Road Trip!

I’ve mentioned a few times over the past couple weeks that I’ll be leaving my family behind soon, and I’ve mostly been focusing on the negative aspects of that (Exhibit A, Exhibit B). I’ve decided that it’s time to start moving forward and thinking about something a bit more positive…


Towards the end of the month, I will be driving from Oceanside, California to Dahlgren, Virginia. That’s a big ol’ stretch of road, and I’m going to need some help to get through it. There are two things that I need advice about: oddities and food.

My general plan is to stay south for most of the trip to avoid the worst of the winter weather. Therefore, most of the trip will be spent on I-40. When I was 19, I would have tried to make this trip in 2 days, but now that I’m firmly in my 30s, I think a more leisurely pace is in order. I’m shooting for about 8-10 hours of driving each day. I plan on spending the first night with my dad in Bullhead City, AZ and the subsequent nights in Albuquerque, Oklahoma City, Nashville, and finally Dahlgren. This is just the tentative plan, and I have a few days built in on the back end in case I get delayed by weather or something.

With that extra time available and relatively slow pace, I’m wondering what there is to see and eat along the way. The first request is for oddities that are worth getting off the dreaded interstate for. Growing up in the Midwest, I love attractions like the largest ball of twine or mazes in the middle of nowhere (I got lost in that thing for hours when I was a kid).

Is the world’s largest chicken egg on display somewhere in Arkansas? I want to see it. Does New Mexico have the world’s only archery hall of fame? I’m so there. Let me know where the quaint stops are along my route. If it’s something that would ever show up on the Travel Channel, I’m probably not interested. If it’s something that would probably show up on the Travel Channel’s underfunded public-access bastard cousin, that’s where I want to be.

The second (and by far, most important) recommendations I’m looking for involve food. If I don’t gain at least 8 pounds during this trip, I’m going to consider it a complete failure. I could go with the Guy Fieri route, but Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives has been around long enough that it has to be getting watered down by now. I want to hear from the locals.

Is there a restaurant in Amarillo that roasts an entire pig at your table while showing you pictures of its immediate family? Reserve me a seat. Does Flagstaff have the world’s greatest chicken wings? Is there a place along the route where I can get a plate of Irish nachos bigger than my car? My only real goal is to stop in Memphis for some BBQ. Keep in mind that I firmly believe the only BBQ worth eating comes from Kansas City. If you think there’s a place in Tennessee that will change my mind, bring it on.

So, here’s the deal, internet. Let’s make this road trip worth the fact that I’m saying goodbye to my family for awhile. I want to see interesting tidbits, and I want to get obscenely fat. Don’t let me down now.

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