Tag Archives: Acworth

The Grandma Road Trip – Leg Six

Leg Six: Acworth to New Orleans, 498.3 miles

Tuesday, September 11th: I left after Atlanta’s rush hour, managing to get a little sleep and after a tough goodbye with Mums. We’d gotten so used to traveling together, to sharing a small space together, it felt strange to make this last leg alone. I stopped for an early lunch with Aimee and then again, later, to make some calls for the movie, wrapping up some loose ends. Otherwise, the trip was uneventful, except for the end.

As soon as I arrived in Nola, I went straight to rehearsals for the NO Show. It turned out our leading lady was out of town and I would have to voice one of the lead parts during the live recording the next day, with Helen voicing the other. After rehearsal, I met Jamey for dinner. Normally, I would’ve just collapsed after a trip home from GA, but I still wasn’t done. I changed clothes in the bathroom, then went to tango! I didn’t dance very much, mostly just caught up with everyone since I hadn’t seen them for about two weeks.

It was midnight before I got home, which I’d last seen about 15 days previously, before Hurricane Isaac and before this insane road trip with my mom. I was so glad to be home in Nola, but I found myself missing Mums and everybody I’d gotten so used to seeing while on The Grandma Road Trip.

More than anything, I was just glad we had done it, glad to have spent the time with family and made the memories, glad to be safely home and to find my home safely waiting for me.

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The Grandma Road Trip – Leg Five

Leg Five: Chicago to Acworth, 685.8 miles

Monday, September 10th: We met Norm and Trouble for breakfast at Delia’s one more time and said our last round of goodbyes before heading out of Chicago. We passed striking teachers (and/or their supporters) on the overpasses as we exited the city and we honked our support as we went.

After passing through all the toll stations, we settled in to finish our second fluffy Janet Evanovich audio book, then started the looong audio book Mums had chosen, The Thirteenth Tale. It wasn’t long into the story before I realized we weren’t going to finish it together and regretted that we didn’t listen to it first.

I almost wished we were beginning the trip all over again. But, it was long enough as it was.

We tried to stop at a place called The Thirsty Turtle in Indiana for lunch, but it was closed and we ended up at a Steak N’ Shake instead. We fared better with dinner,  at The Oasis Southwest Grill in Kentucky.

And though the audio book was extremely engaging, it seemed like we were in the mountains of Tennesee, sharing the dark road with 18-wheelers, forever. It was pretty tense, probably most of all because we were exhausted.

We made it home pretty late, but I stayed up to do laundry and pack for the last leg of the Grandma Road Trip, then got a few hours of sleep.

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The Grandma Road Trip – Leg Three

Leg Three: Acworth to Columbus, 536.6 miles

Sunday, September 2nd: Mums and I set off reasonably early. She drove the entire way to Columbus while we listened to a fluffy Janet Evanovich audio book and I played with my new iPhone, which I’d gotten the day before. Considering I live in New Orleans, which is so flat it’s sunk in, I was pretty enamored with the mountains of Tennessee. Case in point (and I took about a hundred of these):

I was looking for postcards along our way to send back home. You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to find a postcard in Tennessee, especially on the Sunday before Labor Day when all the welcome centers are closed. It turns out that very few gas stations actually carry them anymore, which is kinda sad. I did manage to find some.

We stopped for lunch at Cracker Barrel, where I was amused by the “low carb” options on the menu. Maybe they are prepared pretty healthily, but none of these would occur to me as particularly low carb. Except maybe the trout.

As soon as we got to Columbus, we met my relatives at a Bob Evans. I was a bit exhausted (being out late finally caught up with me) and was feeling kinda cranky, but it was so nice to see them. It’s been a very long time since we’ve all been together. We laughed a lot, especially while my family tortured our extremely  good-natured waiter.

