Monday, August 27, 2007

MARTA 101 and other cool tips

If ever there was a Kodak moment for Valerie and I, it was yesterday. So here's the story, no pics I'm so sorry! We set out for a fun day with the children (minus Mailey because, well those who know her probably know why) for a fun day in Atlanta at the Grant Park Summer Shade Festival. I'd found a write up for it in Lifestyles and thought, heck let's go! So, here's how it went. It's long and extremely detailed, but I just could not resist. It's a good story, so follow along......

Valerie, Brice and Olivia got the truck from my house sometime while we were Sunday schooling and picked up her finds from the auction Saturday night in Hogansville. She then came to Cornerstone Church to pick up William and I at 12:15. (I've gotta set the tone and TIME for you at this point). We were hungry enough, so we ran through ZAXBY'S to get some good ole' fried chicken and fries(and sauce). We head back to my house to drop the now full truck and get her suburban to take on up to MARTA, because I remember saying, "Let's don't waste time going and unloading it now." Let me preface this next scenario with the fact that Valerie thought that it would be an "adventure" to all ride MARTA to this Grant Park art festival together and not have to worry about finding a place to park. I of course agreed to the adventure and went along for the ride! Timeline check: 12:30 leave Jenni's house; get gas in suburban: 12:35; head to MARTA: 12:45; get to College Park MARTA: 1PM. We are a happy 5 some: 1:05pm. In our heads we'll be there by 2PM ready to join the festivities. This is Valerie, Brice, Olivia, Me and William that is. We get our Breeze tickets and wander down to the depths below to catch the MARTA train. And we wait.......and we wait. It's okay though, we are up for an adventure!

Finally the train arrives and we hop on! We giggle and watch the scenery. William asks why so many buildings have art on them, I say it's "graffiti baby" and don't even think about trying it I think to myself! Olivia and Brice are just as wide-eyed and excited for the day's agenda. We get off at Midtown, the junction for the east/west train and get over quickly for the east train. While waiting, we view a map and decide we should get off at Decatur to get a bus to Grant Park. You see, we sort of thought we knew how to get there. I asked Billy and he said he thought we should get off at King Memorial, Valerie looked and it said bus 31, the map said J7. I'm telling you, we were lost. Finally (20 min+) the east train came and we hopped on. We went to Decatur only to find out from a nice gentleman that we'd actually gone too far and we should have gotten off at King Memorial (like Billy said) and taken the #32 bus to Grant Park. Well *@#%^$%^, we get off, and head back towards a west train. Off course at this time we ALL had to pee (except Valerie because she's a camel, but that's another story). So we ask a MARTA cop for help and a key to the potty. She let us into the potty only to find out that once we went out where the potty was, you had to pay to get back in again (of course this was after we'd crossed the line). But since it was our first offense she said she'd let us back in. By the way did I mention that the next train was running west in 20 min? So pottied, and back in, we found our way back to the westbound train with time to spare. We got back on, got off at King Memorial and then....well did what any white woman in downtown Atlanta with 3 children under the age of 8 would do, asked a gay black man! He said to take, get this, the short bus #32 and it would go straight to Grant Park and it was probably down there right now! So we all ran down three flights of stairs to the street only to find several regular bus riders watching and laughing under their breath at us white women and kids. Not seeing the short bus, Valerie ran back to the nice man who gave us initial instructions and he bee bopped right over, introduced us to the nicest woman in the coolest shades and said, she'll show you what to do. Get on this #32 and it'll take you to the back side of Grant Park. So we waited.......waited.......then it arrived! We hopped on that air conditioned #32 MARTA full of people going who knows where and rode until we were kindly told, this is your stop. The bus driver told us exactly where to be to get picked back up and that it ran every 50min. Have a I mentioned a time...well it's like 3:15PM. But there it is....Grant Park.

First thing we do...get Margaritas! Kids get fabulous Italian Ice Cream and we are off! The atmosphere is fabulous music, white little tents as far as the eye can see... we are set. We putt-putt at the 92.9 tent, view some way cool art, get some great ideas and then.....then we hear the thunder......and then we head for summer shade trees......and then the bottom falls out. We stay under the tree for a bit and then I mean the bottom really falls out! So we all run under an artist's tent and wait until the rain dies down. (5ish) Meanwhile we are all soaked, and giggling because what else is there to do, really. The kids have been so great, never once complained. Finally the rain dies to a sprinkle and we mush on. We find several great art inspirations, especially for our jewelry displays, a great found object artist and then head for the kids art making area. We eat, walk some more and decide with the impending rain beginning to fall more rapidly, perhaps we should head for our bus route. Dippin dots, lovely local brew and another fruity delight in hand we stand at our bus stop for fear of the bus riding right past and not stopping. Did I mention it's RAINING? And we are the only fools at the stop period on a Sunday in the rain without umbrellas? Well, the bus was running nice and on time (of course we had to wait about 20 min), we hopped on, tried to pay...think we did it right and got off at our King Memorial. We bought more MARTA Breeze tickets and waited again...this time playing 20 questions to pass the time. We even gained a few players while waiting. Hopped on the west train, then waited for the south train....then got off at College Park. Down to the suburban where there was no ticket this time on the dashboard and headed for home around 6PMish. Ahhhh good old 85 south. Orange barrels, here we come!

So warning for the MARTA wise.........Sunday they run a single track. What does that mean? That means it takes a heck of a lot longer than it ever should to get somewhere! Grant Park Summer Shade Festival was a real winner and a definite return venue for the Flea Chicks! Next time thought, we'll drive a flea chick truck up there! Wanna come?

PS MARTA ended up costing about $30, so driving would have been cheaper, but no where near the adventure for us and the kids! So no regrets for us!

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