SkyView, Altanta’s new Ferris wheel is …OK

 

SkyView, Atlanta's new Ferris wheel is located in downtown Atlanta and opened in early July, 2013.
SkyView, Atlanta’s new Ferris wheel is located in downtown Atlanta and opened in early July, 2013. The brick building in the background is The Tabernacle.

Maybe I was expecting too much. I had hoped to see something akin to the London Eye. The word was that this was an addition to the Atlanta skyline, but you’d be hard pressed to find it in most skyline views. SkyView isn’t that large. If it wasn’t located near Centennial Olympic Park, there wouldn’t be enough open space for a view of anything, since it’s dwarfed by some of the surrounding buildings. (Aside: On Twitter I asked a question of @Centennial_Park about the Ferris wheel. They quickly responded that they had nothing to do with SkyView. Hum. Do I sense animosity?) So despite the description that the giant Ferris wheel is “Located at the South end of Centennial Park in downtown Atlanta” it’s clearly off the park’s edge and not affiliated with it. It’s practically on top of The Tabernacle, Atlanta’s historic music venue, and an interesting solar powered parking lot on Luckie Street. The description further says “The wheel is almost 20 stories high with 42 gondolas that will be able to hold up to 6 people” and “A flight is four revolutions. It usually lasts around 15 minutes.”

Trust me, that’s enough.

I took MARTA downtown and walked from the Peachtree Center station (CNN station is closer). From the street, the wheel is almost hidden by The Tabernacle.
I took MARTA downtown and walked from the Peachtree Center station (CNN station is closer). From the street, the wheel is almost hidden by The Tabernacle.

To be fair, the Ferris wheel is a nice, sedate family outing. It’s safe and fairly priced. The ride is very smooth, you hardly feel any movement. The attendants were very polite, everything was clean. Children who have not spent time at a State Fair or are obsessed by Six Flags  style roller-coasters will love it. The gondolas are completely enclosed by a plastic bubble, so those who fear heights might be more at ease. You have a 360 degree view—all the way to Stone Mountain. There are buttons for air conditioning, emergency and even a phone (though it seems that you’d hit the emergency button if there was something serious enough to need to talk to the ground crew?).

The "gondolas" hold about 6.
The “gondolas” hold about 6.

I took my ride on a Thursday at about 6p. With tax, it cost $14.58 (the website says $14.45) and you can buy tickets on site. The VIP car is supposed to be pretty snazzy, though they are the same size as the others. The website doesn’t give pricing, but the ticket-taker told me the VIP car was about $50 per person. Too rich for my wallet. SkyView’s only been open a couple weeks. Since it was a weekday, it wasn’t that busy yet, but it did seem to take quite some time before I could board.

Because you can’t ride alone (it’s a safety concern), a family of four kindly agreed to let me into a car with them. They were lovely people, but 5 sweaty bodies in the sunshine quickly overwhelmed the air conditioning and we were all pretty glad to get out. We were given five revolutions, but it stops 3-5 times with each revolution, so you really aren’t moving much. From ticket buying to disembarking took about an hour. My favorite part? Watching the kids play in Centennial Olympic Park’s fountains below, since it’s one of the few rain-free days we’ve seen since before the Fourth.

It's a good view of Centennial Olympic Park and the kids playing in the Ring Fountain below. Off in the distance you can see Stone Mountain.
It’s a good view of Centennial Olympic Park and the kids playing in the Ring Fountain below. Off in the distance you can see Stone Mountain.

Would I go again? Probably not. Do I recommend it? Yes, with reservations. It’s good for small children or people who do NOT desire a thrill ride. I recommend you go on a cooler day or maybe for an evening ride, NOT at 4p in the middle of a sunny, August heat wave.

Hours for SkyView (may change in the winter):

  • Monday – Wednesday: 10 AM – 10 PM
  • Thursday  – Saturday: 10 AM – Midnight
  • Sunday: Noon – 10 PM
Solar parking lot on Lucky street, below the SkyView wheel.
Solar parking lot on Lucky street, below the SkyView wheel.
It was nice to have a rain-free day for a change. Of course, we were in a drought this time last year.
It was nice to have a rain-free day for a change. Of course, we were in a drought this time last year.

 

SkyView Atlanta's Ferris Wheel, 5

Oakland Cemetery Halloween Tour tickets on sale

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This year’s Halloween tours are called Capturing the Sprit of Oakland and they promise to be the biggest and best yet.

The tours now span TWO weekends. Tours begin at 5:30 and last about an hour, but you MUST have a ticket to enter:

  • Friday, October 18
  • Saturday, October 19
  • Thursday, October 24
  • Friday, October 25
  • Saturday, October 26
  • Sunday, October 27

Adults: $20.00; Children 4-12 years of age: $10; Children 3 years of age and under: Free. An additional service charge will be applied at the time of purchase. Buy tickets NOW! NO TICKETS WILL BE SOLD AT THE GATE!

