On Friday the 21st we reluctantly parted ways with the Gangemiano’s and headed for Sawanee, Georgia! Phillip’s Aunt Laura and Uncle Marty live there and invited us to stay at their place. We got in pretty late but stayed up and chatted for a little while. We got to meet Breitling their son Jared’s pit bull, such a sweetheart! The next morning we finally got to meet their daughter Lexi before she had to rush off to work. We then went out to their favorite breakfast nook. After we got back to their house, Phillip and I took off for the day to go to Atlanta to visit our friends Chris and Erin. We arrived a bit early in Atlanta and so chose a brewery to go to. Sweet Water Brewing Company won! We got to the brewery and were afraid we’d stumbled upon an event of some sort. There was an EZ up with a guy checking ID’s and a cop right by the front door. After making sure dogs were allowed, We got in and were ushered to a counter where the employee brought us up to date. Apparently the place is so popular that on Saturdays (plus a couple other days of the week) you buy a taster package that included 6, 8oz tasters for $10 bucks! They aren’t shy with the pours either! We loved the beer, met loads of people and dogs. We even got to listen to a band outside. Great hangout! Wished all of my beer loving friends had been there with us, what a great time!
Next we drove over to Chris and Erin’s were we met Erin’s mom, their daughter Riley and their day old baby Thomas! Cute tiny little one! We relaxed and chatted, had some pizza before calling it a night and driving back. Boy was that an exciting drive. It had started to rain as we were leaving Chris and Erin’s and got progressively worse as we were driving back to Marty and Laura’s. Thunder, Lightning and raining buckets in the dark! I moved myself as close as I could to the windshield, not that it helped my visibility! It was a slow drive anyhow!
We were supposed to get up that morning and go boating but the weather was still dismal. So after another pleasant breakfast chatting it up, hugs and goodbye for nows, we got on the road and headed for Alabama to meet up with Cousin Amy and her family! On our way we went past the US Space and Rocket Center. I had forgotten about that place and was sad to not have the time to bring Phillip! Next time I guess!
We had forgotten about the time change and arrived about an hour and a half early to the local Mellow Mushroom. We decided to take a walk around but it was very small and all restaurants. We ended up getting our table and sampling a few local brews and playing 9 Square!
It was such a delight to see my cousin Amy again! It had been a decade since I’d seen her. It was also nice to meet her husband again and all of their kids! What a pot of mixed personalities with them! They were great fun and we wished we could have stayed for a weekend to hang out with them for longer!
After departing Madison, Alabama we drove on to Memphis, Tennessee. It wasn’t as exciting as I’d thought and we were hoping to go to the Elvis Museum but it was 70 bucks to get in! The small town was run down and dirty with loads of bars and tourist shops. Needless to say, we skipped town pretty quickly. We managed to make it to the Ozarks National Forrest to the Redding Recreation Area Campground in Arkansas. After what felt like forever driving through the sticks we finally pulled into the campground. At first we thought we were going to be the only ones there but while driving the loop we noticed a couple of guys camping out in an old RV. We found our spot and made some dinner after setting up camp for the night. I of course was feeling like I was in a horror movie or Deliverance, so Phillip made me go for a walk around and see if our neighbors were A: playing banjos and planned on murdering us or B: were just some nice guys. Of course they matched up with the B category. It was dark by then and as we were walking over we noticed them by the Mulberry River, sitting in their folding chairs with about 6 heavy duty fishing poles laying on the rock patio with lines in the water. They were retired locals and their names were John, David and Paul. Their accent was a treat and it was hard to understand them sometimes but we had some fun conversations anyway! One of the guys was the most talkative and he told us that sometimes when the locals find a dead armadillo they will set it up at the on ramp for the highway with a beer can in its hand! Sadly we didn’t see one on our way out! They even offered us some fried crappie fish that one of the guys had cooked up earlier. It did not taste like its name! It was surprisingly good!
After parting ways for the evening, Phillip and I went back to camp to play cards and drink some of the weight of the cooler. We ended up putting “the fussy up” as well as the sides because it was extremely buggy! I pulled out our ThoFire flashlight , stood it on end, and it lit the whole canopy! While chatting and planning out our camper floor plan, Phillip went to take a sip of his beer and we both freaked out a little bit due to the huge daddy long leg that was on his can!
Next stop was the KOA in Amarillo, TX. It was nice even though wide open. We set up our tent on a nice grassy area and were able to see the stars and moon that night.
Once Phillip was finished working we hopped in the car and drove to the KOA in Flagstaff, AZ. Yes, we cheated a bit on the way home, staying close to the road! It was hot and so we wanted to hurry up a bit on the way home! We pulled in at about 10 pm and pretty much went right to bed. The next morning we stayed until check out which unfortunately was 11am. We were trying to find a place for Phillip to stop and work but all the roadside stops into Sedona had terrible reception. I drove us into Sedona and finally he had reception. I went off on a walk around town with Drama and did some window shopping (as well as some real shopping!) As I was getting back to the car it started to downpour! We were seeing massive lightening bolts over the mountains! Reluctantly we started heading towards Scottsdale. Thankfully we drove away from the big storm and only encountered a couple of spots that sprinkled.
We stopped at El Metate Tamale Factory in Gallup, NM for dinner that evening, YUM! So very happy to be around authentic mexican food again! The Senora there can cook like nobody’s business! I had Chicken Chimichanga and Phillip had Gorditas. Both were delicious!
We arrived on Thursday to Mary and David’s! What a fun couple of days! Thursday night we went to trivia night at a local bar and did pretty good! Friday we went brewery hopping. We went to North Mountain Brewing for brews and dinner. Next we tried to go to Fate Brewing Co. , who does have pretty good beer but their place smelled like rotten eggs so we immediately left and moved onto a bar that was a couple doors down. Played some pool, got hit on by a tool bag and headed off to Scottsdale Beer Company.
Saturday was a relaxing day. We ended up going to the Mellow Mushroom in Scottsdale which was a treat! I didn’t know there were more of them! Later in the afternoon we started prepping for Movie night in the pool! We were planning on having a double feature of The Dark Crystal and Idiocracy but the tech failed us! Then it started raining so we couldn’t have the projector out there anyway. We had a good time though, and got to see friends we hadn’t seen in quite some time. Our friends 14 year old son almost drowned that evening but is thankfully just fine now, what a scare and thank the powers that be that he is okay!
The next morning, quite hungover, Phillip and I hopped in the car and commenced our final 6 hours of drive time!
Before heading home though, we stopped in Lakeside to see Phillip’s family, have some dinner and pick up Sasha.
We pulled into the driveway a little after 9pm at 8,619 miles!
We, got to see lots of friends and family, got many bug bites, saw countless daddy long legs and other new bugs, got to pack up wet a few times, found some new breweries we like, became packing pro’s, the list goes on and on!
Thanks for reading these and following along on our adventure. It has been awesome writing again and actually have an audience!