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Southern US Road Trip (I):BRU-FRA-ATL On LH  
User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 628 posts, RR: 5
Posted (1 year 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 7183 times:

Regular readers of this forum know this already: two years ago I published an analysis of transatlantic air traffic on this site, which would give me the opportunity to exchange a couple of aviation related e-mails with some fellow A.netters. Of those correspondences, the one that developped with member BNAOWB would gradually turn into one of the greatest friendships of my life. Despite the distance separating our respective home towns (Charleroi, Belgium for me, Atlanta, USA for BNAOWB), we managed to keep the spirit of our friendship alive and well through Skype and e-mails, and we finally met in person for a very successful common trip to Azerbaijan and Belarus in 2012.

Readers interested in the details of the above story can click on the following links:

W-E In Washington (1): AF Train + A380 BRU-CDG-IAD (by BrusselsSouth Jan 29 2012 in Trip Reports)
W-E In Washington (2): DCA-MIA-AMS-BRU AA/KL MD-11 (by BrusselsSouth Jan 29 2012 in Trip Reports)

An A.net Friendship (I): Moscow/Azerbaijan/Kiev (by BrusselsSouth Nov 10 2012 in Trip Reports)
An A.net Friendship (II): Belarus (Aerosvit+SU) (by BrusselsSouth Nov 10 2012 in Trip Reports)

Long story short, since our first trip together had been so successful, we started discussing another trip almost immediately after our return. Since I could not afford to plan anything for the long term because of specific personal constraints in 2013, we decided that we would visit each other's countries during this year, with me having the honor to start the party because I had Star miles about to expire. So, a trip from Brussels to Atlanta (via FRA) was soon booked, with the return leg starting in Chicago instead of Atlanta to allow me to experience another domestic U.S. flight. BNAOWB kindly invited me to meet his family and stay in his home near Atlanta, yet, being the travel nuts that we are, we soon decided that we should take my visit as an opportunity to explore the southern U.S. which would reduce my visit to BNAOWB's family to a one-night stay (including a very nice southern style dinner!).

We were busy discussing what could form a nice road trip itinerary and how to reach ORD from the various end points, when BNAOWB sent me a mail containing a very interesting option. I believe I won't reveal much of our private correspondence if I retranscript the following:

Here is a surprising option to CHI to consider:
PAH-ORD UA (2:59P-4:20P) $141
[...]
PAH is so small that it would be a fascinating contrast on a trip that also includes ATL, ORD, BRU, and MUC.
You could be the first Belgian to ever fly from PAH  
But, while a visit to downtown Chicago would be possible, you would obviously miss the opportunity to fly WN and into MDW.


For some reason, I was so seduced by the idea of flying out of this small town I had never heard about, that it took me less than one day to make up mind and book the Paducah-Chicago option that BNAOWB suggested. All that was left to do was to design an itinerary that would be as interesting as possible from Atlanta to Paducah. Of course, I would have wanted to be in the U.S. for much longer, but work constraints had reduced my realistic time away from the office to 5 days, which was better than nothing I thought. After much discussion, we agreed on the following:

- Atlanta - Chattanooga (staying in Chattanooga).
- Chattanooga - Monteagle - Huntsville - Decatur (AL) - Muscle Shoals - Memphis (staying in Memphis).
- Memphis - Osceola (AR) - New Madrid (MO) - Cairo (IL) - Paducah (KY).

That itinerary had all it takes to get us excited: a mix of culture, scenery, history, small towns, large cities, and it would allow me to "visit" an impressive 8 states on a 5-day trip! As the icing on the cake, we would be exposed to 3 major rivers of America: Tennessee, Mississippi and Ohio.

Flight map (from the Great Circle Mapper):

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/map.gif

Road trip map:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/rtmap.jpg

So, dear readers, the story of this trip begins on a Friday at the end of March 2013, somewhere on the (infamous - for its traffic jams) R0 ring road around Brussels, Belgium:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/IMG_20130322_065931.jpg

I'm driving to BRU in this cold winter morning (it's actually spring, as no one could guess):

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/IMG_20130322_070206.jpg

For personal reasons, I exceptionally arrive at the airport with a rental car, so after a quick detour by the Europcar office, I enter the departure hall of Brussels Airport. A minor 10-minute delay is announced for my flight to FRA (7th line on the display) - nothing to worry about:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160053.JPG

Note the direct flight to ATL (DL81) on the 6th line of the 3rd column (one day maybe...).

