Once again adventure found us. And once again, it was not the adventure we had expected.
Atlanta-Bound for Work
After the holidays we had planned on a week-long stop in Atlanta, GA. I had an opportunity to do an ExpressionEngine class there with both a local firm and some non-local students. The class is 4 days long so with an extra day or two on both ends it usually makes for roughly a week of work.
Time is Tight
The original plan had been to get our trailer back out of storage in NE Georgia, move back into it and stay at Stone Mountain, a theme park with campground in the Atlanta area.
The accident we had on the way home for the holidays changed these plans as we got our truck back out of the body shop with just three days to spare before our class was supposed to start.
We decided to wait to get the trailer back and instead booked a hotel room for the week of training.
Ice Storm Coming!
On the drive down from Kalamazoo, MI to Atlanta we checked the weather and learned of a predicted snow and ice storm for the Atlanta area. Knowing we’d want to be in place in the hotel before any storm hit we pulled a long day on the road and got into Atlanta a day earlier than originally planned.
We then waited to see if the storm turned into what they were predicting. And yes, it did. First freezing rain, then snow, then more freezing rain piled up into up to two inches of ice in some places.
Atlanta is not well-prepared for such weather (the city is said to have only 8 plow trucks) so the area was paralyzed. We stayed tucked in on that Sunday and then on Monday, Data and I ventured next door to an open Kroger and bought a couple days supply of food.
Some of the shelves were already empty.
I will admit, I have never been in a spot like this trying to decide what was a responsible purchase to keep my family fed and what was too much. I didn’t want to go into hysteria mode and start to hoard the available supplies. The forecast had warmer weather a couple days out so that was reassuring.
On Tuesday we attempted to get out of the hotel for a while on a family walk and it was treacherous! We made it about two blocks, finding an open Toys R Us (where we purchased some new games to keep us busy) and an open restaurant for a fresh meal (and leftovers).
The big puzzle during this whole time was what to do about the class we had scheduled. Of the non-local students we had three cancellations, but two had managed to make it into town.
One student had driven in from Florida, and one had managed to make it all the way from central Mexico. These two were close to our hotel.
The local students (who were also providing the facilities for the class) were actually not as handy, and the offices were not expected to open until Thursday.
Give Class. Repeat
We ended up splitting the one 4-day class into two 3-day classes. The first run-through was for the non-locals and we did it at our hotel. The second class was for the locals and held at their offices.
While requiring two days more work this solution was the best we could come up with given the situation. It did extend our hotel stay to 10 nights total.
Buckhorn Hampton Rocked
Speaking of the hotel, we do have to say that the staff at the Buckhead/Atlanta Hampton Inn was very helpful during this whole ordeal. We know there were several staff members staying at the hotel during the storm.
They kept up the hot breakfast even though they had to buy fill-in supplies at the Kroger. They opened up a conference room for our class and let us all use the wi-fi at no cost.
Throughout our entire stay they were friendly, helpful and personable. We noticed the staff had a bit of a “family” thing going on with peals of good-natured laughter often coming from the front desk.
We had pretty much settled on Hampton Inns as our hotel of choice and this experience confirms that decision.
Yesterday we finally checked out and drove two hours to where our trailer has been waiting in storage at a friend’s place. We re-mounted the bike rack and bikes on the truck, put our Rubbermaid containers inside the trailer, and drove about 15 miles to a state park.
The day was sunny with temperatures in the mid-50’s, and the park is pretty with a historic covered bridge, dam, and grist mill ruins. We very much felt like the day was a reward for a few rough weeks lately, and are very much feeling back “at home” in the trailer.
We’re spending the day catching up on work and laundry and getting the truck and trailer re-packed. Our intent is to head out tomorrow for somewhere south.
Back in the saddle!