Cracker Barrel is one chain I fully support!!!!!!!!

I'm laying on a rather comfortable bed in an air conditioned room at a Best Western in Bulls Gap, Tennessee. The room was a little pricey - even with my AAA discount - but I have free wi-fi, air-con, hbo, and breakfast. I think I can deal!

I drove for 10 hours today. Straight from Philadelphia, PA to Bulls Gap - about 572 miles. I guess that's not too shabby. I woke up at 6am, which is an hour I haven't seen in years. I was a little groggy from my evening in Philly with my fabulous friends, so it was a rocky start. I think the sweet gospel station and no traffic lifted my spirits enough to get over the tiredness. Philly has some amazingly inspirational music going on their air waves!

I was pleasantly surprised by Philadelphia. It is this old, quiet, artistic, Parisian-like city with happy people and wonderful bars and restaurants. Plus - I got the best Pedicure of my life which came with a hot stone massage and witty gay LA/celebrity banter - huge plus - and a great way to relax before the drive. My friends Lauren, Clint, and Scott are all ex-bostonians who have relocated to Philly and are loving every minute of it! It did my heart good to see some friends in a new city kicking ass, taking names, and happier and healthier than ever. I hope that my location switcheroo will go as awesomely! Thank you to Lauren and Scott for the Veuve and the couch!

The drive was rather uneventful, other than my sheer giddyness as I saw each state sign. There is something so romantic and old-school about this tradition. When we used to pass them as kids, we would shout out "We're not in Virginia, we're not in Virginia, we're not in Virginia...WE'RE IN VIRGINIA!" I found myself doing it and having a ball. The signs are so welcoming too - and quaint - and Americana. I think there should be a gorgeous picture book of each one with it's cheesy little tag line - Here is West Virginia's - HILARIOUS.

The other MAJOR highlight of my day came around the middle of Virginia - a huge state. I was getting tired, it was only around 2pm and I knew I couldn't stop for the day. All of a sudden, like a beacon of light from heaven, I saw a Cracker Barrel on the side of the road. I screeched off the exit and sighed with relief as I pulled up to the familiar building with the white rocking chairs outside. Cracker Barrel has made some very hilarious and heart-warming guest appearances in my life since I was a little kid. I think the coolest thing about them is that my grandmother - Grammy Betlyon - LOVED THEM - most likely because they have a kick ass gift shop. I quickly realized that they also rent books on CD to weary single travellers who need a pick me up - just $3.48 if you return it within the week to another random CB. I picked up "The Other Bolyn Girl." Ate some veggie soup, dumplings, and mashed potates and was on my way - spirits completely lifted, tummy filled with nutritious food, and nostalgic quota completely filled. I have decided that the ole CB is going to be a friend of mine this trip. I even got a map with the locations of every CB in the States. Where else can you go for Americana food, penny candy, random toys, rocking chairs, dumplings, and super-de-duper friendly service. I'm hooked and I'm not ashamed to say it - CRACKER BARREL IS A ROAD TRIPPERS BEST FRIEND. Pony loved it too.

Playlist highlight of the day - Soul Coughing - Screenwriter's Blues

Tommo I will definitely make it to Graceland then book it as far as I can to Texas. I WILL be in Austin by Wednesday!

Good night sweet friends. How about this for the lyric in a song "Taco Bell and a Coors Light in a Best Western in Tennessee - I can drive cross country, but I can't get away from me."


  1. Fran, you're a great storyteller. Good luck keeping awake on the plains...

    Your state-sign tales reminded me of roadtrips with my fun-loving grandparents when growing up. My sister made up a song and we applied it at every border for the next 25 years of traveling -- even grandpa sang along:

    "Bye, North Dakota (baby, baby, baby), Hi, Minnesota (woo-hoo)!"

    Repeat 3x. Etc, etc.

  2. Remember that Cracker Barrel is part of our family Tradition!! Grammie loved it; Jesse and I eat at the one near Grammie's house whenever we can coming from BWI and heading to the north.

    Enjoy the biscuits and gravy!!

  3. Ha! Karin - I wish I could hear you sing the song. i would totally be into that.

    Yes, Dad. I have been feeling Grammie's presence with me all along. Cracker Barrel is a big part of that!


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