Waffle House, Chick-Fil-A, and $2.99 Gasoline

Today is a travel day, the last long one of the trip. We’re making the journey all the way from Mobile Alabama to Charlestown North Carolina, a 10 to 12 hour journey. It feels good to cross so many states in a day.

To balance out our expenses, we chose to stay in a Days Inn. At about 50 bucks a night, we felt it was a slight upgrade from Motel 6, yet not as lavish as the Holiday Inn, which averages around 100 a night. I’m not sure whether this particular Days Inn was a bad egg, or whether we were just spoiled by the last few hotels, but I felt a “creep factor” that made staying there uncomfortable. I could go into the details, but suffice it to say it wasn’t pretty. Key words: old bubble-tron tv, no bath towels, really old bed spread, paint-speckled florescent bath lighting, and door propped open upon arrival.

We tried to sleep in, but were awoken by the sound of gas powered leaf blowers and weed wackers. Ahh. Just like home, only this crew was definitely not mexican in ethnicity like the LA crew was.

Our eating schedule is way off at this point, in part due to the slowly shifting timezone changes. So we’re trying to eat when we’re hungry, not when we “should” eat based on the time of day. It was one of those eatin’ times, and so we stopped at our first “Waffle House” — the greasy spoon dinner of the south. Waffle Houses are e v e r y w h e r e you go; If you close your eyes and walk in any particular direction, you’re bound to hit one eventually.

TheRose and I both got the waffle and egg combo: scrambled and with blueberries mixed in. $5.95 a person — what a deal! And I must say, it was one of the better waffles I’ve had. While not a Belgian, it was a very close second. We also throughly enjoyed the lesson we received in southern speaking. Our waitress spoke with a thick Alabama accent, as did the rest of the crew. And they were going on and on about some bar that “Jess” (our waitress) was going to, and whether she should wear a skirt when she went to that “mixed race bar”, and how she didn’t want to be abducted (!). It was all in good fun — a very casual silly conversation — and we found ourselves using the phrases we heard to practice our southern accent for the next several hours of the drive.

There was little fanfare when we crossed from AL to GA. No big sign or welcome center like what Texas and California has. That might be because it all looks the same: wide open highways lined with thick, lush forest on each side. Occasionally there will be a bridge that spans over a vast river. But for the most part it’s all tall trees and blue skies.

Our little Nissan Versa is doing well; we’re averaging around 28 MPG. We would get more, but we’ve been having some very strong winds that push the car back and forth in the lane quite fiercely! We’re also averaging about 80MPH, a speed that forces this little car to downshift when going up even the smallest hill. (TheRose adds: “It’s only when you’re driving…”)

Ever since New Mexico, we’ve been watching the gas prices go down. First it was 3.60, then 3.40, then 3.25 in Texas! When we saw 3.05, we took a picture, because we figured it couldn’t get any lower. But then… it happened. In a town just outside of New Orleans, we filled up our car at the amazing price of 2.99!!! It’s hard to believe that gas prices are going down, especially with all of the world turmoil and trouble with the European economy….. not to mention the fact that it’s an election year. But, we’re happy about it nonetheless.

At about 3pm we decided we should eat something, even though we weren’t really that hungry. We stopped in a Chick-Fil-A to see what all the buzz was about. We ordered 2 original sandwiches, and I must say, it was very very good. I proclaim that Chick-Fil-A is the “In-N-Out” of the South! We’ll certainly be having it again before we get too far north.

As I type, we’re driving near Atlanta right now, heading east on I285 which goes around the city just like route 128 does around Boston. Next stop: Augusta GA, followed by Charlestown NC!

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