OPINION COLUMNS

Georgia on my mind, but not my map

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, August 27, 2016
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The address for our hotel seemed so charmingly “Georgia” on our first trip to Atlanta recently.

But as we would come to find out during our stay, that charm turned more into frustration.

I’ve always loved road maps, but I, like many people, use apps on my phone to tell me where to go. So when I typed in the address for “Peachtree Industrial Boulevard” and it provided me with a route to the hotel, everything seemed fine.

Brian Knox

Brian Knox

Until it brought us straight to a car dealership.

“Ummm, let’s see. Oh, we’re staying on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in Peachtree Corners, Ga., not Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in Atlanta, Ga. Got it.”

Luckily, we just had to travel a few more miles down the road until we came to Peachtree Corners. In order to get to our hotel, we had to make a U-turn at Peachtree Corners East.

The next day we found a local eatery we wanted to try. We just had to drive about one block and hang a right on Peachtree Parkway.

My wife’s cousin had invited us to his church near downtown Atlanta. I looked up the address to find it was about 30 minutes from the hotel, on Peachtree Street, or at least that’s what I thought.

Our map once again brought us to a location near downtown, but we didn’t see a church. After finding a place to park, we started to look on foot.

A nice gentleman on a bike whose job is apparently to locate people wandering lost around downtown Atlanta spotted us and asked if we needed help. After explaining our situation, he quickly solved the problem.

We were on Peachtree Street Northeast, but the church was on West Peachtree Street Northwest.

“Well, that’s just peachy,” I thought as my head began to spin.

Sure enough, one block over, we found the church.

It seems that there are no less than 71 streets in Atlanta that use “Peachtree” somewhere in the name. The only thing in Atlanta that seemed to outnumber the Peachtree roads were Waffle Houses. (It became a running joke in the car to point out the Waffle Houses each time we’d pass one.)

Apparently the Peachtree Street we mistakenly found is a major road in Atlanta with much history. Margaret Mitchell lived on Peachtree Street a few blocks north of where we were. It’s where she wrote “Gone with the Wind.”

I learned that Mitchell was also killed by a speeding motorist while crossing Peachtree Street. It was surprising, because in our short time in the area, nobody seemed to be in much of a hurry at all. We were even in stop-and-go traffic downtown on a Saturday.

So by the next day, we decided to ditch the congested mess of Peachtree roads and head to a nearby state park away from the urban area.

According to the handy map app, we simply needed to head up Peachtree Parkway again and hit U.S. Highway 19.

Only we missed our exit for U.S. 19, because it is also known as Georgia State Highway 400, which is what it was labeled on the road signs.

Georgia, you’re killing me.

I guess if we lived there, we would get used to it. I’m sure the locals get a chuckle at seeing us out-of-towners trying to navigate the peach orchard of a roadway system they have there.

It was a bit of relief when we started heading back west, where navigation seemed to be much easier.

The tasty Georgia peaches we enjoyed on the car ride home made it even sweeter.

Brian Knox is the Messenger’s special projects manager.

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