The title naturally refers to a road trip I recently took from my own undisclosed area in the Middle Atlantic region of the country to the rolling hills and flatlands of Texas with intermediate stops at various fast food joints, gas stations, truck stops and doughnut joints along the way between here and there.
The title is inspired by the last day or two of the trip heading south when the road, my mind and behind had all become progressively numb. It was at that point when I had given up all hope of finding a decent sit down meal and all we existed on was coffee that got progressively worse. I say we meaning my traveling companion and his dog. The dog does not drink coffee so his taste buds do not figure into this account although he does appear later on in a brief. heart warming and charming Hallmark Channel sort of vignette.
For starters, most of the roadside motels we stayed in advertised a free breakfast but upon arrival we found that because of the you know what that’s going around services had been curtailed things being what they are or were. So there we were eager to get on the road with a breakfast that stuck to our ribs only to find a cup of joe and maybe a shrink wrapped muffin.
One establishment where I did find a morning coffee only had those little containers of pre- mixed, pre- flavored and pretty awful creamers. My only choice then besides taking my coffee black was to add mocha peppermint and hazelnut cream which I do not ever recommend ever ever again to anyone.
Another well known roadside stop had a breakfast of sorts but when I checked in the clerk told me and I am not making this up …” We have a breakfast but if you don’t like it you can go over there to the Crackle Barrel. A ringing endorsement to be sure and despite the front desk’s warnings there was good coffee, yogurt and the previously mentioned shrink wrapped muffins which we stuffed our pockets with as we left.
Surprisingly the best coffee to be had was at that national hamburger chain that features a clown as it’s spokesman/mascot/reason to stop there. And as we found all of the dining areas were closed so we made good use of the drive thru windows where you order at the lighted menu board, pay at window one and pick up at window two. Or maybe we paid at one and picked up at two. In any case there were only two windows regardless of how they were numbered.
So we trundled on further south stopping at truck stops, gas stations and convenience stores in search of a restroom, gasoline and coffee. Hardly any stores offered real milk or real 2% milk but there was one so that was a plus. Finding cow based products proved to be the highlight and the lowlight consisted of mocha hazelnut creamers and the like.
During a deep freeze plunge when we were at a gas station and all of the squeegees were frozen in their squeegee buckets in dirty squeegee ice.
At one hotel which I had booked based on it being a pet friendly establishment our canine companion received a welcoming present upon check in of a combination water bowl and food dish and a package of snacks. This was entirely unexpected and certainly welcomed.
So, if you’re ever in Little Rock near the airport and you are riding with Fido or Fifi or Scout or Stanley stop in. The airport is named for Bill and Hillary which must really rankle the local Republicans every time they leave or return by air.
But the big story on Action News is a combination rest stop, gas station, department store, supermarket in Texas that features a cartoon beaver as it’s logo. You could live in this place for a week before anyone knew you were there. Conservatively there must have been 50 gas pumps if not more. They also featured a pet relief area with signage that read something like…” Your dog did his duty, be sure to pick it up.” and ” If your dog left a poop it’s up to you to scoop.”
I committed the gravest of errors when I went looking for a veggie sub at this place because after all I was deep in the heart of Bar B Que land and I guess an eggplant sub was out of the question. No problem though – My turkey sandwich had more than teh minimum daily requirement of jalapeños which I think is a state law among others.
However, the biggest eye opener of all on the trip was the realization that the big electric car company growing by leaps and bounds, no it’s not Edison, is opening a plant to produce said electric vehicles right in the middle of oil rich Texas and they got a boatload or carload or truckload of tax breaks to bring the business where the stars at night are big and bright.
I found irony to be a saving grace in the land of pick up trucks and tumble weeds.
The coffee tour is now history, no t shirts or tour jackets available. Only hamburger wrappers, discarded coffee cups and the occasional and forlorn much hazelnut creamer remain. Oh, and peppermint too. Help yourself.