Wednesday, June 19, 2013

So. Much. Driving.

There are about a zillion pictures in this post, I apologize.  If you have ever been interested in what it is like to drive across the US, I'm your girl and you are covered.  If you haven't, move along, you won't like it here.

I was heading west to meet Matt and some friends and drive his tour van back across Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and finally back to good ole' Tampa, Florida.  After a pretty sweet flight delay on Friday I got to Denver safe and sound. I started a game where every time the flight was delayed another hour I'd go get a beer, come back to the gate for updates, and get back out there.

Leaving Tampa and ready for Denver, wishful thinking.

Before losing count, Round #1
Delay announcement #25234254357.
Round #whoknows

The flight was delayed seven hours so it was a pretty dumb game to play alone and I forgot to eat dinner. Pinkberry was the only place open by the time I realized this which is fine with me.

I added blueberries for some antioxidants.  They cost $2 extra but I didn't know until I looked at my receipt the next day. 
Delta handled this really well.....we got vouchers to eat at the terminal, and we got an email that gave an apology and $100 towards our next trip.  We love Delta. 

The first morning I ran 5 beautiful miles in a park recommended by friends we are staying with. 60 degrees, no humidity, and mountain air. Thank you Colorado.

Our gracious hosts not only told me of the magical trail to run, they also brought us to the most delicious restaurant ever.  Watercourse Foods in Denver is a must-eat. 

I got the scrambled tofu with potatoes and green chili sauce.

Kailee and I after breakfast.

They also introduced us to a pretty awesome ice cream place in Denver, Sweet Action Ice Cream, and they had vegan ice cream.  We chose chocolate cinnamon which was great.  I'm itching to get out my ice cream maker and re create that miracle.

Kailee's fiance, Randy got us into the 19th anniversary party for Great Divide Brewery. 
So many breweries in Denver, so good.
After the brewery, we started our journey East and decided to only drive a few hours.  A few turned into four and a half, landing us in Nowheresville, Kansas.  We also passed through the most terrible storm, putting me on anxious tornado watch the whole time while Matt drove.  Kansas is so flat, you could see for miles.  It was really beautiful in a desolate, small town, farmy sort of way.

Nowheresville, Kansas had two hotels, this being the nicer of the two.  We were so happy to stop driving, it didn't even matter.

We had a long day of driving ahead of us the next day and I needed to work out to remain sane.

 Problem though with that....was this.

You see, I watched Children of the Corn and nothing good comes to the runner alone on a highway.  Thank goodness for some amazing ladies who post workouts you can do in a hotel/motel/Holiday Inn parking lot.  The 30 minute workout I picked left me sweaty, tired, and ready to sit for 11 hours (kind of, really, who is ever ready to sit for 11 hours?).

We stopped for some snacks which turned out to be a very  bad idea.  I can't handle snacks so badly.

 I want all of the snacks.

 After I tore through two bags of gummi worms, I realized I need to surround myself with healthy snacks or no snacks.  And with 28 hours of driving, "no snacks" was not a good idea.

Three gummi worms for every piece of fruit.

Matt found an app that tells you where some "must see" road side attractions are.  Obviously, we needed to visit Wilson, Kansas, home of the World's biggest Czech egg. 

A couple of miles down the road we stopped in Lawrence, Kansas for a Mediterranean lunch buffet which was a perfect spot to get out of the car.  Fresh falafel, pita, and hummus?  Done, done, and done.

After another couple of hours of driving we stopped at Trader Joe's in Missouri for healthy snacks.  Lots of dried bananas, mango, trail mix, coconut chips, popcorn, apples, peanut butter, jelly, and bread later, it was back in the van for another few hours. 

We finally got to our hotel in Paducah, ready to sleep.  I don't know why sitting in a car all day singing along to your favorite songs from high school is so exhausting.

I was so excited our hotel had a gym and I wouldn't have to die outside in the heat but the treadmill was broken so I took to the Kentucky highway for 4 hot miles.  Even though I got up at 7am, the sun comes out full force then and I got sunburned.  It was so hot there.  Our hotel had a pool though so I jumped in with my running clothes on, really classin' it up.  I'm sure hotel pools are cesspools of germs from all over but they just remind me of vacations with my family when I was younger. 

We didn't have a ton to drive and it was broken up into fun stops.  I was so pumped to head to Nashville for these popsicles.  Las Paletas was every bit as delicious as I imagined.  Matt and I got two and switched when we got through half.  Chocolate with chili and Tamarind with chili were both stellar.

We also got to see our friend Kyle who is recording part of his record in Nashville.  It was a good break from the road.  Our next stop was about two hours away.....

Lynchburg, Tennessee, home of the Jack Daniel Distillery.  We'd had good weather all day and right when we pull up for the tour, it started thundering, lighting, and pouring.  They go hard at Jack Daniel though and said we'd do our tour (walking) anyways.  It was so great, and I highly recommend the tour.  The whole facility is beautiful and the people that work there couldn't be nicer.  The distillery is in a dry county though so we couldn't try any and you can't even buy it.  Fun fact.  Every single bottle of Jack Daniel whiskey still comes out of the Lynchburg distillery.  There are no other plants that make it. 

About two hours later we made it to Atlanta for dinner and Matt had been talking about this place he goes on tour whenever he's there called "R Thomas".  It was every bit as incredible as he made it sound.  I got the vegetable plate with nori rolls, seaweed salad, cauliflower tabbouleh, and a broccoli mix.  So so so good.

Yesterday morning, I was sore from sitting in a car so much and didn't want to run but I made a deal with myself that if I ran for 20 minutes, I would swim afterward.  Laps in the pool were perfect even though I am pretty sure one regular lap amounts to 6 laps in the miniature pool.  I smelled good and chlorine-y when I got out.

We only had 6 hours to drive yesterday which seemed dream like but we were so ready to not be driving. 

We stopped at the world's largest peanut monument for some PB & Js of course.

And we'd already drank the bottle of Cab we'd gotten on our last TJ stop so we picked up two more at their Gainesville location.  People are nicer to you there when you wear stuff with reptiles on it in Gainesville.  Weird.

And finally.......home sweet home.

We didn't have much stocked in the fridge and we both kind of wanted vegetables so I made some kale soup.  It was great, a little too hot for summertime though.  Nothing is worse than playing out in a beautiful summer day only to come in for some hot soup.  Blech.  Good thing we were in a car all day and it paired nicely with Arrested Development. 

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