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Oceanside, CA to Macon, GA- The Last Waltz
Atlanta, GA | Macon Bound! | Musical Influences- Why I traveled to Macon | The Last Waltz - Ronnie Hammond's farewell performance

Harbor Village Mart
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My Store- Oceanside California

Hello everyone.  My name is Marc Wetherington, and this is a story about my trip from Oceanside, CA, to Macon, GA, to witness the final show of one of my all-time favorite voclaists, Ronnie Hammond, former lead singer of the Atlanta Rhythm Section.  I have listened to Ronnie for years, but was never able to see him live.  When I found out that he was giving his last show in Macon it was a no-brainer for me, I was going to be there come heck-or-high-water (heck is right above hell for those of you that didn't know).  For the last couple of years I have been a member of an internet group called the Champagne Jammers, a group of dedicated Ronnie Hammond & ARS fans.  50 of us Jammers flew in from around the United States & Austria to see the show, and oh, what a Large Time it was, before, during, and after the show!  Come with me as I take you on a written tour of my experience- pictures included!

On Thursday, December 5, 2002 at 7am, I departed Carlsbad, CA in a small prop-plane bound for Macon, GA.  My store was taken care of, my 16 year old son had the keg-party pre-planned (which I screwed up by making him stay with some friends), the plants were watered, the 10-day old food with the mold was extracted from the refridgerator, and I had no worries- mate.  Small prop planes are always a fun time for me,  I'm 6'3" and weigh 250 (some-odd) pounds, and it's a kick walking bent over in a plane small enough to fit in my backyard..  I don't realize how big I am until I get into a small plane, I always feel sorry for the person sitting net to me.  Heck, I feel sorry for me sitting all scrunched up, but I was going to Macon and I was happier than a clam in a hot bowl of chowder.

Marc Wetherington
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Ocenaside, CA's Biggest Ronnie Hammond fan

The 20 minute flight to Los Angeles was uneventful except for the great view of the Channel Islands and the vast Pacific Ocean.  The weather was perfect, 72 degrees and very, very sunny.  My luggage and I made it to LA for our connection to Chicago.  I always get nervous flying into Chicago during the winter because I never know if I am going to make it out of that airport or not.  One of the other Jammers I communicate with alot, Patti Waner, kept sending me emails about the weather, and with each email I got more edgy.  Chicago is one of those towns that should just close in the winter and everyone move to Florida until spring.  I've been to Chicago in the winter before, you haven't lived until you run (literally) outside when it's 0 degrees and jump in a 105 degree hot tub.  The hard part is getting out and dried off before all the hair on your arms and legs break off from the cold.  But I was lucky this time, lots of snow on the ground and light flurries, but the airport was moving.  I saw a sea of white as we made our approach for landing, it sure looked different than the sunshine and blue Pacific that I left 4 hours earlier (or 6 hours earlier, if you count the time change).  Luckily, I only had a one-hour layover, then I was Atlanta bound.

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Aram & Patti from Redondo Beach, CA and Chicago, IL, repectively.  I don't think Aram ever did get warm, even with the long underware.

On to Atlanta....

Back to Ronnie Hammond's website