Monday, July 31, 2017

It's a Peanut Thing - Magical Mystery Roadtrip Revelations Part 2

On the road again....
The next leg of our 2200 mile trip was to reach Chattanooga, Tennessee. We drove and we drove and we drove.
Awesome summer skies
We had perfect summer weather. A few clouds to help shade us from the sun, and roads that were wide open with little traffic. So we talked. And here's the thing. When you're stuck in the car for days and days you get a little punchy sometimes and the conversation can get fairly randy. I considered it my job as "Helpy Helperton," Rob's personal driving assistant, to keep him awake and alert. There were even some signs along those long, straight roads warning us to "Keep Alert! Drive Alive!"

So as I looked at the clouds I began to see shapes in them. Elephants, dogs, dragons, angels. And somtimes tall towers with little puffs at the bottom that looked like penises. Yep, I did. Here's one, use your imagination. We stayed awake and alert for quite a while looking for penis clouds. I know, I know, I'm sorry, I sincerely apologize, but we were tired and I was getting punchy from so many hours in the car.

Do you see it?
Oh I saw some hearts too.

Hi Jess!
I had to keep putting my hand over my heart to remind myself that Jess was with us, she is everywhere, not stuck back home in my studio. It worked pretty well for keeping me stable.

And here's the thing. Along the road there are a lot of billboards of all kinds. They are very handy when you run out of penis clouds to keep the driver awake with. This wasn't a "romantic vacation," it was hard work, cause we were heading to a very important family funeral, so even though we didn't have all that spooning you do when you're truly "on vacation," we could joke about it.

So Rob and I had this very interesting conversation that began when we started to see how different the billboards are as you get farther south. I wish I'd been able to take a photo of each one, but they just whizzed by at 70 miles per hour.

Me: Oh look Rob! We can get a wonderful pair of Western boots from the largest warehouse in the world! Do you need some Western boots?

Rob: Sure!

(We didn't stop at the warehouse.)

Me, several miles later: Oh look Rob! We can buy some knives at the largest knife warehouse in the world! Do you want some new knives?

Rob: Sure!

Me, even more miles later: Oh look Rob! We can get a whole bunch of fireworks at the largest warehouse in the world! Do you want some fireworks?

Rob: Sure!

Me, later: Woah, Rob. We can rent machine guns and go shooting. Do you want to rent a machine gun and go shooting in our new boots with our new knives and then light off a bunch of fireworks?

Rob: Now why would we need fireworks if we have machine guns?

Me, even later: Oh my gosh, Rob. We can go to a moonshine tasting event! Do you want to get tickets and drink moonshine in our new boots with our new knives and shoot and light fireworks?

Rob: Sure!

Picture that for a minute. It kept us awake and alert for many billboards over the miles.

It was a very pleasant driving day, but we were really hungry by the time we reached Chattanooga. Right near our hotel was a sort of a steakhouse restaurant, so we pulled in for some supper before checking in.

The first thing I noticed was that something was crunching underneath my flip flops. Yes, with each step I took, something was on the floor.

"Come on in, y'all," said our seating hostess. And we followed her to our table, crunching all the way. I looked down and saw, wait for it, YES! PEANUT SHELLS! PEANUT SHELLS EVERYWHERE, COVERING EVERY SQUARE INCH OF THE POLISHED CONCRETE FLOOR! (Why, I never! Never in my life have I seen such a thing. What IS this peanut thing?)

THIS is the place to be!
Logan's Roadhouse! THAT'S what it is! They do peanuts like nobody's business! On every single table, there's a bucket of salted, cooked, unshelled peanuts just waiting for you to come and eat them.

It was packed with people. Families, kids, even someone had their dog under the table. The music was just right, and we found the rules easy to follow:

We could follow these rules, for sure!
I think I have a glint in my eye. I am about to be naughty.
Can she do it?
Yes she can!
I am just not sure what my mother would make of this.
And here's the thing: Magical Mystery Roadtrip Revelation Number 2: It's good to be a little naughty once in a while. Especially when peeps give you permission.

 "Who takes care of the floor?" I asked our darling little waitress. "We all do," she said. "After we close we all get out the sweepers and sweep up all the shells." "What happens to them?" I asked. That's a whole lotta peanut shells every day. "Oh they just go into the trash," she said.

Okay, now I know about the peanut thing. And I LIKE it. I think it's FUN! I also felt so much gratitude that somebody somewhere understands that sometimes life's too hard and we need a break. Laughter makes a really good break.

"We'll keep your seat warm and your longneck cold!"
A mix of locals and travelers.
What a wonderful respite from the driving. Ah, we could relax for a while. And the food!

I'm pretty sure they don't brag about any pimento cheese platters up north. Pimento cheese is a favorite down south - my mother loves it so much I learned to make it. Yum!

So Rob and I chilled out with good food.

Choices, choices!
And a glass of wine.

Gorgeous crepe myrtle outside the roadhouse restaurant
I love to watch the plants as we drive farther and farther south. I begin to see some I remember from when I was a kid that we can't grow up north. They smell so good and they're so pretty!

Nice big room with lots of space.
The comfort of TV, fridge, microwave, and Robert Dale.
We tucked ourselves into bed, knowing that we were now facing the hardest, most somber part of our journey. And the weather the next day reflected that in spades. Tune in to the next post for weather information.

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