Sunday, June 19, 2016

Getting Home: June 18-19, Kansas City, KS to Orlando, FL (1,266 miles)

I can't believe how quickly the week went by.  As long and hot as the days were, they still passed too fast.  We planned to hit the road home early with Chattanooga, TN as our goal for the day.  The day started off with the hotel elevator being out of order, so we had to use the stairs.  Not a big deal, but not my first choice either.

We picked up Contest Winner Bruce at his hotel since his car had been loaded onto the Pilot transport truck and was on its way home.  His other option had something come up and he had the choice of riding in the back of the Acadian or Scott's Nova without A/C.  He opted for A/C.  

Our two car Power Tour caravan departed Kansas City, but was shortly joined by the rest of our Orlando group at our first gas stop.  We drove as a group for the first half of the day until we decided to hit lunch. 

Crossing the Mighty Mississippi

Tara, Bruce, my parents and I wanted a respite from driving and the rest of the group was anxious to keep moving and decided for a quick lunch.  For us, Tara found an amazing bakery and restaurant in Marion, Illinois called Honeybakers.  It was in a dying strip mall next to a place that sold janitorial equipment and flags.  Go figure.

Regardless of location, the food was simple, but amazing.  The sandwiches were served on their fresh baked bread and Bruce's BLT had at least 2 inches of bacon stacked on it.  The real kicker was dessert.  The hostess explained that they are known for their Saturday Cinnamon rolls and usually are sold out by the time we had arrived.  Fortunately for us, that was not the case today.  The thing was nearly as big as my head.  It was far and away the best cinnamon roll I have ever eaten.  We also got an apple dumpling that was nearly as good.  Somehow, Tara had never had an apple dumpling before and she became very territorial over this one. We'll be stopping there again on the way back out Kansas City for next year's Power Tour.
Best ever!!!
The afternoon passed smoothly and we were making decent time. Just as the drive began to really feel tedious, we hit the mountains of Tennessee.  There's nothing like driving up and down sweeping mountain highways to wake you up.  Plus, the oppressive heat was a thing of the past.  In fact, the rest of our drive home was in cooler weather. 

Tennessee mountain lake

We finally checked into our hotel in Chattanooga, or so we thought.  When Tara and I got to our room and opened the door, we scared the heck out of the family that was already staying in that room.  It turns out that their room had a problem and they were relocated, but the front desk did not note it in the computer.  I felt badly for the girl at the front desk because the other people were not understanding of her mistake.   We threw the bags down and went to grab a bite to eat.  We noticed three other Corvettes (all of them Z06s) with Texas plates in the parking lot and none of them had Power Tour decals.  They had decided to escape the heat and were driving the Blue Ridge Parkway for the week. 
The one on the left was seriously modified and sounded evil

Dinner was quick and light as none of us were super hungry after our lunch and dessert earlier that day.  We had a table outside on the patio and it was nice to enjoy a cool breeze for once. 

On Sunday morning, we woke up bright and early and hit the road. 

Another Corvette made the drive interesting.

We cruised through Atlanta and thought we would be clear of Georgia traffic.  I guess that was optimistic.  We got caught in a 3 mile traffic jam outside Tifton. Once through it, we stopped at the Smokin' Pig in Valdosta for barbecue. 

From there, it was smooth sailing home.  We got to town around 5:00.  My parents loaded up their car and left for their additional 2 and a half hour drive home and Tara left to take Bruce and the Acadian home.  I did a speed wash of the Corvette to get the bugs off and then put it away for the night.

In total, over 10 days, we drove more than 3,500 miles and passed through 12 states (some twice).  It was a great trip.  We saw old friends and made some new ones.  We can't wait for next year.  Rumor has it, we are heading north and east from Kansas City.

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