Monday, December 2, 2013

The day will start well

The trip from Indy to Vienna VA was both tedious and terrifying. The weather was awful and we drove thru snow or rain for most of the trip. We stopped overnite in Uniontown PA and had to scrape three inches of snow off Algie (the Audi) before we could start next day.

I discovered on day 1 that Cate refuses to eat at any American roadside diner on the basis (untested by her) that the food will be 'awful'. After much persuasion and cajoling - driven by joint extreme hunger - I managed to get her to stop at Cracker Barrel - where - much to my relief - she found the soup to be edible. Since then we have stopped only at Cracker Barrel - and of course Starbucks which is the only place you get get espresso coffee ( after a fashion) on the road in the USA.

Vienna was a resounding success. We ate much Turkey and Ham and totally destroyed Will's wine cellar. I had my first Oyster pie - which is much better than it sounds.

We went downtown to look around the U street area and I had a 'half smoked' at the world famous Ben's Chilli House. President Obama has eaten there - along with many of the world's most famous people. I felt very privileged. A half-smoked is a hot dog - made of Pork and Beef. I had mine with onions and mustard. Fabulous.

We learned that you never drive anywhere on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. We got caught in the mother of all traffic jams heading south and at one stage it took us two hours to travel 12 miles. We stopped at Havelock NC which is an unprepossessing little town. We ate at Crabby Pattys - where Cate had the worst meal of her life. This is hyperbole - although it was probably in the top 10. I played safe and had the Hotdogs with onion and chilli.

Today we drove from Havelock to Charleston and saw - as we did on our way to Havelock - some very poor parts of America. The houses were the size of shipping containers and we're held together with string and sealing wax. But most were decorated for Christmas - and some in a spectacular fashion.

We learned on the way that Jesus dies for us, is risen, saves, forgives us our sins, is the King, is the saviour, loves us and is the answer. There are more churches in NC than there are in Indianapolis.

So tonite we arrived in Charleston which looks just gorgeous. We have a hotel on the water and are surrounded by masses of bars and restaurants. We found nice restaurant that served edible food for Cate - and Austrian Gruner Veltliner - what could be better than that?

I would give you a picture but I forgot to bring the widget that can send photos from my camera to my iPad. I think I have a workaround for this so may be able to do something tomorrow.

Tomorrow we are exploring Charleston. There is an espresso bar next to the hotel. The day will start well.


  1. It has been said that the more churches there are in a local area, the lower the IQ for that area. At least in the South. We are the Bible Belt you know.
    Be sure to try crab cakes somewhere. Get a local to recommend a place, ask a policeman or shopkeeper.
    It will rain when you come to the Smokies. Oh well. Rain is why they look like they do. They are the oldest mountains IN THE WORLD you know. Look it up.

  2. Do you have a new enough model of iPad that has built-in cameras?

    We like Cracker Barrel. When we were there on Fri after TDay it was eXtremely crowded but I found a shirt to act as a light jacket or layer up with my jacket. I get hot way too easily. While at Cracker Barrel I read their Wikipedia article.

    I realized I now have oyster in some form every week usually more than once in my soup with the oyster sauce that I use. I just finished the first bottle last night. I don't name my vehicles but every once in awhile I will pat my F-350 on the dash and teLL it that I love it. I have given my embroidery machines names. The first is R. Stit Ching and the second one is named Unakilo Perminuto, because they can stitch a thousand stitches a minute at a maximum rate. If you watch them veRy long you realize they are reaLLy robots, so they needed names. On Black Friday we went shopping but mainly for raw materials for our factory. This time of year Tamie is busy making wreaths. She did about 20-25 last year. I think she did most of the labor, but her assistant is starting to do more things all the time and now we have a second person coming on board, so it is interestingly busy.

  3. Some of the best food this country has to offer is served in little "Mom & Pop" places. Stopping in them is half the fun of road trips!

  4. Uh, we don't call Cracker Barrel an American roadside diner. It is a chain restaurant. A very popular one. And I like them myself and I am hard to please. But you only eat certain things there. There is a hole-in-the-wall biscuit place along the highways in North Carolina that are supposed to be fun.

  5. Mary Anne Rudolph: I had crab cakes last nite. Delicious. We like rain and cold weather so are looking forward to the mountains.

    Esb: I would like to know what you use oyster sauce for. You have given your machines outstanding names. I did not dare go near any shops on Black Friday.

    SK Waller: I know what you mean but it is difficult to get Cate to embrace this concept.

    Fmcgmccllc: I know what you mean too. Yes if course you are right about roadside diners.

  6. I mainly use oyster sauce in two of my soups. I make gumbo about once a week, then I make something close to Vietnamese pho. I finely dice about half of a purple onion and simmer that with garlic, Tabasco Sauce, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, a little water, oyster sauce, oregano, black pepper, bay leaf, no salt. Hahaha, I have never seen anyone put a 'no' ingredient in a recipe before, ah, silliness at 3 AM. So that is my soup starter to which I might add a buffalo steak, or make gumbo. The brand of oyster sauce is Ka-Me, in a 210 ml bottle. I made sure to take a photo of the empty bottle before I threw it away.

    Now I wiLL probably have an Ina Garten dream ...

  7. Esb: I have no idea what gumbo is. I did not see it on a menu in NC or SC.