A Friend I Haven’t Seen For 11 Years

A friend I haven’t seen for 11 years has been living in Washington, Georgia for 5-6 years. We used to be co-workers in a bank way back 2006. We were cream of the crop and excelled in all that we do. We became friends, more like close friends and everything we did was history. We were Washington Mutual’s telephone banker. Washington Mutual was one of the best financial institutions back in the old days but was bought by J.P Morgan Chase Bank during the global crisis back in 2007. I quit my job before it was completely handed to JPMC and went to my chosen profession. I haven’t seen her after that until she left to Georgia with her husband and son. We just kept in touch through social networking sites such as Facebook.

I drove from South Carolina to Washington, Georgia which was about 2-3 hours from Aiken. I arrived in Washington, Georgia at about 1000H. When I got out of the car, we were just so happy to see each other again and nothing has changed. We were still like the immature telephone bankers even though it has been a decade. We talked and talked about the people we used to work with, reminisced the experiences we had, and even tried to call some of our other friends online. The first day was filled with excitement in getting to know what we have been doing in our lives. She and her family offered to be the host of my trip and I am so glad. They offered the guest room and I took a quick nap from the long drive while she was planning for the itinerary for the afternoon and the next day trip.

I was taking a nap when my phone beeped. I got a message asking if I am ready to go swimming. They have decided to go to Washington Swimming Pool since their son wants to dip in the pool. It was almost 95 degrees in Georgia that day so, it was a good idea to dive in.

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Washington Swimming Pool

But I am not used to going swimming under the heat of the sun and it was also at 1300H so, I just stayed under the patio umbrella. We only let their son enjoy the pool while we were just talking and looking at kids having fun. After an hour or two, we left coz her husband has to work. At 1730H, we have decided to go to the mall. The nearest mall is Augusta Mall which is almost an hour drive.

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Augusta Mall

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Inside Augusta Mall

We only did window shopping and bought some snack for her unico hijo. 2 hours later, they took me to Augusta Canal Historical Trail. The trail is near Marriott Hotel and is good location for exercising.

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Augusta Canal Historical Trail

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Marriott Hotel

Augusta Canal is a historic canal located in Georgia, is supplied by the Savannah River and passes through levels in suburban and urban Augusta before the water returns to the river at various locations. It was devised to harness the hydro power at the fall line of the Savannah river to drive mills, to provide transportation of goods, and supply water in the municipal. It is the only canal in the United States which still continues to be used for its original purposes of providing power, transport and municipal water.

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Augusta Canal Historical Trail

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Augusta Canal

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Augusta Canal Viewdeck

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Augusta Canal

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Otters in Augusta Canal

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Jessye Norman Amphitheatre in Augusta Canal

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View of Downtown Augusta Skyline from Augusta Canal Trail

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Augusta Canal Trail Fountain

We left the trail at 1730H and headed home and called it a day. I went to sleep early from getting exhausted driving. On my second day in Georgia, they decided to show me to one of the famous amusement parks in Georgia. We went to Stone Mountain Park which is near Atlanta.

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Stone Mountain Park

Stone Mountain is a quartz monzonite dome monadnock with carvings that depict three Confederate figures during the Civil War: Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis. The theme park is located at 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd, Stone Mountain, GA 30083. It has a lot of activities and hosts festivals and events. To know more, just click here.

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Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis

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Stone Park Theme Park has attractions for all ages such as dinosaur explore, dinotorium, 4D Ice Age, Stone Mountain Museum, Summit SkyRide, Scenic Railroad, and many more.

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Dinosaur Explore

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Ankylosaurus or the Fused Lizard

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Parasaurolophus or the Similar Crested Lizard

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Dilophosaurus, the fast moving carnivore

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T-Rex

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The most famous dinosaur

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Dinotorium

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On our way to ride the train

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Great Locomotive Chase Adventure Golf

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Riding the train for the Scenic Railroad

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Live Show from the Scenic Railroad

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Stores at Stone Mountain Park

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Directions at Stone Mountain Park

We spent almost the whole day in Stone Mountain Park but we still missed the main attractions which were the Summit SkyRide, to get on top of the Stone Mountain and also the fireworks. The weather that day was not in our favor that the park has to cancel any attractions that has something to do with the sky. But I still had fun though. Then, we left Stone Mountain Park and discussed on where to dine for supper. We have decided to go something Asian, Korean to be precise, so, we went to Iron Factory in Athens, Georgia.

