Sunday, March 05, 2006

Road trip, again: the deep South

A couple of weeks ago, around the time we signed the contract on the condo, I dragged Justin to Ikea to buy a bunch of much-needed bookcases and some other furnishings. Now the second bedroom has enough floor space that we can use it, and there is space for guests to sleep, if anyone should so wish. The whole day was one of the most traumatic experiences of our marriage, not least because Justin cannot spend five minutes in any store that isn't a bookstore without breaking into hives, but it's all good now.

So Justin decided that since I got to buy a condo and furniture to put in it, he got to go on a road trip. I was too tired after the Ikea experience to debate further whether this was really the most appropriate time. That was probably just as well, because it was a good trip, although interesting in quite a different way from our Southwest trip last summer.

Here is where we spent nights, so you can kind of plot where we went from there:

Day 1: Knoxville, TN
Day 2: Savannah, TN (near Shiloh)
Day 3: Vicksburg, MS
Day 4: Meridian, MS (after a few hours' detour into Louisiana)
Day 5: Columbus, GA
Days 6 & 7: Savannah, GA
Days 8 & 9: Charleston, SC
Day 10: Chapel Hill, NC

I will link to pictures eventually.

Our sightseeing revolved mostly around historical landmarks rather than scenery as in the Southwest: Civil War sites like Shiloh and Andersonville; civil rights sites like Selma and the civil rights memorial in Montgomery; the Natchez Trace, an old road from the Mississippi to the Ohio Valley, in Mississippi and Tennessee. Justin and I have been on a Civil War kick lately, and I learned things about the Civil Rights movement I really ought to have known anyway when I was teaching American religious history a couple of years ago. This is the South with a capital S. You thought I lived in the South, and if being Southern means being within a two-hour drive of a zillion Civil War battlefields, then okay, I live in the South, but this is the real South, and I hadn't been there yet.

1. The people are really nice. People are nice everywhere, basically, except for a few places they're mostly obnoxious, but they are truly nice in the South.
2. The food is wonderful. It is not vegetarian, and it will probably kill you, but it is soooooo good. And what's so great is that the cheaper it is and the more frightening the facilities in which it is prepared, the better it is. My childhood had a severe lack of pulled pork barbecue which I was unable to remedy until I arrived at this latitude. In retrospect, it's probably a good idea we did this trip before Lent.
3. The Mississippi Delta is very flat and even in late winter is filled with lurid colors that exist nowhere else in nature.
4. Go to Charleston. Just do. If money were no object and we could live in any house in any city in the country, I think I'd want to live in Charleston. At least I think so right now.

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