July 28, 2007
We awoke from a forgettable night in an interchangeable motel room and returned to the highway. Today would be dedicated to making miles northward along I-95 through Georgia and most of South Carolina. We made two stops along the way, one in Brunswick and one in Savannah. Brunswick was our first stop for Georgia BBQ, a place called the Ga. Pig. It's a tin roof shack with warped wooden plank floors, and it's become well-known as a funky old pit that just happens to reside along the interstate. Walking in, we heard the thunk-thunk of meat being chopped near a hearty pit and smelled the sizzle of buns being grilled for overflowing meat sandwiches. But despite several glowing reviews, we were just a little disappointed with the Ga. Pig. While the chopped pork and beef sandwiches were juicy and the Brunswick stew was tasty, we found the taste to be a little bland. The ribs were no better, overly tough and chewy with little innate flavor. Though our meal was served drenched with a ketchup- and Worcestershire-tasting sauce, we could not help but compare this place to Texas-style 'que and leave with a bad taste in our mouths. Incidentally, that taste was made all the worse by the water they served. The stench of raw eggs that emanated from the sulfur water served at the Ga. Pig helped us understand the pleading look in our server's eyes when she said, "are you sure you don't want bottled water?"
Our next stop, Savannah's Johnny Harris, was so much nicer. We'd been here before, once in 1997 during our second family road trip, the Great Eastern that took us from Washington D.C. to Florida along the Atlantic coast and back north along I-95. Vienna was only eight during that trip, though, so she had few memories of this stop. I wondered whether Johnny Harris would match my recollections of an old school dining experience set sometime in the 1930s. Happily, I can report that my memories were proven sound. We walked in and were shown our own private booth in a circular dining area topped with a 360-degree mural depicting the local landscape and topped with a moon and cluster of stars on the ceiling. While we lounged in those richly varnished wooden seats, our friendly and gracious waiter pointed out the service button that would illuminate a signal any time we pressed it. For "late lunch," we enjoyed an eclectic sample of Johnny Harris delicacies: spinach crab dip, pecan chicken salad, and a small plate of spare ribs. I washed my meal down with the best sweet tea I'd had on this trip so far while Jenny and Vienna chose water again for some crazy reason. We wrapped our meal up with some pralines before driving back through Savannah along Victory Highway under the dripping Spanish moss.
We concluded our afternoon drive with a special detour for Vienna. For about two years our daughter has maintained an online friendship with a girl her age living in Florence, South Carolina. They'd met while both shared a mutual fascination with Michael Jackson. Although Vienna and her friend had outgrown that particular craze, they continued to share emails over the years. Since we were passing through, it just made sense for the two to meet. Dropping Vienna off, Jenny and I met with her friend's parents on their porch, enjoying that lovely southern tradition of "visiting." We chatted for a pleasant interval and figured that Vienna would hang out with her now non-virtual friend for a few hours. Jenny and I headed for our night's lodging, a nearby KOA and settled into some pleasant diversions: doing a load of laundry, swimming under a pleasant sunset, and feeding ducks from the lake that was adjacent to our "Kabin." Just as we figured it was time to pick Vienna up, she called us and announced that they'd invited her to stay the night. So Jenny and I stayed at the campsite and spent the rest of the evening reading and writing while Vienna and her pal stayed up talking and playing chess.