March 9, 2007

Acworth, Georgia.

It’s Warm!

Originally uploaded by macwarriorny.

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.

Pulaski, Va.

Pulaski, Va.

Originally uploaded by macwarriorny.

Earl and I hit the road early this morning. Not really an early bird, I realized that we had finished Pennsylvania (almost 100 miles), had passed through Maryland (12 miles) and were almost through West Virginia (about 15 miles) when I woke up.

And I was driving!

First order of business was to send a friendly wave to Thom in Northern Virginia as we passed his off ramp. Remembering our visit with him last year made us both smile. That was quickly followed by a wave to Jimbo in D.C. (via I-66 from where we were). We haven’t met Jimbo yet but he gets major woof points.

And then we made our way down I-81 through Virginia. There’s a lot of Virginia along I-81, but it’s a scenic drive. I had never been south of I-64 before so it was relatively uncharted territory.

Our first stop was for some grub in a delightfully homey-feeling chain of a place called “Country Cookin'”. These appear to be in old Perkins (or something like it) and are a lot like “Eat ‘n Park” that you see in Pennsylvania. The waitress, Gina, was friendly and tolerant when we made the huge southern faux pas of ordering “iced tea” instead of “sweet tea” or “unsweet tea”. We were corrected and learned our lesson for the duration of the trip.

After Country Cookin’ we washed the car (yay! for warm weather!) and then made a trek into Pulaski, Va. Ever since I was a little boy and discovered another town with the same name as my hometown on my grandparents’ map mounted on the dining room wall (very 60s chic), I’ve wanted to see what this other town was like. So Earl and I drove up Main Street of Pulaski (rhymes with “whee!” whereas my hometown of Pulaski, N.Y. rhymes with “why”). It’s a little bigger than it’s northern counterpart, but it has two interchanges with Interstate 81 and Route 11 runs right through the middle of it. It was kind of cool. Earl took the obligatory picture.

Betcha didn’t know that the simple things make me happy.