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Love Bugs! Waffles and Nursing; North to Atlanta; Stone Mountain Biking; A German Treat; A Special Dinner; “Screwed” in The Villages

Last year’s tour began with love bugs; several thousand were plastered over the front of The Bus before we left Florida. This year’s cooler weather meant fewer of those pesky critters to deal with. When we arrived in Valdosta, Georgia, we only had 30 or 40 to clean off. My Lovely Bride thought it was funny, and I’ve already been told by one of the blog’s loyal followers, Jen from Asheville, that after my tick encounter, the bugs are following me… she must be right… sigh. 

Before leaving Valdosta, we had a pilgrimage to make… to Waffle House for our traditional first day on the road breakfast. We were fortunate to get a fabulous meal and meet another very friendly server – they are one of Waffle House’s trademarks – this time in the form of Tammy Lynn, who has worked for WH for almost 10 years. Having raised two children, now aged 18 and 19, she’s set her sights on a nursing degree, and works full time and goes to school three days a week. We hope that next time we stop in Valdosta and ask for Tammy Lynn, the staff at WH will tell us that she’s now working at a local hospital. It’s one of the joys of traveling across America to meet lots of people like Tammy Lynn who are raising families and working hard to get ahead. 

It was a long day (for us) driving to Atlanta. We pulled into the Elks Lodge parking lot in Tucker, GA, northeast of the big city, mid-afternoon. Corvette Chick decided we needed to get some exercise, so off we rode on a nearby bike path to Stone Mountain. (Let’s think about this… “mountain” means uphill, right? Right. That’s it over this lovely cyclist’s shoulder.

The only saving grace of the afternoon, after she beat me up a long uphill grade by about 200 yards, still fresh and smiling, was this German Bakery and its selection of pastries.  I wanted one of each, but CC insisted that would break my diet, ruin my appetite for dinner, and would be difficult to carry 85 pastries without crushing them. I suggested we eat 12 or 14 right then and there. We settled on one half of a bear claw… she can be quite the Miss Meanie at times.  

Speaking of my appetite for dinner, it was just fine, because we were extraordinarily fortunate to be invited to dinner with Renee and Greg Scalzini and Mara and Ken Mooney, for hors d’oeuvres, Renee’s fabulous lasagna, and Mara’s delicious strawberry shortcake. Renee and Mara had driven down from Atlanta to attend Suzanne’s SOAR! Workshop in April, and had invited us to stop and visit on our summer tour. It was a wonderful opportunity to spend time with bright, hard working young people for a change. Renee and Greg have two girls aged 5 and 7, and Mara and Ken have two boys the same ages, and they live just across the street. They have a variety of professions: Greg is a tax accountant, Rene a graphic designer/marketing expert, Mara a lawyer turned college professor, and Ken a lawyer turned home builder (in fact, he built their new beautiful Southern-style home just last year). (Is it time for a lawyer joke? Naaahhhh, I’ll pass on it today since they were so gracious to us last night… but it was tempting…)

On Friday morning we relocated to Dobbins Air Force Base in Marietta, only 30 miles from Tucker. It was a short trip, but when we arrived, I noticed the “Low Tire Pressure” alert on our Toad… for non-RV’ers, a Toad is a towed vehicle; ours is a Honda CR-V. We had picked up a screw in the left front tire while driving in The Villages, and had it repaired the day before our departure. After close inspection, I found a screw exactly matching the first one in the right rear tire; fortunately there was a tire shop only a mile from the base gate. And even luckier, they have free Wi-Fi in their waiting room, which is where I am right now while Suzanne is giving a reading in person in The Bus. (There wasn’t a good cell phone signal for tethering to our computer at the Elks Lodge last night, and it’s also weak in our campground.) For those who haven’t seen The Bus and Toad, here they are, with the CR-V loaded down with two kayaks and two mountain bikes.  Thanks to Bev Garlipp for the map of our 2013 tour route in the right column.


  • Jennifer
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 1:36 am

    "Love bugs" are not such a bad thing, Ty. At least
    they don't bite…Or do they? They can be a real mess though. I know….

    That is really some bus you have!

  • Ty and Suzanne Giesemann
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 1:39 am

    Jen, I guess love bugs are sort of cute until you have to clean them off the front of your car or bus by the hundreds… a real mess indeed! As far as I know they don't bite, but they aren't very tasty either. 😉 Ty

  • Jennifer
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    That's funny, Ty..I guess love bugs don't do too much except stick to everything! I remember having to clean them off my windshield too when I lived in Florida and they fly around your face…Yuck.


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