Saturday, March 13, 2010

Eating On The Road - Day 6: Heading Home

We're making our way back to Detroit and the weather has been wet the past couple of days. Driving in the rain doesn't bother me, but going through the twisty-turny mountain highways in this part of the country is slowed a little with wet pavement. Some of the elevations are quite high, and you actually drive through the rain clouds. In some parts, the fog hovered over the ground with the leafless trees poking through and it looked like something out of a 1950's horror movie.

One place we wanted to stop during the trip because Ralph had never been there, was a Chick-Fil-A, which is a fast-food chain that we don't have in the Detroit area. Known for their chicken sandwiches, these restaurants are not open on Sundays. The man who founded the chain many years ago still feels that Sunday is not a day for working, so all his stores close on that day. We were disappointed not to be able to eat there on a Sunday (we tried), but I have to respect the man's views about not working on Sunday. He put his beliefs in practice and that's the way it is. I'm sure it costs the chain a lot of potential business, but this is obviously more important to him than the money. (Pictured: Rallph's deluxe chicken sandwich)

As we started our journey back to Michigan, we stopped at a Chick-Fil-A in Burlington, NC. It was sort of between breakfast and lunch times, and the place was busy. Each of us ordered a chicken sandwich (two different kinds) and got some of their waffle cut fries and coffee. Now, this was fast-food, but that said the chicken was really tasty. It wasn't dried out, it had a very light breading, which gave it a little bit of a crunch when you bit into it. They put pickles on their chicken sandwiches, which provides a great, unexpected flavor. (Pictured: The Chick-Fil-A's waffle fries - Outstanding!)

We left the Chick-Fil-A and headed north and east into the mountains. We'd get off the highway every now and then if we saw a billboard for something interesting (a store, antique place, etc.) or to get gas and coffee. One such stop was the town of Wytheville, Virginia. There we found a great little downtown area filled with shops of all kinds, including, from what I could see, at least three barber shops. The town must be well groomed!

At one of the corners was an irresistible place called Skeeters. They sell hot dogs. Hot dogs are very big here. They aren't the coney island style dogs we have in Detroit, which are usually made with a natural casing. No, these hot dogs are red - like, crayon red. Obviously, they add some sort of coloring to the dog, why I don't know, but these red, skinless hot dogs are served everywhere. (Pictured: Skeeter's World Famous Hot Dogs. How could you resist going into a place like this - Wytheville, Virginia)

Skeeters has a counter and a few tables and chairs inside. There was a woman behind the counter and another at the register. They serve hot dogs in all variations, including a "Skeeter Dog" which had a kind of Cheeze Whiz on it. Ralph ordered a "Slaw Dog," which came with creamy sweet cole slaw, onions, mustard and chili on it. Ralph said it was "$1.70 worth of heaven." I got a chili dog, which had a very mild chili sauce on it, onions and mustard. They put the chili over the onions, which is different then how this kind of dog is served back home.

Behind the counter, where they make the hot dogs, is a big stainless steel cabinet with doors on the top. It's like a big steamer, and behind one door are the buns. They come out hot, soft and smelling like fresh bread. Another door reveals the hot dogs, and then she puts everything together and serves it to you on a napkin. Food at its most simple and its most satisfying. Skeeters was one of my favorite finds on this trip and I hope to visit the place again someday. (Pictured: Inside Skeeter's)

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