Road Trip Completed

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My last post covered the first half of our long road trip south. We left off on Friday February 6th, while David was still on call. After our shopping trip, Lois and I spent the rest of the day at David’s (where that post was written). We left at 8:30pm and headed to TCBY for dinner (yes, once it hit 60 degrees, after the incredible cold earlier in the week, it was time for frozen yogurt for dinner!).

We weren’t the only ones with that thought, but I’m guessing that at that hour, for most people, it was dessert, not dinner. This was also the first TCBY I’d ever seen with a drive through window. The line of cars was long, but we went in to get ours.

We then headed to Bed Bath and Beyond for some late night shopping right before they closed. We got exactly what we were looking for, thankfully.

The next morning we headed back to David’s. He got there at around noon. Typically, he naps right away, but during this call, he was able to sneak in a whopping four hours of sleep, and he had a bit more energy than usual. We headed for lunch at Jason’s Deli (very good) followed by some shopping and coffee.

Included in the shopping was an impromptu stop at a stuffed animal store. Lois has been searching for a stuffed moose for a long time, and this store had two good choices. Lois got to turn the crank on the stuffing machine, while the owner of the store held the moose in place. So, not only did Lois get to find a stuffed moose, she got to stuff it herself!

David Hadar Stuffed Animals

David Hadar Stuffed Animals

We hung around the apartment in the afternoon, and David finally took an all-too-brief nap. When we headed out again, we bought some DVD’s at Best Buy, and then headed for dinner at the same mall we had lunch in. David picked a Mexican restaurant called Cocina Superior. From the look of it (and the location), I just assumed it was a chain. But, looking at the link now, I see that this is the only location.

When we got there, it was jammed near the front desk. There were quite a number of tables open inside (the place is huge), but for whatever reason, we were told it would be a 30 minute wait. We decided to wait outside (it was on the cool side, but still nice). It took nearly 50 minutes for them to seat us. We had a great meal, so no one minded the wait after the fact.

I know there’s unreal hardship all over, but whenever I see mob scenes like this, at reasonably high-end places, I can’t help but remark to Lois: What Recession?

When we got back to David’s, we were all too pooped for a movie. Instead, David put on the first two episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm (he had the first six episodes on a Netflix DVD). I had never seen an episode before, but lots of people told me that I would like it, especially since I loved Seinfeld.

They were correct. Larry David is essentially a successful George. He gets himself into the same situations that George would, but he’s rich and famous (and has rich and famous friends). I laughed a bunch. Definitely not Lois’ cup of tea… Since we were all pretty tired, we headed back to the hotel.

We picked David up mid-morning on Sunday, and headed for brunch at V. Richards. If you click on “About Us” you’ll see a picture of the outdoor patio where we ate. David and I both had the breakfast casserole. It was awesome.

We then headed to Vulcan Park (home of the famous Vulcan Statue). We didn’t get to see it (other than from a distance) during our last trip to Birmingham, due to bad weather. This time, it was in the upper 60’s, and we were heading there in T-Shirts!

Vulcan Structure

Vulcan Structure

On the road up the hill toward the park, I jokingly asked David whether the Vulcan was named after Spock. He chuckled and told me that ironically, Leonard Nemoy was in town two days earlier (on Friday). He had recently completed a study of obese nudes, and exhibited them in Birmingham.

Lois was in her own world in the back seat, taking dozens of pictures, not really listening to our conversation. Obviously, something caught her attention, and just as we were coming into Vulcan Park itself, she says “Who’s Obie Snoods?”

David and I just looked at each other and smiled, both assuming that Lois was just being funny. A few seconds later, she asked again “Who’s Obie Snoods?”. I then explained the conversation we just had, and when she realized it was obese nudes, she just lost it. Of course, once we saw Lois laughing uncontrollably, we lost it too.

That became a theme for the rest of the trip. At various points along the way, either I or Lois would turn to the 0ther and ask “Who’s Obie Snoods?” 🙂

The statue isn’t correctly proportioned. Both the head and the butt stick out, as you can see in this photo below:

Vulcan Proportions

Vulcan Proportions

Two more photos, one from the front and the other, a shot of the statue, behind a replica of the statue:

Vulcan Statue

Vulcan Statue

Vulcan and Replica

Vulcan and Replica

We walked around the statue and looked over the city. We then took an hour-long walk on a trail around the park. It was good to get a little exercise in, given all of the feasting we’d done the week before.

