Living on a Thin Line – Day Two

Day Two began with a man in the hotel lobby entertaining us with his decent Rodney Dangerfield impression and a discussion about fruit loops. Not a bad way to start the day. We have done this drive so many times now that it is beginning to feel routine, which isn’t necessarily a good thing when it comes to road tripping. But alas, we just wanted to push through and make it to my parents house in Georgia by 7:30pm. In the morning, my mom informed us that ribs were on the menu for dinner so we had a big carrot dangling in front of us for the entire 600 mile drive.

Arkansas gets a bad rap in this country. I wonder if most people who make fun of the state have ever even visited this part of the country, let alone The Natural State. You know, I discovered this to be true when I left Pennsylvania to attend college at Clemson University – the people who trash southern states and southern culture often times have never spent significant time in that part of the country. While I don’t ever see ourselves living in Arkansas, we certainly appreciate what the state has to offer – natural hot springs, rolling green hills, and wide open spaces with the prettiest wildflowers you’ll ever see.

We weren’t in Tennessee for long, just enough to pass through Memphis and head south to Mississippi. It was when driving on Rt. 22 toward Birmingham, Alabama by way of The Magnolia State, we debated over the best Beach Boys song. It should go without saying that Pet Sounds is one of the most influential works of all time so not surprisingly, our agreed upon song come from the album – God Only Knows. Agree or disagree?

We made the 600 mile drive with ease (or as easy as it can be with a toddler and a dog). While we would catch the occasional rain shower, we thankfully were traveling a couple of hours ahead of severe thunderstorms. As you can see, the sky looked ominous in Birmingham but the fury was not unleashed. Score one for our team.

And then just in time for rush hour traffic, we spotted the Atlanta skyline in the horizon, shimmering like The Emerald City. We had another hour and half to my parents but the time went fast – mainly in part to the ridiculous fast speed the average commuter travels on the Atlanta roads. No complaints from us though!

When we arrived at my parents, we were surprised to find my sister Julie and her fiance Zach at the house. They drove down to see us for the night because we’re not sure when we will see them again. Unfortuantely, they will not be able to make it up to northern Michigan for our extended family vacation in July.

Last time my parents saw Weston was over Christmas so they were thrilled to spend time with the little guy.

For example, my mom enjoyed playing trucks with Weston.

And Grandpa read Weston a bedtime story.

Julie and Zach’s dog Philly and Lucy played together all evening the way that dogs do.

Don’t worry about Philly, he held his own against Lucy.

Today we’re off to Fayetteville, North Carolina. It is a short drive today – only about five hours.

Woohoo.

Handful of Songs from Day Two Playlist
Shambala by Three Dog Night
She Sells Sanctuary by The Cult
Living on a Thin Line by The Kinks
New Sensation by INXS

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I’ve Got Soul But I’m Not Soldier – Day One

Happiness is singing The Rolling Stones classics with your betrothed in the car while surrounded by flat farm land for miles upon miles. My favorite? She’s a Rainbow. Clay’s? Get Off of my Cloud. So as you can gather from the title of this post, Day One of our prilgramage to our nation’s capitol is complete. Leaving Lawton at 5:00pm, We made it to Conway, Arkansas last night, rolling up at 11:00pm with a sleeping boy and a dog ready to get out of the car.

When driving across Oklahoma, you get to see the landscape change from the flat land, brown colors, and sparse trees to rolling hills and vegetation along the border near Arkansas. It is too bad Ft. Sill is located in the southwest portion of the state because we really find eastern Oklahoma quite beautiful. And green!

So I am sad to report that we did not eat at Huckleberry’s Pig Out Palace when passing through Henryetta, Oklahoma but I made Clay snap a picture of me in front of the sign. And we changed Weston into his pajamas in the the parking lot. Classy. From what I gather, the restaurant is an all-you-can-eat buffet open 24 hours.

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To my surprise, the online reviews are mainly positive with the occasion ‘eat at your own risk’ warning. There are some complaints that no meat options were offered at the salad bar (?) and that the restaurant wasn’t very vegetarian friendly (you think?), but the four and five star reviews herald the place as a beacon of southern cooking. Since we’re not big buffet fans we opted to keep driving but I can appreciate the unique experience Huckleberry’s Pig Out Palace offers. I think my favorite online review generously gave the restaurant three stars despite stating “the food is middle of the road to slightly gross”.

We’re off to Georgia today, armed with coffee, DVDs for the little guy, trivia cards, and many more songs. As far as the title of the post – the song came up on a shuffled playlist somewhere close to the Arkansas border. A little watched movie that is consistently on Clay’s favorite movie lists is The Matador. We can’t listen to All These Things I’ve Done by the Killers without thinking of the last scene of the movie. Please tell me that we are not alone with our love for The Matador, or The Killers for that matter.

And We’re Off…

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” – Jack Kerouac

We’re on the road driving east. Clay has military obligations in Washington DC for the next couple of weeks and the little guy and I are tagging along. Lucy too – at least until the drop-off point in Fayetteville, NC. We originally planned to fly but figured Lucy would love to spend the time on vacation in Wilmington, NC with her grandparents rather than a kennel so a multi-day road trip it is! While we’re no strangers to driving super long distances with a toddler and 75 pound chocolate lab, it always seems a bit daunting when we first hit the road, knowing there are many miles between us and our destination. But I suppose it is about the journey too, right?

Our planned route involves an overnight stop in Arkansas, an overnight stop at my parents in Georgia, a two-night stop in Fayetteville, NC at Clay’s sister’s house for a family get-together/birthday party, and then finally up to Washington, DC.

So long Oklahoma!

I plan on blogging our trip over the next couple of weeks…if you’re not into that sort of thing, you probably want to stay away for the time being. You can’t say that I didn’t warn you.

Do you prefer road trips or flying to your destination?