Ramblin' Detours

     I have been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to write this blog post since I came off the road a couple of days ago.  After school activities, babysitting, catching up on house chores, planting flowers, bathing ponies, situating bills, tending to a 2yr old's ear infection, and etc. etc. etc...thankfully I have a few minutes to elaborate.

     Last week, I embarked on a very eventful road trip from Tuscaloosa, AL; to Macon, GA; to Opelika, AL; and back to the Tuscaloosa area.  This was to be a solo trip and I was so looking forward to 5 hours of uninterrupted SILENCE (wow!).

     So, early Thursday morning, I loaded up my car, delivered the kids (to their respective sitters) and headed to my doctor's appointment in Tuscaloosa.  After that, I headed southeast presumably toward Georgia.

     I opened the sunroof, started blasting Steeldrivers, and I was on my way.  Before I made it to my first turn, I decided, "What the hell, I'll take the road that's 20 miles longer and stop to see my Granny in Pinetucky".  So that's what I did.

     I love surprising her with an unexpected visit; to see her face light up when I open the door fills my heart with so much happiness.  We sat and talked and gossiped, and caught up on things.  My 30 minute visit turned into an hour and a half.

     Finally, I got back on the road, made it to Macon, got checked into my hotel, barely had time to shower before having to leave for the venue...with my hair still wet.  Luckily it was super hot so I just hung my head out the window for a nice fresh air dry.  It was glorious.

     I was first in the lineup, so I got up there and started to play my first song.  I was using my foot drum and didn't even consider the fact that I was wearing heels...needless to say, my foot kept slipping off the pedal and I missed every 3rd or 4th beat until I eventually dropped out playing the drum all together.  So not the best way to start my set.

     So after my first song, I said "Ok y'all, I know the music is way more important than the fashion, so y'all just excuse me...I'm about to take my shoes off. And my socks don't match".  So there I was, with a red sock and a yellow sock, hangin out playing my tunes.  And they sounded a lot better after that.

     I didn't win the competition, but I was commended on my interaction with the crowd and the quality of my songs, and was invited to play a showcase in Myrtle Beach under the ferris wheel in July.  Go figure.

     The next day, I checked out of my hotel and headed west for Alabama.  I had a lot of time to get to my gig for the night, so I was taking my time enjoying the beautiful day.

     I got about an hour out of Macon when I saw a big orange sign that read "Detour".  I thought, "Great, the last thing I need is to be out in the country in Georgia with sketchy cell service, all alone, with no clue where the hell I am".  But, there were no alternate routes at the moment so down the county road I went.

     About ten minutes later, I entered into one of the most serene, beautiful little country communities I'd ever seen.  I even stopped to snap a picture of the store (that was open).

     I began to think, "Hey, this ain't so bad".  So I slowed it down and just started to enjoy the ride.

     I came to a crossroads and saw a brown historic marker sign that read "FDR House - 20 Miles"...with the arrow pointing the opposite direction I was supposed to be going.  I checked the time and followed the arrow.

     I never made it to the FDR house because as I made my way down the road, there were other signs leading to "FDR State Park".  This sounded even more appealing, and I needed a safe place to change my guitar strings.  So there I went.  I ended up about an hour off-route on top of a mountain changing my guitar strings on FDR's barbecue grill in the full spring sunshine.




     I stayed on this rock for over an hour, just soaking in the sunshine, making conversation with other park-goers who came and went.  I finally checked the clock and realized I'd better be getting back on the road for my gig that night.  I got in, and started making my way back down the mountain.

     It didn't take long for me to realize something wasn't quite right.  My car was shaking, and my tires were making a really loud humming noise.  So I immediately pulled over into a trail head parking lot, and got out to find...a knot the size of my fist on my front left tire.

     After thanking Jesus Christ that I didn't have a blowout while heading down the mountain, I remembered the huge pot hole I had hit earlier in a construction zone where I couldn't dodge it.  Thanks a lot, State of Georgia, for that one.

     So, I got on my phone and Googled the nearest tire shop.  It was 12 miles away, out of the way of my route, and it was closing in 45 minutes.  I deterred putting the spare on myself for fear they would close before I got there.  I knew I would never make it home on this piece of crap, and it would be very dangerous to try.

     So I drove 45 mph down the mountain, to the tire shop, and luckily they had a used one that would fit.  The older gentleman who ran the place was very interested in what I was doing so far from home by myself with a vehicle full of instruments and gear. He said, "I'm letting my grandson borrow my BMW for the prom tonight, do you think I'm crazy?" and I told him, "No comment". We laughed and I told him that I didn't ride in a BMW to my prom, I rode in a Camaro, and I didn't get caught doing anything wrong. But he hooked me up for $40 and sent me on my way.



     By this time I was starving...I mean, past hungry straight to country girl HAWNGRY.  And I really didn't want fast food.  So I headed back to my route to hopefully find a small place to sit and have some dinner.  As I sat at a red light, I noticed a small café in the opposite direction of my route.  So, I turned left instead of staying straight.  And I'm so glad that I did.

     I walked into this little diner-that-time-forgot with a milkshake bar that looked like it was straight from Mayberry.  The two ladies attending the place were the only ones there.  "Hey baby, how you doin?" one asked me.  And I felt right at home.

     I told her I wanted some sweet tea and asked which burger she liked the best.  She told me "The Hwy. 85" and I thought, How appropriate.  So I ordered and settled in, just thankful to have a respite for a few minutes.

     I was quite entertained while waiting for my food, listening to the two ladies gossip about so-and-so and talking about the town's high school prom.  Shortly, the lady who introduced herself as "Nesha" brought my a really delicious looking cheeseburger, fries, and sweet tea.  Enough calories, carbs, and processed sugar for a few days...and Lord was it good.  I finished and told her - truthfully - that it was easily the best sweet tea and the best cheeseburger I'd ever had.  I sure wish that little café were closer.

     She brought me my ticket and said, "Don't forget to read your thought of the day!" So here it is:


     Nesha said she writes a "thought" every day on every customer's ticket.  I thanked her and told her I would definitely be back on my next trip...and I will.

     I safely made it to my gig that night, enjoyed the hell out of performing, got done at midnight, loaded up, and drove another two hours home.  All the while I was thinking of writing this blog post.

     My life has been one detour after another.  I am not where I set out to be, but I am REALLY enjoying the ride.  Just like this trip - - -if not for the detours, I wouldn't have spent precious time with my grandmother, I wouldn't have had to stop my set in GA to take my shoes off (effectively showcasing my June Carter-like southern charm), I would have never seen that beautiful little community, enjoyed the top of the mountain at FDR State Park, and would have almost certainly had a blowout going 70+ mph which would not have ended well.  I wouldn't have got a really good quality used tire and a safety check for $40, and I wouldn't have met Nesha and experienced her wonderful food and hospitality.

     I know it's easy to curse the inconveniences, but the God of the Universe has a plan and there are no accidents.


     Ramble on!