I've been planning a trip to the South for months now, but since my two reasons for travel (Kelsie and Kendall) have probably the most bizarre and unpredictable living schedules of anyone I know (K1 in the military with a frequently changing training itinerary and K2 making the southern sales tour), I had been putting it off for months too. But finally, Kendall's got a deployment date and Kelsie's staying put for a minute (and somehow the two live just 5ish hours from one another) so after a whirlwind Kayak/Expedia/Orbitz/no-name-cheap-flight-finder stress-fest, I booked into Atlanta, GA and out of Mobile, AL, figuring I'd rent a car to get from the first city to the next.
My first three days with Kendall were just how they were supposed to be: easy. Kendall used to live 483 steps up the hill from me (back in the 8th grade when friendship was measured in step proximity) but since about high school, we've never lived in the same place (except for about 6 months in high school when she actually lived with me. How's that for proximity!) so we're accustomed to the whirlwind catch-up weekends (as are we used to making or responding to each others' occasional crisis phone calls).
Kendall is recently engaged (well, long-time engaged, but recently date-set), so naturally, the weekend was appropriately consumed with one of my favorite activities: wedding brainstorming (much more fun than wedding planning, I presume, because wedding planning requires one to make decisions)! In what has to be a world record, Kendall found the perfect silk dupioni wedding dress at Bloomingdales, on sale, and then on clearance (Yeah, I didn't think that was possible either) for less than $15. I wish this luck for myself and anyone besides those suckers who think that spending several grand on a dress you wear once is normal. Atlanta is bigger than I pictured, and didn't quite fit the quaint southern picture I had made in my mind.
But Warner-Robins, Kendall's now hometown does. Her home is beautiful brick with a huge back yard and a (take a sigh with me) screened in back porch. How Southern is that! All she's missing is rockers on the front porch so she could sit and watch the world go by. Warner Robins, and it's slightly larger neighbor Macon, are both that kind of quaint that is more ghetto than charming, which somehow in an unfair equation makes it more charming. None of this manufactured small-town charm you see in tourist towns. This is a small town and that means the roads only sort of make sense, everyone shops at the same grocery store, and the mayor (and everyone important for that matter) has Sunday brunch at the same place.
Peach orchards and cotton fields scattered around the city certainly add to the charm. I am, of course, a co-packing nerd and had to grill the man managing the peach sorting line how they run their number twos and make sure the food bank had a slot in the line. They do, don't worry.
Okay, an event bus ride and stories of Mobile will have to come in a bit.