Day 3 – Coach, Zaxby’s & Bucksnort

Waffle House Coach

During our roadtrip from Connecticut to Florida, we discovered the joy and convenience of Waffle House.  After one pleasant breakfast experience, we proceeded to stop at Waffle Houses for the rest of our trip.  You just couldn’t beat the price and the amount of fresh, hot food that was served up.

The Waffle House experience in Knoxville was great.  We hope to visit the town again someday and try to catch up again with Coach.

The Waffle House experience in Knoxville was great. We hope to visit the town again someday and catch up with Coach.

The restaurants are usually small with seating arranged around a central grill area.  In our experience, the seats fill up quickly but the hostess almost always does a great job of turning tables around.  You can make numerous combinations of breakfast items.  The food comes up fast and has always been satisfactory.  However, this Waffle House was in a class of its own.

We arrived around 8:30am, expecting to hit the Saturday morning rush.  The tables were all taken but there were two remaining seats at the bar.  We grabbed them and were immediately greeted by a kind lady with a beautiful southern accent.  Being familiar with Waffle House, we were aware of the tremendous value one gets from the All Star Breakfast.  Regardless of the items you choose, you end up with a huge amount of food for only $7.49.  Here’s what we got this morning –

  • Waffle – regular
  • 2 eggs – scrambled
  • 2 slices of toast – whole wheat
  • Gritts – with butter
  • 2 sausage patties

We then ordered an additional order of 2 eggs and a side of bacon so that each of us could have eggs and meat.  We split the bready items.  Now get this – Caroline, our server, made sure we knew that if you order eggs as a side, they’re $2.49 for two.  However, if you add them to the All Star Breakfast, they’d only be $0.49 each.  Same trend for the bacon.  She didn’t have to do that!

That was only the start of our great experience.  We happened to sit next to an older gentleman that everybody kept calling Coach.  He told us this was the best Waffle House in Knoxville and that he’d been eating there since 1970.  We swapped stories over breakfast – He and his wife have traveled a lot and were familiar with the areas in both the Southwest and Northwest that Brian and I have visited.

Our impression of this fine gentleman was that he was kind and intelligent.  He had a down-home, almost Cowboy, gentle southern way about him.  Brian says, “kind of like the southern swim coach version of David Letterman.”

This was our impression of him…before he insisted on picking up our check.  As he took it and waved our protestations away, he said, “Ehhh, it’s just some Tennessee hospitality.”

At one point, Bill/Coach started intermittently teasing the grill crew which eventually resulted in the grill sergeant singing the chorus from Billy Preston’s “Nothing from Nothing.”

Not only were the people great, but the food was excellent too.  Saturday is our cheat day where slow-carb/paleo principles go out the window and we can eat whatever we want. It’s off to a great start!

Zaxby’s – It’s like Gourmet KFC

Today’s plan has us traveling almost exactly due west.  From Knoxville, we set out on Interstate 40 toward Nashville with the anticipation of hitting at least Little Rock, Arkansas before stopping for the night.

It is the PERFECT day to be traveling west – every time we go through a time zone boundary, we gain an hour.  Cheat Day just keeps getting longer!

Zaxby's sign from the road.

Zaxby’s sign from the road.

Around noon (or 11am, because we switched time zones), we pulled over in Lebanon, TN for food.  I wasn’t really hungry so Brian picked the place.  Due to the mysterious advertising billboards and the awesome name, Brian chose Zaxby’s.  We had no clue what it was until we pulled into the parking lot and noted the chicken on the sign.  It seemed similar to a KFC.

It had a drive-through and all the characteristics of a fast-food joint.  Except for its fancy feel.  The outside of the building looked like a new sit-down restaurant.  The inside was well done with nice finishes and a designer’s eye.  The women’s bathroom was very clean and quasi-glamorous.  It was nicer than the bathrooms I’ve seen in upscale department stores.  Very weird…

Brian got chicken fingers with Zax’s sauce.  They were good.

Brian was overjoyed at our Zaxby's visit - these are the chicken fingers and Zax's sauce that he enjoyed.

Brian was overjoyed at our Zaxby’s visit – these are the chicken fingers and Zax’s sauce that he enjoyed.

Just a lot of Road

We have seen a lot of strange city names along the way, especially in Pennsylvania.  Today’s winner is Bucksnort, TN.  We have also seen Deaderek Street and Demonbreun Street.  When traveling westward across Tennessee, be aware that it is a longgggg state.  Arkansas was a welcome change.

Bucksnort - enough said

Bucksnort – enough said

This is our first trip with Fred, so we’re figuring out how to be the best caregivers as we go.  We let him out of his cage for a little while in the evenings.  Unlike a dog, who would then likely run around and stretch, Fred tends to do nothing.  At least nothing that he hadn’t already just done inside his cage.

Even though it has been too chilly to leave Fred outside for extended periods of time, we feel fresh air and sunlight are important for his wellbeing.  At a few stops, we left the back hatch open and let him have some time in the open air.  I even took the cage out and swung it around a few times, eliciting from him his “I’m enjoying this!” beep noise.

Fred bird catching some rays in the back of the car.

Fred bird catching some rays in the back of the car.

R-Kansas

Overall a pretty uneventful day…we had a great pit stop for the dogs at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee.  Their grass was strange – dead-looking and dense with a squishy absorbency like a sponge.  We discovered that college campuses are great for walking around without getting bothered by people wondering what you’re up to.  The dogs ate their meat meal, Fred got to come out of the car for a while, and we went on our way.

We crossed the border around 4:30pm and pulled over to eat in Forrest City, AR shortly after.  The Ole Sawmill Café featured an interesting buffet and western vibe.  We passed on the buffet and instead ordered soup ($4) and a grilled cheese, tomato and bacon sandwich ($4).  Our lukewarm coffee was $2.20 each.  The prices seemed a tad high for the area; more like what you would expect to pay in a cool, upscale café in New England.

The sun set around 5:30pm so we might miss the rest of Arkansas (not pronounced R-Kansas) by driving it at night.

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