Well, today was the day, dear readers. The day I finished packing Rosie, locked up the home place for the month and got on the interstate heading north.
It’s hard to describe the feeling of exhilaration I felt as I truly, consciously tried to let go of work, worry and woe and head out to do something I have never done before. It hit me just as I turned Rosie loose on I-20 that I was really going to drive all around the country, a monster, seven thousand mile trek through twenty-one states, seeing countless sights, eating good food, visiting with friends and family and ducking into as many coffee shops along the way as humanly possible in the coming three weeks. I was really going to take most of the month of October to simply drive, experience things and have fun.
I don’t do things like this. Like, never.
And yet, here I sit in Corbin, Kentucky, writing this post. Wow.
It’s been a good first day. It started off cool and misty with a beautiful sunrise in Aiken, SC.
A friend of mine gave me this St. Christopher medallion to take with me on the voyage, and I will keep it near until I return home, as I am not one to look a gift talisman in the eye.
The weather held for the most part, though I dodged a few rain showers here and there. The bad looking front that was off to the side for the last hour of my trip today looked strangely beautiful in contrast to one of the mown fields fenced in white in Corbin.
There have been weird and odd things all along the way, as there always are on a trip like this, I guess. I stopped for coffee and gas and was in a very long checkout line behind guys in hunting camoflauge and a lady who was holding us all up. It turns out that she was buying fourteen packs of Marlboros (fourteen!). She got them bagged up, then turned, had a hacking, coughing fit, and wheezed her way out the front door, amid incredulous stares by more folk then just the doctor in the line.
Then there was the broken down big rig on the side of interstate opposite me. Hood up and immobile, I glanced at it as I whizzed past, then spotted the driver. He was sitting crossed-legged up on the grassy knoll above the stalled truck, not looking too concerned, waiting for help to arrive I suppose. The odd thing about that picture? He was strumming away on a guitar and appeared to be singing. One of you on Facebook later told me that you thought they might have been filming a country music video. Could have been but there wasn’t a camera or light anywhere to be seen. I think he was just channeling a little Garth Brooks while he waited for the monster tow truck to come.
Speaking of which, if you haven’t seen the ZDoggMD parody of Garth’s Friends in Low Places (his is titled Friends with Low Platelets) you must watch it. Even if you don’t have a medical background, it’s a lot of fun to watch this very talented physician strut his stuff.
Take a few minutes and watch it here. I’ll wait.
Now, traffic signs are a dime a dozen and most of them shoot past with little notice. I did see one in Tennessee that I thought was pretty good though. You might have to read it twice to get it. Just sayin’. It admonished:
“Keep your eyes on the road and your head out of your apps.”
Downtown Corbin reminds me a lot of downtown Newberry, SC, of Opera House fame. A very pretty little main street is tasteful decorated for fall, the shops are bright and inviting and the people friendly and helpful. The lamp posts festooned with corn stalks, hay bales and pumpkins, the wind blowing leaves around on the sidewalks, two busloads of the Corbin Redhounds football team headed to their Friday night football contest and the muscle cars cruising the strip all give me hope that small-town America still exists, and in fact thrives.
I jumped on Yelp to look for a recommended place to have dinner downtown and was immediately drawn to all the positive reviews of a place called Basil’s. All I can say is that it lived up to its billing, and that my excellent meal of scallops, shrimp and cannoli completely negated my afternoon workout at the gym. If I’m going to eat this well on vacation, two-a-days are in my immediate future. Here are pictures of the restaurant, the wonderful Parmesan shrimp, and my own Yelp review, enthusiastically added to the stable of others that this great little place has accumulated. If you’re ever passing through Corbin, Kentucky for any reason, have dinner there. Period.
Well, it’s getting later, I have a full belly, and I need to get some sleep. There is a trip to the gym before breakfast tomorrow to completely work off that excellent cannoli.
If the rest of this trip is like the first day and the first 399.5 miles have been, then it will be a blast.
See you back here tomorrow night for a little chat about my dinnertime conversation with my friend and fellow blogger Jordan Grumet MD (@jordangrumet) in Chicago. Did you know the Windy City is supposed to see a high of 49 degrees with rain tomorrow?
Fall is here, my friends.
Good night from Corbin, Kentucky.