Atop the Westin Hotel in Atlanta, GA, in the Sun Dial Restaurant.

Atop the Westin Hotel in the Sun Dial Restaurant.

I work for Adventures In Missions (AIM), a short-term missions organization.  AIM is based in Gainesville, Georgia.  For the past two years, I’ve visited the ministry’s international base on and off at least every other month for training camps, meetings, and random visits.  In all of this time, Ashley has never been down on a visit with me to Georgia.

This past weekend, that all changed.

After spending the previous week at AIM for a World Race training camp, I returned to my bride awaiting me in Nashville and spent the next week back at home.  After work on Thursday, we packed up the car, grabbed some snacks for the road, and headed back down to Georgia for a weekend of fun, relaxation, and creating new memories.

We stayed with our good friends the Goodes (notice the play on words).  Jerry, Heather, Anna, and Sophie all came to our wedding in January, and I’ve grown pretty close to the family in the past year or so, so it only seemed natural to spend most of our weekend in their company.  Plus, they did provide us a free place to stay for our honeymoon AND… they have a boat 🙂 (Ashley’s addition there! 🙂 ).

You get a free bottle of Coke at the end of your tour!

You get a free bottle of Coke at the end of your tour!

We woke up early the next morning to a day full of introducing Ashley to all things AIM and doing some serious Atlanta sight-seeing.  We spent our morning going to the Biscuit Shoppe (a Gainesville exclusive), checked out the renovations being made at the AIM office, and introduced Ashley to a ton of people she had never before met.

In the afternoon, we made it to downtown Atlanta in record timing to eat lunch atop the Westin Hotel in a local eatery called the Sun Dial Restaurant.  As we ate our meals, the whole restaurant slowly spun in a circle so that we could see the whole city.  After lunch, we made our way over to the World of Coca-Cola, where we got to learn all about the origin of the famous soda.  They even gave us the “behind the scenes” look at how a vending machine works.  My favorite part was tasting the 64 different flavors of Coca-Cola products from all around the world.  Try the “Beverly”!


We spent Friday evening hanging out with our friends Jerry and Heather over a delicious pizza dinner.

A bitter-tasting cola that they drink in Italy.

A bitter-tasting cola that they drink in Italy. Not sure why they do though...

Saturday morning, we slept in, wiped the “sleep” out of our eyes, and helped Jerry get his motorboat ready before the rest of the family woke up.

After lunch, we went out on the boat, where I got to show my sweet skills on the tube.  This included tubing with no hands, riding on my knees and standing up, but not successfully getting onto the tube the first try… or the second.  Ashley and I even did a ride around the lake together.

Around 4:30, we rushed back to the house, showered, and changed in time for the dinner guests to arrive.  More friends showed up:  my boss Seth Barnes and his wife Karen and daughter Leah, their three friends from Peru, AIM’s IT Director Mike Price and his wife Amy, along with ourselves and the Goode family, of course.

We had an amazing Indian dinner, thanks to Heather’s outstanding cooking.  This was Ashley’s first time eating curry.  To my surprise, she actually liked it.  The evening was full of stories, jokes, brainstorms, and all-around great fellowship.

Sunday, we had a family breakfast of eggs and bacon, said farewell to the Goodes, and headed over to visit the Barnes family for an hour or so.  After that, we hit the road for home with the obligatory stop in a podunk Tennessee town for the cheapest gas around.

Sipping our Dr. Pepper and Sun Drop out of glass bottles, we pulled into Nashville before dark, bringing a perfect ending to a fun and adventurous weekend.  We really are blessed.

The Goode Family on their boat.

 Thank you to the Goode Family for their hospitality and friendship!