I hit i-75 southbound at 8 am. The radio gave me a heads up I was in the Bluegrass when I heard in succession while flipping through the radio A) John Michael Montgomery and B) the beef futures.
Everything was smooth sailing until a massive tanker decided to have a run-in with a UPS tractor trailer. I called a media connection in Lexington and was told the interstate was closing for at least 10 hours (actually 18). Fortunately for me I saw a traffic sign on I-75 and managed to take a detour.
A two-hour, 16-mile detour that traveled through the sweet town of Berea Kentucky.
So far, this trip was anything but smooth.
After a quick bathroom and drink break, I continued smoothly through Knoxville (thought about y'all - Southern Son and D-Money) and the Nooga and I was pretty much whistlin' Dixie when I crossed the Georgia state line.
The convoy of cars convened on 285 East towards Greenville and I hit a pretty nice traffic jam through Buckhead all the way to Peachtree Industrial.
But patience persevered and I grooved along to one of Atlanta's many hip-hop stations before arriving at Bridge and Scuba's house, who practically greeted at the door with a beer.
I was so surprised to see my sister and her baby bump. This is the same little girl with whom I played Barbie dolls when we were growing up. The same sister who would stay up late with me and fantasize about who she'd marry. What kind of family she'd raise.
And now that family is well on its way.
Bridge and Scuba prepared a wonderful meal - a delicious shrimp salad roll with the most tender, baby shrimp, corn on the cob, an incredible pitcher of homemade mojitos and s'mores for dessert.
Are we hungry yet?
We stayed up late, giggling about past relationships, our wacky family, and hopes and dreams for the future. Bridge and I both fought back that phenomenon of heavy eyelids and decided it was time to rest and get ready to conquer another day.
Bridge battled pregnancy's queasy morning greeting to whip up Paula Deen's great blueberry crumble coffee cake. After some visiting we washed our hair and slapped on the pancake (well, Scuba doesn't wear make up because he's a dude) for an outing to the Big City.
Atlantic Station was our first destination. It's an interesting, mixed-use concept of parking garages, shopping and living space, quite like what developers want to do with Cincinnati's Banks project. We meandered through a street fair there (I scored the most amazing mother-of-pearl and red coral necklace for 20 bucks) before heading to Rosa Mexicano for a bite.
Rosa Mexicano isn't your average, hole-in-the-wall Mexican joint. It's super trendy with a cascading waterfall wall featuring tiny sculptures of angels diving vertically to an imaginary pool below. Each chair is made of sturdy crimson seat belts and the tables are draped in stark white tablecloths.
Rosa Mexicano serves up an uber-sophisticated version of food from South of the Border and is said to have Atlanta's best guacamole. As freshness goes, I'd agree, but my dining party agreed we could make something just as wholesome with more depth of flavor at home. The dip is prepared table side on a rolling cart and served in a lava rock mortar. At 12 bucks a pop, it's pricey, but it's a bit ceremonial and worth the experience.
We moved on to stop #2 - Ikea, and I instantly discovered why folks in Cincinnati are anxious for our own outpost to open.
Ikea virgins, I don't know if I can express my delight and awe for this incredible store. This home furnishing mecca showcases how to make the space in your home work for you. You can buy a 16 piece cutlery set for three dollars (yes, three dollars) or wooden side table for 13 bucks. The products aren't necessarily shoddy, it just depends on how minimalist you want your furnishings etc.
I made it out with a dish scrubber, travel coffee mug and tube of delicious lemon cookies for about four bucks.
Ahead... Saturday night.