Thursday, November 11, 2010

Surprises along the road

I've talked before about the importance of travel--you get to bond with your traveling companions and create an unforgettable experience, your world becomes a little bigger, and invariably you learn something along the way. 

I definitely learned a few things on our cross-country road trip, in addition to the fact that there is actually a cemetery exclusively for coon dogs and that if you stop at rest stops but don't put gas in the car, you will eventually run out.  (We will never live that down.)

Here are a few other things I learned.  First, did you know there's an Amish community in southern Tennessee?  Instead of driving the interstates, for much of this trip we drove the side roads, which are always more interesting.  We saw this guy riding along on Route 43 in Ethridge.

I feel a little bad posting this because according to this article on Amish lifestyle, the Amish people don't like having their picture taken. They believe photographs violate Biblical teachings.  But evidently I don't feel too bad, because here I am sharing it with you.

BTW, I think I would make a terrible Amish woman.  Can you imagine?  Call the TV execs, I smell a reality show!

Another thing I learned is that the "land of cotton" extends far beyond Dixieland.  You would not believe all the cotton fields in west Texas.

We also saw some in New Mexico.  As a result of this trip, I've decided I will integrate "Now wait just a cotton-pickin' minute" into my lexicon at every opportunity.

I also learned it's possible to get authentic Italian food in the middle of Texas.  Yeah, you'd think we'd have opted for a hunk of Texas beef or maybe some Tex-Mex, but our hunger kicked in during a stop on I-20 in Eastland.  The only place around was this one, so we thought we'd give it a try. We didn't expect much until we were greeted by a handsome Italian man from New York.  Aaahhh--delicious!

One more thing.  We learned that down South, it's impossible to get a cup of hot tea.  Mom's a big tea drinker, and when she asked for a cup of hot tea, they looked at her kind of puzzled.  Then they said, "Well, you don't have to put ice in it," meaning you can have iced tea without the ice.  This must have happened in four or five restaurants.  They totally did not know about making tea with a tea bag and boiling water!  It was like she was speaking a different language.  I got the same reaction when I tried to order a sub with Russian dressing out West.  No such thing.

But at last, in Valentino's Mom was able to get a cup of tea.  See how happy that made her?

Thank God, cuz when Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!

How about you?  What has surprised you during your travels?


Fragrant Liar said...

And cotton fields STINK!

I am enjoying a good hot cup of tea right now! But without the Russian dressing.

I Hate to Weight said...

i think about -- what if i had been born Amish? i can't imagine.

in my travels, i was surprised how naturally happy i was every time i stepped off a plane anywhere in california -- like i was in my real, true home. also, how immediatedly depressed i was in some parts of the mid-west, no matter the weather. when we were in texas, there were little girl beauty pageant contestants primping in the bathroom. when we were in alaska, the hotel desk clerk was from my home town -- clifton, nj. AND it's as fun as they say in New Orleans (i wasn't on the wagon those times i was visiting. not sure i'd go now!)

Jamie in PA said...

We travel alot by motorcycle. Big Honda Goldwing. You would be surprised by the number of folks who express thier surprise at our traveling on it. "You rode that all the way from PA!" But we have met alot of really great people this way. said...

Your traveling looks like it's so much fun! I've never seen cotton fields before.

Your mom has such a beautiful smile. Is it because she's happy to get her hot tea?

Gina D. said...

When I was driving from Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon several years ago, I saw a small cow run out into the road, then a boy run after it. I stopped my car to make sure they were safe. And when I looked toward the direction they came from, I saw that a cattle drive was happening, and then real live cowboys on horseback crossed the cattle right in front of my car. It was the coolest thing--something I'd never see in the Northeast!