That evening, Grandma S. gave me a book called The Ringling Legacy and it occurred to me that she’s basically been doing research for The Winter Circus since before I was alive. A few years ago, she drove me to Bowling Green to interview Montana Miller, who I later became friends with, and Montana mentioned an old television special she’d been featured in and Grandma S. said, “Oh yeah, I remember that.” I thought she was just making it up, but she and Montana swapped details about the special. She has collected clowns my entire life, which is probably the reason they’re my least favorite part of the circus. But clearly, she has something to do with that seed of circus love that has always existed inside me.

Monday, Septempter 3rd – Wednesday, September 5th: Over the next few days, Mums and I did a lot of fun stuff with our Columbus relatives. We all got slaughtered in miniature golf by Grandma S. We cheered my aunt R.‘s over-40 soccer league game, where her team kicked ass and where, I have to admit, I snorted a bit rudely with a lady complained about the “humidity” on a cool, breezy evening. I *wanted* to say, “Really, lady, if you want to complain about humidity, go visit New Orleans where *any* day is going to be more humid than this pretty, breezy evening in September.” But, that would’ve been even ruder. We helped Grandma S. clean and organize her basement a little, though I wish we could’ve helped more. Three generations of book lovers visited a great, used bookstore in an old church, which was mighty dangerous. But probably my favorite moment is when we all watched So You Think You Can Dance together. Mums, my aunt R. and I are all huge fans and Grandma S. seemed to enjoy herself as well. We were loud and enthusiastic and it was so much fun.

Grandma S gloating over her putt putt victory (just a little).

And as for the home thing that Mums brought up before the second leg of the Grandma Road Trip – Mums grew up in Columbus and I was born there. While we moved to Georgia when I was very little, I do recognize a lot from other visits and there’s something a little primordial about being there. It’s the original home, maybe, even if I haven’t lived there in my own sentient memory. Each leg of this trip so far has been going backwards to an older version of home.

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The Grandma Road Trip – Leg Two

Leg One: Baton Rouge to Acworth, 552.7 miles

Friday, August 31st: And as I made the decision to leave, I was hearing about a dam in Mississippi that was likely to fail. It was on my route, which meant this might be my last chance to get out for a while. I took my chances, nervous through the long journey from Baton Rouge to Slidell and into Mississippi. I didn’t relax until I was in Alabama, which is ironic because it’s usually my least favorite portion of the trip. But I was going north, getting away from the coast and that was good news. I’ve made this trip 3-4 times a year since 2000, so that’s about 50 times. Whenever I can, I stop in Auburn to see my sister Aimee and her son. This time, I picked them up and took them with me. We had a blast  together in the car, even if it was pretty late by the time we got into Acworth. The best was listening to Aimee read my nephew his bedtime portion of Peter Pan from her iPad. The juxtaposition of past, present and future represented by an old story on an iPad, my sister reading a bedtime story to her son, and the deeply dark night pressing against the car windows, will probably always be one of my favorite memories.

Saturday, September 1st: Mums and I ran errands to get ready for the trip. We’d planned to leave on Labor Day originally, but I suggested we begin on Sunday to avoid bad traffic, since I was already there a day early. Our most notable errand might have been going to the library for audio books. This is the library I grew up with, still called the “new library” after it was moved to a new location when I was in elementary school.

Me and Jessie – yet another picture with my eyes shut.

Me and Jessie’s son “Jack.”

We also had lunch with my best friend since 2nd grade and her son.

Then, there was a round of laundry and re-packing. Now, the focus of my packing was purely on The Grandma Road Trip and while I did have to include some work documents since I would be finishing my work on the movie long distance, I was also able to lighten my load a bit.

But to really prepare, it was necessary that I tango. So, I drove down to the city and had a fabulous couple of hours with the tangueros there. This is my second time dancing in Atlanta, but the people I’d met before weren’t there and one dancer who had moved from BR to Atlanta was out of town. So, I had to brave an unfamiliar group all over again, but the Atlanta dancers were so welcoming and talented.

Mums hadn’t wanted me to go considering we were getting an early start in the morning, but I think she saw that it was worth it when I returned. I hadn’t danced in more than a week and when I came home, I was so much more relaxed and happy. I was bound to be a much better travel partner in the morning.

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