Saturday, August 8, 2015
Today finds me southbound on I65 with two of my favorite people. I am blogging to you live from the back seat of my Corolla. (Ah, technology!) Kylie (bff), Ryan (bf) and I are heading to New Orleans for a 5 day cruise in the Western Caribbean.
Sort of. We've had a few hiccups along the way.
Our first delay happened before we left the parking lot. We popped the trunk to discover that it's a bit harder to fit three enormous suitcases inside than they'd lead you to believe at the dealership. It took 45 minutes to accomplish this feat.
(30 minutes behind schedule.)
Kylie took the first shift driving. We'd been on the road for less than a half hour when I feel her drift onto the rumble strip, jarring me out of my bookish reverie. Approximately 2.3 seconds later, I realize that she's not on the rumble strip at all. I realize this because I see one of my tires rolling happily across the road and into a thicket of trees.
We all have a small heart attack before clunking slowly to a stop on the side of the road.
It took approximately 5 minutes to take out the perfectly packed contents of the trunk.
It took approximately 30 seconds to realize that while I have a perfectly good spare tire and jack, I do not, in fact, possess a tire iron.
Praise the lord for roadside assistance. At least I have the good sense to be prepared...for being entirely unprepared.
It takes 45 minutes for a grumpy mechanic to arrive. He steps from his red pick up truck with a scowl that says, "Damn kids," shakes his head in our direction, and quickly replaces what remains of my rear left tire.
"How far you plannin' to go? That spare won't make it far," he grumbles.
"Just far enough to find a new tire," I tell him.
He nods, and goes to retrieve some paperwork from his truck. When he returns I am grateful that Ryan is paying rapt attention to his directions, because I am utterly enthralled by his tobacco pipe. I haven't seen a lot of pipes up close, and this one is magnificent. It's made of dark wood, polished and shining, and intricately carved.
Soon we are on our way into Columbia, TN, in search of the nearest Firestone.
"He was sort of rude," Kylie says as our mechanic drives away.
"Yes, but did you see that pipe?!" I answer.
(1.5 hours behind schedule.)
We find the service station without much trouble, and a very friendly salesman helps me choose four new tires. The first incident taught me that I never want to have a second.
"It'll be about an hour," he tells us. "There's not much to do nearby, but there's a sub shop and a BBQ place down the road if you're hungry."
We are reluctant to leave our luggage, so we opt to sit in the waiting room, taking advantage of free water and television.
(2.5 hours behind schedule.)
A little time and $400 later, we are road ready...and famished.
The BBQ our salesman mentioned sounds fantastic, so we head a couple blocks over to a tiny, hole-in-the-wall establishment called Nolen's.
This was very possibly the best BBQ I've ever eaten. Should you ever find yourself passing through Columbia, don't leave town without a heaping plate of this place's pulled pork. Slather it in sauce while you're at it. And pair it with a "giant potato."
(3.5 hours behind schedule.)
Back in the car we go, hoping to make up a little lost time. I'm behind the wheel now, and Kylie serves up nostalgic tunes from the 90s and 2000s, taking us on a musical stroll down memory lane. One song is from our childhood. One is the first song Ryan and I (very awkwardly) danced to. Next up is the song our high school academic team ritually sang on each competition bus ride. Another is a throwback to a much smoother journey.
We barely made it to the next town before traffic came to a standstill.
We are now 11 hours into what was supposed to be an 8 hour trip, but somehow I wouldn't have it any other way. Adventures with these two are the best. I know someday we'll laugh about this series of incredibly lengthy events. Each bend in the road is a new memory. And after all, it's not the destination that matters, in the end -- it's the journey.