The Air Force has managed to take me many places in four short years. Every place I’ve been has opened my eyes a little wider to how diverse our own country is. If you asked me what I knew about Georgia a couple months ago I could have summed it up with a few short words: churches, peaches, Atlanta City and Savannah. Recently I had the opportunity to experience a small piece of Georgia when I visited a close friend at Robins Air Force Base.
Immediately, the beauty of Georgia’s winding country roads and thick walls of deciduous trees blew me away along with the ample amount of outdoor activities available. On Robins AFB alone are many hiking trails, lakes for fishing, and a huge horse pasture with stables. You bet that we spent a lot of time exploring all the corners of base with my trusty dog, Camber, at our sides.
The first day we wasted no time in visiting the Lance Peach Orchards to get some peach cobbler and peach ice cream. When in Georgia, do as the Georgians do? I know in Washington we do love our apples. Just like the apple orchards in Washington, there were acres upon acres of peach trees. I can only imagine how stunning they would be in bloom.
Although we could have entertained ourselves for a lifetime in the rural part of Georgia, we decided to take a trip into Atlanta to be tourists for the day. Whenever traveling to new places, one of the sure ways to find good food is to just trust our frosted-hair friend, Guy Fieri, from the show Diners, Dive-Ins, and Drives. This led us to Joy Café where I had the best ham sandwich and tomato soup of my life. My mouth is watering now thinking about the fresh baked, sour dough bread on each side of the warm, honey ham and melted brie cheese. It was the perfect pair for the tangy tomato soup with homemade croutons that dissolve in your mouth after a satisfying crunch.
Since we were in Atlanta, there was no way we could skip the renowned Georgia Aquarium. And good thing, because that was the only place I got to see a gator in Georgia! But, more memorable than the alligators was the enormous Ocean Voyager exhibit; a tank that holds over six million gallons of saltwater and is home to more than one whale shark. To hear that the whale shark is the largest fish in the world is one thing, but to see this 40ft-long creature swim directly over you can really put the facts into perspective.
Leaving Georgia was mostly a bitter experience. This would be the last time I’d see my best friend before the Air Force ships her off to Japan and who-knows-where after that. In the military, this is something we understand comes with friendships. All we can do is cherish the time we had together and be grateful that God ever had us cross each other’s path. Truly, God has put the right people in my life at the right times, and whether I see them again in this life or not, I hope to see them in eternity.
Despite the nature of this goodbye, I enjoyed cruising down the country roads, over the hills, watching the churches go by, and singing along to James Taylor’s greatest hits. Camber was comfortably curled-up on his bed in the back of my Subaru, exhausted from all the activities of that week (I swear that dog slept a week straight after we got home waking up only to eat and relieve himself outside). I had found a new love for Georgia with its sunshine, moss-covered oak trees, and laid-back atmosphere. The small list I used to describe Georgia before my trip had not only expanded, but had life and picture given to it. If somehow in the future Zack, Camber and I end up visiting Georgia, I hope there will be plenty of time to explore more of its beautiful landscape and partake in the various outdoor activities it has to offer.