A couple of weeks ago I attended the International Motorcycle Show in Greenville, South Carolina with my husband and my parents. Each winter, Cycle World puts on a series of events in about a dozen major cities across the US and every year we pick a location to attend. We've been to places like the Georgia World Congress Center, and after hiking what seemed to be literally miles of mazes to just find the show, we promptly vowed to never return. There there are others like the Carolina First Center which was probably one of the best show locations I've seen yet.
Being February and still cold by southern standards anyway, we decided to all load up in one car and drive. We have a limited stable of larger cars in our family and rather than buy a tank to drive year-round, we rent one for the once-a-year time we need it. If the trip had any downfall, this was it. We reserved a car (or rather a "class" as they say in the rental car industry) for the trip and called that week to verify the reservation. "You'll have your pick of the lot" I was reassured by the friendly agent on the phone. He failed to complete the thought with the rest of his sentence, "... as long as your pick is the smallest Kia SUV we could find." So my reserved tank-class vehicle was presented as a minimal at best increase in space to my own small four-door car. Suffice it to say, we were highly frustrated. Frustration led however to a moment of creative thinking and we loaded up in the car we had, heading east. Since our planned route took us through Memphis and right by the airport... ah ha! Of course National at the airport had exactly what we were looking for, a clean big SUV ready for 10 hours of rolling down the highway. One swipe of the credit card and a bit of bag shuffling and we were finally on the way, properly outfitted for the trip.
I'd like to report we found some amazing stop on the way to Greenville, but with the delays leaving and stopping to rent an SUV, we just barreled through Tennessee, covering the length of the state at a steady pace. We did spot an interestingly named restaurant when we stopped for dinner, Petro's Chili and Chips, but at nearly 10pm and 3 more hours of travel to go, we decided it might not be a wise stop. Next time I'm in Knoxville, Tennessee though, I may just have to look up Petro's for a stop. I can't pass up a chance to try chicken tortilla soup, especially one described as "homemade."
Next stop, Greenville, South Carolina at a good hotel with a comfy bed. More on that later...