After our little stop in Pulaski, Va. Earl and I made our way through Virginia into Tennessee where I met a roadgeek goal: we drove to the other end of Interstate 81. I have now officially driven every inch of I-81. Most would say “big deal”, to me it was because I’d always wanted to do that.
We were going to spend the night in Knoxville, TN but we decided to continue our trek, so we stopped at a “Steak ‘n Shake” in Athens, TN. I haven’t done any research on the popular chain yet, but so far it is an acceptable substitute for Chick-Fil-A.
One thing I noticed is that when we were being seated we were asked if we wanted to sit in “smoking” or “non-smoking”. New York banned smoking in restaurants and bars years ago, so we had sort of forgotten that wasn’t the case throughout the entire country. (Virginia seems to have the same rule, at least where we were). Having been in a smoke-free environment for so long, I feel confident to say that having a smoking section in a restaurant is no different than having a pissing section reserved in a swimming pool.
The food was excellent though.
I did have to take a bathroom break, and while I was doing so an employee of the restaurant came busting in grumbling to himself about that “damn manager”, dropping a few “what the hell”s and other assorted blue phrases. Once I got myself together and went to the sink to wash up before returning to my seat, I noticed that he was standing at the sink shaving. I hadn’t run across that in a fast food restaurant before (though I have seen it at Planet Hollywood for some odd reason), he told me he was in trouble for not being clean shaven for his shift even though he had just shaved yesterday. Apparently the manager has run into the problem before with his or her employees, because this employee was well prepared with the necessary equipment to shave.
After supper we did some necessary shopping at the local Big K and then jumped back on I-75 where we headed south. We passed through Chattanooga where I waved a silent wave to my uncle that passed on years ago. He and my mom were picking me up at the train station back in ’88 and when the train was delayed, apparently he kept stopping people and singing to them “Pardon me boys, is that the Chattanooga Choo-choo?” It still makes me smile to remember that.
We decided to stop for the night a few miles short of Atlanta in the little ‘burg of Acworth. Earl and I are catching up e-mail and blogging (he’s going to blog this trip once we’re at Disney) and then we are hitting the road again in the morning. We haven’t finalized our plans yet as we’re not expected at Disney until Sunday but we don’t have nearly as much driving to do.