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More Wandering: My Trip to the Volunteer State

July 30, 2008

Yeah, yeah, whatever. Like I haven't gone a week between posts before. Right.

Anyway, Thursday night we went to reclaim the children from my in-laws. We weren't supposed to meet them until Saturday, and so we decided we'd have ourselves a little mini-vacation filled with food that wasn't McDonalds and hotel sex--not necessarily in that order.

This notion was grievous to my in-laws. The couldn't figure out why we'd go to Nashville, TN two full days before we were supposed to meet them. My wife, being the golden-hearted woman that she is, simply didn't scream into the phone "We're going to fuck in a hotel room!" Notice how she has a much better relationship with her parents than I do with mine.

I digress. We drove out to Nashville, TN on Thursday night. I didn't realize that Nashville was that fucking far west in Tennessee. Holy dear Christ on a bobsled, that was a lot of I-40 to enjoy. We also discovered that every little shit town along I-40 in North Carolina has a Sonic drive-in...except ours, of course. If there's one here, it's hidden somewhere. We stopped in a place called Clyde by way of Canton, which is dominated by the largest damned papermill in the world, or so it seemed. It's like a town erupted around the foot of the papermill. The best part of Canton that didn't involve the papermill (directly), was the semi that decided to pull a U-turn in the middle of the two-lane road. Nice. Well-done. Fuck you and all 18 of your oversized wheels.

Also, seriously, Clyde has a Sonic, but Raleigh doesn't? Communists.

Anyway, the drive out to Nashville took so long, partly because Nashville is so far west, partly because we were backed up about 20 miles from the Tennessee border, with promises of heavy delays for the next six miles. Deciding we didn't want to do that, coupled with the fact that I had a quarter of a tank of gas, we decided to get off, find some gas, and then go exploring. After fueling up, we found one road that goes through the Smoky Mountain National Forest, and we took it.

You're greeted at the entrance to the park by a sign warning of elk crossing. I've seen what a deer can do to your car. I can only imagine the levels of effed-up an elk will leave your sweetass ride if you collide with one. Anyway, we follow this windy road up and through the park, which was an awesome ride, to be honest. I wish it wasn't so dark, so I could see more of the scenery, but it was still pretty cool. Especially when we came to the sign warning of a curve ahead, and then the arrow went in 360 degrees. Keen. A corkscrew road. If you ever get the chance to drive through the Smokies, do it. The road is awesome.

However, as we were coming off the mountain, I was glad it was night. Holy crap, we came down near Gatlinburg, and there was all sorts of lights piercing the sky and rows and rows and rows of lights and other things to ruin my senses. Oh, it was fabulous. And then we rolled through Pigeon Forge and Dollywood and...oh my God. Sensory overload. It was awesome. The wife and I were all fired up to come back on a vacation to just Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg or one of those places. Oh, it was gaudy and garish and oh so beautiful. We counted three different Flapjacks' Pancake Houses, and another place was offering 45 different types of breakfast. Forty-five! Be still my heart. No, seriously. I'm sure the cholesterol would force it to a standstill, because I wouldn't be happy until I made it through at least 25 of those.

After we found our way back to the interstate, it was more-or-less a straight shot to Nashville. We stopped west of Knoxville to refuel and pour gas station coffee down our throats, and the buxom and comely Boudicca took over captaining the S.S. Jenks Treader. I fell asleep, only to wake up two hours later and find myself just outside of Nashville. At 2 in the morning, local time, we checked into our hotel. And, let me just say, when you're that damned tired, you don't want to try and sleep on an uncomfortable bed. And LaQuinta in Franklin, TN has a very comfy bed. And the room was nice and cool. I give the big thumbs up to the LaQuinta in Franklin.

I'll spare you the rest of the gruesome details, but I will say that, of all the "vacations" we've been on over the past eight years or so, Nashville was the best. We'll definitely be heading back to Music City, USA. We're back, safely (or as safe as one can be) in Durham. Who knows, maybe I'll share some more tales of our wild adventure, maybe I'll talk of the return trip and how my four-year-old has become wildly appreciative of fart jokes. Maybe I'll tell you about my trip to ancient Greece. Maybe I'll tell you about run-in with four angry Australians. My lips are a tingle with excitement over the potentials. Travel blogs are fun to write.

Perhaps I'll even share pictures of the trip. Pictures? Yeah, that's right. I finally bought a memory chip for my digital camera, and we used it. This, of course, means that there'll be more pictures of my ass to pass around. Aren't you all thrilled?


teamslinger said...

my in-laws love Gatlinbrug! McGone also recently went to nashville and loved it.

Frank said...

Bah, at least you guys have Sonic in your general part of the country...

We've had Sonic commercials on TV for as long as I can remember, but the closest one to me is...*looks up Mapquest*

...332 miles away.

Falwless said...

I'm pissed off that you fucked up that last link of your ass. Get to fixin' that, wouldja?

Sonic is crazy good. Especially their jalapeno burger. And tater tots topped with chili and melted cheese. MMMMMmmmmmmmm.

Man. I haven't eaten lunch yet. I think it might be a Sonic day. Don't worry, I'll email you and tell you how good it was when I'm done.

Dr Zibbs said...

I've been to most major cities. Nashville is one of my favs (NY, San Diego and Vegas are other tops) . Please tell me you went to tooties!. I actually got my nuts felt up by some chick at the bar one night. I guess that's Southern hospitality.

Lisa-tastrophies said...

PICTURES!?!?!?! You mean I get to finally see what the man behind the Mjenks looks like? I can't wait!

And tell your son, I am gaining a new appreciation for vacation fart jokes. Somehow, farting is even funnier when you are on holiday... or trapped on a plane at 30,000 feet and even the captain wants to know what just died.

red said...

I love Tennessee. Good state. I mean, it's not California, obviously, but I could live there.

Falwless said...

WTF do you people have against North Carolina? We're the friendly neighbor to the east - and we have THE OCEAN! Helllooooo...

I hate all of you and your Tennessee-fawning back-stabbing ways.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

@slinger Wow, first you're stalking my institutions of higher learning, now McGone and I almost in the same city at the same time. It's like a pun or something.

@Frank True, the Sonic is a force for good. We have one in Wake Forest, but that's a haul for right now, as it's on Raleigh's north side.

@Falwless A: I'll get right on it. As for your couldn't have been as good as my cold meat sammich and crackers...

@Zibbs No, no Tooties. And no nut-fumbling either. Next time, though, next time...

@Lisa's chest Be careful what you wish for. And, I don't know what you mean, farting is funny any time. Vacation is just like...recreational gas passing.

@red No, it's not California...but there were a lot of bleach-blonde women running around.

@Falwless B We have the ocean and...Andy Griffith statues. And a town named Clyde. AND MJenks and Falwless.

Jidai said...

That was the happiest moment of my life when I moved down to Georgia. F-ing Sonics everywhere! Hahaha!

Poor Frank.

Rider said...

Exactly where does Sonic rank in the fast food chain?