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» Friday, October 21, 2011The Big Ride
Yes, it's a long, long, long weekend edition.
We were up at "o'dark thirty," but actually didn't end up leaving the neighborhood until 7:30 a.m., so we ran into school buses aplenty. It was sunrise about the time we hit the freeway, fortified by Chik-Fil-A (I wasn't driving at this point, so I could have more oatmeal). Mainly, we drove, stopping for gasoline or potty breaks for us or for Willow. We either listened to Gaelic Storm or some BBC programs—two Agatha Raisin stories with Penelope Keith and Malcolm Sinclair, and a Paul McGann Doctor Who, "The Beast of Orlok," plus a "Splendid Table" talking about small kitchens. We also listened to an hour of a local radio talk show while stuck in traffic. And we made it here on a tank and a half of gas.
We are in "points north," as I put on my calendar earlier this year, right now staying in Dayton, OH, at the Drury Inn. It was a nice ride, if somewhat long because of being stuck in traffic in Cincinnati. (We should have taken the perimeter road, but both the traffic report on the GPS and the traffic report on the radio said traffic was moving well going straight up I-75. Boy, were they full of it. Wish I'd checked Google Maps on the Droid first; it was up to date on the problem, but by then it was too late!) Willow whined for the first half hour and then looked aggreived for the remainder of the trip (unless James stepped away from the car; then she cried and whined). Schuyler was alternatively quiet or whistled along with Gaelic Storm (and chirped loudly at the birdies in Agatha Raisin's garden).
We saw some very pretty fall color north of Knoxville and then again for a few miles after we crossed Kings Mountain—some as bright as what we saw in New England last year—but otherwise the autumn leaves were rather dull or it was past peak as we went northward. When we stopped at our first rest area in Tennessee, there were two wild turkeys wandering the parking lot followed by people taking photos of them. In Florence, Kentucky, we saw the famous water tower which says "Florence Y'all."
We arrived at our hotel about five o'clock and were pleasantly surprised by the room. They had something called an "oversized room" for a dollar or two more a night, so I got that, figuring it would be a longer or wider room where there would be more room for Willow's crate and Schuyler's cage. It did puzzle me when the description mentioned two televisions. Instead it is like a baby suite, with a little sitting room as you come in with two plush chairs, one a recliner, a lamp table, and a console with a television on top and a microwave and baby refrigerator inside. Then there is a small hallway with the bathroom and closet to the left, and then a nice-sized bedroom with a second television and even room to keep the suitcase on the luggage holder without it being somewhere you will trip on it.
The hotel is also in the middle of at least a half dozen restaurants, including a Panera Bread a few dozen steps from the hotel, a Red Lobster almost as close, and a Golden Corral across the street. The Drury has an evening food offering along with a breakfast, usually something informal like chicken tenders, hot dogs, chili...they had hot dogs and chili tonight, so we availed ourselves of the Golden Corral. The lobby is lovely: registration desk on your left and a big gathering place on the right, with sofas in conversation groups and a television on the wall with a fireplace. You go straight through to the elevators, with the meal area behind, and to the left is a small indoor pool and an exercise room. Very spiffy!
So you had to see us coming in: all the luggage on a luggage cart, with James pushing behind and Willow leading, and me in front carrying Schuyler's cage. We had three little girls with us on the elevator holding the door for us, and ooohing over Wil and getting peeked at by a curious Schuyler. It was too cute!
After dinner we have been just lounging in the sitting room. I put Schuyler's cage on the tray we brought, between the chairs, and Willow's crate is in the corner near the television. Found Keeping Up Appearances and a show called Mulberry about Death's son, who is trying to learn the business, but who has become attached to the wealthy, peppery old lady he has been assigned to. He's constantly at odds with her housekeeper and butler, a married pair who are stealing the old lady blind, selling off her wine and the contents of her kitchen garden to buy things for themselves.
Very sleepy already and it's not even ten o'clock. Been doing too much prep and not enough sleeping...