Since I have covered BRU in other reports, including in my Copenhagen report (http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/trip_reports/read.main/205517/), let's go straight to gate A45 for my departure to FRA. On my way I spot the following:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160054.JPG
JetairFly B767-38EER OO-JAP leaving to Varadero, Cuba as TB501.

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160055.JPG
Parked at concourse B, Delta's ship 1502 (N152DL) would leave later that day to ATL as DL81.

My flight to FRA today, LH1005, would have had all the characteristics of a pretty standard European flight on LH, if it wasn't for a small detail that would make it somehow special:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160058.JPG

Can't see what I'm talking about? Look closer, the wing tip:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160057.JPG

Yes! Not only is D-AIZQ Lufthansa's most recently delivered A320 (delivered just two weeks ago!), it's also one of the few, and LH's second only, A320 to be equipped with the so-called "sharklets"! Of course, this only matters to A.netters, other passengers couldn't care less. Here's a brief tour of BRU as we taxi to runway 07R for departure (believe it or not, out of 20 departures from BRU, it's only the second time that I take off to the East!):

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160061.JPG
Brussels Airlines' Avros remain a common sight at BRU, but this should change eventually.

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160062.JPG
Dash-8 corner.

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160066.JPG
D-AKNM departing to STR as 4U2161.

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160069.JPG
OO-SFV is being prepared for her next service to Africa, after her arrival from JFK. SN's African flights depart from the tip of concourse A.

Two views of the currently unused old "satellite" (concourse C) and concourse B to the right:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160074.JPG

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160071.JPG

But wait, what do I see here? Zoom in, please:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160073.JPG

A Jet Airways (Konnect) 737? Sure, BRU is a mini-hub for 9W, but a 737? Now that one is a mystery to me. Planespotters.net has her "stored" at GWO (Greenwood, USA) since March 25th, so perhaps I was just lucky and saw her during a fuel stop on her way to the U.S.? Any info would be appreciated. OK, time for take off now:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160076.JPG

Not long after departure, we fly over Liège, Belgium:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160083.JPG
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http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160086.JPG

Note two iconic landmarks, the red stadium of "Standard Liège" in Sclessin, and the impressive new station of Liège-Guillemins designed by famous architect Santiago Calatrava:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160084.JPG

And an almost overhead shot of LGG airport:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160079.JPG

Our route then takes us over western Germany. This is Mainz on River Rhine:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160088.JPG

And near by Wiesbaden:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160089.JPG

As we line up with FRA's runway 07R, we get to see Flörsheim am Main (the "Main" river in the foreground is FRA's namesake):

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160090.JPG

Raunheim:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160091.JPG

A quarry as we're close to touch down:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160092.JPG

Almost there, this is runway 18:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160093.JPG

A Thai A380 as a nice welcome:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160094.JPG
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http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160098.JPG

N48127 departing as UA118 to Newark:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160100.JPG

We disembarked at a remote stand which was a good opportunity to emulate Markus (Flieger67)'s trademark "Under the wing, you know" shots, with the "sharklet" in all its splendor:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/IMG_20130322_092657.jpg

Now as you all know, FRA is LH heaven, just don't go if you don't line blue cranes in yellow circles. Here are some highlights:

A380-800 D-AIMH being pushed back for her service to Houston as LH440:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160103.JPG

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160104.JPG

D-ABYD is the first B747-8i that I spot in person. She'll depart to LAX as LH456:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160106.JPG
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http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160107.JPG
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http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160108.JPG

Detail of the 747-8's engine and raked wingtip, as B737-500 D-ABIC Krefeld passes by, ready for another domestic hop within Germany:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160109.JPG

Now look at this:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160114.JPG

The 744 is N179UA arriving from SFO as UA900. The A330-300 in the foreground is D-AIKG, and she will take me to ATL:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160111.JPG

Gates Z68 and Z66 as boarding time approaches (I'm getting very excited now):

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/IMG_20130322_104425.jpg

Once on board, I take my seat 46K, on the very last row. I am soon joined by a very nice German lady whom I would chat with for a good part of the flight:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160115.JPG

