Report from the Road #3

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We drive north this morning, heading into the rainy, icy mush but remain undaunted in our search for great road food.TUESDAYWe slept until about 8 and then got going. It was a relaxed morning as we presumed we had all the time in the world. The continental breakfast was fine and we read the paper and caught up with the world as I continued to check in with friends and potential work stuff.Matt repacked the truck to make things more secure and by 10 or so we were on our way. It was just a short drive before Georgia receded and we were in South Carolina. The Weather Channel warned us that it’d be wet driving all the way home which was disappointing and the rain was on and off all day.We stopped at the welcome center to check out options and then hit the road. Our first stop was a local Wal-Mart to return an inverter for a more powerful model. That took a little while but once everything was in the truck, magic happened. Suddenly, the inverter provided enough power for Matt’s gigantic laptop which had a good map program installed to come to life. We had the laptop up and running, complete with GPS add on that allowed for incredibly detailed mapping. As I drove, Matt programmed in a variety of dining options to check where everything was and to plot a course.Our first stop, though, was to be the State Farmer’s Market and we were on our way. As we drove through Greenville, our luck changed as the inverter blew out – it wasn’t powerful enough. The Garmin quickly got programmed and we were on our way, driving past Bob Jones University which led to much rude political humor.Being the off-season, we found some things but half the place was shut down and it had a sad, worn look and feel to the place. Machines cracked walnuts at one end and a variety of bagged and bottled goods dotted the aisles along with some produce. We bought a few things and then headed out.The Garmin directed us to the Beacon Drive-In, one of the best reviewed places from the print out. Unfortunately, it sent us in the wrong direction but once we found it, we were most pleased. You walk in and need to know what you want or get out of line and read a printed menu, which is pretty extensive for a drive-in that’s really a sit-down restaurant. Once you get on line, a man at the head, snaps, “Call it.” You announce your order then he yells it to the cavernous kitchen behind him. As we work our way down the line, we quickly get out order, select our drink and pay. They’re known for their sweet iced tea so of course we had it and it was quite good. They’re also known for their “a plate” which heaps French fries and onion rings atop your order. We had the pork sandwich a’plate and while the fries were fine and the rings ordinary, the pork was succulent on a grilled bun with just enough sauce to give it taste. We ended the meal with take out malteds, something else they’re known for and they were quite good.Before returning to the highway, we went to the nearest Wal-Mart to return the inverter and upgrade. Well, this was clearly a mistake. First, we couldn’t find the inverter box so just went for the upgrade. We bought it and discovered it did not work at all. We went back in to return the item. The greeter forgot to tag it then the sole customer service rep was taking forever with the people ahead of us. They were ill-equipped for the growing line of customers and the manager was snippy to Matt when he pointed out the woman clearly needed help. We lost maybe 45 minutes during all this.We drove to Charlotte, figuring we’d hit one of the other barbecue restaurants for a snack before heading on to a dinner stop. We found the Bar-B-Q King, an old-fashioned drive-in with car hop service. Our u-haul was too big so we walked in, ordered, and ate in the cab. The sliced barbecue sandwich was really tasty and the cole slaw was a milder version of the KFC style. The sweet tea wasn’t as good as Beacon’s.Driving out of Charlotte took a while given rush hour and then the rain kicked back in. We whiled away the drive while listening to old time radio shows but were both getting tired. As a result, we decided to skip a dinner stop and drove until we got to Jonesville. The Comfort Inn offered us coffee, cookies, and pop corn so we settled in for e-mail, internet, Blazing Saddles and some rest.

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