It’s strange, but as we crossed the Tennessee-Virginia border, all the heaviness that has pressed on my heart for the past year lifted. And when I felt Bug’s hand in mine, I turned toward him and smiled. Really smiled.
Another late start today. What has happened to my family? We’ve always been early risers – like 5:30am early – but now, no one can drag themselves out of bed before nine. This, I fear, doesn’t bode well for when they start traditional school next week. Or for when Bug actually has to start going into an office.
Screw that, this doesn’t bode well for when I have to get everyone ready for school and out the door.
Remind me again why I’m putting everyone back into regular school?
Anyway, today we drove from Memphis to Knoxville. Once again, it was absolutely stunning. Mountains, trees, rivers – big and small – lakes. I loved it all, even in the rain.
But the best part had to be the food. Our first spontaneous stop was to the Casey Jones Museum in Jackson, which just happened to have a wonderful restaurant next to it called Old Country Store & Restaurant. Normally, I’m not a buffet person but this was an impressive spread: fish, pulled brisket, chicken, hush puppies, salad bar, slaw, whole potatoes, greens, beans, BANANA PUDDING (side note: I have an unhealthy obsession with all things banana), corn cakes, etc. Even better: there were plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options (not the banana pudding, and I paid for that – boo)
After stuffing ourselves, we ventured over to the museum. Bug knew nothing about Casey Jones, but The Colonel quickly filled him in. The museum also had a little Civil War history and overall, it was a nice side-trip for the boys.
Now this is where everyone laughs at me, but I ate at a Cracker Barrel for the first time ever and LOVED it. We ended up there because neither Bug nor I could resist the “Half-shop, Half-restaurant” signs. I mean, come on, doesn’t that sound like a shop-a-holic’s dream? And imagine my overwhelming glee when the server told me it was Fish Fry Night. I didn’t even give him time to finish before placing my order right then – even though we’d literally just sat down and no one had opened a menu yet. Seriously. Fish Fry. How can anyone resist that?
Due to the hurricane, we’re cutting our drive short by a day and will be arriving in Northern Virginia tomorrow. I know at some point, this will stop feeling like another vacation and the realization that we are now home will set in, but for now, I’m going to keep enjoying the scenery out my window and dreaming about all the good things that are coming our way.
Yesterday was probably the most boring – yet eventful – day on the trip so far. We had grand plans to visit the Clinton Presidential Library (Bug and I had our first date at a Clinton fundraiser) and hang out in Memphis listening to music in the evening. Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men…
First, The Colonel woke up and puked. Multiple times. We ended up asking for a late check-out and praying he’d feel well enough to drive. Once I thought he was okay, we loaded up the car. I took the first leg of the trip because Bug had a phone call. Unfortunately, about 100 miles in, the boys and I were starving, so I took the first exit that showed food. WRONG CHOICE. It was a toll road and the first exit was nine miles down the road. Even better, there was nowhere to turn around. Hello, eighteen mile pointless detour.
When we got back on Highway 40, Bug took over the driving. That’s when the howling rain came. If I thought the wind was bad the day before, the rain + wind was scary. Because of this, we ended up skipping the Clinton Library and headed straight for Memphis.
Somewhere between Little Rock and Memphis, a migraine invaded my brain. Have you ever had a migraine at night on a highway. The headlights were killing me and it took every ounce of concentration to not vomit.
Anyway, the hijinks continued when we reached our hotel. No pets allowed. The very unhappy cats had to sleep in the car for the night – in the rain storm.
Speaking of rain storm, last night was the first we’d heard of the massive hurricane headed toward the East Coast. Needless to say, our travel plans have changed. No more coastal drive. Instead, we’re heading into the mountains today.