The Road to Dragon Con 2021, Part 8 of 8: The Welcomes Back

Doughnut Dollies donuts!

Donuts: our consolation prize as we sadly left Dragon Con behind once more.

It all comes down to this, as every MCC miniseries does: the final chapter in which our energy levels are shot and we have to make the laborious reverse transition from heightened fun times to workaday responsible adult life via a less exciting path that carries us back to the humble holder of all our stuff.

But first: donuts!

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The Road to Dragon Con 2021, Part 7 of 8: The Atlanta Outtakes

Atlanta light pollution!

New adventures in Atlanta light pollution.

Last time in Atlanta we allowed a full-length vacation for the opportunity to explore its major institutions, roadside attractions, and grade-A restaurants. The encore presentation was scheduled on a much more compressed timeline for the sake of saving money and conserving our vacation days. That meant seeing less of the city outside our Dragon Con experience, but we caught new glimpses here and there.

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The Road to Dragon Con 2021, Part 6 of 8: A Taste of Tennessee

Goat burger!

A most righteous burger alongside a side dish that looks like a sandwich that got mugged and had its bread stolen. It tasted better than it looks.

Chapters 6 and 8 are short, easy ones to scroll through by design. This one’s meant to celebrate The Second-Best Meal We Had on This Trip. Longtime MCC readers who followed our last two Dragon Con trips — or, for that matter, anyone who’s been to D*C themselves — knows full well no one tops Aviva by Kameel. Anne suggests I should call this micro-mini-gallery The Best Meal We Had on This Trip at a Place We’d Never Been to Before, but that’s just too awkward, even by my standards.

My secondary objective was to highlight the nice place we found in Tennessee. Hence the title. However, I made the mistake of fact-checking a few minutes ago and discovered it’s part of a small chain, not the local independent stalwart we’d assumed it was. And the chain isn’t even based in Tennessee. Clearly this entry was never meant to be a winner, but I maintain it is meant at least to exist. On we go, then.

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The Road to Dragon Con 2021, Part 5 of 8: The Stones River Runs Through It

wounded soldier!

Thank you for your service, young Union soldier who brought a thick book to a gunfight.

Not every tourist attraction lends itself to images of natural grandeur or bizarre imagination. In some of our more recent road trips we’ve been adding American battlefields to our itineraries, a relatively new item of note for Anne the history aficionado. Longtime MCC readers may or may not recall our previous stops at the former war zones of Antietam, Gettysburg, Saratoga Springs, Chickamauga, and locally notable Tippecanoe. If we’re talking the Revolution in general (the Saratoga Springs context), I suppose we could count Boston — just Boston period, I mean — but that feels like cheating.

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The Road to Dragon Con 2021, Part 4 of 8: Louisville Sluggish

Louisville view nighttime!

The nighttime view from our hotel, facing away from all their obstructive skyscrapers.

When I was a kid, Louisville was the first city I ever visited outside Indiana that wasn’t an amusement park. My family and I ate lunch and wandered around aimlessly. When we ducked inside a hotel to use the restrooms, I took it upon myself to borrow a Yellow Pages from one of their phone booths and look up the nearest comic shop. It was called the Great Escape (and survives to this day! Nice!), but it was miles east of downtown and shared a dual storefront with a record shop. Fun times for me, not so much for the non-comics collectors in the car who begrudgingly let me have the one perk in that otherwise forgettable outing.

Now that I’m an adult, Louisville is an easy two-hour drive from home. We could drop in virtually anytime if motive struck. It was the site of the worst convention we’ve ever attended, a far better convention that is sadly no longer welcome back in town, and the last convention we attended before the pandemic. We’ve driven through it on a few of our annual road trips. And yet we’d never actually spent a night in Louisville.

Louisville is on the way to Atlanta. We figured why not give it a try.

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The Road to Dragon Con 2021, Part 3 of 8: The Ohio River Runs Through It

McAlpine Dam with greenery!

Man tames nature at Falls of the Ohio State Park.

