We're different.

The Kansas Woman travels to get somewhere. My destination is the journey.

In traveling by air she prefers an aisle seat while I take the window.

I'm like my father in this respect. There were always stops to make, people to visit, or sites of interest along the way.

It was like being on tour. He knew something about every town and which sharp curves were a true “dead man's curve.”

On last year's road trip I retraced the old route my family took north from South Georgia. I had plenty of time and sometimes I just can't handle the interstate highway.

The experience was so deeply ingrained upon my sub-conscience that I was able to recite the interesting points along the way.

The roads have changed, some re-routed, and many old places don’t look the same.

I never actually saw the geographical center of Georgia, only the sign. I think it is beside a creek somewhere. My father always pointed it out along our route.

The geographical center of the 48 contiguous states is near Lebanon, Kansas. I've been there. It is surrounded by more Kansas and more everything else.

Near Jeffersonville, Georgia, I anticipated a dipping curve in the road and the fields of kudzu marking the home of “The Goat Man,” Ches McCartney, who wandered the country in a wagon pulled by goats, dozens of them.

I looked for his home, an old school bus, and his small “church,” which on its best day was a ramshackle shack he called “The Free Thinking Christian Mission.”

People were drawn to McCartney for his terminal weirdness and guided to him by the smell of burning tires. Whether traveling or hanging at his perpetual camp-out there were burning tires. My father said it was to kill the smell without revealing which one.

There is nothing there now. Everything connected to “The Goat Man” is gone except the kudzu.

A few miles further north the highway passed Indian Springs, one of Georgia's historic gems.

Chief William McIntosh built an inn there in the early 1800s and it still stands. I remember it as looking less than prosperous, but today is another gem.

I chatted with an Alabama couple filling jugs of water from the spring. They make about two trips a month because they like the water.

The Locust Grove Institute Academic Building is now the City Hall. My great uncle, Judge Freeman McClure, attended school there.

The route turned west at that corner of the Hampton-Locust Grove Road but the farms and old homes with wide porches are long gone to make way for gas stations.

The bland, sameness, but efficient ribbon of interstate highway makes for speedy, stressing travel.

I'm not in a hurry anymore.

Joe Phillips writes his “Dear me” columns for several small newspapers. He has many connections to Walker County, including his grandfather, former superintendent Waymond Morgan. He can be reached at joenphillips@hotmail.com.

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