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.
Now 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. This 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 started 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 horde 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. From 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 abandoned 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 »