Tag Archives: Tennessee

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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