Tuesday, October 20

The drive, continued.

We left Jackson at about 8:00am, still heading east on I-40. We were jonesing for another audio book but had a hard time finding any. At one place they had a bunch of cheap ones and we ended up with Stephen King's The Colorado Kid. The characters spoke in heavy New England accents and we had a hard time understanding them sometimes. The story took some serious paying attention to really follow and while it passed the time, it wasn't all that enjoyable.

We drove through Tennessee, passing through Nashville and Knoxville, heading for a little place north of Winston-Salem. At the last minute, Will realized that instead of taking I-40 to Winston and then going north, we should take I-81 north to I-77 south to I-74 east and US-52 south. We had to backtrack a few miles the junction with I-81, but ultimately his smart thinking saved us at least an hour of driving. Nice! We rolled into our destination at about 6:30pm. It was so nice to have a welcoming, cozy house to sleep at instead of a motel. Our dear friend made us the best lasagna ever with salad and bread on the side. And a delicious apple tart for dessert. Good food, good conversation and a good night all around.

(Day 3 - 9/12 hours)

The next morning, after a little breakfast with our friend, we headed to Winston-Salem and Krankies. That place - the Wherehouse - never ceases to amaze me. We hadn't been there in about three years and it's incredible to see how much they have done since then. Krankies has expanded. There's a bakery in the basement. A garden in progress outside. And they have their very own chickens. It is such a wonderful place and it always feels so comfortable to be there. We got to see a lot of the folks that we know, just sitting outside drinking tea and coffee, catching up. A lovely, lovely time. I just wish we had more time to spend there.

We headed out just after 2:00pm. The drive was uneventful and went by quickly, just how I like it to be. We arrived at the beach house in Isle of Palms, the same one as last year, a bit after 6:00. Just in time to join Will's folks and some family friends for dinner. We ate at The Mustard Seed in Mt. Pleasant. A very friendly place with good but not fabulous food. I tried the crab cake special and was a bit disappointed as they were the mushy kind and I prefer the crisper kind. The key lime pie was delicious though.

And that was that. We were finally at the beach.

(Day 4 - 5 hours)

Thursday, October 15

The drive.

We decided to leave a day earlier than originally planned so that we wouldn't have to have crazy long days of driving. We also decided that since we had some extra time, we wouldn't stress out about leaving at the crack of dawn. A good idea. We ended up hitting the road at about 11:00am and had a pleasant drive through eastern New Mexico and Texas on I-40. We wanted to stop at around dinnertime so based on that and the fact that the Tom Tom (borrowed from my dad) assured us that the Elk City exit had motels, we stopped there.

Plenty of chain motels to choose from but they all looked so run down. We wanted to eat first so we picked a diner listed on the Tom Tom, followed the directions and no diner! Picked a second place and found a burned out building. Thanks Tom Tom! We decided to drive down to the next exit of Elk City to see what we could see. Not much. No restaurants besides fast food. And more seedy looking motels. We drove around some more to no avail. Finally found sort of a main drag with more motels and fast food. We couldn't believe there were not any non-fast food restaurants. There had to be something. Finally we stumbled upon Ed's Katy Diner. It was open and not a burned out building. A good start. And by this time we were starved.

The building was an old train depot but other than it's history, the place didn't have all that much character. We sat in a booth where we could watch the Monday Night Football game. Ordered some Coronas because that was the only "good" beer they served. Will spotted chicken fried steak on the menu, one of my favorites. So I ordered that and he got the fried catfish platter. Neither dish was remarkable, but it was a helluvalot better than eating at Sonic.

After dinner, we had to make a motel decision. We were near a Best Western so decided to stay there just so we wouldn't have to drive around anymore. We didn't ask the room price beforehand so were a bit shocked to find that it was going to be over a hundred dollars. We never pay that much for road motels and felt kind of ripped off. Because let me tell you, it was not a luxury motel. A nice big room, yes, and relatively clean, but the sheets were the scratchiest sheets we have ever slept on. It was like sleeping on sandpaper. Awful. We made it out of there by 8:00 the next morning with not a lot of love for Elk City, Oklahoma.

