Composer’s Notebook: Have Geezer Card, Will Travel

Mark Gresham | 26 APR 2018

Overlooking the dam on Lake Allatoona, Cartersville, Georgia. [photo: Mark Gresham]

Having turned 62 back in March, I finally got my National Parks Service “America the Beautiful” Lifetime Senior Pass card yesterday, but I had to drive to Cartersville to buy it first hand.

Since I knew the in-town Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park didn’t sell them, I’d gone to Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park visitor’s center to buy one, only to find that they didn’t sell them either. The park ranger at the desk pointed me to two closest choices, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area off State Hwy 400 and the Allatoona Lake Visitor Center & Museum, which is run by the U.S. Army Corps of Enginners.

I chose the Cartersville location, since I was already just off U.S. 41, and felt like taking a nice drive in that direction. It was an easy process. I struck up a conversation with the receptionist who sold me the card, and she suggested I take a short walk up to dam overlook, not many yards away from the building, because they were releasing water from the dam at that moment. Monday’s record breaking rain for the day had raised the pool a little much, so they had to open the gates release some of it. That made for a great photo op, this one being the best of the group taken with just the camera of my Kindle tablet.

The Allatoona Dam was completed in 1949. Lake Allatoona (rarely called by its official designation, Allatoona Lake) is supplied mostly by the Etowah River, one of the rivers featured in my string quartet, Four Rivers. Below the dam, the Etowah River passes by the Etowah Indian Mounds, west of the city, before joining the Oostanaula River to form the Coosa River at their confluence in Rome, Georgia.