Sunday, October 03, 2010

THE HAZZARD RUN

Before my trip, I had mused how funny it would be to be given a Charger as my rental car, despite the fact I probably don't fit nor could see out of the super-sloped windshield (in which case I would've taken a Challenger...). But, instead, here I am retracing the steps of the Dukes of Hazzard in what is essentially a Crown Vic clone (aka police car).

Anyway, with the oh-so-reliable GPS I had, I decided to download maps of the areas and plot down simple directions so I would only need it for emergency cases. The problem with driving around rural areas is that street signs are often non-existent, too small for the speeds posted on the roads, or involve sudden turns down blind hidden roads. Even so, I only needed the GPS a few times the whole trip.

Started off in Loganville with the Duke farm. The farmhouse was basically a shack given some extensions for the show. The main body is all that remains and is pretty much in ruins. There's a still from the episode "High Octane" in the woods near the main house on the grounds, but I wasn't about to bother people just to get some pictures. Further on down the road was a bridge and an area used for a bust in "High Octane" and "Mary Kaye's Baby" on private property, so I couldn't get to them and really didn't think was worth trying to find a back way around to. Point is, I was there and got close enough. Moving on.

Heading down highway 20 I hit a grocery used in "Mary Kaye's Baby", and right across the street Cooter's garage and junkyard from "One-Armed Bandits." The grocery looks totally different than it did back then, but the junkyard has a distinguishing feature: an old bus, seen in the episode and visible from the gate. And by visible, I mean you could make it out through the trees and brush, but couldn't get a very good clear shot of it. But, I tried anyway. One thing I forgot to take was the nearby intersection where the General jumped a truck in "High Octane."

Heading on down I found Rockdale hospital, which served as the EPA in "High Octane." A bit down the road was the police station from "One-Armed Bandits," unfortunately the building had been torn down and replaced. It was either a collective office block or a funeral home now, wasn't sure which. So, I photographed both just to be safe.

My next stop was the big one: Hazzard Town Square, aka Covington. This area was used in several movies and shows, including In the Heat of the Night as Sparta. What's more is I wandered into a delightful bonus; a classic car show! The entire square and all the surrounding streets for an entire block were full of cars from every decade. There was a '69 Charger, and someone did have a Dixie horn (heard it twice), but surprised there wasn't an actual General replica in the mix. I snapped tons of car pictures, the location pictures I needed, and even a nice creepy-looking old Sheriff's office I could use in an idea later.

Once the business was handled, I stopped in a local cafe for some grub. It was a small place ran by an old couple and a young guy. Looked like it hadn't been updated since the 50s, and that when furniture broke it was never replaced, hence the sparse furnishings. The newest thing in the joint was the cash register. And the burger wasn't so much a patty as a clump of cooked meat. But, the food was good and the atmosphere was just fine.

Next came a railroad crossing and a house used as the Sherridan's Orphans Home in "One-Armed Bandits." After that was Oxford University where the civic club scenes from "Bandits" and the jump seen at the end of the opening credits was filmed. Going further north brought me to the Boar's Nest. I missed it the first time because in other Duke explorer photos, it still looked relatively the same. When I found it, it had been completely repainted and renovated. However, the church that had been there had long since closed as it was abandoned and windows smashed in.

Next came a bridge from "Mary Kaye's Baby" next to a train trestle. The trestle itself was much cooler as it was covered in ivy and looked damned creepy. Took many shots of that. It was at this point I forgot I left my glasses on the seat and got back in the car, smushing them. Took me a bit to pop my lense back in, and not even correctly, unfortunately. I'll have to fix those later. After that was just a series of roads and bridges involved in various episodes. By the time I hit Social Circle I had just about had enough, so I hit the highway and headed on back to my hotel.

After some rest and a Cary Grant movie, I headed on up the road to this place I saw during my lost moments, Checkers. I thought it was just a one-off place, but according to Chloe it's a chain around these parts. It was also not an eat-in place, take-out only. Sure, find that out on what turned out to become a pretty nippy night. Luckily, the car came with one of those adjustable cup holders so it could hold the drink I got (a Pibb, my drink of choice in the south!).

So, I successfully made it to almost every location used in the first five episodes of the Dukes. Tomorrow, I'll explore more of Atlanta and maybe get the surrounding area to the location I got there yesterday.

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