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Iron Factory

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Miso Soup

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Fresh Pork Belly or Samgyupsal

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Then, we went to explore Athens after eating.

My Georgia trip to meet my friend whom I haven’t seen for 11 years has been one of the highlights for this year. It was memorable and I can’t wait to do it again. We were planning of going on a trip somewhere and I hope it’ll come true. The whole experience was amazing even though it was just a quick visit for 2 days. Not to worry coz we have many more days to come and to have fun, for now, it’s not goodbye but see you next time.

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The Rivera Family and the Lone Traveler

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Aiken and Hartwell Lake in South Carolina

I was still on my road trip down southeastern part of the United States when my attention got caught on this billboard on my way to Georgia. It showed a specific city few miles before crossing the Savannah River to the next state. I got curious so without a second thought, I turned on my right signal blinker and headed to the exit to the city. Then, I got to Aiken.

Aiken is the southwestern part of South Carolina. It is the city named after William Aiken who was the president of South Carolina railroad and it is the county seat of Aiken county. It is home to the University of South Carolina Aiken.

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William Aiken Statue

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Story of William Aiken Sr

Aiken is a historical destination in South Carolina. If you were wondering how did I get there, Well, I was driving on my way to visit my close friend and her family who I haven’t seen for 11 years. They are currently living in Washington, Georgia. They are one of the reasons why I had my 6 days road trip which started from Virginia to North Carolina to South Carolina and then Georgia. Anyway, back to how I got there. I was on the road and I saw this billboard. It was showing off how pretty the location was so, I was intrigued and went to the next exit to get to Aiken.

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Aiken Historical District

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Random Aiken Street Photo

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The City of Aiken

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Aiken Plaza

When I got there, it wasn’t what I expected. My expectation was just a town with old buildings. It was more than what I was picturing it out in my head. I was wandering around the town and I took some photos. The streets were cleaned and I didn’t even see trash. There were also old buildings that turned out to be bars, stores, hotels, and cafes. Anywhere in Aiken Historical District, a visitor’s map is visible and free for grabs. They also have activities such as Thursday Market in the Alley.

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Aiken Visitor Maps

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Hotel Aiken

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Stores

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Crofts Block

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Aiken Brewing Company Cafe

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Thursday Market in the Alley

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Rocking Chairs in the Alley

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The Alley

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Fascinating Wall

People in Aiken are health conscious. After I strolled around the Historical District, I visited their famous park, the Citizen’s Park. The park looked astounding once checked online in Google Maps. It has this amazing structure in aerial view but when I got there, it was inaccessible to the public. It was close. But I’ve seen Aiken locals doing their walk, jog and stroll to maintain a healthy lifestyle. A lifestyle that everyone should have for it is a promising way for the betterment of life. Then, I went back to my route heading to my friend’s home.

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Citizen’s Park

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Citizen’s Park Aerial View cr. google maps

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My next stopover in South Carolina was during my trip back home. I was using a different route back home so I can see different sceneries. I stumbled into this nice view while I was driving and I found out that it has a parking space. I stopped over and captured some photos in Hartwell Lake.

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Hartwell Lake

Hartwell Lake is a manmade reservoir bordering two states of Georgia and South Carolina on the Savannah, Tugaloo, and Seneca Rivers. It is one of the southeast’s largest and most popular recreation lakes. It is created by Hartwell Dam located on the Savannah River. In Lake Hartwell, there are a lot of recreational activities. Visitors can do camping, biking, fishing, boating, swimming, and water sports.sc23sc24sc22sc21

There are numerous places to visit in South Carolina but I went to destinations where I passed by during my road trip. But even though these areas were just stopovers, these attractions didn’t fail me to be amazed. Aiken and Hartwell Lake in South Carolina were indeed a good side trips to escape the hustle and bustle of big city.