Posted by: lylescott89 | June 18, 2013

The Great Smoky Mountains Journey Day One: Tropical Storm Andrea

Hey kids,

For the third straight year we decided to take a road trip.  I still am not a big fan of them, but overall I am getting to the point where I hate them less.  Once again we were on our way to one of our favorite destinations, the Smoky Mountains.  How would our trip go?  Read on…

Tropical Storm AndreaI was ecstatic to be away from the torture of work for a while and nothing was going to stop me, not even a tropical storm.  I had paid little attention to the weather the night before and awoke to find myself right in the path of Tropical Storm Andrea.  Donna was a bit concerned, but I said it was no big deal and just a lot of rain so I said we should continue with my plan to be on the road no later than 10:00 AM.  So off we went to pick up the rental car at Avis.  We picked up a Ford Edge and brought it home to get it loaded.

After loading the car, having breakfast and taking a shower it was almost 10:00 AM and time to go.  There was a brief relief in the rain and I convinced Donna all would be fine and we were on our way.  Funny thing about tropical storms; they seem to keep the roads clear of traffic.  Everything was fine until we reached the Courtney Campbell Causeway.  The wind was strong and the waves on the water were much higher than usual.  At the same time we were met with a deluge.  Since we were just about the only people either dumb enough or smart enough to be on the road we had the causeway almost all to ourselves.  That was fortuitous because we were driving very slowly due to the rain, the wind and the water crashing across the road.  I started getting a little nervous and thinking Donna may have been correct, but I had to get out of town so I decided to bear down and take Andrea on like a man.  It was the right call.  Once we cleared the causeway we had a fairly steady rain the rest of the way, but nothing we could not handle.  The worse of it was over and we were on our way.  (On a side note I ended up driving all day on that Thursday since Donna is not particularly fond of driving in the rain)

Overall it ended up being a rather pleasant drive despite the rain.  We stopped for lunch at the world’s slowest Wendy’sFord Edge where I enjoyed a spice chicken club and some fries.  They had two registers, but only one person working.  There were a number of employees back behind the counter plus a lady emptying the trash, but only one person to take the orders.  She seemed less than thrilled to be there, but frankly who could blame her?  I’ve worked fast food before and I know how much it sucks.  Anyway she took our order and as the line progressively got longer behind us she waited until we received everything before taking the next order.  I guess she wanted to take the fast out of fast food.  As I turned to find a seat I saw not only an extensive line of hungry people, but a lovely Asian woman in a short skirt.  I had impeccable timing that day.

As we continued northward I was struck by how amazed I get driving through the central corridor of Florida. On one billboard there is a an ad for a place called Café Risqué (where they apparently bare all 24 hours a day) then you see another with a guy dressed up as Jesus telling you that abortion is horrible and Obama is Satan.  (Neither of which are true)  Then you see a huge Confederate flag next to a sign that says “Stop Obama in 2012”.  (Too late) Gee, you think that is a little racist?  And this continues for a while; naked club signs followed by Jesus and more racist attacks.  Occasionally you get a “we love guns more than anything” sign as well.  Absolutely fascinating and more than a bit scary.  Something else that was more than a bit frightening was that somehow I got the theme from The Banana Splits stuck in my head as we crossed into Georgia.  If anyone can explain this please feel free.

Around 4:00 PM we arrived at our first stop; a Fairfield Inn in Cordele, GA.  It was a very nice hotel and after the long drive Adam and I decided to partake of a swim in the indoor pool while Donna rested from…well, I have no idea what she was resting from other than she was tired after her nap in the car.

Big Ass BurritoThere were several places to dine in the area, but I wanted Mexican food.  Surprisingly enough there was a place nearby called Los Compadres that was rated fairly highly on Trip Advisor.  We decided to check it out.  It was not a big place by any means and it was probably the only restaurant I had ever been to that had ESPN Deportes on every TV.  As is the tradition in most good Mexican places we started with some chips and salsa.  The chips were warm and the salsa was chock full of flavor.  I ordered the Big Ass Beef Burrito and it was incredibly delicious.  Adam got a trio of a beef taco, a chicken burrito (not a big ass one) and a cheese enchilada.  Donna got some sort of veggie feast that she said was very good.  The prices were reasonable and the food was yummy, but the service left a lot to be desired.  There were only three other tables with guests besides ours so one would think the service would be good.  One would be wrong.  I wanted a side of sour cream and I had to ask the waiter for it three times before I finally received it.  At that point I should have complained, but I chose not to do so because I was tired and just wanted to eat and get back to the hotel.  So we ate, paid the bill and went back to the hotel.

The rest of the evening was completely uneventful.  We watched some TV, I read a book for a while, but then was in bed and quickly asleep.  The next morning would bring more traveling so a good night’s sleep was essential.  What happened on day two of the journey?  Stay tuned.



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