Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Long Road to Venice

I-285, I-675, I-75, FL-681

River waited patiently by the door in the Tucker motel room as I sipped my coffee and packed up the car for our long trek to Venice.  I took him for a little walk before we hit the road. 
 We drove for maybe half an hour when I saw a sign to a town called Griffin. I could use some gas, so I thought it would be fun to do it there. Once I got off the main Interstate, I realized Griffin was going to be about ten miles out of my way, so the fun wore off and I turned around. I spotted a gas station in McDonough, just before getting on the Interstate.
Next to the highway was a BBQ place and a shack next to it, selling peaches. I didn't realize that I was hungry until I saw the BBQ sign, so I pulled in. There was a man and a woman standing there as I looked at the menu. It was kind of like a food truck, just a ramshackle lean-to with kitchin equipment inside. The menu was tantalizing, and as I was deciding what to get, the man standing nearby mumbled something. I have a hard time with the southern accents. I almost always have to ask them to repeat themselves. In this case, not only did I not understand him, but he was wearing one of those ridiculous blue tooth phone earpieces, so I didn't know if he was on a phone call. I asked him, 'Are you talking to me?' and he explained that he'd been standing there half an hour, and he doesn't think the guy is there. I laughed inside. Half an hour and your'e still wondering?
Right at that moment, a busy-looking young man ran out with something in his hand, said "I'll be right with you gentlemen" as he ran past and handing the woman a lid for her beverage. He then turned to us and asked us if he could help us. I asked "are you making food?" and he told me that the guy wasn't here. "So, are you selling peaches?" I asked? That perked him up. "Yes, Sir!" he said and ran to his place behind the counter in the peach shack.
Long story short, I got some peaches. Some that are ripe and ready and some that will mature over the next few days. I couldn't very well leave Georgia without peaches, could I?

So back in the car, we drove and drove until I decided I wanted to stop for a latte at Starbucks. Next to the Starbucks, in Tifton, GA, there was a patch of grass that River was very attracted to. There was an opening in the fence, so we went through and hung out on the parkway for about twenty minutes. I drank my latte and River explored and rolled around a bit as the cars whizzed by. 

All caffeinated and grassy, we got back in the car and continued down I-75 until we passed the state line. Shortly thereafter, we stopped in a rest area. It was about 4pm which is the time I like to feed River. After feeding, we had some fun exploring the lichen-covered trees and chilling out in the shade.


The cicadas in the trees were incredibly noisy in spurts. It seemed that whenever I got my phone out, in an attempt to capture their loud rapture, they would go silent. Shy, I guess?

As I was checking into my Motel 6 in Venice, a couple of guys came into the office and stood behind me, waiting to be helped. River was checking them out, and I was keeping my eye on him. I never know what his reaction to strangers will be, so I have to be ready to intercept if necessary. River and one of the men seemed to connect, and River approached him to sniff. The guy didn't give River enough opportunity to feel safe around him before reaching out to pat him on the head. Well, that's definitely River's trigger, and it set him off. He loudly barked and everyone was surprised. I pulled him back and used my chain technique to quiet and calm him. I was kind of embarrassed. Only because I should have told the guy not to pet him. It is exhausting sometimes, always telling people to back off the dog. I was tired and a little bit spaced out from 8 hours of driving, and I watched it all unfold. In my head, i could see that River was going to burst, but I didn't muster the words to intercept. Fortunately, I was quick on the deflection. But if I were quicker, and told River to do something BEFORE he blew up, I might have prevented the whole situation.

So, we checked into the room and I started looking for food for dinner.I found a local sports bar that claimed to have The Best CheeseBurger You've Ever Had. Well, that was certainly tempting, although I think I've heard that claim before.

I asked for no onion and subbed Swiss cheese for American. No burger with American cheese is ever going to be "The Best I've Ever Tasted" blech. But this one was really good. It was basic, but all the flavors and textures were just how I like. Hot and juicy with a hint of real cheese flavor. Freshness, supplied by the veggies and a little bit of pink in the center of the meat without feeling raw. The fries were good too. I wish they had asked if I wanted condiments, because I never use them. Instead they gave me a superfluous plethora of ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise, but not a single napkin.

I'll be here in Venice for four days, and I'm going to be teaching four Nia classes here. I hope to also get to the beach at some point. 


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