Our neighbor is D-AIKC, about to fly into another DL hub, DTW:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160116.JPG

Great line up of LH heavies as we push back. From left to right: A380-800 D-AIMG to NRT, B747-400 D-ABVR to MEX, A340-600 D-AIHX to NGO and D-AIHD to MCO:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160119.JPG

Bye bye, FRA:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160121.JPG

One for Phil aka Wilco737 (not sure he still flies those beauties, though):

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160123.JPG

A fine example of failed photo framing, but interesting metal in the background nonetheless:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160124.JPG

LH Regional apron:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160125.JPG

Austrian Arrows F100 OE-LVO to Salzburg:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160126.JPG

There's not much to see out of the window after take off. Clouds everywhere. Lunch is served 45 minutes into the flight and chicken is proposed to me so nicely that I just can't refuse:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/IMG_20130322_133642.jpg

I start chatting with my seat mate who happens to be a very interesting German lady on a leisure trip to Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Conversation makes time fly, and we're soon halfway to America:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160130.JPG

I give the onboard Wifi feature a try. It works as intended, but it's pricey and slow. I send live pictures from the flight to my wife, BNAOWB and a few friends just for the fun of it (as it turns out, BNAOWB would only see the picture days later...). Before I know it, we've reached another continent:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160134.JPG

Out of pure luck, the thick cloud cover that has been hiding the ground for most of the flight magically clears as we fly near Montreal, Canada, treating me with fantastic views that bring back beautiful memories of my time there in 2009 (albeit it was in much warmer weather):

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160136.JPG

Can you spot YUL?

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160139.JPG

Now you can:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160143.JPG

Sure looks cold down there:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160146.JPG

As we're getting close to our destination, a hot pre-arrival snack is served. I choose a German style sausage sandwich while my seat mate tries a vegetarian mini-pizza:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/IMG_20130322_203935.jpg

I spend the remainder of the flight watching scenery, before we enter into the clouds again. I did not manage to identify that town, somewhere in West Virginia:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160148.JPG

New River Gorge (WV):
http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160152.JPG

Beckley (WV) and its airport (BKW):
http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160156.JPG

As we approach the Atlanta area, air traffic becomes more dense:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160149.JPG

Since our approach into Atlanta is from the Northeast, we fly close to Lake Lanier, Georgia (thanks BNAOWB for the pre-flight briefing!):

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160160.JPG
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http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160159.JPG

Finally, we make a long circuit around Atlanta to land from the West. Here are some typical residential neighborhoods in Douglasville (West of Atlanta) as we're flying the base leg of the approach:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160161.JPG

Final approach over ATL's remote car parks, with the Georgia International Convention Center visible:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160164.JPG

Touching down on runway 08L...

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160167.JPG

... and racing with an FL 717 taking off from 08R:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160169.JPG

Famous "Fly Delta Jets" sign:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160170.JPG

ATL scenes during taxi:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160172.JPG

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160173.JPG

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160174.JPG

No question as to who's the dominant airline here:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160182.JPG

Yet, a few other airlines do coexist peacefully, like Silver Airways, operating Saab 340's to regional destinations, or the odd GeorgiaSkies 9-seater Cessna 208B's (operated by Pacific Wings) flying EAS (Essential Air Service) hops to nearby Macon, GA:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160179.JPG

DL heavies at terminal E (the sole international terminal until last year):

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160180.JPG

Finally coming to a full stop at the new international terminal (terminal F, aka Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal), next to an AirTran 737-700:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160184.JPG

Despite the relatively short lines, it takes me a good while (about 45 minutes indeed) to disembark, pass immigration and reclaim my bag. Terminal F is modern and pleasant and certainly offers an adequate welcome to Atlanta to foreign visitors.

