Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ron and Bill's Excellent Adventure Day Four

Me after my dining experience this afternoon


We're at the Hampton Inn in Franklin, North Carolina tonight.  We checked in this afternoon.  We wanted to extend our stay at the Hampton Inn in Johnson City, Tennessee but they were full.  So we had to go to our backup plan.

Since we're a day ahead ourselves (today seems like Wednesday and not Tuesday just like Sunday seemed like Monday and Monday seemed like Tuesday).  We wanted to get on the other side of the Smoky Mountains to position ourselves to make a run for Talluhah Falls Georgia.  Bill wants to visit his hometown of Toccoa Georgia on Thursday.  This will probably be his last visit.

The picture at the beginning of this blog is of me in the front of a local barbecue restaurant just below the Hampton Inn where we're staying.  Willy's Barbecue, notice that there isn't a line waiting to get in.  This isn't Panera Bread or Outback Steakhouse.  Oh well.  Bill had French Fries.  He usually get soup but they didn't have any (of course).  I got a grilled chicken (OK), French Fries, and barbecue backed beans (which were very good but probably because I was hungry since I haven't eaten since breakfast).  I'm eating a chocolate decadent brownie that I stocked up on from the Chick A Fil A in Johnson City.  My sweet tooth is insatiable.

This morning we had time so I took advantage and visited the 3,000 grave Evergreen Cemetery in Erwin, Tennessee.  Erwin is located on the Tennessee and North Carolina at the base of the Pisgah mountains where I spent the last two days visiting those small family cemeteries.  I have Tipton relatives also buried at the Evergreen Cemetery.  I found them!  Mission accomplished.

After taking about 800 photos of headstones, I got back in our rented Dodge Caravan and headed south to Asheville, North Carolina.  My great-great grandmother is buried in a small church cemetery just outside Asheville.  Again we had great stress traveling on unfamiliar roads.  I used my iPad Map to navigate and Bill drives.  Bill is depending on me for step my step driving instructions but by the time I give him the turn instructions he's already passed the street or exit.  Part of the problem is that he has a hearing aid which he refuses to wear.  He also has trouble seeing the road signs because he's concentrating on driving.  I think this is probably our last road trip unless we can figure out a way to go where we avoid heavy traffic patterns.  We're just too old to contend with all these stress.

We found the Berea Church Cemetery in Ashville, were my great-great grandmother Tipton is buried.  What a thrill!  I never thought I would even know where she was buried let alone visit her grave.  Her husband John, my great-great grandfather was killed by Confederates in 1864 during the Civil War in those North Carolina mountains where I have been visited the past two days.  My great-great grandfather has an unmarked grave somewhere up there in this mountains.  When he was ambushed and killed by a Confederate Calvary, his body was delivered to his widow and she and her neighbor buried his body on their property, the location of which is no lost to history.  I feel fortunate that I found her grave and was able to visit it today.  I am having a very productive vacation.  Now it's Bill turn on this vacation.

After spending a couple of hours this morning in that cemetery taking pictures we both loaded our weary bodies back into our rented van and headed to the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway.  This is the first time we have been on this road.  What fabulous views!  I took pictures which I will share on a future blog posting.  We wanted to get over the mountains and find a nice clean, comfortable place to stay for the night. We found it!

We're staying in a beautiful Hampton Inn which has a lobby that looks like a mountain ski lodge resort.  We got in at around 3 pm, washed up and they headed out looking for a place to eat.  This Hampton Inn is located off of the I-26 highway so our choices are limited.  We drove around a bit but decided to go to Piggy Wiggly's "Willy's Barbecue".  First clue was there was only two other folks in the restaurant (other than the cashier, waitress and cook).  And that person obviously was a friend of the waitress and a single mom there with her four year old boy.

Of course we were waited on immediately. Our waitress handed us our menu and the first thing I noticed was "Catfish Hoagie."  Uh....okay.  "We're not in Kansas anymore."  Panera Bread Wiley's Barbecue isn't.

