Friday, May 4, 2007

Three days

A three-day weekend may not seem like a lot to some people, but it is. I haven't had a real vacation, one that wasn't a trip home to cycle through family and in-laws, in over seven years. Dawn's been cooperative, even prompting more of the visits to family than not, but it finally wearied us. We took a three-day weekend.

There are a few new pictures up in a "Lookout Mountain" album, shots of a trip through Chattanooga, TN into Lookout Mountain. I wholeheartedly recommend the Chanticleer Inn bed and breakfast. It's across the parking lot from Rock City, and it's probably the quietest place I've ever slept in. Tell Kirby and Judy the biker couple from Atlanta sent you.

We rode there Friday and came home Sunday. Motorcycles are just the ONLY way to travel in the mountains! We ate at the Canyon Grill, which is way out in Salem. Some of the best food we've had in a long time. We planned one trip into Chattanooga for dinner and coffee, one dinner at Canyon Grill, and a lantern tour of Ruby Falls. That's all. No six-hour walking tour of the Chattanooga arts district. No Rock City/Incline Railroad/Ruby Falls combo package. Just dinner and one tourist attraction over a whole weekend. It was wonderful!

So we had the lobster bisque at the Back-Inn Cafe Friday night. Although it didn't have any real chunk seafood left for the palette, the flavor was outstanding. The crab cakes were excellent. It always amuses me that I can get pretty good crab cakes in the frozen section at my grocer for about $1.25 apiece, but the ones at the Back-Inn Cafe run about $4.50 apiece. They are smaller, and they are tastier by a fair margin. (What can I say? I'm cheap.) We walked in, straight off the road in stocking caps and jump boots and bike armor. We were surrounded by old, rich people and kids in prom outfits, but we were happy.

We followed up at a coffee and pastry shop called Rembrandt's on High St. (See the Active Chattanooga blog for a review of Rembrandt's and other cafes in the area.) The coffee was smooth. I got this meringue cookie thing with chocolate ganache... What that sugar did to me... was totally unnecessary! Dawn got this little sculpture of two tiny chocolate cream puffs and real whipped cream that was absolutely incredible. That was only the beginning of a wonderful weekend, too.

We're back. Dawn started a zesty new job Tuesday. We're riding her Honda and my Piaggio nearly everywhere we go and getting 60 mpg. I even took a turn on the Honda last night and looked good doing it. I felt like I was walking that thing on a leash, but I looked good. We're rested and refreshed. It was so very much worth it.

Not to leave a wrong impression, I love my family. I'm thrilled to see them any chance I get. It is, however, simply crucial that you have time to yourself and that you have time with your spouse. We got that last weekend. I love the city, but I loved late brunch and bird-watching. I loved hearing birds and nothing else from inside the cottage. When I say "nothing", we didn't even hear air conditioning or ceiling fans. You cannot appreciate quiet until you acclimate to a yuppie apartment building at the base of a freeway and take a trip to the mountains. I will never let this much time go between vacations again. Dawn is my soul mate. Her peace is my peace; her joy, my joy. When the heart of your life comes to you on Tuesday and asks if you can get Friday off because she feels like the two of you need some time away, you take a three-day weekend.