Day 7 – Alabama-ish

Monday morning I woke up a little later than I had intended – but hey, I’m on vacation, right? I picked up new nuts and bolts at Lowe’s and had the camper tightened back up in minutes. Fortunately it was much easier putting the new ones on than taking the old ones off.

I had been expecting a number of things from Amazon on Saturday and Sunday, however none of it came. Monday morning I saw that one was out for delivery and the other was supposed to be delivered by end of day Tuesday. I chatted with Amazon support and they assured me they contacted the courier and both would be delivered by 5 PM Monday. This was particularly frustrating because I opted for specific brands/products based on the fact they said they’d arrive over the weekend.

It actually worked out well, I needed to wait for my package to arrive, but I also needed to head south for to complete Alabama before I could head north to continue along my route. I could go have lunch and hopefully by the time I was passing Franklin headed north my packages would be there. The package arriving that day had tracking so I was confident it would arrive. The other package, however, had no tracking details so I was skeptical of the reps claim it would arrive by 5, but that was a problem for later.

Comfort Food

I made my way south to the Alabama State line, and ate directly on it. Sure it was an hour each way, but I’m the grand scheme of this drive, that was nothing, and I had to check the box.

When I think Alabama I think comfort food, and that’s just what I found. Mildred’s sits on the south side of Main Street in Ardmore. It met the qualification by about 10 feet. An all you can eat buffet with all the artery clogging goodness you could imagine. Ham, chicken fried steak, friend chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, Mac and cheese, cornbread, grits, meatloaf, fried okra, and the list goes on and on. And it wouldn’t be a southern meal if it hadn’t all been washed down with some delicious, sugar laden sweet tea. It’s all food your mom would make, but it’s all available at the same time. Everything was delicious (except the soggy okra) and I was pleased with my decision. Even if I weren’t working to complete this goal, I’d argue the food was worth a 2 hour round trip drive.

Normally I’m not much for buffets, but I followed the suggestions of the reviews and gave it a go. It was the best $7.34 I have ever spent on food, however I’m thankful it’s not anywhere near where I live. If it was, it would only be a few years before I’d end up as that guy roaming the grocery store unaware (or unconcerned) of the lower portion of my gut hanging out below the bottom of my shirt.

Once I was done gorging on carbs, I slowly climbed in the car, amazing on lookers that I could still make use of my legs after so much food. On my way, I realized I would be passing Joe’s work and I had the upgraded OS for his car on a flash drive. Seemed like the perfect way to kill some time while I wait for my packages to arrive.

About 10 minutes into the install we got an error that it was the wrong installer for his car, so that plan was nixed. We said our goodbyes and I continued up the highway to his house to pick up my packages.

I got back to the house around 4 o’clock and relaxed on the couch until 5, plotting what I was going to do next. Radar showed a large storm was going to hit the area. I had planned to go to Mammoth Cave NP, but they were going to get pummeled and I’d have to set up in the rain. I expanded my search to see if anywhere in the surrounding states was going to be spared, but everyone was getting hit by the storm as it swept through the area.

5:15 rolled around and I only had one of my two packages. Unsurprisingly, the one without tracking details hadn’t arrived. I decided to cal amazon this time rather than chat. The package had never been given to the carrier, yet they claimed it was too late to change the destination, shipping method, etc. They could, however, cancel the order and process a refund. I suggested they do that and or place a brand new order for pick up at an amazon locker farther down the road. This suggestion really confused the Amazon supervisor, as if for some reason I needed to have the EXACT units from the first order, and that an identical unit of the same model wouldn’t meet the needs. We finished the call and she still seemed confused as to what I was doing.

After dealing with Amazon for a while I checked the radar again and things had gotten worse. There was nowhere within driving distance that wasn’t going to put me dead in the path of a thunderstorm. On top of that I wanted to see Mammoth Cave, which was just an hour and a half up the road.

Reluctantly, I decided my best bet was another night in Franklin with an early start towards Mammoth in the AM. I’d only have a few hour window where it wouldn’t be storming, but it was my best bet. The plus side was that I had another day with good friends, Penny got more play time with Coco, and I got one more nights rest in a super comfy bed.  Helpful, considering I’m still dealing with this bronchitis.

Joe and I kept saying we were gonna be good and cook some food and not eat out, but we both knew the truth – our dinner was gonna be brought to us by a server. The night prior, Joe, Lorraine, their son, Chris, and I watched an episode of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown featuring Nashville. One of the places they highlighted was Martin’s BBQ, which happened to have a location just down the road.

Joe and I went and my indecisiveness resulted in me ordering far more food than I could possibly eat. Baby back ribs, pulled pork, brisket, baked beans, and more. I did some serious damage but still left with a box in hand. The food was good and the service was decent, but they made no effort to hide the fact that it was closing time and they wanted us out. The bartender was nice and didn’t rush us at all, but that didn’t stop one of the other employees from turning off the TVs behind the bar at exactly closing time, sending a very clear message. Joe and I quickly finished our beers and made our way home.

It was my 4th night in TN. I hadn’t planned to stay much of anywhere that long, but things happen and I just have to roll with the punches. Tuesday was a big day, a day to make up lost time yet still do some exploring.

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