Never underestimate a good night’s sleep.
It was day two of our journey. The first night was spent in Kentucky, where, well, that’s a whole other story. Aside from the threat of starvation and the excited gun slingers who shared our lodging, I’ve got to admit the room was less than what I’m used to.
It was nothing like the Queen bed I’m used to at home, littered with pillow pets and sprayed nightly with my own personal essential oil blend.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a decent sleeper. I’m not completely fussed by strange beds or new places so long as I feel secure.
But as much as I try, there’s only one word that I can use to describe this bed in Kentucky: stale. It creaked when you hopped into it. The pillows were flat. It seemed, overall, to have a kind of dry-rot you’d experience when you bring a bathing suit out of storage for the 4th year in a row.
To top it all off, Laura SNORES.
I can’t blame her much. She was the one who was up far longer than I was that night, keeping a watchful eye on the figures that were fraternizing outside of our window on the shared balcony. When we woke up in the morning, I was much less refreshed and ready than I was eager to get the fuck out.
So we left, and I was glad to go for a stroll through the Dino Park, but also running on fumes and cheap gas station coffee.
After a few dozen miles, we stopped for lunch at what was deemed the “best restaurant in Chattanooga.” It reminded me of a pub I frequented in the New York when I was still using my older sister’s ID. Overall, it was a lovely horse-shoe shaped bar lined with booths (which we graciously plonked ourselves into) serving standard pub faire under the guise of swanky exotic selections. Here I go again being a food snob but, at best, it was alright.
The star of the show was our waiter, who didn’t quite seem to be a native Southerner but had all the charm and patience of one. He had a Pacific-islander hipster look about him; a half-shaved head topped with a man bun, making him the most exotic-looking person in the place. I, with my own set of dark features and don’t-give-a-shit t-shirt and sneakers combo, was likely a close second.
We sat and dined and tried to refresh as best we could so we could make it to our next and final stop of the day. The waiter (whose name I forget because it was equally as exotic) brought me over three different beers to test, and dislike, before bringing out a full flight of everything on tap so I could choose what I would like.
If they had Brooklyn Lager, it would have been an easier choice, but we were working with local Tennessee stouts and sours. Finally, I zeroed in on a Hefeweizen (from the South still but not local, unfortunately) and sipped it slowly over a crab cake sandwich, fried chicken livers, and pork belly.
Laura, a hospitality professional and sympathizer, could have absolutely left me for dead in Chattanooga if she’d been able to get to Florida herself for the lengths which I made this man go to find a beer I like. Instead, she just left a generous tip (company card, baby).
So after a big lunch, a beer, and an espresso, we carried on to Georgia.
Georgia was more or less uneventful except for the fact that I begged for a chance at being spoiled. Company card, remember.
Luckily…thankfully…Laura obliged. Though we couldn’t stay in the swanky midtown Atlanta hotel–they, unlike Kentucky, could not accommodate parking our 10″ U-Haul–we stayed in a quaint LaQuinta in McDonough, Georgia.
We showed up around 6 and did only one lap around the parking lot this time. There were a fair amount of cars, so we snagged a reasonable spot in the front of the hotel (to make sure eyes were on it), unloaded our bags and boxed wine and headed in.
It was a nice hotel, newly renovated and very calm by the time we showed up. After the fury I felt following the food kerfuffle at the previous night’s accommodations, not much ruffled my feathers here. In fact, the role was handed off to Laura, who was aghast that the front desk associate didn’t know how to charge bottles of water to the room which she just charged us for staying in.
The room, as I’d mentioned previously, was clean, cool, and in contrast, absolutely lavish. I relished the strength of the shower head and the scent of salon-quality shampoo samples. The sheets were like a warm embrace topped with feather down pillows that I nicknamed “the twins.”
After our a plastic cup of wine, a Hooters delivery dinner, and a few episodes of the Office it was off to dream land.
Laura snored slightly, but I let her enjoy her slumber. I woke up the next morning with an absolute appreciation of a good bed. That day, I got my shitty gas station coffee just to fulfill the ritual, but I was ready for the final leg of our drive.