The next morning . . .It looked closer on the map. . . Lol, James and I have decided to avoid all chains while here, especially those that we can get in Canada. There is one exception to this rule. . Starbucks! When you are in these small towns sometimes this is the only coffee you can get that doesn’t come with “milk” in the form of hydrogenated vegetable oil. . . So anyways we made an exception. When we googled the closest Starbucks it LOOKED really close. . . 20 minutes later down the Hwy at 60 mph we found it, inside a Target. I can’t wait till Target comes to Canada! We got some great shirts for James for $7.99. They seem to be really hip for discount, the design is decent! Our 55 minute detour was worth it. . . Mmm coffee and cheap fashion.
Navarre on the Gulf Coast is unbelievable with white sand beaches where the sand feels and looks like sugar and the views go on for miles. Just across from Navarre over a mile long bridge is a 35 mile long narrow island with houses on stilts and vacation places to escape the flooding and a few interesting houses, like the martian one I took a photo of. The island has the gulf on one side and a bay on the other. Pelicans and shorebirds were roosting and it was just GORGEOUS! We did have one big reminder of reality. The information posted about the BP Oil Spill. When you see these beaches and wildlife you know why everyone is still selling t-shirts “BP Sucks.” We did see clean up efforts going on in the form of re-planting of natural shore grasses and a big volunteer squad taking it on. Again, so nice to see people coming together.
Interestingly enough when I was tweeting about what we were seeing a local from Pensacola, Fla got online seeing my #navarre and I immediately got the local advice for where to go for breakfast! Twitter is so cool! Jerry’s Drive In was suggested and we headed across the island over the toll bridge to find this 60 year old icon hole in the wall. Denied! Closed on Sunday. . That’s a problem with the Deep South and Sunday, Church! Just down the way we came across a big silver building: The Scenic 90 Diner. The menu claimed to have “excellent food and snappy service” and it was packed! (and the service was "snappy") Usually a good sign! I decided to try what I have been seeing for days on breakfast menus: grits! The waiter suggested the cheese variety and I had some with my eggs and biscuit (another staple on Southern menus). They are not bad!! Kind of an oatmeal made with corn. The cheese variety reminded me of mac and cheese (from a box). Next time I will order plain ones and try with butter! James had a mega omelette he couldn’t finish. . . If that is 3 eggs. . Where are they getting these chickens?
After this we headed out of town, fighting with the GPS the whole time to take the back roads. . .it really wants to keep us on the Interstate and probably because using the Interstate keeps us from seeing some of the the worst poverty in America. I am amazed by the huge differences between rich and poor on this trip. From our reading over 17% of the state lives below the poverty line and on those back roads it is obvious. Sobering part of our travels and not what the tourist board wants to get out. The people of Alabama, despite this, are sweet, polite and friendly. They want to show us their best.
Our next stop was Montgomery, Alabama. As we pass through places the Blackberry comes in handy to use the wikipedia to find out about where we are and learn a little of the history. Saves time stopping at visitor centers! Martin’s in Montgomery is known for its fried chicken and has been since 1939, the décor looks like it has not changed with happy green gingham table clothes (covered in plastic). The family business has passed onto the daughter who has been taking care of it since 1992. The first impression was the amazing accent the hostess had, I swear I am going to come back saying “y’all” just like these folks with their drawls. Everyone was in their Sunday best, hats and all after church! We were luckily to get in as they close at 2:45pm on Sunday. The restaurant works like this, for $9.75 you get sweet or iced tea, rolls or cornbread, 3 choices of “veggies” and fried chicken. I chose broccoli and cheese, string beans, and turnip greens with fried chicken. (fried green tomatoes were not on the menu of the day. . I will have to look for those somewhere else) You can see from the picture it is an enormous plate. James got the same but had candied apples in place of broccoli. Everything was delicious, greasy, and the turnip greens were our favourite. I can’t remember the last time I had fried chicken, probably over 5 years ago, Martin’s does it best, crispy on the outside, super juicy on the inside and many napkins necessary. It will most likely be 5 more years before more fried chicken, that was the best.
We got right back on the road right away and stayed to the interstate to make it to Atlanta before dark. My friend Nancy from Atlanta gave us a bunch of places to visit, some definite holes in the wall that we have to hit, I think there is even a BBQ house right near the prison that is a must according the “Road Food”. . LOL. Danger #pork tour! When we got to Atlanta, I simply had to have a salad, I couldn’t do pork or fried food. . .I am not giving up. . . Just taking a mini break and eating some veggies. I swear! As you can see that salad was "american size" though!!
We’re looking forward to finding some more good ole Southern hospitality and Southern food here in Atlanta. We will have hit every single of the first confederated states before we are done and the history and people have been wonderful. We can’t wait for more!