BNAOWB is waiting for me in the public area of the terminal. He directs me to a window from where I can see the LH plane I have just arrived on:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160185.JPG

Before we head to his home, he takes me on a nice tour of the airport, making me visit the domestic terminal (both outside and inside!):

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160188.JPG

And showing me the DL headquarters on the north side of the airport:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160193.JPG

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160194.JPG

He shares lots of interesting information about the airport, before we head to the city for a brief overview (I'll visit in more detail tomorrow):

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160199.JPG

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160203.JPG

We stop at the Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site where we visit MLK's tomb:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160204.JPG

And the Ebenezer Baptist Church where he pastored:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160206.JPG

We continue on North Avenue:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160210.JPG

Where we see the impressive Bank of America Plaza, which is the tallest building in the United States outside Chicago and NYC:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160211.JPG

Since I've never driven a real American pick-up truck, BNAOWB offers me to stop at his workplace to let me test his Dodge Ram 2500:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160222.JPG

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160216.JPG

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/IMG_20130322_195002.jpg

Neat experience! As we leave his workplace, he shows me a precise spot where there's apparently nothing special:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160215.JPG

Except that the Eastern Continental Divide runs right through this street at this very location! After some additional sightseeing, we eventually reach BNAOWB's home where I meet his beautiful kids and wife (who has just cooked a southern-themed meal for us!). We spend the remainder of the evening chatting around the delicious meal until we call it a night. A neat room has been prepared for me:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160230.JPG

On the next morning, we wake up early to meet BNAOWB's parents and have breakfast at their place:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160240.JPG

Despite the threatening clouds, we decide to climb atop Stone Mountain, an impressive granite mountain in the eastern suburbs of Atlanta. And sure enough, slaloming between the lightning bolts in the middle of the storm, we're soaked to the bones as we reach the top:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160248.JPG

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160250.JPG

It takes more than rain and lightning discharges to scare A.netters. Since we couldn't get more wet than we currently are, we might as well continue the visit of Stone Mountain. If you look very carefully between the tree to the left and the flag, you'll see the famous giant carvings of confederate leaders on the mountain side. The mountain is now a giant waterfall, that's how bad it's raining:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160254.JPG

So, after this unusual visit, BNAOWB drops me off at the Avondale MARTA station. I have planned to visit Atlanta on my own since he couldn't get a day off today, but we'll meet again at 3pm to start our road trip, so it will be a short day at work for him anyway:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160257.JPG

I get off the train in front of the Georgia State Capitol and its golden dome:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160258.JPG

Rain hasn't stopped and it starts to worry me a bit:



Across the street is Atlanta's Central Presbyterian Church, built in 1885:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160261.JPG

Not knowing where to go to escape the rain, I go down into Atlanta's belly and visit Underground Atlanta before I get on a train to North Avenue. As it turns out, rain has finally stopped as I emerge from the station in front of the Fox Theater:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160266.JPG

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160269.JPG

I have a look at the Georgian Terrace Hotel across the street:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160267.JPG

Continuing along North Avenue, I reach a icon of Atlanta, the Varsity restaurant (the tower in the back is part of the Coca-Cola world headquarters):



Looking back into North Avenue:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160281.JPG

To my right is the Georgia Tech campus:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160289.JPG

The focal point of the campus is the Tech Tower. Students have stolen the letter "T" several times:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160287.JPG

These decayed buildings remind me that I've gone too far West. Before I walk back to safer places, let me try to confer them a bit of brightness by accentuating their otherwise faded colors:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160293.JPG

Back into downtown, I wander around the 21-acre Centennial Olympic Park, built as part of the infrastructure improvements for the 1996 Summer Olympics:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160301.JPG

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160303.JPG

I'm supposed to have lunch at the Sun Dial restaurant, located atop the Westin Peachtree Plaza. The clouds surrounding the restaurant windows make me believe that I should still explore the city before trying my luck there:



Lovely Broad Street:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160311.JPG

Peachtree Street and Hooters:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160314.JPG

Georgia-Pacific Tower in Peachtree Street:



Around the Sun-Trust Tower:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160316.JPG

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160318.JPG

At 1pm I become hungry so I go to the Sun Dial restaurant for a lunch with a view:


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http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/IMG_20130323_131641.jpg

Can you spot the Georgia State Capitol and its golden dome here?

