Back home again

Eight hour drive–successful!

I stopped at Grandma’s on my way out of town, and she gave me one of Grandpa’s Aubrey-Awbrey of Virginia and Kentucky books. I’m thinking of setting up a site for it someday. Grandma gave me permission to republish the material for non-profit purposes.

Again the drive provided ample time to think about plenty of things. This time I pondered that I always think about stopping at various sights along the way, but I hardly ever do. (The one time I did stop, to see Lost Sea, I didn’t actually go into the attraction because it cost something like $15!) Today I thought that I should make a list of all the places I want to stop and visit, and then start doing them all one at a time.

Here are some of them, off the top of my head:

  • Anything in Jellico (I just think the name “Jellico” is great)
  • Renfro Valley
  • The Smokies
  • Lost Sea (for real this time)
  • Cumberland Falls (I’ve actually been there, a decade ago…I want to go back)
  • Colonel Sanders KFC Cafe and Museum (I drove past it once)
  • Boonesborough (although I am confused as to whether or not that is actually “Fort Boonesboro”, or just a town with that name…if it’s the latter, then never mind)
  • “Adult World” (it’s this huge warehouse of adult products somewhere in Tennessee…seeing it cracks me up every time)
  • Gatlinburg
  • That outlet mall north of Atlanta
  • Any of those places advertising boiled peanuts, homemade fudge, or (in Georgia) peaches and onions
  • Downtown Atlanta (yes, someday I would like to actually stop there, instead of just driving through and rubbernecking)

That’s about all I can think of right now. (And that’s plenty, really.)

I also thought on my drive about the name “Conrad” for a boy. Then I thought, “Conrad Leonidas Meadows”. Then I thought, “That child would have a hard life.”

Then I thought, “I’m thinking about having kids again.”

I noticed something interesting on my drive about my MuVo. When I have it on repeat/shuffle all, it will play lots of songs from folders that have lots of songs in them–often the same songs numerous times–but it completely leaves out folders with only a few songs in them. I literally couldn’t hear anything from my “Kyou Kara Maou” and “Misc Anime” folders without changing the play mode to “Repeat Folder” (or “Normal”) and then Skipping Folder to those directories. Weird.

(And yes, before you ask, I did sit there hitting “Next” over and over and over, waiting for one of those songs to come up. They never did.)

My second gas-up took place at a Chevron somewhere in Tennessee. Their prices were actually five cents higher than I’d been seeing elsewhere, but I didn’t feel like going anywhere else. When I was finished, my car pulled its oh-so-cute “What? Start? I don’t know how to do that” routine. I tried it over and over for a long time. When I finally glanced up at the station and thought about going in there for some help, I noticed that it was closed. (Tricky pay at the pump people!) I resigned myself to trying the car again and again until it finally started up. It always startles the hell out of me when it suddenly roars to life after doing nothing but clicking despondently.

I saw two notable billboards on the drive, and I didn’t want to forget them so I actually used my MuVo to record myself briefly describing them. I’d upload the sound file, but it’s really not all that interesting, so instead I’ll just write what the billboards were.

The first one, just north of Atlanta, had a picture of the faces of Osama bin Laden, Kim Jong Il, and Saddam Hussein, with the headline: “News is important. Now more than ever.”

I wonder what Mr. Kim would think of being lumped together with bin Laden and Hussein. I’m sure if he finds out about that billboard it will do nothing for our diplomatic relations with North Korea.

The second billboard was somewhere east of Atlanta. To get this one you must know that I had previously passed on the same highway a car dealership with a huge inflatable purple gorilla holding a car over his head. The billboard featured a screaming purple gorilla and the text, “The 05 chikins are here.” I was perplexed until I noticed the cow mannequin, and then I laughed out loud. (Literally. And I pounded the steering wheel, too.) Go Chick-Fil-A!

Somewhere near (I think) Covington, Georgia, there was a huge car accident on the westbound side of I-20. Traffic was completely stopped; they weren’t even letting one lane through. As I drove past I counted eight cars on tow trucks or along the side of the road surrounded by police cars. The line of traffic behind the pileup lasted for ages. Towards the front of the line, many people had their cars shut off and were walking around on the median. While I didn’t get a picture of the aftermath of the actual accident or the front of the line, I did take a few of the rest of the line of cars. I also said aloud, sympathetically, “Sucks to be you.”