Road Food

No, I said Road Food, not Road Kill!

So, if you’ve read any of our travel blogs before, you know that our eating MO is to seek out interesting local places, rather than go with national chains or fast food places.  Our two exceptions are Cracker Barrel and Arbys, which are our two travel dining guilty pleasures.  So, let me give you an idea of our last two meals on the road!

Last night was our second and last night in Savannah, and like we often do in bigger areas, we turned to Open Table for help choosing a place to eat.  After going through the listings, and checking out menus, I presented Susie with 4 places I thought sounded like we’d enjoy.  We both picked the same restaurant as our #1 choice, and so we went ahead and made a reservation at Tondee’s Tavern over by the river.

Now, how to get there?  We could have taken the car out of the garage, but then there would be the hassle of finding the place and parking and being concerned about drinking, so for the second night in a row, we used Lyft to get us from our hotel to the restaurant.  We could have used Uber too, but for some reason I have a Lyft deal for the next couple of weeks, where rides are 50% off if the original fare is under $10, so Lyft it was.  Miss Shirley picked us up at the hotel, and took us to dinner.  Along the way we had some delightful conversation about both of our daughters getting married, and before we knew it, we were there.  The fare was $6.10 minus 50% so $3.05 and I added a $3 tip.

img_1267

It was a casual place, just the kind we were looking for, with a great menu.  We each had a beer (Susie Blue Moon, me a Miller Light) and ordered a couple of great dishes.  Susie had fall off the bone ribs and I had a pan grilled flounder stuffed with crab.  You’ll notice, no starch on either of our plates, and they had some great choices!  We continue to be semi-good.

We Lyfted (is that a word) with Timothy back to the Courtyard Hotel (same fare deal) and had a lovely night’s sleep!

This morning we got up after 8:00 and had a leisurely morning, then both showered, and were downstairs waiting at the valet for the car a little before 11 AM.  Our first destination of the day was just an hour away, Darien, Georgia.  We’ve stopped in Darien for at least the last 3 years for one reason and one reason only, a visit to B&J’s Steak and Seafood for a plate of their delectable fried shrimp!!!

Two firsts this year at B&J’s.  #1..this would be our first lunch visit, because we usually stay in Darien and have dinner at B&J’s.  #2…in 5 visits to B&J’s, this is the first time we got to park the car in front of the restaurant and not in some far corner of their lot out back!

As is usual for us, we both started out with a visit to the salad bar, and then each got a shrimp basket.  B&J’s Shrimp Baskets contain 1/2 a pound of the freshest, most delicious fried shrimp we have ever in our lives eaten.  Makes it kind of hard to order fried shrimp anywhere else! Again, we passed on fries, and had cole slaw instead! 

As usual, they were out of this world, and again as usual, we will also be stopping in 5 weeks or so, on our way back north, for another helping!  Tipped by a former work colleague years ago (thanks Abe), we have stopped every year since, and I’ve also got my Cousins Jeanne and Walt stopping there too.  If you head south or north on I-95, I suggest you make it a stop!

So tonight we are in Gainesville, Florida and tomorrow we will check into our condo on the beach for the next 3 weeks.  We only hope it’s as nice as the pictures and descriptions made it out to be.  Stay tuned!

Guilty Pleasures

We got up and left the hotel in Darien, Georgia at 9:05 this morning, without partaking in the free breakfast. We did that because this is a scheduled day of “Guilty Pleasures”…food wise that is!

Our plan was to drive for about 3 hours, and get to Florence, South Carolina a little after 12 noon. A perfect time to partake in Guilty Pleasure #1…lunch at Arbys!

Unfortunately, the nearest Arby’s to us in Ocean City, is down in Cape May Courthouse on Route 9, and it’s someplace we’ve never eaten. Easier to partake when we are on the road, and find one right off an exit of I-95. We’ve decided that if we leave the cheese off the roast beef sandwich, it’s a lot easier to eat! Lets just say, we enjoyed it!

A lot of I-95 was two lanes today, which although more scenic, is kind of a pain if you run into slow drivers who roadblock the left lane, or trucks passing slower trucks.

We did a total of 426 miles today, one of our two long days of driving till we are home in Ocean City. Since I slept 8 1/2 hours last night (according to my FitBit), I had no problem driving a good hour and a half out of the hotel this morning. Susie and I have always shared driving, switching pretty much every hour to hour and a half, and it works great for us. We think that, combined with all the weekends we did the Mineola to Ocean City and back trip, make driving in the car relatively easy for us. We did however lose at least a half hour because of horrible traffic. We stopped and then crawled for miles because they are re-building the bridge over the Great Pee Dee River. It seems to me, that when we went to Florida last year, the same thing happened on the southbound side. Oh well, the Great Pee Dee River didn’t look like some place you’d like to walk across!

825C067C-31B5-4A3B-B13D-A58187C4D138We’ve seen in the news, and via friends on Facebook, that the recent Nor’easter (and no…it doesn’t have a name! The Weather Channel is not who names storms! Stupid hype!) did some major damage in many areas, and that many are still without power, and will be for days. We were, therefore not surprised when we passed close to 3 dozen utility trucks heading north. We saw trucks from 3 or 4 companies, some in caravans, some all alone, but all heading north on I-95.

FE52F3C1-A39C-4A40-A605-1E200B662AA8

We saw something else today, we haven’t seen in about 3 weeks….the Sonata’s temperature display reading in the 50s! Yikes!! Goodbye 70s and 80s, and good-bye to our shorts and capris! We did however compromise…Winter Pants with Summer Shoes!