Want to know what you’re in for? Check out this video from last year:

Historic Oakland Cemetery receives many visitors each day, but only at Halloween do the gates stay open after dark. Witness the magnificent final resting place of Atlanta’s sons and daughters during the Capturing the Spirit of Oakland 2013 Halloween Tours. Join us this year and hear first-hand accounts about our city’s past, narrated by a host of Oakland’s eternal “residents.” You’ll also see gorgeous candlelit mausoleums in this one-of-a-kind annual tradition. Bring a flashlight and wear comfortable walking shoes. There will be beer, wine, and soft drinks for sale, and browse Oakland’s Museum Shop for unique finds.

Guided tours start at 5:30 pm each night at the Bell Tower and last approximately one hour. You must have your ticket to enter the cemetery. To ensure all ticket holders are accommodated, tour tickets are sold in timed increments, and a limited number of tickets are available. To buy tickets, click links above.

Limited free parking is available near the main entrance and on neighboring streets. Due to the event, parking inside the cemetery is not possible. Carpooling or taking MARTA to the King Memorial Station is recommended.

There is no rain date. In case of a severe weather cancellation, ticket holders will receive via the mail, a free pass for a future guided tour at Oakland.

This event is appropriate for children 8 and above.

Please note: There is no promotion code or discount for this event. There is an additional processing fee applied by TicketAlternative for each ticket purchased.  Due to the historic nature of Oakland Cemetery, not all areas of the park are ADA accessible.

Next Stone Soup cabaret, August 9,10

In July, Stone Soup, a popular Grant Park restaurant, started a monthly cabaret show hosted by my friend Clay Spurz and his company of performers. It was a grand time. One of the highlights was Joe Kelly, accompanied by Spurz, reciting the poem Nevermore, as seen in this YouTube video below. The August Buffet and Cabaret will be Friday August 9th and Saturday the 10th. This time Alana Cheshire will join Joe Kelly, “Scooter” Fredman and Spurz with lots of new songs and scenes.

Call Stone Soup Kitchen (584 Woodward Ave SE  Atlanta, GA 30312) for reservations: 404 228-1763. Tickets are $30 and the buffet opens at 6:30p, show starts at 7:30p. Price includes dinner, show and one drink from the bar.

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Hiking Gear: Water purifying system

I’m preparing for an Appalachian Trail thru-hike. In addition to physical and mental preparation, I’m working through what gear to carry. My goal is to have less than 25 total pounds for a week’s hike, including food, water and fuel. Today I focus on the water system.

Water Purifying System

The Appalachian Trail has lots of running water. Of course, it’s mostly running in rivers, springs, and ponds. So you need water carrying containers and a way to purify the water you find along the trail.

It's sturdy, but weights in at about 7ounces, before you add water. And you need two.
Sturdy, but weights about 7ounces, before you add water. And you need two.

I’ve long since ditched those nice fancy water bottles (at about 7 ounces each and $10-12) and just carry a couple empty soda bottles, plus a spare lid. It’s not fancy, but the bottles weight almost nothing—an ounce each when you remove the label and the little plastic ring near the lid. If I lose or damage one, I don’t feel badly. Plus, I’m recycling! For years I’ve been using the MSR Sweetwater Water Filter Pump and I’ve been very happy with it. When it clogs, it’s easy to take apart and clean out with the brush (included). A new system cost about $90 at REI. Replacement filters are about $45. BUT it weights 26 ounces (including filter, tubing, pre-filter, brush) and a backup filter is another 16 ounces. And I still have to carry an additional treatment to kill viruses, so add another 2 ounces! Based on my own hikes and on the advice of a longtime backpacker, Skittles, I believe that most of the water along the AT is fairly clean. My goal will be to use clear, sediment free water and treat it with something to kill virus and bacteria.

MSR Sweetwater filter pump I've used for years has been dependable, but it just weighs too much.
MSR Sweetwater filter pump I’ve used for years has been dependable, but it just weighs too much.

I will bring liquid water treatment—either a bleach based solution (like MSR SweetWater Purifier Solution – 2oz, $15 and I already own a bottle) or AquaMira (a tried and true hiker standard). I’m not big a fan of the taste of water treated with iodine tables –though that is the lightest option and cheapest option, at $7–but will consider them. I’ve eliminated the ideas of using one of the new Steripens. To facilitate easy water carriage and give me something to let particulates settle out, I’ve purchased a collapsible water bucket. It will do double duty to wash clothing or dishes (or me!) and is large enough to soak a foot in. I’ve purchased the Sea to Summit Folding Bucket – 10 Liters, $30 and won’t use the little carrying case, 2.8 ounces. This allows you to carry water back to camp for washing up. Convenient and you don’t contaminate the water source with soap or your icky body funk. Oh, and just in case I need to filter large particulates out, I’ll use this collapsible funnel and strain the water through my bandanna. What I hadn’t anticipated was how much easier this funnel would make it to fill the mylar bags in the Sawyer system (below),

SP131L

I’ve switched to the new Sawyer squeezable filter. This is new to me and I used it for the first time on my November shake down hike. Worked great and I’m excited about it. I paid $49.95 at REI.

I'll opt for two recycled soda bottles. Remove the labels and even the little plastic ring. It all adds up.
I’ll opt for two recycled soda bottles. Remove the labels and even the little plastic ring. It all adds up.DSC_0387

Current total for Water System Category

Total: 11 ounces

Weight saved by not bringing the filter pump, 26 ounces, plus another 16 ounces if I had a spare replacement filter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is how Mike C deals with water treatment: