Summer lubbers, are you celebrating these unofficial last days of summer the best way you know how? I truly hope so. I’m still on the road, driving through the south, where emotions (and Facebook posts) have ranged from “Truly enjoying the vast nothingness that is Kansas. Amazed at how many different Americas there really are, how many I’ve been lucky enough to live in and experience, and which ones the future hold for us…” to “Eating a cobb salad while a giant Jesus Christ statue looms on the horizon.” To say it’s been an experience would be a severe understatement, akin to uttering “Heidi Klum has an okay body, nothing special.”
There have been a few things I’ve learned along the way, lessons from the road if you will indulge me. For instance:
Cereal Is the Ultimate Comfort — and Road — Food
Forget an apple a day. Dry, cereal makes a handy dandy snack when you’re driving through Kansas and there are no other food options for hundreds of miles (not even a Subway!). It’s also a great late-night snack and inexpensive breakfast alternative to room service — just buy a small bottle of milk each night from the aptly named convenient store that is bound to always be within spitting distance of your hotel for the evening (or nab some from the hotel restaurant). Best of all, it’s truly comfort food, which is so nice when you’re away from home. Golden Crisp is my drug of choice, followed by what I tell myself is a healthier alternative, Honey Bunches of Oats. Pick your poison; you’ll be glad you did.
Old Is Cool And So Are Libraries and Carl Reiner
Audiobooks are awesome. Nab them for free from your library (crazy, I know, but they do still exist and they’re quite easy to use, don’t be afraid!) and you’ll have endless entertainment when you’ve run out of questions to ask and car games to play for the day. Just don’t do what we did — accidentally pick up The Alchemyst instead of The Alchemist, and then spend 15 chapters trying to figure out why your loved ones would recommend a fantastical sci-fi book to you, before realizing you got the wrong book and what they really intended was a New York Times Best Seller about following your dream. David Sedaris makes a great companion (When You Are Engulfed in Flames, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim) on the road, as does Carl Reiner (Just Desserts). He’s my latest old guy crush and funny as hell.
Rendezvous with Southern Comfort and Friends with Benefits
Staying with friends is the ultimate luxury. Given that most people don’t stay in the town they grew up in because travel and job-hopping are so easy these days, you’re bound to know people all over the place. The upside of a road trip? Actually getting to see them (it’s always been way too long, hasn’t it?). The bonus? When they’re generous enough to invite you to stay the night, saving you from hotel-rut (being in a home is so nice when you’ve been on the road for days). We’ve had a few great dinners and stays with old friends, the latest being in Memphis, from which I am currently typing from a huge, comfortable bed and beautiful book-covered guest room. Aaah. Friends also know the best places in their cities to go, so listen. I’m glad I did. A Texas girl who thought she knew what good BBQ was, I was surprised to find out how wrong I was when I tasted the best BBQ of my life tonight at Rendezvous. So good it just might turn a vegan into a carnivore. Ultimately, the best thing about traveling is when life surprises you — and you surprise yourself.
Surprises Are the Spice of Life — and Butter Doesn’t Hurt Either
Speaking of surprises, we visited The King’s castle today, Graceland. Originally intending on going simply for the full-on kitsch factor, we were pleasantly surprised by the whole shebang, uh huh. Mostly though, we were blown away by the culinary awesomeness that is a grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich (The King’s fave). We later found out that the reason it tastes SO good is because a whole stick of butter is used for the ‘grilling’ process (no surprise there why Elvis experienced The Chubby Years). The second surprise was how much I loved the mod ’60s-style front living room, a study in white and blue that would have Kelly Wearstler shaking her pelvis with excitement. I know I did.
Here’s hoping you can induldge in some summer comforts of your own.
Thank ya, thank ya very much,
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