The Rains Road Trip headed to Atlanta- Here's what sports fans can do there...
Football, Baseball, Auto Racing, and more!

We are kicking off the College Football Season with a visit to the new College Football Hall of Fame in atlanta and the first College game of the season-- the Chick-fil-A College Football Classic at the Georgia Dome.

Tuesday Aug. 26

Arrive Nashville, TN- Drury Inn at Nashville Airport. No work today. Relaxed in the hot tub. If you go to Nashville, you should stay at the Drury Inn-Airport. It has an indoor-outdoor pool and hot tub. 

There is so much to do in Nashville including all the music venues. Our favorite is the Grand Ole Opry.

There is also The Nashville Sound-- baseball at the Triple a farm club for the Milwaukee Brewers. Their last game at their current park was Wed. Aug. 27 and a sell-out was expected. The new stadium slated to open for next season is under construction. 


Wednesday Aug. 27

ButterCake Babe's Coffee Cafe, in the Nashville Farmers' Market

This  coffee and sweets shop features Julie Granda's signature buttercakes (original & seasonal flavors!), scones, spreads & more such as; seasonally flavored local coffees, muffins, bars, & more. The "buttercake" is St. Louis style gooey butter cake. Julie Granda just happens to be the wife of, Michael "Supe" Granda one of the original Ozark Mountain Daredevils who is from St. Louis-- now living in Nashville. He is still in demand with his music and plays in so many groups it's hard to keep them all straight.

The coffee shop is decorated in bright colors--along the decor of the Venice Cafe in St. Louis, where Supe Granda performs with one of his bands, "The Garbanzas." 

It just happened that one of Granda's friends from  his other band, The Burrito Brothers was in from Paris, France. It was fun to hear of their many travels playing with the band in Europe. Granda still performs with the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, and also with a band as "Supe and the Sandwiches." 

"We like our life now," said Granda, clearly proud of his wife, Julie (both shown left) and their coffee shop.  "I travel a lot with my music, but a lot of time we are here. Sometimes I perform here in the Farmer's Market. This is what we do these days." 

Julie Granda, a baker, has owned coffee shops before. 

"We came out to this Farmers' Market and loved what we saw," said Supe Granda. "Then she looked around and said, 'guess what they are missing?' and it got the wheels turning to start the coffee shop."

Next month Granda will be in St. Louis to receive the "Distinguished Alumni Award" from Lindbergh High School, in St. Louis. 

ButterCake Babe's Coffee and Cafe and the Nashville Farmers' Market is located at 900 Rosa Parks Blvd. Nashville, Tennessee 37208

After a scone and piece of butter cake and a dose of coffee, we were in the car, for our four-hour drive,  headed for the Atlanta Drury Inn, Marietta location. 

Thursday Aug. 28

Quickstart Breakfast at Marietta Drury Inn, then off to see the Atlanta Aquarium.

Atlanta Aquarium - A "Must-See"

This weekend the Aquarium celebrated whale sharks. Saturday was International Whale Shark Day and the aquarium celebrated with all sorts of activities. Whale sharks are slow-moving filter feeding sharks and the largest known fish species in the world. The largest confirmed whale shark was over 40 feet long and weighed over 47,000 pounds. 

Through a path of more than sixty exhibits, the Aquarium tells a global water story, with features modeled after the greatest zoos and aquariums in the world. Each majestic exhibit is designed to inspire, entertain and educate.

It was fun to walk into each individual exhibit. There was a penguin exhibit, coral reef exhibit, whales, and several others where you would walk into a "cave-like" area and either be surrounded by the fish or other water animals, or you would be able to gaze into huge aquariums to watch them. One of our favorite things to see was the octopus (shown in the photo, right), and we enjoyed the large whales and sting-rays.

Young and old enjoyed the aquarium, which we thought was one of the best in the country. There was a show called "Dolphin Tales" which combined musical and acting talent with special effects such as waterworks and lighting and the dolphins doing tricks. There was a huge indoor dolphin theater and the show was fun for the many families who were there.

The Atlanta Aquarium is in walking distance to The Coke Experience, an interactive tour of Coca-Cola, as well as other Atlanta visitors attractions.


5:30: Back to the Drury Inn for Kick Back food and drink before the football game: Their rotating menu features a variety of hot food, including chicken strips, macaroni & cheese, hot dogs, baked potatoes, broccoli cheddar soup, plus, beer, wine, mixed drinks and soft drinks. We enjoyed the great hospitality and comfortable lobby.

7 p.m. Georgia Dome- First College Football Games of 2014

Two days before the Tigers kick off their first game against South Dakota State, the college football season got underway. One of  the first college game of the season debuted at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta with the The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic Doubleheader.

 It helped open the 2014 college football season with not one, but two marquee games. Thursday, Aug. 28 featured Ole Miss vs. Boise State,(shown left) while Saturday, Aug. 30 will feature Alabama vs. West Virginia. Two of those four games are  SEC teams in the SEC West, but Mizzou (SEC East) won't be facing them in the regular season. 

The Georgia Dome is a great facility with two huge video screens-- one at each end of the field.


Friday Aug. 29

Quick Start Breakfast at Drury Inn.

TOUR NEW COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME IN ATLANTA (JUST OPENED THIS WEEK)

Click here for pictures of how Mizzou was represented at the College HOF.

