Yesterday was one of those perfect Fall days in north Georgia. Never have I experienced such awesome beauty as I did, riding around in north Georgia, with my son Randy.

It was the height of color weekend and riding from one area at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains to another, it was like a kaleidoscope of rainbow beauty.

We started from Gainesville, and our first stop was Cleveland, Georgia, where we stopped for some country cooking at a local cafeteria, then drove on to Helen, which is a German-style Alpine village, tourist town. My favorite place there is the old mill, where the local corn is ground by a large water wheel, turning by the force of the Chattahoochee River, flowing down from the mountains. Aside from fresh cornmeal, they have porridge and speckled grits, known as Georgia ice cream. I have been visting this old mill as far back as I can recall.

Just before the old corn mill is a road to the right which takes one to another tourist area called Suches. The scenery is breathtaking. This is the area the movie “I’d Climb the Highest Mountain” starring Susan Hayward was filmed. The biggest attraction in this community is the old country store that is a museum of the past, with an addition in the rear, selling everything from local homemade relish to imported cheese. Around that ancient store, an entire community of tourist attraction stores have sprung up.

Going past that area, one travels a very winding road which leads into north Georgia mountain resort area. Very little traffic, and my son was driving a BMW which he used in his classes learning how to handle a race car on the North Georgia Speedway racetrack. He was very familiar with this winding stretch of road, and rolled around it like doing a Vienna waltz, and said he had traveled it doing 100 miles an hour. Which I don’t call driving, but flying low.

He had traded his Mercedes in for this BMW and I had no idea one body frame on four wheels could do so many things. It’s like an MIT brainchild graduate. He pulled into Mt. Yonah restaurant for some onion rings, leaned against the front end of the car, waiting for the drive-in window, and bells and whistles started going off inside the vehicle. Before I could jump out of the car he explained, the car automatically notified if an object was touching the vehicle, and was particularly helpful when backing up to alert one if a child is near.

As I waited in the car, marveling at the advancement of technology, and how man had designed a vehicle that warned the driver a child might be nearby and in danger if the vehicle moved, wondered why no one had invented anything that warned the parent of the dangers of indoctrination into Socialism, in public school kindergartens.

Continuing on our trip, we talked, listened to music and tapes. One tape was on Freakonomics, and another on Systems Principles. An absolutely fascinating conversation, about how the Systems Principle works, his discovery of it and how he had applied it to his business, conveyed it to his employees and how it had improved performance.

My son is so involved in running his company, speaking engagements, fly fishing, renovating his home, racing, and his latest interest, comedy club appearances, plus attendance to all the activities his children are involved in, from soccer, baseball and recitals, rarely has one-on-one time to spend with me. But when he does it’s a delight, and interesting, reminding me of the times we spent together as he was growing up, when I was his mentor and now he’s mine. Like his detailed explanation of how the Systems Principle operates, and the seemingly unlimited things it can be applied to.

On the way back we stopped at a roadside boiled-peanut stand, plus a fruit stand, where I bought fresh tomatoes, a small pumpkin, and a jar of homemade Vidalia onion relish. Only a dyed in the wool Southerner can appreciate the joys of Southern cornbread, speckled grits, Vidalia onions and boiled peanuts. Things I grew up with.

On the other hand, riding around in north Georgia in this fascinating German-built BMW, that seemed to do every thing short of cooking a meal, was a new experience in race car driving. For those who might not be familiar with Mensa, it’s an organization one can only join if they are brainy enough to be in the upper 2 percentile.

Criss-crossing the Chattahoochee river, referred to by locals as “The Hooch,” and seeing Lake Lanier, the largest manmade lake in the country, I thought about the wonderful poem by Sidney Lanier, which begins: “Out of the hills of Habersham, down the valleys of Hall, I hurry amain to reach the plains, run the rapids and leap the falls…..”




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