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160321.JPG

Speaking of domes, here's the Georgia Dome:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160327.JPG

And here, the CNN headquarters:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160328.JPG

Looking North to the Downtown Connector and the Bank of America Tower:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160333.JPG

Some last views of downtown:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160336.JPG
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Before I head to Decatur, GA, to meet BNAOWB in front of the DeKalb County Courthouse:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160344.JPG

We're now ready to start our road trip through rural America. Before we go, BNAOWB still wants to show me the street where his childhood home was located:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160349.JPG

So, after a last bit of sighseeing around Atlanta, we leave the Capital of the South, headed North toward Tennessee:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160357.JPG

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160359.JPG

After a relatively short drive, we reach Chattanooga:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160361.JPG

But before we enter the city proper, we first climb atop Lookout Mountain to enjoy the view on the Tennessee River and the city of Chattanooga:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160365.JPG

10 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 628 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (1 year 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 7179 times:

Continued:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160370.JPG

In Chattanooga, we have decided to stay at the historic Choo Choo Hotel, whose lobby is installed in a former railway station grand hall:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160379.JPG

To make it even more historic, we opt for a stay in authentic old Victorian train cars converted into hotel rooms:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160373.JPG

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160372.JPG

After we've dropped our bags, we go out for a bit of city exploration and a nice dinner:

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On the next morning, we get on the road again and follow Interstate 24 for a very short incursion back into Georgia:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160387.JPG

Before entering Tennessee again and climbing the infamous section of I-24 near Monteagle, in low clouds:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160392.JPG

Our first stop of the day is the lovely small town of Sewanee, best known for being home to the University of the South, and whose location on the edge of the Cumberland Plateau offers great lookout points on the surrounding rural areas:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160400.JPG

Soon after, we stop at the Railroad Park in the sleepy little town of Cowan:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160405.JPG

Then continue on US Highway 41A...

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160409.JPG

... to Winchester, Tennessee:

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And after another stop at the Falls Mill in Belvidere:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160418.JPG

We leave Tennessee...



... and enter Alabama:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160423.JPG

Our first stop in the Yellowhammer State is for coffee at a local gas station:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160424.JPG

And soon we find ourselves entering Huntsville:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160426.JPG
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http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160425.JPG
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http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160429.JPG

"Big Spring" is the original water source that the city of Huntsville was built around:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160431.JPG

On the edge of Huntsville...

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160432.JPG

... we pay a visit to the U.S. Space & Rocket Museum, a must see museum for anyone in the area, presenting the history of American rockets (Huntsville was a major center in the development of rockets), including the famous Saturn V:



And a model of the now retired Space Shuttle:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160445.JPG

As we drive away from the museum after our visit...

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160446.JPG

...what do we see?

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160448.JPG

It looks like a Delta Mad Dog about to land. It doesn't take more than this for BNAOWB to leave the highway in the direction of the ambitiously named "Huntsville International Airport", for a slow drive-by:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160449.JPG
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http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160450.JPG

To our surprise, there's even someone dropping off relatives here from... Alaska (well, that's what the license plate says, at least...):

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160451.JPG

One crossing of the Tennessee River later, we land in the pleasant town of Decatur, Alabama:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160458.JPG
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http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160459.JPG

Near Decatur is one out of two facilities of United Launch Alliance (ULA)'s manufacturing, assembly and integration process for its Atlas and Delta space launchers:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160461.JPG

Courtland, Alabama, is a sleepy little town a couple of miles after Decatur. I liked its somewhat decadent atmosphere but I must admit that it's a tad bit too much on the quiet side for me to consider it as my new home town:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160462.JPG
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http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160470.JPG

Upon leaving Courtland, we drive on secondary county road to the historic Goode-Hall plantation house near the town of Town Creek, where we are litterally attacked by watch dogs:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160472.JPG

It doesn't take a far stretched imagination to think that I could have been one of the only Belgians to ever set foot here. For lunch, we stop at a "Ruby Tuesday" in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Thank you BNAOWB for the heads up, I had never heard of that chain before and enjoyed the meal (oh, and now I'm aware that restaurants in Muscle Shoals do not serve alcohol on Sundays...):

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160476.JPG

The very small town of Cherokee, Alabama, could have remained an insignificant name on our itinerary map, if we hadn't somehow become aware that this is where I beat my former "westernmost record", that is, the westernmost point I have ever travelled to. Because, believe it or not, Cherokee, Alabama, is located at the same longitude as Chicago's O'Hare airport, my former westernmost "record"!

