Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Across the Great Divide

After being well supplied with Tastykakes and other provisions we left Lubbock and headed into New Mexico, passing Albuquerque and ending up in Gallup. Along the way we passed the Continental Divide, which is the separation between the watershed of the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean.

Where to broker your cattle deal

As we headed out of Maryland on Sunday The Splendid Table was on NPR. The Road Food segment described a steakhouse in Oklahoma City where breakfast is served starting at 6 am so that cattlemen at the stockyards can broker their deals over steak and eggs. Of course we had to stop by! The steakhouse is, predictably, named Cattleman's, and is decorated with large 1950s photo murals of suit-clad cattlemen overseeing cows. We sampled the steak soup, chicken fried steak and filet mignon - all worth trying, although the filet mignon was definitely the best. From Cattleman's we headed into Texas and down to Lubbock to visit Lisa Patrick who is currently stranded there in grad school. After getting lost in Lubbock, Lisa made us exceedingly welcome, even to the extent of stocking up on some Dogfish Head brews.

King of Rock and Interior Design

We kicked off Monday with a stop at Monell's in Nashville, Tennessee for an early lunch. We got there at half past ten, and were the first guests in the door. Seating at Monell's is communal but we ended up at a large communal table alone while it filled up with food. Particularly noteworthy were the peach preserves, biscuits, and meatloaf. Highly recommended!!! Stuffed to the gills we continued on to Memphis and Graceland!

Graceland was surprisingly modest on the outside, however, this was more than made up for by the king's fabulous 70s interior decor. Our favorites were the yellow and navy blue TV room with mirrored ceiling, the fabric covered pool room, and of course the famous Jungle Room. In addition to the mansion we checked out other Elvis memorabilia including stage costumes, cars and airplanes. Now we finally know what to do with a bedazzler.

For some reason there was a Weinermobile parked in the Graceland parking lot.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Of Foamhenge and inedible snacks

Welcome to Central Standard Time, it's a crisp Monday morning west of Knoxville (off exit 238 of I40, in Lebanon, Tennessee). Sahrye made good distance and time yesterday, we even had time to stop and visit the most sacred of sacred sites in this wonderful country, no not Graceland that's today. I'm talking about Foamhenge, built by Neolithic Tennessean Man out of neolithic packing foam (one can only guess) as a astronomical calendar to predict the arrival of tourists in the far distant future. Well done neolithic Tennessean man, well done.

Twizzlers, the all American snack, right? Well I've never been a fan but in hunger jam I wouldn't turn one down. Not so with Twizzlers Rainbow pack, yuk, completely disgusting, the texture is all wrong and the flavors weird. Buried under a snow storm in the Blue Mountains of Tennessee I'd rather eat cardboard. Luckily we brought Pringles!

Today, we're making the pilgrimage to Graceland. Nuff said.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Saga of the Rooftop Cargo Box

The original plan was to leave this morning, which turned out to be a rather optimistic underestimation. We evaluated the stuff situation and decided to get a rooftop cargo box from REI. Unfortunately, the model we wanted, the Thule Sidekick was only available at the REI in Baileys Crossroads, Virginia, so at 11 am, our original departure time the Saga of the Rooftop Cargo Box begins. We purchased the Box and began to assemble it in the parking lot while several bus stop patrons looked on, but quickly realized that it required some basic tools that were not currently in our possession. After returning to Silver Spring we assembled the Box and attempted to attach it to the roof rack where we found that the attachment points were slightly too far out of alignment with the rack and we would have to adjust the roof rack. After a few calls to the local Subaru dealership, a trip up to that dealership, a couple of screwdrivers (the tool, not the drink), and 4 hours later, we determined that the 1997 Subaru Outback Sport does not have an adjustable roof rack. At this point we will not give in! Determined to win we drilled an extra couple of holes on the bottom of the box, refit the attachments and easily secured it to the car (elapsed time since purchase = 6 hours). We may have set a record for the longest instillation time for a Thule Box but finally the car is completely packed and ready to go. New ETD is Sunday morning.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Packing Up

Hello everyone and welcome to the first post. As many of you know, I have accepted a postion as a Coastal Planner with the Bay Conservation Development Commission in San Francisco. Hal and I will be driving from Silver Spring, MD to San Francisco, CA over the next week or so. Our current plan is to take I-81 to I-40 to I-5. Mapquest claims that this is about 3000 miles and should take 45 hours of driving. Many thanks to my collegues in ORR at NOAA/the Happy Hour Matrix Coordinators for the fine gift of an atlas - I'm sure it will be very useful!