Waking the Walker

A mother's quest to survive her son's "zombie" years – aka his teens.

Tag: TWD

Our TWD Summer Road Trip


For all who didn’t read yesterday’s post, “The Optimist Realist Wingman,” please note, this post is strictly a run down of all the places my son and I saw during our TWD adventure. For my personal insight into the amazing bonding experience we had, please check out “The Optimist Realist Wingman.” This trip has certainly made an impact on both us.

20140710_092908Now for the nitty gritty of our escapades. We started out for GA on Thursday, July 10, 2014 with a pit stop in New Market, VA to tour the New Market Battlefield Military Museum. This museum was well worth the stop. It is actually the personal collection of John M. Bracken. Extremely impressive. After our tour, we proceeded to our overnight stop in Lake Norman, NC. (Can anyone guess why I picked this spot?) Lake Norman is the largest manmade freshwater lake created by Duke Energy as part of the Cowans Ford Dam between 1959 – 1964. From what we could see, the lake was beautiful. Unfortunately we got in late and didn’t have any time to explore. Hopefully one day we can return. This stop was strictly to rest and refuel.

The next day we completed our journey, landing at the Wyndham Peachtree Convention Center in Peachtree City. 100_3397This would be our base camp while touring the TWD sites and what lovely base camp it was. The pool area was a virtual oasis. While driving through Atlanta en route to our hotel, we couldn’t resist playing the TWD theme song as the view of the Atlanta skyline was visible on the horizon. Link to YouTube is listed at end of post. We also got a real taste of Atlanta traffic, hitting it around 3 o’clock on a Friday. I have no idea how people drive in that every day. God bless them. Once at the hotel it was time to get a little R & R. Mommy got an adult beverage while her son took a dip in the pool.

Saturday, we headed back into Atlanta for Atlanta Movie Tours – Big Zombie Tour, Part 1. This is a three hour tour, that covers the locations from TWD’s first Season. We 100_3119started at the building that was used as the department store where Merle is left on the roof. This building just happened to be by the bridge Rick crosses on horseback when heading into Atlanta and the railroad tracks and overpass where Glenn, Rick and Daryl park the truck when they return for Merle. In a distance you could see the high rise where Rick sees the reflection of the helicopter. Next we traveled to the street where Rick pulls the box car to the loading dock to get the group trapped in the department store. And, next to that is the store front where the walkers crashed through the doors. From here, we drove through the area where Rick’s horse went down and the tank was parked. We also saw the narrow alleyway where Glenn helps Rick escape the horde100_3155 of walkers. Next up was the goat farm where the Vatos exchanged Glenn for guns. After the goat farm was the building that was used for the outside of the police station and the alley along side of the building where Rick, Morgan and Duane park and head in for weapons and hot showers. This is also where Rick has to dispose of his fellow officer turned walker. The building used as the hospital followed and this was truly the highlight of the tour. Flashing back to Rick stumbling out the back door in just a hospital gown, seeing all the covered bodies lined up in the parking lot, then walking up the hill and seeing all the abandoned and destroyed military vehicles. You really felt like you were reliving the scene. 100_3157From here we went to the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center that doubled as the CDC in the show. The structure is stunning and very impressive. Believe it or not, the window they all jumped out of was actually removed just for that scene. The final stop on the tour is the bridge with the Atlanta skyline as a backdrop. This is the view used when Rick rides into Atlanta on his horse. The part with Rick was filmed via green screen and digitally joined with the 100_3158abandoned highway and skyline. As I found out when driving through Atlanta on 85, the skyline used for the shot is not the actual skyline on 85. 85 runs North to South and the skyline runs East to West, so, in order to get the dramatic shot they wanted, they needed to use a little Hollywood magic. If you watch our video driving into the city you can see the difference. Finally, capping off the tour, our guides, Patrick and Kathryn, have both been walkers on the show, so in between location hopping, we heard great behind the scenes stories about their time on set. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Optimistic Realist Wingman


It may be two weeks since my son and I got back from our TWD Summer Road Trip, but we’re both still riding high on the joys of the trip. Hard to believe a 53 year old single Mom and her 14 year old son could travel 860 miles from PA to GA and not want to rip each others throats out like a starving walker. Add to that, driving over 250 miles around GA and then the return trip to PA. Sure we had a few hiccups, but nothing that took away from the pleasure of our adventure. Maybe it’s because we don’t often get to just hang out together. It’s usually all about the day-to-day tasks at hand, especially during the school year. Or, it could be because we were both equally excited about touring the towns where our favorite show “The Walking Dead” has been filmed. More than likely, it’s a combination of the two. Personally, I feel that this trip has become another turning point in my relationship with my son. And a positive one at that, but the proof is in the pudding.100_3413

Most importantly, we did it. After months of talking and preparing (booking hotels, ordering tickets and collecting directions) it seemed like a far off fantasy that would never come to fruition. Add to that the fact that many thought I was crazy to consider driving that far for just a couple days, let alone driving with my teenage son. Not me though. I believed the TWD bond we have was strong enough to over ride any issues that could arise. Plus, I figured the thrill of exploring new territory would keep us both in good spirits. Turns out, I was right about both. When we got back to PA, we looked at each other with a huge glint of satisfaction in our eyes and both said “We did it!” We worked as a team, and accomplished our goals and then some.

I preach about team work all the time, but, the importance of the need for it at home just doesn’t seem to sink in. It was a different story on the trip though, my son found out very quickly how important it is when traveling on the overly crowded highways and byways of the good ol’ USA. Especially in the areas where the speed limit is 70 miles per hour. My unresponsive, not very helpful at times walker became my wingman. And a good one to boot. He helped to keep an eye on traffic when I was merging or passing, and, was the navigator, which he thoroughly enjoyed. In addition, despite having directions, we did need to consult the atlas and maps on my phone in a few instances, which without his help would have meant pulling off the road, which would have added to the already long trip, which neither of us wanted.

Me and my Wingman

Me and my Wingman

He also learned a lot about the responsibilities of driving. Seeing first hand what it’s like to drive at high rates of speed on crowded highways made him realize that you really have to have your wits about you behind the wheel. I do hope this experience pays off when it comes to him learning to drive in two years. We were almost clipped by more than one tractor-trailer during our travels and this really shook him up, me too, but, I already knew the dangers that the overworked and under rested drivers of these metal menaces traveling at high rates of speed can cause. In all honesty, they are the reason I don’t take more road trips. They take the pleasure out of the trip. The close calls did make us both more vigilant when passing these beasts though. My son even put his video game playing aside to be my extra pair of eyes, which, for any of you who have read previous posts know, is a huge feat. Read the rest of this entry »

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