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160477.JPG

Since there's not much to do in Cherokee (no offense to my numerous readers from there...):

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160478.JPG

BNAOWB suggests that I take this opportunity to visit the local post office, which is, according to him, very typical of those small towns:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160480.JPG

Inside, I am amazed by the ornate P.O. boxes:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160482.JPG

But, the police is never far away in Cherokee:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160479.JPG

So, we decide to leave and continue our journey, soon joining the Natchez Trace Parkway:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160486.JPG
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http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160487.JPG

Until the "Colbert Ferry" site on the Tennessee River (again) where we stop for a photo break:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160489.JPG

Under the vigilant eye of a local fisherman:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160491.JPG

Back on the Natchez Trace Parkway:

http://www.msmaviation.com/anet/2013usa/P1160494.JPG


User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 628 posts, RR: 5
Reply 2, posted (1 year 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 7173 times:

Continued in Part II here:

Southern US Road Trip (II):UA PAH-ORD, LH To BRU (by BrusselsSouth Mar 28 2013 in Trip Reports)


User currently offlineAA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 5946 posts, RR: 11
Reply 3, posted (1 year 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 5871 times:

Fantastic read! Can't wait to read the next part!

Two comments on this portion:

1. Greetings from Alaska. That was NOT my car at the airport, though!
2. I've only flown on one UA 747, and coincidentally, it was 179UA to Frankfurt!


User currently offlineTomskii From Belgium, joined May 2011, 467 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (1 year 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 5823 times:

Hi again,

Great TR! If I saw it well and recognized my own dashboard you were driving a Ford (Focus?) to the airport isn't it? .

I'm looking forward to the next parts of the TR! As for the JetKonnect 737 I suppose it is cheaper for 9W to bring transport them via BRU for a fuel stop as they already have contracts there. I've seen several 9W planes there on regular basis on their way to the US or India, makes for some intresting spotting locations  



Nikon D90 + Nikkor f4.5-5.6 18-105mm + Tamron f4-5.6 70-300mm
User currently offlineBNAOWB From United States of America, joined Dec 2009, 400 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (1 year 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 5811 times:

Thank you for the fantastic trip report! This is "BNAOWB" / Nick, the traveling companion of "Brussels South" on this exciting journey. It was an incredible honor to welcome my dear Belgian friend to Atlanta (where I have lived for the last 38 years) and to explore a huge variety of places (in a short period of time) in those 8 states. In the not too distant past, I would have worried that there would be little of interest for a visiting European in this part of the United States. So, it was quite satisfying to realize that this is absolutely not the case.

An extended road trip between a lifelong American and a lifelong Belgian results in many interesting discussions about (often trivial) differences between our countries. A small sample of the sort of observations that we discussed:

1) American traffic lights are typically positioned directly above or just past the intersection that they control while Belgian traffic lights are typically positioned just before the intersection that they control.

2) "Right turn on red" is normally permitted in the U.S. unless otherwise posted while in Belgium it is normally not permitted unless posted otherwise.

3) Road signs announcing city limits in the U.S. often display that city's population or elevation. This is apparently never done in Belgium.

4) American parking spaces normally have painted lines on three sides while Belgian parking spaces normally have painted lines on all four sides.

5) Americans, in general, may be more accepting of the idea of being served beer/cola in the bottle at a restaurant (with no separate glass) than their Belgian counterparts.

6) An American man, in general, may have a slightly lower "bar" set for him regarding the sort of restaurant that would be acceptable to his wife/girlfriend than his Belgian counterpart (perhaps because of Belgium's higher percentage of independent restaurants).

Now for some comments related to the trip......

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
Since I've never driven a real American pick-up truck, BNAOWB offers me to stop at his workplace to let me test his Dodge Ram 2500

He was such a natural at driving the pick-up truck - perhaps a monster truck career should be considered?

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
Except that the Eastern Continental Divide runs right through this street at this very location!

For those of us that love geography, the Eastern Continental Divide ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Continental_Divide ) which passes through the Atlanta area divides the watersheds of the "Gulf of Mexico" and the "Atlantic Ocean"

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
To make it even more historic, we opt for a stay in authentic old Victorian train cars at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo converted into hotel rooms

This was quite a unique experience. There was certainly no shortage of overhead storage space for luggage!

