May 3, 2015

The Dargatz Family Heads South. . .The Long and Winding Road

It was time to put Atlanta in our rear view mirror and head to the second portion of our trip: the Great Smoky Mountains. Once departing Georgia, we went north through tarheel country. Before stopping for the night in Murphy, North Carolina, we made the decision to stop at a southern BBQ joint right off the main drag. The food was delicious. The aftermath. . .not so much. (Don't worry, I'm not much of a fan of bathroom humor so I am not headed in that direction. . . .well, sort of.)

After hitting the road again, we wanted a preview of the days to come so we drove through the long, narrow, winding, and mainly unpaved roads of the Chattahoochee National Forest. After failing to find a visitor center or parking lot, we fou d a campong site where we took a breather, stretched our legs, and filled up with fresh forest air. It worked out well since a scenic and shallow stream ran right through the site, so Embry had a few opportunities to have "stick races" with her parents. Even though Embry was a gem during the long car ride, I am sure she appreciated the time away from the car.

Well, that shining gem of a child didn't last for much longer. As we headed back on the road, Embry began to voice her displeasure. We are pretty familiar with toddler whining and have been able to deal with it in may ways (ignoring, whining back, turning up the music), but this session was persistent. We had escaped the bumpy forest roads and gotten into a bit more civilized area when we figured out the reason for our daughter's displeasure.  And, the rental car's backseat found out as well.

TRIP TAKEAWAY #3 - Toddlers, winding roads, and barbecue are not a match made in heaven.

Fortunately for us, the toddler's timing was pretty good as we were just a block away from the only gas station we had seen in quite some time. We pulled in, gassed up, bought paper towels and were allowed to use cleaning wipes from the station restroom in an attempt to clean up the car. (While cleanup did continue regularly through the rest of the trip, the fact that we were able to start the process so quickly really paid off.)

After Embry's vomit party, she was in higher spirits and ready to go. My wife and I made the best of it and looked forward to getting into town for somr restand relaxation next to the hotel pool. Unfortunately. . .

TRIP TAKEAWAY #4 - There is no swimming in the South until May. Well, at least it seemed that way. In both Atlanta and Murphy, the pools were closed until winter hours ended May 1st.

When our swimming was thwarted, we ended up searching town for laundromats, only to find them closed. We stayed low key in the hotel and watched TV while Embry practiced taking selfies.

I ended up getting up earlier than expected the next day to enjoy Murphy's finest laundromat. I shared this experience with machines that had to be at least 30 years old and a fellow  patron who was mumbling as if she had marbles in her mouth. She did say a few things to me. I nodded, not really knowing what she had said. 

At last, the clothes were clean and dry and I was ready to get out of town, get to the cabin, and get out  of the barbecue vomit car.  If only it were that easy. . .

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