44C693D2-831E-479A-BCC7-33F817F54850

So, now that we are safely in the Hampton Inn in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, it’s time for guilty pleasure #2 of the day, and it’s right across the parking lot!

Sorry, we don’t eat here often, in fact, the last time was 3+ weeks ago, when we were in Roanoke Rapids, and had our first dinner of our trip, in this exact Cracker Barrel. Call it book ends, if you will, but it’s one of our Guilty Pleasures, that we try to do a couple of times, when we are on the road. Tonight’s special was Chicken and Rice, which we had. Add a couple of iced teas, some vegetables (Susie had corn and fried okra and I had their delicious green beans and fried okra) and their biscuits, and it’s dinner for under $30! Who knows when we will be dining with them again????

While we were eating, Susie saw a number of utility trucks go by the restaurant. Here are just a few that are our neighbors tonight!

97C8AF28-3D0A-4B55-B97A-8E850AD52766

This is the last night of our trip, and therefore our last night in a hotel, as tomorrow night we will be sleeping in our own bed at 854 Pennlyn Place. No Innkeepers Club (I believe that’s Susie), no bartenders (that would be me), and no fancy meal (Chinese Take Out??). Google maps says we’ve got about 380 miles to home tomorrow, but we have a detour to make. We will be stopping in Columbia, Maryland, and have lunch with Krissi’s boyfriend Mike’s parents, Paula and Jerry. We haven’t seen them since we were guests at their house for Hanukkah, and we’re looking forward to seeing them, but looking forward to getting home too! It’s been a great trip, but hell, now that it’s cold, we’d rather be in Ocean City… sitting by the fireplace, catching up on some TV shows. (We rarely turn on TV while on vacation!) Of course, we will have to unpack, do laundry, and go food shopping, but no rush…hell, we are retired!

You may not hear from us tomorrow, but rest assured, we will get back to you and wrap up what has been for us, a wonderful trip to Summer!

Have a good night!

 

Welcome to the Sunshine State!

We had a lazy morning in Darien, sleeping in a little, and not even bothering to go down for breakfast, and left the hotel about 10:30. 205 miles later, we are in the Crystal River, Florida Hampton Inn, enjoying our first Rum and Coke (or Cuba Libre) of the trip!

FFB673C1-2533-43D3-8F8C-30209E93D969

The weather was party cloudy and warm when we left Darien. After filling up with gas, Southbound I-95 was again our route. A little over 70 miles later, we’d crossed into Florida, approached Jacksonville, and said good bye to I-95, as we headed towards the western part of the sate.

We were on a couple of Interstates, as we passed around Jacksonville, but spent the rest of the day on Florida State roads. We drove through some gorgeous country, that looked to be mostly ranches. We saw lots of cattle and horses, and had another cheap thrill…since we had no breakfast, we lunched at another Arby’s!

1BE4CCE6-80C2-4A92-976C-C0B08B9D97A5

The weather is sunny and warm, and we love being on the west coast of Florida. Our days of long drives are over, and for the next week or so, we have a couple of two night stops planned. There will be lots of sightseeing, with short drives between stops, and as always, wonderful things to do along the water (perhaps even a drink at a beach bar or two). Right now, we hear that back in the Northeast it’s a cold rainy day. Not to rub it in, but wanted to share with you this picture of the Sonata’s temperature display as we approached the hotel!

99AB5F5F-3214-4214-80CE-AC843E9864F3

We’re looking at a Mexican Restaurant for tonight, but wherever we go, we’re loving it, because it’s summer for us!

7FD2EBBC-3784-4235-BBDF-B1E6E97CE04B

See you tomorrow!

We’ll Follow The Sun

Well, we promised, and we always try to live up to our promises, so welcome to the Quality Inn, right on the side of I-95, in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina!

After stopping at the Acme on 8th and West to buy 4 weeks of Lottery Tickets, (you gotta be in it to win it, right?) we drove over the 9th Street Bridge, and left Ocean City about 10:30 this morning. In the course of traveling today, we drove through New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and ended the day in North Carolina. We stopped for lunch a little after noon at an Arbys in Maryland, which was a real treat for us, because there aren’t any close to Ocean City. About 7 hours after leaving, and having traveled just under 400 miles, we exited I-95 at Exit 173, just south of the Virginia/North Carolina border. The drive was good, traffic was not bad at all (even passing Washington, DC), and now the temperatures are in the 50s, not the 30s or 20s!! Definitely a good day on the road for us!

25E51C3A-80C8-4E73-9CEC-6D02B67D05D8We’re in the last room on the left side of the Quality Inn, and what to our wondering eyes should we see, but a Cracker Barrel restaurant just across the parking lot! Sorry if you don’t agree, but when we are on the road, eating dinner at a Cracker Barrel is one of our guilty pleasures! What could be a better way to start our journey!

 

So after a short walk, we joined folks from Roanoke Rapids, and refugees from I-95, for some iced tea, and a great Cracker Barrel meal! Perfect way to start the first day of this road trip!

Candle Light Cracker Barrel style, and Chicken Fried Steak

and Chicken Fried Chicken

Now we’re back in our room, Susie is in her jammies, I’m writing a few lines for today’s blog, and we are celebrating this first successful night with a little vodka on the rocks! We are nothing, if not predictable!

So, to paraphrase the Beetles, “But tomorrow it’s still winter up north, so we’ll follow the sun!” Night, night.