(Day 1 - 7 hours)

One of the truck stops that we stopped at had a bunch of audio books so we ended up buying one. Stuart Woods Hothouse Orchid. I don't read his books, but I figured that a mainstream type thriller would be perfectly fine to listen to in the car. Much like all the crime shows I watch on television. And I was correct. Between the listening and the knitting, the drive went by quickly that day. Oklahoma, Arkansas and into Tennessee. That's when it got ugly. Well actually I guess we were still in Arkansas. West Memphis, Arkansas. It was five o'clock and there was construction going. Traffic came to a dead stop. We must have already finished the audio book otherwise that would have distracted me. I tried to focus on crocheting, but the whole not moving thing and being surrounded by big trucks started to freak me out. (Note: Traffic jams make me have panic attacks.) It was not fun. My mind started racing, trying to figure out how I could escape, get out, move, something. Anything. But no. We would reach a point of movement only to hit another dead stop. Again and again. It took us an hour to get to the other side. And by then, both of us were in bad moods. My panic is silent but Will knows that I am stressed out which in turns stressed him out and, well, you get the picture. Not fun.

But we made it. We arrived in Jackson, our destination for the evening, at around 7:00. Based on the unreliable Tom Tom, we had picked out a BBQ place for dinner. It was there. And it wasn't a burned out building. But they closed at 7:00. Foiled again! Will was super bummed because this place (which I can't remember the name of) looked like the real deal. We backtracked toward the interstate and ended up having BBQ pulled pork sandwiches at some sports bar and restaurant. It wasn't bad. And they served beer which was much needed at that point. But it wasn't the real deal. We stayed at a Ramada Inn that night and not only was it super cheap, the sheets were soft. Heavenly after a long day on the road.

(Day 2 - 10 hours)

To be continued.

And P.S. I know this isn't all that interesting, but I am so bad at actually writing in a real journal these days, I like to at least recap here so I can remember things. I am sorry if it is way too long-winded.

Wednesday, October 14

This really stinks.

Aaron Smith out for the season. Not only is he Will's favorite player, he is a crucial part of our defense.

The last time the Steelers played without Smith, 33, for an extended period, their rush defense all but collapsed.

Not good, especially since our defense hasn't exactly been in top form this season. The loss of Smith is huge.

On the bright side, Troy will be back soon. This Sunday, I think.

Tuesday, October 13

Home sweet home.

And oh so busy. So busy. I've had a post floating around my head for a few days now, but it just isn't going to happen. I don't have time for the internet. I have time for flowers, felted and the real ones outside. (Meaning that I need to crochet and garden.)

But a quick check in here nonetheless. I should do this in the mornings when my brain is more awake. Evenings have been kicking my ass lately.

Our trip was a lot of fun. Getting home was nice too. No matter how fun it is to visit other places, it's always a relief to get home. To our kitties. Our own bed. Our own bathrooms. And perhaps not the cleanest house, but at least I know where the dirt came from unlike the not so clean motel we stayed at in Amarillo.

One day soon maybe I will tell you about the drive. We discovered that we love listening to audio books. Crime thrillers, natch. We also discovered that it's slim pickings between Amarillo and Oklahoma City. Stay in Elk City if you're in a pinch. The other options were frightening. Horror movie material.

And the beach was wonderful. How could it not be? It's the beach! Ocean! Seagulls! Pelicans! Egrets! Sandpipers! And lots of other birds that I can't name. Also, dolphins! And starfish! Seashells! Sand! And good lord, the food. We had some good food while we were away.

It was also much fun to hang out with Will's family. I got to meet our new nephew, Jake, for the first time. He's six months old. And boy, what a cutie. He is endlessly entertaining. We bought him his first Steelers t-shirt while we were there. He's been instructed that he needs to wear it every Sunday (or whatever day our game is) for the rest of football season. We also got to change a very poopy diaper the one night we babysat while everyone else when out. He managed to get it all the way up his back. Nice!

There's oh so much more to tell, but time is limited. I have to get back to work. I also have pictures of birds and seashells and babies, but they might not show up for awhile. We have company arriving on Friday night and that throws another twist into the whole being busy thing.


It's all good.