On the way back from spending the week with friends, Blake and Karen, on Captiva Island, we decided to take a detour to meet up with two other old friends we don’t get to see very often, who happened to be at Walt Disney World. We were heading toward Tampa and re-routing to Orlando would only a few of hours to the trip, so we arranged to have lunch in a pub at Downtown Disney before we had to get back on the road, again.
Aaron and I considered getting a hotel room and staying for a few days but we’ve already been away from home and the office for awhile. Plus, we might come down again in a few months, or, perhaps, meet up with some other friends in California later this summer depending upon our schedule.
We met at the Raglan Road. Despite all of our trips here, neither Aaron nor I have ever eaten at this particular establishment. We were surprised how huge it was inside because it definitely doesn’t look that way from the street.
Hmm … I’ll give her some free advertising in case any of you are booking classical gigs on the East Coast. Here’s Erika in a performance in New York City a couple of years ago. She’s a Mezzo. She also has a food blog, to which I’ve linked in the past.
On to the food, for other Disney eaters out there who like documenting this sort of thing!
After an hour or more of good conversation, we walk through the shopping area a little bit together before saying our goodbyes. Aaron and I ended up browsing some stores but we wanted to get back on the road so we decided not to get anything since we’ll likely return soon. Tonight, we’re going all the way to Nashville, Tennessee. We should have stopped back in Atlanta, Georgia, but we want to press on as much reasonably possible.
Driving, driving, driving.
Can I just say that I did not anticipate the anti-evolution billboards, the anti-gay billboards, the anti-abortion billboards, the “apocalypse is coming” billboards, and the strip joints-next-to-trailer parks (I don’t mean this as a joke, I mean it literally, so please don’t think I’m making light of it) in rural Georgia? It is very different than the nice areas like Atlanta. In fact, it’s weird to think Atlanta is even in the same state because I loved it during our trip to the World of Coca-Cola. I could live in Atlanta tomorrow were it not for the equal rights thing. Yet, the difference between it and the rest of the state was so pronounced, you would honestly think someone was mocking the region. We passed one billboard with a flag waiving behind a bald eagle, staring off into the distance, announcing something like, “Turn Back to GOD America!”. Another one yelled, “EVOLUTION IS A LIE! GEN. 1”
The level of obsession, which surprised even us, was something to behold. And we live in the Bible Belt where it’s not unusual to meet someone who believes the world is 6,000 years old and who home schools his or her kids with book series like this one from Ken Ham. (Yes, the same Ken Ham who indoctrinates children to believing that dinosaurs existed up until a few thousand years ago; that mankind lived amongst the Tyrannosaurs like we do modern dogs and cats because the Jewish book of Genesis must be taken literally rather than figuratively.) That might give you an idea of how off-the-charts it was.
We also did more than one double-take when we spotted random Confederate States of America flags flying by the side of the road. That was different. It is hard for me to fully comprehend this exists in the same nation Newport Coast does, or Laguna Beach does, or Manhattan does, or Denver does, or Santa Fe does, or the farmlands of Ojai do. Think of how differently children raised in each of those areas compared to here are going to experience life.
Driving, driving, driving … in the middle of the night, somewhere in rural Georgia – perhaps near the state line? I can’t recall – out of nowhere, this bright building appears offering fireworks. In winter. I’ve watched enough episodes of the Twilight Zone to know this random, oddly placed building in 1960’s-style neon is not some place we should stop. It’s a trap! Keep going …
We made it to Nashville, checked into a hotel near the airport so we could get some sleep before getting back on the road.
And, this is where we are now …
Aaron, who has done the driving up until this point since I was reading, needs to sleep so I’ll be taking over in Illinois and Missouri, going through St. Louis, Columbia, and on to Kansas City.