A family road trip staple is singing. Lots and lots of singing. Inspired by the location, we sang this countless times:
Faraday tried to enjoy the view, but his sea legs hadn't kicked in, so he kept flopping over at each winding turn. Finally, he settled on Mom's lap:
Leaving Skyline near New Market, we cut over to I-81 and began our Starbucks hunt. Realizing that we were leaving civilization for a while and REALLY NEEDED COFFEE, we settled on McDonald's. Their plain ol' coffees will do in a pinch.
Muffin got restless eventually, meowing and scratching at the floor mats, so we pulled off at a rest stop. I took him out to the pet area and plopped him down (leashed). At first, he was intrigued by all of the smells on the wind, but then a semi drove by. Then two dogs showed up. Then a third dog. Terrified, he tried to dart under a car. We put him back in the car, and he was extremely content to stay there until we arrived at the hotel that night. PERSPECTIVE, MUFFIN.
My favorite Virginia town of the day was Wytheville. It had a Starbucks.
A girl accosted me in line: "YOU HAVE JERSEY PLATES. WHERE ARE YOU FROM???"
"I WORKED AT A&B FOR YEARS!!! I MISS IT!!"
"Awww, I'm moving to NM, and I will miss it, too. :)"
Eventually, we arrived in Tennessee!
In Oak Ridge, TN, we visited the American Museum of Science and Energy very briefly in the 15 minutes before it closed. It had a good summary of Oak Ridge National Lab's fusion and fission endeavors. I liked this map that showed various related labs, including my new workplace:
Next, we stopped at the home of an alumna of my graduate program. Steffi and her husband have three adorable little dogs. We only got to stay for a glass of lemonade and some quick puppy time, but it was so fun to see them all!
Our last push was to Lebanon, TN. Singing to the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, we pulled off at a Cracker Barrel. I'd only been once before and my parents NEVER HAD. Naturally, we couldn't sit down inside due to our fluffy friend, and it was too hot to leave him in the car. So, we got food to go and ate it in the parking lot. We make do. Everyone loved the heavy southern food, though we were amused and disturbed by their list of "country vegetables," which included 1. Steak Fries, 2. Mac and Cheese, and 3. Fried Apples (I got those--it literally tasted like my apple pie filling). So good.
Faraday drove the final leg:
Or am I?
Our hotel in Lebanon, TN, was nothing special, but it was clean and roomy. Mom and I, in a fit of energy, did squats, plies, planks, and leg lifts. I topped it off with a very short run on the treadmill. We felt SO GOOD.
Finally, it was time to sleep. :)
States Visited: Virginia, Tennessee