Blog Master G

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Cross Country: Day 5

Saturday, December 27th, 2003 · No Comments

Little Rock, Ark. — Aside from the Waffle House, a southern breakfast treat open twenty-four hours per day, and upside-down armadillo road kill, today was pretty uneventful as we drove across the southern plains of Texas’ Panhandle, Oklahoma, and into Arkansas.

We started the day in Amarillo, deciding not to fight the pre-9am breakfast crowd at our hotel. The breakfast options were slim, with half-hour waits at Denny’s and the Cracker Barrel.

Then we stumbled upon the magical yellow letters of the Waffle House, like an oasis in the Texan desert. Neither Jen nor I had previously been to an actual Waffle House, but I’d seen them throughout the southwest before (in places like Tucson) and had been curious. Jen had only heard of the establishment as the stuff of legend. It was meant to be. In we strolled to the House adjacent to a truck stop, as the magical beacon usual is. Despite the signage on the door about Waffle Houses nationwide providing healthy no smoking environments for their customers, we could only smile in amusement as we looked around to see actual cowboys with half-smoked cigarettes dangling clumsily from their mouths.

After a few expected stares from regulars that labeled us as the obvious out-of-towners, we scooted into a booth across from the jukebox, which cranked out sounds of county music (what else?). The servers do not circulate around the small restaurant, but stay behind the counter, connected to all the booths, to tend to the rows of waffle irons, steak, hash browns, and eggs. We ordered coffee and OJ after being addressed by our waitress with the requisite Texan greeting, “How are ya’ll this morning?” I ordered the pecan waffle and hash browns with cheese. All for a whopping four bucks. And it was perfect. Just the traveling breakfast I had been craving, much better than fighting the hotel crowd. Jen was excited about her fried eggs with side of grits. After having a bite of grits, I realized that grits are basically just cream of wheat.

Despite our not being all that impressed by our brief stay in Texas, it seems that the Waffle House was the ideal experience for our inaugural trip to the Lone Star State.

Not much later we passed the armadillo on the side of the freeway, bringing our drive through Texas to a fitting close, but not before a stop on Route 66 at the Alanreed gas station, which also served as the Alanreed Post Office, Alanreed grocery store, Alanreed community center, Alanreed bar, and the Alanreed Jail. Then we whisked non-dramatically into Oklahoma.

Oklahoma was brown and overcast. The only noteworthy item there was a postcard at one of the rest stops of an actual photo of three hanged men and the date 1906. On the back was an explanation that the men had been suspected of trespassing on someone’s ranch. The card was not intended to be humorous, so we quickly returned to the car and left the OK state behind.

Here in Little Rock our hotel looks much like the others, Flagstaff excepted. We’re back in our room after dinner at the Olive Garden, thanks to a generous gift card from Jessie. I’m a sucker for accents, so I really enjoyed eavesdropping on the Arkansan drawls of the two women at the table behind us. People are quite pleasant and kind here.

Tomorrow will be a big day, as we head into Tennessee for a stop at Graceland, then on to somewhere in Kentucky for the night. Just when it seems like the trip has begun, we have only three days of the journey to go.

Tags: relocating