Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Misadventures of the Clueless Tourists

LA and I are the goingest people I know. We travel almost as much as Pope John Paul II, although, sadly, we don't have a Popemobile. Occasionally we have a plan, but usually the plan sort of craps out somewhere on the highway and we end up miles and hours from our destination.  Some people may call it "lost", but we like to see it as an adventure.

I informed LA to put on his fancy pants and get ready to go to lunch at the 3rd best truck stop in America (or maybe in North Carolina, I couldn't remember which the sign had said). We drove north and didn't see anything which even resembled the 15th best truck stop in America. We kept going. We passed Salisbury. We passed the exit for Winston-Salem. LA said we may as well just go to his dad's house for lunch. In Virginia. I accepted defeat and turned around at a gas station in Lexington. We bought Cheerwine cake to stave off hunger. Two asides: I love Cheerwine cake, and Bryan, the cashier at Judy's Food Mart, was great. He told us all about the new scented Silly Bandz they'd gotten in. After agreeing on the friendliness of the people of Lexington, we settled on lunch in Winston-Salem.

Back south we went, figuring we could just have lunch in Atlanta if all else failed. The exit for Winston-Salem was closed! Now where are we supposed to have lunch? I saw the sign for the Historic Spencer Shops and NC Transportation Museum, then cut across two lanes of traffic to get off the highway.

We ended up at Our Place Cafe in Historic Spencer Shops. LA wanted to sit outside. He would later regret it. The waitress was very friendly, even explaining to us the renovations to the apartments upstairs. My patty melt was delightful. LA's enjoyment of his turkey club ended when a fly journeyed in and back out of his mouth. He was the one who picked outside.

Down the block is Bucky's Produce. Not to be missed! Handwritten signs throughout inform you that Bucky's has the most expensive produce in town. They may need to take a marketing seminar. Apparently, if you can find it cheaper somewhere else, that's your problem. LA left with a knitted donut pin cushion, and I with a recipe booklet called Southern Pot Pourri. The booklet was 10 cents, but she threw it in for free because of the donut purchase. I was less interested in the recipes than in the racially stereotypical stick figures on the cover.

Includes a suggested menu called "The Germans are Coming"

We bid adieu to Mr. and Mrs. Bucky and ventured back the the NC Transportation Museum. For those of you who say there's nowhere to take your kids, you should stop your bellyaching and head to Spencer. I'm no train fanatic, but the museum is great! For starters, it's free, which always adds to a museum's greatness. For $6, you get a highly informative and fun ride on an old locomotive. LA had never ridden a train before, so that made the trip even better. We saw the Wright Brothers' plane, old cars, and flight attendant uniforms from the 1960s. From the "gift station", I obtained the dining car menus for lunch and dinner from 1976. I talked LA out of buying the engineer's hat. We also learned a lot about trains. (Did you know that, when a train comes to a crossing, it blows its whistle two long times, a short time, and another long? And that all train whistle signals are standardized throughout the US and Canada? I live near a train crossing and have verified Point #1. And now you've learned something, too.)

Sadly, there are no photographic records of this journey.  LA and I both forgot our cameras.  We didn't think we'd need photos of the truck stop.  Next time, we'll take the cameras.  We've learned our lesson: we will never end up where we actually planned to go.  But the day ended up even better for it.  Had we found the 3rd best truck stop in America, LA wouldn't have had the pleasure of his first train ride, and I wouldn't have had the pleasure of seeing him eat a fly.

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