Thursday, November 03, 2005

vacation, part 4: i am the egg man

We arrived back to Williamsburg sometime after midnight but were kept awake for most of the trip by the cigar stubs and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by the Flaming Lips, another of out traveling favorites. Checkout was at ten, and we had a few short hours of sleep before heading back out on the road.

The dilemma in travel is always whether to choose the speed and convenience of the interstate or the more interesting travel of the backroads and highways. It really isn't much of a choice if time is a factor, and we left Williamsburg by highway 60 towards Richmond.

People who live on highways also need convenience, and you will see the same bland national chains on the highways that you will find waiting for you off of every interstate ramp, but they will be sitting alongside old motor hotels with neon signs and art deco gas stations from shortly after world war II that now serve as video stores or hair salons. The newer gas stations will often have marker on poster board signs advertising discounts on bloodworms and menthol cigarettes.

You can't get cheap bloodworms off an exit ramp.

We finally jumped on the interstate around Richmond. Mrs. Camino had the need for an IHOP omelet, and I assumed there would be one nearby. There was not. We drove around the meager Richmond interstate system and a few of its highways, and I suppose that I got to see a great deal of suburban Richmond, but none of these brought us any nearer an IHOP.

However, there was something about Richmond that made me think of eating overcooked apple pie while listening to a Gordon Lightfoot in a trailer park somewhere. I have never been in that situation, but I assume it would conversely remind me of Richmond. I suppose that isn't necessarily a bad thing. The Richmond tourism board probably won't want to work it into a brochure, but they should know that I have nothing against the city.

We found an all day breakfast place called "Aunt Sarah's" and settled on it. It is a local chain, and would thus be a sort of similar experience to Biscuitville on the first day of the trip.

Aunt Sarah's is a bit like a mix between Shoney's and Cracker Barrel. Each location I saw seemed to be housed in a vacated Shoney's, and the menu was typical breakfast fare with standards like burgers and hotdogs mixed in. Mrs. Camino got the veggie omelet, while I went with the eggs and catfish platter. The eggs were too runny and the catfish was overcooked, but I got to eat it out of a skillet, and that means something. Also, I had a side of pancakes with just enough boysenberry syrup. Mrs. Camino had toast and went with the regular syrup. She had it all on the same plate, and I watched as the syrup slowly creeped over to the omelet.

I guess this is what marriage is all about. No one is perfect. You can take that to mean that one person must learn to look past culinary sins like eating you veggie omelet with syrup on it or that one must learn to live with someone who gets really bothered by watching people do that sort of thing.

We are at the point now where she just watches me cringe. I have spent enough time in the kitchen making her pancakes and omelets just to watch her do it that I can hold my tongue when she does it at a restaurant, but it still doesn't make it any more bearable.

She is otherwise nearly perfect sometimes.

But seriously, syrup does not belong on eggs. It doesn't matter if you put it there intentionally or sat idly by and allowed them to come into contact. I should not happen.


We made our way from Aunt Sarah's back to highway 60, and there was a perfectly good IHOP sitting there at the turn.

From there the traffic and civilization slowly faded back into the typical forgotten highway scenery we had driven through from the coast. Then the road narrows into farmland and foothills. After Appomattox there is something eerily quite, and one almost expects to see soldiers left over from the War of Northern Aggression Between the States walk out into the road at any moment.

There are towns before you climb the Appalachians and then some in the mountains themselves. The highway serves as a Main Street to a couple of different towns that laid claim to the rare piece of flatland early settlers came across. Anytime I visit a new city I try and think of what made people originally stop and start to build civilization there, and that is easy to understand in towns like these in the fall.

We eventually hit Knoxville for a late dinner at Che Guevara's. It may be named after a commie, but the bastards still make you pay for your food. We were quite poor in our Knoxville years and rarely ventured out to restaurants, but Che's was always my favorite.

Then I began to fight sleep for the three hours back to Murfreesboro. That was when Mrs. Camino was kind enough to stay up and make sure that I didn't doze off at the wheel, but I suppose it was in her best interest.
I reciprocated by not telling her about all the hallucinations unless she brought them up first.


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