About 3 years ago I suggested to my daughter that we go on a road trip the summer before she started high school. I said we could go anywhere in the US she wanted to go. In hindsight I’m lucky she said Graceland because it could have been somewhere so far I would have had to ask her to pick something else. But, luckily she picked Graceland which is far, but not crazy far from Miami. And three years later she has never wavered from wanting the road trip to Graceland.
This year she starts high school. Holy shit. And even though I was nervous and hesitant, I grit my teeth and decided to push through and head out. A decision I only finalized two days before we left when I finally decided on a route and reserved some hotel rooms.
You can see the pics in the links below. I’ve divided them into smaller, easier categories. And you can read a short version of the experience under the cut below the links.
- The Walking Dead (Georgia): https://flic.kr/s/aHskEDoMNi
- Fried Green Tomatoes (Georgia): https://flic.kr/s/aHskEf6WGw
- National Civil Right Museum (Memphis): https://flic.kr/s/aHskFMH6Ss
- Graceland (Memphis): https://flic.kr/s/aHskEf5VEy
- New Orleans : https://flic.kr/s/aHskEf6CgJ
- Odds & Ends: https://flic.kr/s/aHskBjYawx
Read all about the trip :
If you go to Google maps and get a map from Miami to Memphis they pass you through Atlanta and it’s a 14.5 hour trip. There’s no way I could stay awake on a drive that long and I also didn’t want to drive at night alone with my child on strange roads in southern states. So I had to pick stop points. I love St. Augustine so I thought about making my first stop there, but decided I’d rather make it to Georgia on the first day.
Georgia and Atlanta brings up the possibility of The Walking Dead sites. And if I’m taking a road trip as opposed to flying to Memphis, I might as well make the most of it. So I decided we’d spend some time sightseeing.
Atlanta to Memphis is pretty short, so then it was deciding the route back. Should I make it quick or should I pass by New Orleans since I love it so much. My daughter voted for New Orleans. After that it would be a long road back to Miami.
After waiting to tell my mother at the last minute because I thought she would blow a gasket, my daughter and I headed out Saturday morning July 30th. We stopped in Orlando to visit the ThinkGeek store in the mall unknowing that a new one in Miami was opening the following week. We thought it was a big deal to go. After that we pushed on to Valdosta, GA. It’s just barely across the state line and not too far from…
Senoia, GA where we drove to the next day, July 31st. Senoia is where they film a lot of The Walking Dead like Woodsbury and Alexandria. But first we took a 30 minute detour to visit the restaurant from the movie Fried Green Tomatoes. Then my tire was getting flat on the way to Senoia, but a stop at Pep Boys where they couldn’t find the problem and I had to push on to Senoia.
The Woodbury area is literally across the train tracks from the Alexandria area. Like we were walking and boom there it was. The Walking Dead store has a museum with set props in the basement. Also, we ate at Norman Reedus’ new restaurant Nic & Norman’s. The barbecue flatbread was pretty good.
We drove into Atlanta after that, but it started to rain so we couldn’t go visit the Atlanta sites. That had to wait for the next day, August 1st. We woke up early to avoid Monday morning traffic and then we drove by the CDC, the Hospital, The crossroad, The bridge, and Rick’s House. Rick’s House was for sale by the way and I briefly entertained the idea of finding a way to buy it and turn it into a Bed & Breakfast.
After that it was the road to Memphis where my tire deflated again, but this Pep Boys found the problem in 2 seconds and they fixed it. I didn’t have any other issues with the car on the trip after that. Thanks to the time change we ended up in Memphis pretty early. So we visited the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel.
The next morning, August 2nd was for Graceland. We’d finally made it! Too bad my daughter felt sick and spent most of the tour kind of miserable. But hey, at least we made it. Luckily, the rest of the day was the drive to New Orleans through Mississippi that she mostly slept through. There’s a ~26 mile bridge over swampland and Gulf of Mexico to get there which was kind of reminiscent of the Florida Keys. New Orleans still feels like home.
The hotel had terrible WiFi, but it was very cute and comfortable. My daughter loved it so much she barely wanted to go anywhere the next day, August 3rd while we took a break from driving to enjoy the city. She hated Cafe DuMonde, much to my surprise. I ate mine and her donuts so I guess it was a win. Then we walked around the French Quarter looking at backdrops from American Horror Story Coven.
The next day, August 4th, was time to head back home. I wanted to push as much as I could, but I knew I couldn’t do the 12.5 hours to Miami. I decided we should stop in Gainesville, FL. A 7.5 hour drive made easier by stopping at a couple of malls off the highway on the way back.
Then the last stretch, August 5th we stopped in Orlando at the same mall to do some school shopping for tax free weekend by beating the crowds. We managed to find everything she needed in less than two hours.
End of the Line
And then we made it home. Hot damn I’m tired. And it was really hard to squish that whole road trip into a single post. When I make the photo book for us, because I took A LOT of pictures, I’ll fill in all the blanks. Overall, I had an amazing time and we’re already planning our next trip some other summer in the future.