We are on vacation, heading to Louisiana. Rather than drive the interstate at break-neck speed, we decided to take our time and get to know the areas through which we drive. We spent yesterday, the first day of our vacation, on United States Route 301 and United States Route 80.
The passing scenery was fascinating. The part of 301 we drove is nowhere near the interstate. We enjoyed seeing old homes that were still receiving tender-loving care and winced at the formerly beautiful homes that were falling apart. We felt like we were in a time capsule because we could see how 301 was once the highway of choice. Old motels (long one-story things with two wings at an angle) were either crumbling or for sale. Few survived the building of Interstate 95 in the 1950s. We could see old diners, broken down gas stations, and cinder block buildings that were no more--Happy Days turned ghost town. We eyed homes with new metal roofs (as we are planning to replace our roof with a metal one next year). We saw egrets near the side of the road and one dead doe.
We decided to tighten our belts and find a place to eat after we crossed the border into Georgia. That happened at 1:15 and, as we drove from one quaint town to the next, we struggled to find a restaurant that was actually open. We meandered around Statesboro, but were obviously not in the food side of town. There was nothing that we could find open in Sylvania, Portal, or Twin City either. All of these cities are quaint, picturesque but cute does not cut it when your stomach is running on empty. By 2:30, we finally reached our oasis in the desert: Swainsboro. Our first thought was to hit the colleges because surely food would be plentiful. Wrong! After about five or six wrong turns, we realized the interstate is the thing and, once we headed toward the direction Interstate 20, restaurants appeared on the horizon like a mirage. Finally, restaurants! Not just one hole-in-the-wall, but a plethora of restaurants from which we could find foods Pamela could eat. We practically staggered into the DQ, eyes blinking tears of joy, and ordered everything on the menu. It was not until three o'clock that onion rings crossed my lips!
The big surprise was Dublin, Georgia. Driving down Bellevue Avenue, which doubles as United States Route 80, was spectacular. Classic Greek revival homes, Victorian homes with cupolas and bay windows, gingerbread houses, some with decorative and tasteful trim, stately old churches, lined this road, known as Millionaire Row. Most are mansions that cotton built. We would have missed all this had we drove the interstate!
Here are our lessons learned:
* The farther away you are from the interstate the least likely you are to find food, especially on a Sunday in Georgia with the blue laws in full force.
* Gas is twenty cents cheaper per gallon in South Carolina than it is in Georgia.
* South Carolina's mile markers are righteous (they advance one mile every mile), while Georgia's markers are despicable, resetting back to zero at the county line. (How does one calculate miles to the state border in Georgia?)
* Just because a city has a Home Depot does not mean it has a Starbucks.
* The interstate is faster, but the roads less traveled have more personality. The lesser roads have fewer cases of road rage and hardly any truckers.
Here is the music we played on the drive: Beatles One, The Best of George Harrison, Celine Dion, Topsy-Turvy, The Best of Gilbert and Sullivan, The Sound of Music, Nutcracker Suite, Cool, and cheap, nameless compilations of music by decade (60s, 70s, 80s, and disco).