My friend and partner, ELW, has a degree in astrophysics. So, it makes sense that he’s got an interest in the happenings of the solar system. He’s also the father of two girls. So, it makes sense that he’d want to share the upcoming solar eclipse with them, especially since the path of totality this year goes right through his home town. And so it happened that I ended up on a cross-country road trip this week.
It’s no secret that my motherly instinct is…well, lacking. I’ve never dated anyone with kids, I avoid playgrounds like the plague, and the sound of a screaming child is enough to make me drop my shopping cart and vacate any establishment. Years ago, I was roped into watching the atrocious movie Four Christmases. The only part I enjoyed was the scene where the kid gets hit in the head. Quite possibly my favorite video on YouTube is the mock commercial for Nap Time. You’re starting to get the idea. That being said, if I had to choose two young girls to have with me on a road trip, I’d pick these two. And so far, they haven’t let me down.
Today, we made it up through north Georgia, cut across Tennessee, and are camped temporarily in Kentucky. We passed a lot of the typical sights one does in this part of the United States: there was a life-sized statue of a red elephant and an optometrist’s office with a clever name (Eye Site) in Gainesville; Confederate flags were proudly displayed at a trailer park in Dalton; and a blanket of kudzu devoured everything along the way. At one gas station, the persistent crow of a rooster issued from a parked pickup, but I was too chicken to go investigate. I learned a few things and remembered others. Gainsville, ELW tells me, is the poultry capital of the world. Dalton, I know from last May’s trip to Fort Mountain State Park, is the carpet capital of the world. And, I’m also told, one hour south of Nashville is the nation’s southernmost White Castle location.
Not a bad first day. Next up: caves and coatimundis.