Day 19: January 9, 2015
Food, Signs, Food

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Today I did something I rarely do. In fact, I think it's possible that this was the first time I've done it while traveling alone. What I did was drive to breakfast before checking out of the motel. It solved a problem. One of my all time favorite places for breakfast is in Chattanooga where I was headed and which I could reach in a couple of hours if I wanted to. Just a few miles from the motel there was another restaurant with a big reputation. I'd never eaten breakfast there but had eaten dinner once and had no doubts that breakfast would be just as good. Rushing to Chattanooga would leave the nearby restaurant out of the picture and would be at odds with my plans to hasten not to the land of ice and snow. So would leaving the motel early. On the other hand, if I hung out at the motel a bit then ate breakfast locally, I would probably be too full when I reached Chattanooga to eat anything at all. The solution was to drive to the nearby joint around 7:00, come back to the motel do some catching up until 10:00 or so, then head to Chattanooga at a leisurely pace and have a little lunch when I got there.

The nearby restaurant is, obviously, the Marietta Diner. It is not a factory built diner. All that chrome and neon are on a rather large built-on-site structure. In 2012 I had their signature pastichio. Today I had a three cheese omelet. In case you think that omelet looks delicate and thin, consider that it's next to about half a bushel of home fries. Look at the toast and coffee cup and recalibrate your scale. That's a huge plate. The sun came up while I ate so I grabbed my first day time picture of the diner. My meal, by the way, was $7.37 -- including coffee.

By driving northbound, I see things, like this sign in Kennesaw, that I missed driving southbound in July. I didn't go inside but I have to believe that the surplus has been pretty well picked over by now.

The south wall of Young Brothers Pharmacy in Cartersville, Georgia, was the very first to have a Coca-Cola advertisement painted on it. That was in 1894. Twenty-five layers of paint were removed when it was restored in 1989. I couldn't help looking for a fountain inside the store but wasn't surprised not to find one. What I did find was a professional "normal" pharmacy with some Coca-Cola items displayed up front.

I spotted just one of these Dixie Highway signs in July but saw about half a dozen today. Maybe I was just more observant, maybe there are more on the northbound route, or maybe these were recently placed. I don't know but I do know there is an ongoing effort to get the route signed in Georgia. The signs are not big or flashy and you almost have to be looking for them to see them but they are there, they are increasing, and they help.

In Chattanooga, I eat at Aretha Frankenstein's whenever I can. That omelet was nearly eight hours in the past when I reached here today and I was ready to be fed. I had resigned myself to the fact that this would be a non-breakfast visit and ordered a beer while I studied the menu. I settled on "The Marilyn". It was very good and filling but, when the waitress delivered a pancake to a fellow just a couple of stools away, my resistance crumbled. Despite the waitress's assurance that "beer goes with anything", I switched to water, ordered a pancake, and ate it all.

I had anticipated this being the effective end of the road trip. After waddling to the car, I made it official. The weather at home still sucks but the temperature there have increased ever so slightly and it's not exactly tropical in Tennessee. Plus, I might be able to get home before the freezing rain hits. There will be one more overnight (Drives in the dark at the end of a long day just aren't my thing anymore.) but there will be no more touristy stops -- probably. Serendipity is always welcome.

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