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Huntsville to Little Rock

I arrived in Huntsville on Monday. First order of business was to finish the work I promised to do for my home owners association. I'd been putting it off, and I had some extra time since I'd forgotten about the time zone change going into Alabama. So I found a coffee shop with free internet access, and I cranked out the report in about 90 minutes. Whew, what a relief to have that done. More importantly, I found the insanely useful wififreespot.com that lists free wireless internet hotspots across the whole country.

With that out of the way, I drove on over to Stephanie and John's house. Chloe was outside playing when I arrived, which was good because I wasn't sure I had the correct address. I was rather impressed that their Chihuahua's (Belle and Bootsie) didn't yap at me when I arrived, although they did keep their distance. We spent the evening just talking and catching up. Stephanie made tasty low-fat enchiladas. Mmmm.

Tuesday we met John for lunch at Rosa's, a mexican restaurant. After lunch, Stephanie and I came back to the house, and she gave me an amazing hot stone massage. I've never asked or even hinted to any family or friends who are massage therapists (I seem to know quite a few) for a massage, so this was a very nice surprise. I'd never had a massage with hot stones before, and it was quite nice.

After John got off work, I went with him to a smokey dungeon of a sports bar called "Third Base", to meet some of his friends for beers. For the most part it is what you'd expect from any sports bar. There was a strange sign on the wall stating that all beverages contain at least 1.25 ounces of alcohol unless stated otherwise. Nobody else thought this was strange. I'm just wondering had I ordered a Coke, would that not-so-friendly waitress have told me that it didn't contain 1.25 ounces of alcohol, or would I have gotten a Coke with 1.25 ounces of alcohol in it? There is something else that I've been meaning to write about since Richmond. Bars tend to give separate checks to everybody by default. This is quite different from the experience I'm used to, where you will get a lot of moaning and complaining if you were to even ask for separate checks. Oh, and I got pints of Yuengling for $1.50 each (happy hour price), as opposed to $4.50 for a 12 ounce mug at Clyde's! For those of you who would prefer me do the math for you, that is 1/4 the price per ounce.

We then met up with Stephanie to watch Chloe's last volleyball game of the season. I got to try out the new D200 on some action photography. I probably took upwards of 140 pictures. I immediately threw away about 60 of them that weren't very good.

Wednesday was just more of the same. Belle and Bootsie had completely warmed up to me by then, and they were constantly competing with each other for prime petting position in my lap. Stephanie and I talked politics, philosophy, and religion. Considering how different a lot of our views are, especially politically, I was very happy with how relaxed the conversation was. I'm not sure why it can't be like that with everybody.

Thursday was an early morning and a lot of driving. I woke up at 6:30 am (gasp!), and was on the road by 7:30. I stopped for breakfast about 30 minutes down the road at Tony's Country Cookin'. It was quite a smokey diner, but the food was pretty good. I had a Philly Cheesesteak Omelet. I lived in Philly for 5 years and never had such a concoction, but it worked. The atmosphere was a little like Joey's diner in A History of Violence, complete with a very friendly manager who looks like he could have been a mobster from the East Coast.

I stopped in both Collierville and Memphis along the way. My Great-Great-Great-Grandfather Dr. Virginus Leake was instrumental in rebuilding Collierville after it was destroyed by the Union Army during the Civil War. I had contributed (along with other decedents of Dr. Leake) to a fund to place a plaque in the town square of Collierville, TN. Since I was passing through Collierville anyway, I thought I should stop by the town square and take a look at the plaque.

In Memphis, I went to Rendezvous to get authentic Memphis BBQ. I have to say I was disappointed in the ribs, but it was still a unique experience. Finding it was the first challenge. The Prius' Navigation system is letting me down again and again. The address for Rendezvous is 52 S. 2nd St., which my car says doesn't exist (it does exist). Then you have to find the alley and walk behind the building to get to the entrance. After I walked in, I waited for a few minutes before a cook walks by and asks what I want. I told him a table for one, and he tells me that they aren't officially open yet. I take a look at the mostly full dining room, and then respond, "Really?" He then tells me, that I can order ribs only while they are "closed". Okay, good enough, that is what I wanted. So I sit and wait about 15 minutes before anybody comes to my table. The waiter asks what I want, to which I respond, "Do I have a choice?" Then he confirms that I can only order ribs, and he just wanted to know what I wanted to drink. About another 15 minutes go by (thank goodness I brought a book to read), while people that came in after me get served. Finally a man who looked like Don Cheadle and wasn't dressed like a waiter, asks me what I ordered. This time I let it slide that there was really only one thing I could have ordered. Anyway, I tell him I ordered the ribs, and he comes right back with my order. As I said, I've had better ribs. I still like Famous Dave's ribs better, despite it being a chain. The beans on the other hand were fabulous. To round out this interesting dining experience, when you are done, you just go up to the cashier and tell them what you ordered. It is an honor system thing.

I made it to Little Rock, and decided I'd had enough driving for one day. I can't say I really wanted to stay here, but there really isn't any alternative close at all. Assuming I get an early enough start, I'll probably check out the Clinton Presidential Library & Museum tomorrow. Might as well...

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