Posts Tagged ‘sunrise’

Day Seven: Nashville

Monday, June 25th, 2012

I today was the day we hit “the wall” for road trippers: the point of no more. Today marks the point where we are tired and sight seeing weary. No this does not mean we are done it just means that today was a day off from sightseeing. We didn’t really do anything today and abandoned the initial plan for the day for a shortened and less packed with things to do. In other words, today was a breather day and hopefully tomorrow will be the always necessary bounce back day in the road trip.

Also today marks a different sort of landmark. Today, day seven marks the longest time I have ever been on the road. Six days was my previous record and now we are on day seven, soon to be eight that will keep going up as we continue. So, this is a long trip.

It was hard leaving New Orleans, just as it was hard to leave New Mexico and San Antonio before that. We have had some great stops and I am looking forward to more, but I seriously enjoyed New Orleans. We started our morning with Cafe Du Monde again since it is open 24 hours we went pretty early and got to see the sunrise from our hotel room in the morning.

After leaving our trial of powder sugar behind us and watching everyone else who left Cafe Du Monde brush the remnants of their beignet from their clothing somewhat unsuccessfully, we headed out for a day of driving. We went across three states, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee.

We only had two stops along our way to Nashville. The first was lunch at the original Whistle Stop Cafe or the Irondale Cafe where the book by Fannie Flag, Fried Green Tomatoes, was based out of. I love that book and the movie and knew once I was in the area that we had to stop for some fried green tomatoes. So we went on the outskirts of Birmingham, Alabama and found the little trainside cafe with red checkered tableclothes and movie posters all over the walls with a cafeteria style food line up of good old southern soul food. I learned a little something about southern food today called the meat and three; this is a way of describing the amount of food you get (gigantic amounts) being one meat entree along with three sides of choice from a long selection of food options.  So I got their famous fried chicken, the fried green tomatoes of course and mashed potatoes.. and it came with a bun, and sweet tea. It was so much food it seemed really ridiculous, but what was more is that anyone can order as many as they want and it really piles up quickly. The fried chicken was very good, moist, and crispy. The bun and sweet tea were also phenomenal, both where unbelievably good and I wish I could have had more if I wasn’t already so stuffed from the other plates. However, I was pretty disappointed by the fried green tomatatoes. They were greasy, cold, and too acidic even for green tomatoes. It was saddening but for me definitly an atmosphere thing and being able to say I had been to the Whistle Stop Cafe. I definitly don’t regret going because everything else was very good and if not for fear of becoming obese in a matter of days would surely go back for more.

The second stop we made was to the Ave Maria Grotto which is a benedictine monks old pass time making minatures of major monuments world wide. This odd stop in Cullman, Alabama was a large garden where the hills where covered in this sculptures.

Little Jerusalem including Bethlehem

Hanging gardens of Babylon

Even the Campanile.

It was all very interesting but by the time we reached Nashville neither of us really wanted to do anything and just did a brief tour of the city known for its music.

Uneventful day but it is getting us there slowly. Tomorrow is another sort of off day, we are taking another family day and meeting some of my lovely relatives from North Carolina in Gatlinberg for a day. More than halfway there.


Utah Trip: Death Valley, Yosemite, and Home!

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Even now at 4:30 in the morning in Death Valley, it is near scorching. It is an ungodly heat, but for the beauty in this sparse land, it is worth it. We woke up really, really early in the morning to catch the sunrise and get a little hike in before it was too hot out. So we headed over to the Mesquite Sand Dunes to watch the sun rise over this sandy wonderland.

It was gorgeous, one of the most exquisite sunrises I have ever had the pleasure of watching. The way that the sun peeked over the mountains and seemed to crawl across the dunes was near magical.

With the sun newly risen, another aspect of this desert land was revealed to us; the texture. The lines and contours that have been etched into this land are amazing. The sun really accents its natural beauty and exaggerates the shape through definition.

There is so much beauty hidden in this desert it continues to amaze me. People assume that a place like Death Valley is barren, godforsaken land, but it is in a place like this that people can truly feel near god or some unearthly presence. Here, and every where around us is beauty, we just have to open our eyes and find it ourselves.

But a place of beauty is still incomplete without a bit of fun. My mom and I went down into the crease of the dunes to mess around. We played with the puzzle like pieces of dried river bed.

And even played with our own exaggerated shadows stretching across the desert floor. M for Multer, go travel buddies!!!

The dead heat of the afternoon was slowly creeping in around us so we quickly made our way out of the desert and moved onward to our next stop. Though ultimately our next stop was Yosemite, we made a stop along the way in Manzanar Historic National Park.

For those of you unfamiliar with this park, it is an old Japanese internment camp turned into a place of reflection and historical contemplation. Set beneath the beautiful snow-capped mountains near Mt. Whitney, this one square mile of land was once reserved for the relocated Japanese in California. It is intriguing and saddening to visit this place but most of all for me at least, it is a place to consider the decision of the past and wonder what the decision of the future may hold through the reflection and remembrance of a place such as this. The pillar in the cemetery here really brings this idea to the foreground.

Tokens of remembrance are left here like the long chains of paper cranes and coins for those who once had to call this place home. We can only wonder and remember this time where the world seemed a little darker for everyone.


After this stop we made our way upwards towards Yosemite with one more small stop along the way, Mono Lake. This unique lake is saltier than the ocean and is surrounded by strange monoliths that look like coral that wound up out of the water.

It si a strangely beautiful place, with blue-green waters and the snowy mountains behind it, these spires have an amazing location. Stuck between summer and winter, this strange place stands solitary.

There is almost no wildlife here to speak of except two species. The exotic seagull,

and it’s swarming food source, the Alkali Fly.

They sit in droves at the salty shores and only seem to move at the disturbance of humans. Upon which they rise up and swarm in black masses until the intruder is forced to run away due to fear of choking from the massive amounts of flies. Terrifying really…

Moving on, we finally made it to Tioga Pass, the entrance to Yosemite. This was quite a turn around because all of a sudden we found ourselves surrounded by deep snow banks and extreme snow run off.

In one day, we had gone from 108 degree deserts to snow laden valleys. It was quite a shock and seemed like this single dy had spanned weeks. However it was a very nice way to return home, what better views are there when returning home than half dome? Ok there are some but it was pretty nice!

It was a day that seemed to last forever but finally we found our way home. So here we are, safe and sound after a long week of adventure. As always, I am ready for more 🙂