societies, and traveled the Americas and Europe. He has his A.A.

Beulah Primitive Baptist Church in Georgia, United States

From Maryland to Florida

My southern adventures begins where I have spent most of my time on this planet; in Maryland. Maryland is debatably a southern state, but it will not e the primary focal point of this memoir. Way back in the year of 2014, my uncle drove us to the Southwest airlines Airport. I have to state that this airport was pretty mild in comparison to the one I visited whilst in New York, but it was still enjoyably interesting. We all arrived on July the 17th. What I hated about this airport (and, maybe just about every airport) is how we were treated during inspections. I feel like security views us more like cattle than humans. And, honestly I think that even cattle deserve some fundamental level of respect. Anyway, on a far lighter note - the airplane ride was awesome as always! I love looking through plan windows so much!

Far Above the Earth Near the Southeastern United States

I am sure that some people get all too used to it, but I never tire of the sights from an airplane in mid-flight! After about an hour or so, we ended up in Panama City, Florida. The beach there is gorgeous. As someone fascinated with things like agriculture and ethnobotany, I really enjoyed just being able to meditate on the local plant life and note how different this fundamental part of the background was from my home in Maryland!

Local Plant Life in the Southern United States

So, we took a plane from Maryland to Florida. Then, after enjoying Florida for some time, we road via van from Florida through Alabama to Georgia. I got the wonderful chance to see much of my adopted family, greet my very missed great-grandmother in her cemetery, and I got to see lots of roadside homemade vendors! On that last point, I was very happy to buy some southern jam! I felt like I almost had to seize such an opportunity while we were down there - not knowing when I would be back.

Roadside Vendor in the Southern United States

Seeing all of my extended family was awesome! There are so many of us and I still get an invitation to return every year. I will probably revisit one day, but for now I am involved with too many other projects. And, as much as I love the south, it is way too warm down there for me to consider moving permanently.

Jelly from the South

As far as the family reunion went, I was satisfied by the food alone. I love food, and this was a special treat. I have a lot of adopted family from the south, but southern meals are yet another thing that I never tire of! The family reunion was had once we arrived in Georgia, and I have to state that Georgia has some of the nicest people that I've met in nine U.S. states and four countries! I didn't get a chance to see as much of Alabama as I would have desired, but that simply leaves an excuse to go to the south again sometime in the near future.

Dirt Road in Terrell County, Georgia

I need to rewind to an earlier point. One of the main reasons for my visit was to be near my great-grandmother's grave. She was and still is one of the most important people in my life. As a male I was always taught not to shed any tears. For this reason, I put off mourning her for years. My mourning had passed by the time I arrived in Georgia, but I still missed her. Sometimes we all just need a little bit of closure.

More Natural Plant Life in the Southern United States

Something that may shock some of my readers is the easy access to certain alcoholic beverages in certain areas of the southern United States. The reason by which this may surprise some individuals is because the state of Maryland has very strict alcohol laws and policies. This, of course, is not true for every state. Ever since the end of its prohibition, alcohol sales have become vast and widespread. I haven't drank any alcoholic drinks since early 2014, and my harsh ride to sobriety played some part in my mental state during this trip!

Wines and Similar Drinks in a Store in the Southern United States

After driving back to Florida, we got on a plane to arrive in Maryland once again. On the plane ride, we sat next to someone whose name revealed that we too may be related! Considering that some of my family is Nigerian, some Asian, and some Mexican - I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest!

Far Above the Earth Near the Southeastern United States

Now, let's speed ahead to the year 2017. That's when I decided to go to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee. The park actually extends to North Carolina. My intention was to see the 2017 eclipse from this national park. I didn't get the best view of the eclipse, but I did get to view many worthy and majestic sights!

Right after work on August the 21st, I started the long drive from Maryland to Tennessee. I love these drives, even if I find it nearly impossible to stay awake at times! I remember being very hungry at one point in time, so I stopped by a petrol station located on the side of a highway. They had sandwiches, so I bought one. Now, one should note that these sandwiches were made with a cheese that looked strange to me, and cheap-looking bread. It tasted horrible and wonderful at the same time. That is to state; I was so hungry, that any sustenance felt good to receive, yet the questionable taste of the gas station cheese sandwich was evident even in my tired and hungry haze. I very much felt as though I was officially in the southern United States when I spotted a sign with the title of a highway which was named after the confederate general Robert Edward Lee.

