From Savannah into Tennessee
We woke up to Thursday May 3rd, and checked out of the hotel. We could keep our car parked in the hotel parking garage until three, so we thought we’d walk around and see a little more of the town before getting back on the road.
First we went to the First African Baptist Church, the oldest black church in North America and once used as a refuge for slaves on the Underground Railroad. But the church was closed, so we continued to the museum where the Savannah Bird Girl statue (made famous by Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil) is now located. The statue is one of many exhibits at a local art museum, and the admission was rather expensive - so we figured we’d skip that one as well.
We had to settle for replicas of the Savannah Bird Girl
Then we walked down to the East Bay Inn to say goodbye to Julie. We brought her the last of our Aass beers (we’ve been giving them out to kind and helpful people along the road) and one of Brads smaller siblings. And if you’re ever visiting Savannah, make sure you book your stay at the East Bay Inn!
We picked up the car and made a short stop by the Mercer House to take some more pictures. Then we got on the road, and started driving north towards Nashville.
Entering the small town of Juliette, Georgia
Our adventurous stop for the day was in the tiny, tiny town of Juliette, a bit south of Atlanta. This was used as a location in the movie Fried Green Tomatoes (at the Whistle Stop Café), based on Fannie Flagg’s book by the same name. And the café used in the movie is located in.. Juliette (Actually, Fannie had Irondale, Alabama in mind when she wrote the story - and the Irondale Café is also serving tourists.)
As we got out of the car in Juliette the train signal started blinking, and soon a long train passed the tiny row of houses that is Juliette. Those of you who have seen the movie (or read the book) knows why the train passing through added a small bonus to the visit. We walked down the short lane to the Whistle Stop Café, taking pictures of Idgie’s mailbox, cute old houses and funny signs.
A train passed Juliette as we arrived
At the café we had to try the fried green tomatoes. We’d just eaten our “daily” subway breakfast, and wasn’t all that hungry - but we couldn’t leave the Whistle Stop Café without trying them! We sat down in a booth (tried to find the one where the sheriff had his delicious BBQ dinner in the movie) and ordered a plate. The tomatoes hardly tasted anything, but they were darn hot! We ate a couple of them each, and left the last one to Brad - but he just started playing with it, so we had to leave.
Fried Green Tomatoes (at the Whistle Stop Cafe)
On our way back to the car, we stopped at one of the souvenier shops, and Selma bought a T-shirt. The guy behind the counter had us sign an atlas, and told us we were the second Scandinavian guests in two months (Selma’s two roadtrippin’ friends might stop by as well in a few days, making sure Juliette is getting the feel of a Norwegian invasion!). Then he told us to go look for the gravesite of Buddy’s arm, the Smokey Lonesone shack and Jack Bennett’s grave - and also told us to go up to the church a mile and a half further down the road. So we did, and got some pictures of the church used in the film, as well as the two fake graves of Buddy Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison.
All in all, the town of Juliette has done a great job of creating a nice experience for movie buffs stopping by to check out the movie locations - and with an average of 500 visitors each week, it’s given the town a real boost (up from two to twelve businesses since the movie was released).
Fried green tomatoes served hot
Then we continued north, past Atlanta and up towards Tennessee. We went through some showers, and the weather in general didn’t encourage us to make any stops. We had made loose plans to drive as far as Chattanooga, just north of the Tennessee border, but as we got there we decided to continue a little further. We got to a place called Kimball, in the middle of nowhere, with a few hotels, motels and fast food joints scattered along the road - and figured we’d stay there for the night.
The sun set as we were driving into Tennessee
As usual, we were eager to find a motel with internet access. Our first stop was at a Holiday Inn Express that only had online access in the lobby, so we continued to an American Best Value Inn (a chain we hadn’t tried before). Their rates were really low, so we doubted the quality of the room. And Selma asked the guy at the check in desk if the wi-fi connection was useful at all (as we’d experienced so many motels where we’d barely been able to pick up the signal). But this nice man gave us a room key and offered us to bring the computer in and see if it was sufficient. What a great service! This also gave us an opportunity to see if the room itself was okay. We made a quick check, and confirmed that both the wi-fi and room standard were sufficient (neither was great, but both were good enough for the night), and then went back to check in.
After settling in our room, we went out to get some dinner. We were in the middle of nowhere, and there wasn’t too much to choose from, so we went to Domino’s and ordered a pizza. While we waited for it, Louis made a bargain at the video store next door, picking up four DVDs. Then we went back to eat in our room, and started uploading blog posts and pictures.
Going back to the hotel after a midnight shopping spree
We’d seen a 24h Walmart on our way to Domino’s, and a little past midnight we figured we should explore the opportunity to get some shopping done at night. This Walmart must be catering to the entire district, ’cause it was enormous (considering the small town we were in). We sauntered through the aisles, and picked up some knick-knacks and food for the next day. As we walked back, a little past one in the morning, it was still warm outside. Ooooah, for the suuuummer niights….