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
Upon leaving Courtland, we drive on secondary county road to the historic Goode-Hall plantation house near the town of Town Creek, where we are litterally attacked by watch dogs

We surely set an all-time land speed record for A.netters as we ran away from those "attack dogs" that were in hot pursuit of us!


User currently offlineDLBOIFIN From Finland, joined Jun 2006, 167 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (1 year 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 5250 times:

Great report, I wish I could do a similar trip to the rural America!

User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 628 posts, RR: 5
Reply 7, posted (1 year 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 4807 times:

Thank you all (err... I mean... "y'all") for your kind comments.

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 3):
Greetings from Alaska. That was NOT my car at the airport, though!

Definitely the only license plate from Alaska that we saw during the whole trip. Would have been an incredible coincidence if it had been yours...

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 3):
I've only flown on one UA 747, and coincidentally, it was 179UA to Frankfurt!

... Speaking of coincidences  
Quoting Tomskii (Reply 4):
If I saw it well and recognized my own dashboard you were driving a Ford (Focus?) to the airport isn't it?

Close! It was a Ford Fiesta  
Quoting BNAOWB (Reply 5):
For those of us that love geography, the Eastern Continental Divide ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Continental_Divide ) which passes through the Atlanta area divides the watersheds of the "Gulf of Mexico" and the "Atlantic Ocean"

It's interesting that such a significant geographical feature passes through that random street near your workplace absolutely unnoticed!

Quoting BNAOWB (Reply 5):
This was quite a unique experience. There was certainly no shortage of overhead storage space for luggage!

A suggestion for them though: perhaps they should install a "master switch" that would remove the need for customers to switch off (and on...) each overhead light individually? 

Regards
BrusselsSouth


User currently offlineBNAOWB From United States of America, joined Dec 2009, 400 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (1 year 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 4692 times:

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
I did not manage to identify that town, somewhere in West Virginia:

The town is Buckhannon, West Virginia (the site of the tragic Sago mine disaster in 2006 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckhannon,_West_Virginia ).

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Reply 7):
Thank you all (err... I mean... "y'all")

You have become quite a "Southerner"!

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Reply 7):
Quoting BNAOWB (Reply 5):
This was quite a unique experience at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo "railroad car" hotel room . There was certainly no shortage of overhead storage space for luggage!

A suggestion for them though: perhaps they should install a "master switch" that would remove the need for customers to switch off (and on...) each overhead light individually?

But, don't all hotel guests prefer switching on/off 20+ light switches individually?


User currently offlineplaniac787 From India, joined May 2012, 240 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (1 year 8 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 4493 times:

Well First of all let me welcome you to my hometown... Atlanta, Ga.
Looks like you had a good flight with lh. They provided pretty standard service on there flight.

It is indeed a mystery to see the 9W 737 in bru...because I had seen the her before in bom sometime in november...
Maybe it was going over to boeing for some repair or upgrade...

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
D-ABYD is the first B747-8i that I spot in person. She'll depart to LAX as LH456:

Good to see her too...She had been my ride from Delhi to Frankfurt in January...Let me tell you the 748i is just amazing...
Good you caught her..I now suggest you travel on her....
Thats the photo I have of her

http://i1249.photobucket.com/albums/...IO/New%20folder%20_5_/DSC04189.jpg

Nice pics of atlanta...

Hope you had a great trip

DEL-FRA-ATL On J Class With Lufthansa (by planiac787 Jan 11 2013 in Trip Reports)

This is my report on lh..

Cheers and keep writing..

Pradat



Be the change you want to see in the world- M.K.Gandhi
User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 628 posts, RR: 5
Reply 10, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 4337 times:

Quoting BNAOWB (Reply 8):
The town is Buckhannon, West Virginia

Wow, that's correct! Thank you for that. I shouldn't be impressed, knowing you, but somehow, I am.

Quoting planiac787 (Reply 9):
Well First of all let me welcome you to my hometown... Atlanta, Ga.

Thanks! (Although I'm back in Belgium now   )

Quoting planiac787 (Reply 9):
She had been my ride from Delhi to Frankfurt in January...Let me tell you the 748i is just amazing...
Quoting planiac787 (Reply 9):
This is my report on lh..

Thanks for sharing!

Regards
BrusselsSouth


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