I loved driving through Virginia. Virginia has loads of beautiful mountains. These mountains are, at times, just about everywhere in sight! Even workers at a McDonald's down there can go outside and stand it awe at the amazing sights around them! I will be mentioning this same McDonald's soon, so please remember this seemingly irrelevant point.

Southern State of Virginia in the United States

A
Virginia:
Virginia, USA

get directions

The drive through Virginia was long, but satisfying. I really love the natural beautitudes that exist all throughout that region of our amazing country. I noticed early on in this venture, by word of mouth and by signs on the road, that I was far from the only person traveling to get a good look at the eclipse. I did get a chance to view the eclipse whist I was in Tennessee, but it wasn't the highlight of my trip.

Video of the Sun During the 2017 Solar Eclipse

What, then, was the highlight of my second trip down south? Visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is my answer; and, it is super gorgeous! Driving through mountains in Virginia was fun too, but Tennessee took the cake! The views from within the forests are just breathtaking.

Video of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee

Just seeing some of the forests wasn't enough for me. I drove through the roads of the park - some of which seem to be still under construction! I remember tall cliffs on my right side and giant cliff drops on my right side! I also recall the absence of railings - I loved being so close to death! The side of the cliffs and the life that was able to cling to it - well, I speak two languages and words still fail me when desiring to describe the majesty and beauty of this place! But, I knew that I eventually needed to start heading home. I was so very tired. It was around this time that I gained the opportunity to see some of North Carolina. However, I was just so very tired. The sights of the American landscapes never disappoint me, but my mind was focused on finding a place to pass out.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee

A
great smoky mountains national park:
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, United States

get directions

The roads were hard to drive. Everyone was returning north after coming south for the eclipse. Accidents seem to occur moments after another vehicle accident was cleared; and, this pattern seemed to be the highway norm for quite some time. After many hours of driving, I finally found a rest stop. I needed to just stay awake for a little while longer - or, so I thought! The traffic had been so congested that the normal area of the rest stop was full. Not only was the main part full, but it was so full that there were cars parked on the exit road of the rest stop and even in the truck area! This was not going to do, so I eventually left in search of somewhere else to catch some sleep.

I left the interstate, and I went into a town. I initially had planned to sleep behind a Goodwill. I have donated hundreds of dollars worth of items to these stores, and I thought this would be a good place to rest as I felt I had some right to do so. However, due to the absence of light and vehicles nearby; I felt as if this spot seemed far too shady to spend the night. So, I drove until I came back to that McDonald's I had visited on my first trip down. I left my keys in the ignition so that I may drive away if anyone felt I had overstayed my welcome. When I awoke, I was ready to make the trek home. I turned my keys and discovered that by leaving my keys in the ignition, my car's battery had died! I asked for help inside the McDonald's. A kind manager soon allowed one of their own to help me. Two good samaritans from New Jersey ended up helping me very promptly, as they had a handheld battery charger on them. However, I still paid the promised money to the McDonald's employee as she had extended far more effort than I had expected. Apparently, she hadn't brought money for her lunch that day and I may have been the answer to someone's prayer that day!

The short ending is that I arrived back at my home safe and sound. I love the south. I love the foods and the scenery and the wildlife and the people! Do you like the south? What's your favorite trait of the southern Americas? Do you have a favorite southern food, state, country, or tradition? Please be sure to share all of your thoughts in the comments below!

© 2017 Alexander James Guckenberger

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Guckenberger profile imageAUTHOR

      Alexander James Guckenberger 

      4 months ago from Maryland, United States of America

      Thanks Mom. ^_^

    • profile image

      Laura 

      4 months ago

      Very interesting reading- you have a way of wrinting that keeps the reader intrigued.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, letterpile.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://letterpile.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)