– Denton, Texas to Nashville, Tennessee –
It’s time for the last trip of the summer. This time, Mark, Ripley, and I are heading to Virginia and D.C. He has two work visits to make, one Tuesday and one Friday, and in between we have some small national parks to visit and maybe even the beach. It should be fun, even though we are still a little tired from our previous trip.
We started the morning at 5am, as we frequently do, without any time for a run. We packed up and drove over to a nearby donut shop for breakfast. This isn’t our normal donut shop, but we’d been told they had vegan tacos and donuts, and Mark was curious, so we stopped by. He seemed to enjoy the tacos, but our other donuts are way better, and we didn’t even get the vegan ones.
We did not have a lot planned for a drive today. As with many first days, our major goal was to make miles. Since I’d only had a donut and a yogurt for breakfast, I was starving at around 11am, but we had to decide if we wanted to eat immediately, or wait around for better options.
After a bit of debate, we decided to wait until the Whole Foods in Little Rock. It would be a little after noon, but we thought it would be fine. I wish we’d just gone ahead and found something then, because the Whole Foods really let us down.
Usually, when we visit Whole Foods for a meal, we get food from their hot bar. Today, the one in Little Rock, which we’ve eaten at before, didn’t really have much of a hot bar. They had a cold salad bar, half of a cold pasta salad bar, and half a bar of meat. It was very weird. I guess I won’t be expecting good things from them again.
Despite our disappointment with Whole Foods, we still had to eat in Little Rock, and we’d decided to try to stop at a national park site in the city, so we needed to do it before we got there. That left us with few options, especially since our day was already running long. While Mark pulled out of the parking lot, I frantically scanned the area for something to eat.
Given the time limit, I did okay. Lunch ended up being at Layla’s Gyro, where we had a passable Greek lunch. Between our two plates, we had hummus, pita, taboule, baba ganoush, tzatziki, and falafel. It wasn’t a bad haul, but it was only average, quality-wise. I guess that’s what you get when you don’t have time to be choosey.
It was a bad food day all around, really. Does this count as foreshadowing? Or am I being too blatant about it? Yeah, dinner didn’t turn out great either. We were so annoyed with dinner that we even took the time to take the survey on our dinner receipt. That’s a lot of effort.
So, we managed to eat before we made it over to Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site. We mostly went to the visitor center, which is all you can really do in the park, from what I can tell. The school is still active, so visitors aren’t really allowed. In fact, today was registration day, so we saw easily a hundred or more people trying to get into the place. I’m glad the visitor center was far enough away that the traffic wasn’t a problem.
If you don’t know, Little Rock Central High School is famous for the role it played during desegregation following the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. The event for Little Rock Central High School, in particular, is called the 1957 Desegregation Crisis, and it occurred when nine black students were enrolled in the formerly all-white high school.
The visitor center has a lovely museum-like portion, where Mark and I took turns walking around while the other waited outside in the shade with Ripley. It made me miss Canada. It was around 99 degrees, which isn’t ideal weather for waiting, and we can’t leave our truck running and lock it, like my parents’ Suburban does. Get with it, Tacoma makers.
The high school itself is gorgeous. It was built in 1927, and like I said, it’s still in use today. Once we’d gotten our fill of taking photos of it, we ventured on through the very busy highways leading north toward Nashville. It was a very long day, and since it was nearly 2pm before we had lunch, we ended up getting up into Tennessee pretty late.
For dinner, we stopped at a Qdoba. It was very quiet inside, and it was still 3 hours before closing, but that didn’t stop them from being out of everything, too busy to make our food (somehow), and serving it up nice and cold. Plus, the guy that made my nachos crammed a lid down on them and crushed them. Worst Qdoba visit ever. They’re lucky I love them, or I wouldn’t go back. I can really hold a grudge against a restaurant.
We finally pulled into our hotel after 8pm, which is too bad because the place is huge. I wish this one was one of the ones we will be staying in for more than one night. It’s a suite. We have a full living room, a small kitchen, a huge bathroom, a good-sized closet, and a separate bedroom. This is bigger than everything the six of us stayed in on the Atlantic Canada trip, save for the nights we were in the house.
Tomorrow is another day that’s more about driving, but we do have a planned stop, and the weather is getting nicer as we head north, so that’s a plus. We have time to run tomorrow morning, which is also great. I think we will even “sleep in” until 6am. The extra hour shouldn’t kill us.
– Trip Total : 316 miles –