After a relatively brief four hour drive, the Oranges of Wrath Tour came to an end when we pulled into our hotel earlier this afternoon. It was, ironically, the longest day of driving thanks to hordes of cars adorned in the orange 'T' of the Tennessee Vols making their way to Tampa. Turns out the hotel I picked is within spitting distance of Raymond James Stadium where the Outback Bowel (not a typo) is being played and our hotel seems to be housing an inordinate amount of orange-clad Vols fans. I had no idea how literal the Oranges of Wrath Tour would become...
The highlight of today's trek was breakfast. Breakfast at the Waffle House. I've been fortunate to eat in some amazing places all over this world. I've had some really memorable meals. This was one of them, but not because of the meal. It was not a bad meal at all. It was a simple waffle and I loved it. As the three of us saddled up to the counter, I looked around and saw the most democratic, even catholic (broad or wide-ranging) institution I've ever seen. It was a cross-section of what our country is: multi-colored, multi-generational, all kinds of bank balances, all enjoying a simple staple of Americana, the waffle.
Now it's the last day of the year and I can say we are beat! Since we started this trip, the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML and I have racked up 3,365 miles driving through ten states. By the time we return to Connecticutistan in a few days, our total state tally will be 13.
What a trip! It's been an honor to spend so much time with CAL. She's ready for this next step in her life. We'll get her settled over the next two days and then it's back to reality.
But my reality now is a bed. I'm tired. One of my most favorite cities in the world, Sydney, Australia welcomed 2016 hours ago, so as far as I'm concerned, I don't need to stay up watching horrible lip syncing and even worse scripted celebrity yapping from Times Square.
Thanks for sticking around for the Oranges of Wrath Tour. Happy New Year!