David Lois Hadar Vulcan Park

David Lois Hadar Vulcan Park

When we got back, we watched one of the DVD’s we bought the night before, Get Smart. It was one of my favorite shows growing up. While I had a real interest in seeing it, I was actually quite afraid that it would pale in comparison to the original show. I was pleasantly surprised that they did a nice job all around.

David wasn’t hungry for lunch, so Lois and I made another TCBY run, bringing it back to the apartment. Yummy.

After that, I decided to play my very first game of PlayStation 3 Football. I begged David to be gentle with me. He gave me a quick lesson on using the controller, and then suggested that I pick a very strong team (I chose the Georgia Bulldogs). He picked Duke. While a sentimental favorite for him, clearly, not a college football powerhouse.

I was surprised that I was able to hold my own during most of the game. That said, David helped me out a few times. Specifically, when my play clock was running out, he called a defensive timeout (three times, wasting all of his timeouts), saving me from a penalty. Thanks David! 🙂

In the fourth quarter, David took the lead. I then scored and took it back. We decided to head out for dinner and finish the game later. We went to Surin West, a Thai restaurant that also serves a complete Sushi selection. We all enjoyed our meals tremendously. Mine was a recommendation from the waiter, who convinced me to switch from the duck dish I ordered, to the one he said all of the waiters preferred. He also recommended the potstickers appetizer, which was heavenly.

We headed back to the apartment to finish the game. David scored to take the lead again. Since I couldn’t master any kind of kicking, I missed every extra point and field goal attempt. So, I needed to score a touchdown to win. I had 1:37 left on the clock. I was able to engineer a long drive, including finally calling timeouts myself, and I scored with 10 seconds left to take a one point lead!

So, I’m one for one and may retire with a perfect record in PlayStation 3 College Football! Of course, if David hadn’t wasted three timeouts on my behalf, or he hadn’t chosen a weak opponent to my powerhouse one, I would have been toast. Consider it beginner’s luck. Either way, I had a great time playing the game.

We watched a bit of the Grammy’s and said our final goodbyes. We had an early, and long day ahead of us.

We spent Monday in the car. Roughly 12 hours of driving, 13 hours including the time zone change. We rolled into the hotel in FL after 8pm on Monday night, completely wiped out. We spent Tuesday and Wednesday with my parents.

We had two excellent buffet lunches out. The first day was Chinese, and we brought along a good friend of my mom’s.

Chinese Buffet Lunch

Chinese Buffet Lunch

I also went with them (and 24 other residents of their building) to see the movie The Reader. I enjoyed the movie, even though it’s too long, and reasonably slow at times. Kate Winslet is an exceptional actress. It’s a very interesting character study, more so than a great story.

Lois worked (surprise, surprise) so she missed the movie. But, at night, she insisted that I tell her about it, in great detail. I did, finishing up the second half of the movie in the car the next day on our way north. I was amazed at the insights that she had, many of them pointing out flaws in the movie. I was unable to say “No, if you had seen it, you would have felt differently”, because she was right.

Either way, it was a very interesting experience, to see a movie, describe it in detail, and then discuss it as if we’d both seen it, and learn a number of things from the person who didn’t see it…

We spent most of Thursday in the car heading for Florence, SC. On Friday, we continued our trek home, with a detour off of I95 to Durham, NC, to meet up with our friend Wes (who joined us last time we visited David in Birmingham, but was unable to make it this time). We had a fantastic lunch at PF Chang’s with him.

Wes Hadar

Wes Hadar

From there, we headed for Richmond, where we spent the night at our friends house. It was the first night in three weeks not spent in a hotel bed. On Saturday morning, we had a great breakfast out with them (at Perly’s on Grace Street). We headed home directly from the restaurant (with a brief stop at the office in Fredericksburg along the way).

One amazing fact from this three week journey was the total lack of significant traffic the entire time. We drove from NY to Leesburg, to Fredericksburg, to Richmond, to Nashville, to Atlanta, to Birmingham, to South Florida, to Florence, to Durham, to Richmond, to Fredericksburg, to NY, with no long tie-up.

In fact, the only real traffic was 30 minutes from home, when we were delayed a total of nine minutes due to very heavy volume. Other than that, there were a few constructions areas, including lane closures, that forced us to slow down to 50MPH, which is nothing to complain about.

We’re back for two weeks, and then the driving begins anew…