Bill asked if they had soup.  Not surprisingly, our waitress said they didn't have soup.  Grease yes, soup no.

Oh well, Bill ordered a basket of French Fries.  I ordered a grilled chicken, French Fries and barbecue beans.  The barbecue beans were obviously out of a can but since I had not eaten since breakfast, the beans tasted great!  I filled my stomach up.  I was no longer hungry.  We could have went to the KFC that is on the other side of the Hampton Inn.  That's the problem with staying at hotels off the Interstate instead of in a city, dining options are limited.

Tomorrow we head south to the natural wonders of Georgia and visiting Bill's hometown of Toccoa, which is a dying dead town.  Toccoa's problem is that it isn't near a major road and what little industry they had (threads, like in sewing) was outsourced long ago.  Bill if fascinated walking down the deserted main street of Toccoa.  It's like "High Noon".  This is the third and probably last year we visit Toccoa.  There is NOTHING going on in that town.  Bill likes to visit his old haunts which I understand.  I like to do the same thing in my hometown of Downingtown, Pennsylvania.

After visiting Toccoa we'll swing up to Greenville, South Carolina and visit my brother John.  He wants to show me his new church construction.  I am so happy my brother has a job that he loves and does so well.

It is now 8:15 pm.  I am sitting at this wonder desk setup at the Hampton Inn.  Things have change at the Hampton Inn since I last worked there in the late 90's.  I love this setup.  It is so comfortable.

Bill is sleeping and I'm thinking about taking a shower and just vegging out watching TV tonight before I drift off to Dreamland.  We're leaving early tomorrow for the next leg of Ron and Bill's Excellent Adventure.  I hope we don't run into any more confusing, unfamiliar big city traffic patterns.  We'll be ready to veg out at home after this adventure.

6 comments:

  1. In Greenville there is an excellent BBQ place on white horse rd near 85 but the name has slipped my mind so its no help. The other place to check out is Fatz... puts Outback to shame !

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    1. Roger,

      I'll ask my brother about Fatz. This is the second time today I heard this name. The front desk clerk at the Hampton Inn where I am staying now suggested Fatz here in Franklin, North Carolina. We weren't sure how to get there and since Bill had a hard day driving we went to the dump nearby.

      Ron

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  2. whenever possible i try to eat 'local' and avoid the chains. There is some risk to this, but I like the notion of supporting locals and small business and getting some unexpected treat - although these can be few and far between. Someone like chain places for their consistency and predictability - no surprises.

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    1. Dr. Spo,

      Again, your advice is spot on. Today we did eat local. We visited Bill's hometown of Toccoa, Georgia. Toccoa is one of those almost deserted old cotton mill towns that is almost dead. We tried a restaurant on the main street. The food was not good. The ice tea, well I don't know what that was. Bill liked his soup but to me it looked like wallpaper paste. I had a grilled Cuban chicken panini sandwich. There was NO chicken in it. Instead there was some very old pork. However, the dessert Orange Cream Cake was delicious thus confirming your "unexpected treat." This evening we took no chances and ate at the Cracker Barrel restaurant here in Anderson, South Carolina. I had a grilled meat loaf panini sandwich. Delicious! Again confirming chain place for this consistency and predictability - no surprises. The Cracker Barrel makes the best meat loaf.

      Ron

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  3. Anonymous10:40 AM

    Hi Ron,

    I'm really enjoying reading about Bill's & your adventures on vacation. I'm ready to take a road trip myself. Maybe when my husbands back & hip problems get better we can do that. I'm glad you are making great strides in your Find a Grave research. That sounds so interesting. Take care, be careful but have fun too!

    Fran

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    1. Fran,

      I am so glad you're liking my road trip posts. I was hesitant to write about i for fear that I would bore my followers but I decided to anyway because I enjoy writing about each day's adventures. More adventures today which I will write about now.

      Ron

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