XCD09 – Week One Recap

I’m in the gym at the Chicago Hilton spinning away on a cybex stationary bike (no upright bikes = frustration) for today’s long workout. The snow is falling outside and makes for a pleasant view.

I thought I’d share a few thoughts from week one of the cross country drive. I’ve traveled over 1750 miles since leaving DC last Friday, visiting eight states along the way. I’ve had some great food and met some nice folks. Russell, the investment guru I met at the gas station north of Chattanooga after he noticed my bumper sticker, was a pleasant reminder that there are many Americans who are very thankful for the strong leadership President Bush provided. Ah, the red states.

I was sorry to leave Hilton Head on Thursday. It’s a beautiful place and the sunny weather had finally returned. Despite the chillier temps and a flu virus that zoomed through the house, it was great to catch up with the family and see how all the cousins, nieces and nephews have grown. A definitely drawback of the campaign trail and White House service was having less time to spend with family.

The most amusing restaurant visited in the last week was certainly Arnold’s Country Kitchen in Nashville on South 8th. I found it yesterday by doing a search on Yelp on the iPhone. Reviewers couldn’t say enough positive things about this award-winning “meat and three” eatery (you choose one meat and three veggies/sides and the staff at the school cafeteria looking counter dish it up). When I arrived at about ten before noon, the parking lot was packed and there was already a line out the door of the humble establishment. The wait, which lasted about 25 minutes, was well worth it. I had the roast beef with green beans, mac ‘n cheese and mashed potatoes with gravy. Needless to say, it was not a light lunch as they certainly aren’t shy about employing real butter in their dishes.

Later, I made a stop through Clermont, Kentucky, to visit the Jim Beam distillery. A just in time suggestion (via a comment on this blog) to check out the Bourbon Trail from good friend and Grassley guru Kurt Kovarik spurred the visit. Unfortunately, Maker’s Mark (my bourbon of choice) was a bit far away and was closing tours for the day when I called to check in. So, I ducked in to Jim Beam’s operation, visited the gift shop and learned a few things from the experts (like the fact that all bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon – which must have at least 51% corn mash, age in a one-time use barrel and may not include artificial ingredients). I purchased a few bottles – Jim Beam white, Jim Beam black and Knob Creek. They also make the higher end Baker’s and Booker’s, which are both aged longer.

Last night, I rolled into Chicago for the weekend. I went down to Gino’s East on Superior for some excellent deep dish pizza. The meaty (sans bacon) is my personal favorite at the historic spot.

Tonight, I’m looking forward to catching up with good friends and pledge brothers Derek Frame and Kjell Frederickson. Tomorrow, I’ll head back to Iowa for about six days in Ames. Along the way, I plan to catch up with a bunch of old friends.

Journey on.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, February 21st, 2009 at 8:48 AM and is filed under Cross Country Drive 2009, Triathlons. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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