July 19, 2016, Nashville- Brother had to shove off pretty early for work, so I headed out, northward, around the same time. North Georgia passed by fairly quickly. Since I was headed beyond Atlanta, the traffic winked at me, going in the other direction.
I stopped briefly, outside Chattanooga (normally a destination worthy of 2-3 days, in its own right), and called an online friend, who lives outside Knoxville. The message back was that he had time for coffee and catch-up, and would meet me in Lenoir City, east of Knoxville, in mid-afternoon.
I stopped in Ooltewah/ Collegedale, northeast of Chattanooga, and enjoyed a lovely lunch at 4 Corners Cafe, a gem that’s hidden in the Apison Center strip mall at the junction of TN Rtes 317 and 321. The kids manning the place were in the last days of high school and university breaks, and were still most enthusiastic about 4 Corners’ fare. They were especially delighted to learn that I was from Arizona, and had chosen their place as a lunch stop. I’d go back there again.
Further along, on I-75, I took a brief drive through the small city of Cleveland, finding gracious people and a delightful ambiance. The town would also be worth a day or so, on another journey. I had to make the effort to get up to Lenoir, and as it happened, there was yet another accident, tying up northbound traffic. I did make it to the Starbuck’s in Lenoir City, about 3:30. My friend from Xanga days was there, with a few stories of his own meanderings in the general area of eastern Tennessee, northern Georgia and Alabama, and the beeline to New Orleans. Some of you may remember that my last visit with him was in Ocean Springs, MS, in February, 2015.
JR and I swapped yarns of the road, for about an hour. Then, it was time for me to get eastbound, once again, with the goal of avoiding the worst of Nashville’s rush hour. With the aid of my Elantra’s GPS, I got to downtown Nashville, and to a cramped, but adequate parking garage. I prefer garages, when in a large city, with the chance to walk about in the interesting downtown. I’m still mastering the smart phone camera, so please excuse the photo quality.
I chose Old Spaghetti Factory, in the Printers’ Alley district, for a satisfying meal of salad, along with spinach & cheese ravioli. Jeremy was an enthusiastic waiter, and there were a couple of birthdays that night, so the atmosphere was most effervescent. Nashville is always a fascinating place to stop. I would like to spend 2-3 days there, sometime.
The schedule calls for me to be in Boulder, at 9 AM, Friday, so I drove on, past Clarksville, TN, the Land Between The Lakes, and Paducah, KY, each a worthy stopping place. I chose Marion, IL, as my rest stop for the night, with a friendly couple greeting me at Airport Inn, on the road towards the university town of Carbondale. I made good time today, in spite of the tie-up, and will head across southern Illinois, Missouri and at least part of Kansas, on Wednesday.