This post will be quite picture heavy, and LOTS OF TEXT. I shall place it all behind a cut so that you won't have to load it unless you want to. Bookmark it, grab a coffee, read it at your leisure, if you so choose. :)
On Christmas Day, I set out for the wilds of Tennessee. I was headed to Chattanooga, TN by way of Erwin. Very tiny places. parilous
was kind enough to give me a ride to the airport. After a delicious Waffle House breakfast, I was deposited at the airport and began the journey. The flight to Atlanta was pretty comfy. No one in the middle seat AND I was in the exit row. Ahhh, leg room. The flight to Tennessee was not as comfortable. One of those tiny airplanes. Sigh.
The Tri-Cities Regional Airport
is the SMALLEST airport I have ever been. The Tallahassee airport was pretty damn small, but this one had an accounting office and a law office in it. Across the street was the Airport Pet Emergency Clinic. At least they offer convenience. Heather took me a sports bar and I had my first taste of sweet tea in forever. So delicious. mmmmmmm
Monday we got on the road and headed towards Chattanooga. We stopped at a place called Wild Wings Cafe and had some chicken wings and what not. The silverware came wrapped in a washcloth. I'm not even joking. We made a stop before Knoxville. The first was to the Amish bulk foods store. I bought a jar of homemade apple butter. They had freshly churned butter available as well, but having no way to store it for the trip back, I had to leave all of that delicious butter there. It was only $3.89/lb. I wept for myself not being able to have this delicious butter. After lunch, we stopped at a mushroom factory/plant/farm whatever you want to call it. You can buy mushrooms there for $4/bag. It's like a 2 pound or so bag. You buy it at the guard gate.
That is the guard who sold us the mushrooms. At first he declined to have me take his picture, but after telling him I was from Tucson and it was for my travelogue he posed for me. Ah, Southern hospitality.
We arrived in Chattanooga. Heather lives near the largest manufacturer of tow trucks in the country. Miller Industries
apparently had a government contract as there was an entire fleet of tan colored tow/recovery vehicles ready to go. I guess they will be repainting them to sell to other customers. If the government will allow it. We arrived at Heather's abode and I quickly unloaded my things into the guest room and we chilled in the living room with her sister, C. C has 9 cats. And 3 birds. The house, to her credit, did not smell like kitties at all. I was amazed. I was more amazed to see male Vera.
His name is Thomas. He was a good kitty. He was my lap kitty for the duration of my stay. Oliver (pictured below) was one of the other lap kitties that stood still long enough for me to get a picture of him. :)
The next day we toodled around town, saw the Chickamauga Dam
and then headed out to a place called Aretha Frankensteins
where the biscuits were as big as my hand, the pancakes were an inch thick, and the home fries were phenomenal. They also have a Ms. Pac-Man table top game.
It was amazing. You can order their pancake mix from their website. I would have bought some at Publix (more on Publix, later) but I they were out when we went :( We finished the evening with a visit to McKay Books
. A two story building filled with books, CDs, DVDs, LPs, video games, and the consoles for said games. I dropped about $12 there and came out with three DVDs and four books. I love bargain sections. :) They had an elevator which was pretty awesome.
Oh. Oh, Publix, how I miss you. Publix
is a southeastern grocery chain that has quite a loyal following. I miss their subs. They had the best subs, ever in the world. This being the south, tea is taken very seriously. As is lemonade.
Yes, DIET sweet tea. I got my sandwich and took a picture of something called "Marshmallow Delight". This is something made with sour cream, crushed pineapple, marshmallows, and cherries. I didn't try it, it sounded horrid, but, see, it's the south. And Publix caters to the local tastes (I don't remember this being offered in the Publix near where I grew up). Our cashier was quite friendly and chatted with us. Heather mentioned my excitement about my sandwich and that got us on the whole I'm from out of town thing. Faye, our cashier, was nice enough to pose for a picture. Kevin, our bag boy, was also eager to pose for a picture. Kevin was very nice and took great care to make sure that every item was bagged properly so that nothing was crushed or harmed during the bagging. Kevin chatted with us about his decision to either get an upstairs or downstairs apartment. Heather told me on the way home that he has been very excited about his upcoming move for the past few months. I told her to let me know when he gets his apartment and I'll send him a housewarming gift from Tucson. And my sandwich did not disappoint. :)
I will leave this here for now. More later. I need to get some sleep before I return to work on Tuesday.