What you see is a Dunkin' Donuts drive-thru. It is a former car wash. That, my friends, is an all weather drive-thru window. How freaking cool is that? Hail and sleet be damned, THE DONUTS WILL BE SERVED!
We opted not to get donuts from that particular establishment. Instead, we headed for Koch's Bakery, but, they were closed for whatever reason. So, saddened by lack of tasty fried sweet breads, we headed for Urban Stack for some tasty burgers, nachos, and local/regional brews. I had a beer from a brewery out of Mississippi that was quite tasty.
I ordered the Hamburguesa Mamacita and Heather ordered The Steakhouse. We shared our burgers. They were DELICIOUS. I had never thought to make a hamburger out of chorizo before. I'm quite anxious to try that again. Mmmmmm. The nachos were pretty good, too. But, I like my nachos better.
My father requested that I take a picture of "See Rock City", preferably on the side of a barn. I don't really know the history of the whole See Rock City thing, but he wanted it so I said ok. On our way to Rock City, Heather spotted this pickup truck with See Rock City on the back. I figured that this would do for my dad, so we pulled a u-turn and I snapped the pic. With some cropping, I think this will be a good picture for him. I'll be including the picture of the truck along with the cropped pic to explain where I got it. I think he'll find it amusing :)
As we headed away from the truck, Heather pointed out the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum. You can't make this shit up. They have a store online. I may buy a coffee mug. Or I should wait until I go visit again to actually go to the museum. Sweet.
Next stop: Chattanooga Choo Choo. You can rent out a room on a train car, eat in one of the train cars (for classic railcar dining experiences), stay in the hotel, or, you know, whatever. Lots of pictures taken there, I'll just put up a few here.
Found a store called Yada Yada. Walked through a sculpture garden. Ate at Tony's. Tony's. Oh man. They had bread with whole cloves of garlic baked in. The meatballs had chunks of onion and garlic rolled in to the meat. The meatballs were bound by magic and deliciousness. The lobster ravioli. I can't sing the praises of this dish enough. Mmmmmmmm. We had coffee at a cafe called Rembrandt's. They need to get another espresso machine. One head for multiple drinks is really just silly. But, the truffles were good. I bought a hot travel mug from them. It is red. :) Sculpture pics!
We found a bakery near Tony's that we found out supplies them with the delicious bread. Heather calls it "treasure bread" since each clove of garlic is a wonderful treasure. She bought a loaf from the bakery. We headed back to the house, as this was Friday. Friday was my last day in Chattanooga and would be the first day on the road to head back to Tucson with K and his foster kids. We stopped for gas and discovered a phone booth. A red phone booth.
I met up with K around 9 at Wendy's where he was getting himself and the kids fed for the night. Heather and K finally got to meet (they have heard about each other from me) and we got the kids situated with their medications and we were on the freeway by 10. First stop was somewhere in Alabama on the 59. The clerk was possibly Pakistani and had a Southern accent that was intertwined with his Pakistani accent. My head pretty much exploded. Also, he was flirting with me. I kept trying to break for the door as I wanted to get back on the road, but yeah, it took about five minutes to disengage myself from his conversation. K, ass that he is, witnessed the whole interchange and was quite amused. He decided to just hang back and let it play out instead of saving me. What a guy. :)
I finally hit I-20 and started the travel across the country. I passed through Chunky, MS. I wanted to stop so bad, but it was around 1 or 2 in the morning, I didn't think anything would be open. :) I got to cross the Mighty Mississippi for the fifth time of my adult life by car. This time, it was on the 20 instead of the 10. I think I like crossing on I-10 better. Then again, I couldn't really see much as it was dark. I stopped about 30 miles into Louisiana and handed the keys to K. It was close to 6 a.m. EST and I was tapped out. K took over and I couldn't really get a sleep, but I was able to rest. We stopped at the Get-N-Geaux. Next door was the saddest casino in the world.
The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful. Whenever I drove, I had at least one knee in my back. Which is understandable when you have two kids (9 and 15) and a 40 lb dog in the backseat of a Honda Civic. :) The kids, surprisingly, were pretty well behaved during the entire car ride back. 33 hours in the car. These kids are troopers. The dog was a sweetie pie. I wish I had gotten a picture of the backseat, but I never got the chance or really felt like reaching for my camera while I was in the sardine can. We made it back into Tucson at 7 a.m. EST. I was exhausted. K was exhausted. The kids were asleep. The 9 year old asked us through most of Texas if we were in New Mexico yet. I was ready to strangle the kid. But, at the same time, I gave him credit for creativity in asking the same question in completely different ways. I finally told him that when we got to New Mexico, if he was still awake, I would let him know.
Alas, when we finally crossed out of Texas (thank heavens), K and I high fived each other, flipped Texas off out the rear window, and happily made our way on I-10 towards Tucson.
I had a great time on my trip. I got to see the fireworks over El Paso/Juarez on NYE. Then I got to smell the city on fire. Mmmmm. I detest El Paso. Saw lots of people traveling, most seemed in good spirits. And, finally, I got the road bug out of my system. For now. Maybe in a few months, I'll feel the need to take a mini road trip again. Hope you enjoyed the pictures! :)