The University of Missouri Football program has 12 Hall of Famers enshrined at the College Hall of Fame. They are: Bill Roper, (Coach 1951), Paul Christman (Quarterback 1956), Don Faurot (Coach 1961), Bob Steuber (Halfback 1971), Jim Phelan (Coach 1973), Ed Travis (Offensive Tackle 1974), Darold Jenkins (Center 1976), Frank Broyles (Coach 1983), Dan Devine (Coach 1985), Johnny Roland (Halfback 1998), Kellen Winslow (Tight End 2002-- his exhibit shown left), Roger Wehrli (Cornerback 2003)

“The new Hall is simply spectacular,"National Football Foundation Chairman Archie Manning, a 1989 inductee who played at the university of Missippi said on Saturday at the special ceremonies. "It provides a fitting tribute to our game’s greatest legends, and it will serve as a hub for numerous events, both large and small.” 

Some of the exhibits in the College Football Hall of Fame are:

• The journey begins with a one-of-a-kind experience through the Entry Tunnel, boasting larger-than-life images of players in action. 

It winds its way to The Quad, which is anchored by the Helmet Wall (shown below) Presented by Southwest Airlines, featuring helmets from all 768 college football teams, across all divisions and leagues. Guests check in at the registration desks in The Quad to personalize their All-Access Pass with their favorite college football team.

• Chick-fil-A “Why We Love College Football” features iconic trophies and a large, touch-sensitive, 52-foot media wall filled with dynamic content such as photos and videos of players, fans, cheerleaders and marching bands. 

• The Game Day Theater will immerse guests in an ultra-high definition 4K feature film “The Game of Your Life,” a behind-the-scenes look into the experience of a game day through the perspectives of former players and coaches.

• Coca-Cola Fans’ Game Day allows visitors to feel the excitement on campus around the big game and highlights tailgating, digital face painting, bands, fight songs, mascots, cheerleading, and traditions. One of the centerpieces of the gallery is the interactive ESPN College GameDay Desk Built by The Home Depot. Here, fans will be able to virtually join ESPN analysts Chris Fowler and Desmond Howard at the iconic College GameDay desk. 

• Kia Building a Champion takes visitors inside the world of players and coaches and includes a Q&A with former players about life as a college student-athlete. The Under Armour Evolution of Equipment exhibit traces the advances made in crafting protective gear over time, providing glimpses of the cutting-edge technology being employed to keep student-athletes safe. Other exhibits pay homage to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the Service Academies, Coaches Who Changed the Game and John Heisman, whose playbook has been digitally scanned for viewing. 

• AT&T Game Time Gallery allows visitors to explore the rich rivalries of college football and invites visitors to call one of college football’s most memorable plays from the broadcast booth. Visitors of Game Time will also be treated to college football’s greatest memories through Regions Bank Greatest Moments video and will be able to guide their own college football program to the championship through an interactive game. The 360 Virtual Stadiums Presented by Piedmont Healthcare exhibit takes visitors straight to the field of college football’s most legendary stadiums. 

• National Football Foundation Building Leaders presented by Chick-fil-A is all about the “good in the game.” It is a tribute to the mission and programs of the National Football Foundation (NFF), the profound and positive impact the NFF has on the game, and the key awards it distributes annually. Fans will find stories about some of society’s great leaders that point to the lessons they learned in football to achieve success in business, community and life.

• The greatest legends in college football history are forever enshrined in the Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame captures the stories and accomplishments of the players and coaches who broke records and won our hearts


Atlanta Braves game that night

It's always fun to go to a baseball game when visiting another city and Turner Field in Atlanta is good one. 

A few facts about Turner Field: 

Grand Opening: April 4, 1997... Braves defeat Cubs, 5-4.

Location: Between Ralph David Abernathy on the north, Hank Aaron Drive on the east, Bill Lucas Drive on the south and Pollard Boulevard on the west. It's near the junction of I-75-85 and I-20. 

Seating: Three levels supported by four concourses. A cross-aisle walkway divides the lower concourse. Field-level and dugout seats are below the cross-aisle, the terrace level above it. The second level, the Lexus Level, includes 58 private suites, three party suites and the 755 Club, the ballpark's private membership club. The third, or upper, level does not go all around the park, providing the fans there with a view of the downtown Atlanta skyline.

Playing Field: Prescription Athletic Turf, featuring a state-of-the-art mechanical drainage system and hybrid Bermuda grass. The turf for the playing field is grown in an area below the scoreboard beyond the center-field wall.


Atlanta Motor Speedway

Sunday Aug. 31 Oral-B USA 500 Nascar Sprint Cup

There were a lot of racing fans in Atlanta this weekend with the big NASCAR race taking place on Sunday. It took 325 regularly scheduled laps and two attempts at a green-white-checkered finish, but when all of the late-race drama was over, Kasey Kahne was left celebrating in Victory Lane at Atlanta Motor Speedway with the Oral-B USA 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup trophy.

The win was huge for Kahne, who not only earned his first win in a season that boasted only two previous top-5 finishes - he also cemented a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

It also marked the first race for Tony Stewart since the tragic death of Kevin Ward Jr. on Aug. 9. and he spoke to the press about it.:

"This has been one of the toughest tragedies I've ever had to deal with both professionally and personally," Stewart said in an occasionally halting speech and soft-spoken voice that cracked a few times. "This is something that will definitely affect my life forever. This is a sadness and a pain that I hope no one ever has to experience in their life. With that being said, I know that the pain and the mourning that Kevin Ward's family and friends are experiencing is something that I can't possibly imagine...[To read the rest in USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nascar/2014/08/29/tony-stewart-atlanta-statement-kevin-ward-jr-death-crash-nascar-return/14805275/]