In advance of our grand plan to spend two days walking and walking and walking and walking around uphill downtown Atlanta and the convention’s host hotels, we thought it might be nice to plan another walk in advance, less about geek shopping and more about nature, outdoors, fresh air, history, and so forth. Funny thing is, at out next stop we took more photos indoors than outdoors. In our defense, its name oversells the goods.

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The Road to Dragon Con 2021, Part 2 of 8: Sweets for Your Sweet

candy jars!

With apologies to our readers who can’t overdose on sugar.

Pretend we open here with an overture medley of “The Candy Man”, “I Want Candy”, “Pure Imagination”, “Sugar, Sugar”, “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, “Lollipop” by the Chordettes, “Good Ship Lollipop”, and the old Hershey’s Kisses bell-jingling rendition of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”. Extra credit if you also remember that time Iggy Pop sang a duet called “Candy” with Kate Pierson from the B-52s. Extra demerits if you think it’s funny to say Candyman’s name three times. IT’S NOT FUNNY, YOU GUYS.

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The Road to Dragon Con 2021, Part 1 of 8: Firefight Club

1922 Model T fire truck!

Our lovely model Anne shows off a 1922 Model T fire truck, a one-ton, double-tank exemplar of first-responder innovation for its time. Also, a photobombing Dalmatian.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: in 2019 my wife Anne and I attended our very first Dragon Con in downtown Atlanta, even went so far as to make it the centerpiece of our annual road trip. Their long-running, multi-site extravaganza may be the closest we’ll ever get to immersing ourselves in a mind-blowing geek gathering with anything approaching the size, depth, and logistical magnitude of San Diego’s fabled own. We were so blown away that we executed an encore presentation in 2021, which was a similarly amazing experience even with strongly enforced pandemic precautions in place. It likely won’t be our last time in town.

Alas, we regret we’ll be opting out of D*C 2022 for a variety of reasons despite numerous temptations, but we’re trying to content ourselves with the next best thing: constantly taking turns asking each other, “Hey, remember that time we did Dragon Con? That was awesome!” While we loiter on Memory Lane offline, here on MCC I’ll be indulging in the next-next best thing: sharing the previously untold tales of our two-day drive down to Georgia and the sights we caught along the way. Because if there’s one lesson I’ve learned from J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, Vince Gilligan, the Minions, and whatever CBS energy vampire spawned Young Sheldon, it’s that it’s perfectly okay to make a prequel nobody asked for. And anything they can do, I can do worse.

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Happy Birthday, Captain Janeway: A Fantabulous 50s Coda

Anne and Captain Janeway!

Anne wasn’t born in May, but she gets to be the lead photo because she’s cuter.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

In addition to our annual road trips, my wife Anne and I have a twice-yearly tradition of spending our respective birthdays together traveling to some new place or attraction as a short-term road trip — partly as an excuse to spend time together on those most wondrous days, partly to explore areas we’ve never experienced before. We’re the Goldens. It’s who we are and what we do.

I’ve just now lived to see 50, and after weeks of research and indecision, we planned an overnight journey to the next state over, to the capital city of Columbus, Ohio, which had cool stuff that this now-fiftysomething geek wanted to see. Columbus, then, would be the setting for our first outing together as quintagenarians…

…and then we returned home and all lived happily ever after. But the birthday celebration didn’t quite stop there as it should’ve. The following weekend, we took my mom down to southern Indiana to visit family, a semiannual jaunt for us because long drives are no longer her thing. Due to scheduling issues, Mom and I hadn’t made time to hang out for my birthday as we normally do. So we made that time — we did the visiting, we treated her to dinner, and we crossed a high-priority geek sightseeing item off our to-do list, which gave her a rare chance to tag along for one of these weird little jaunts she sees us posting about sometimes on Facebook.

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The Fantabulous 50s Weekend, Part 10: Sir, This is a Wendy’s

Wendy's Way!

Every icon has to start somewhere.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

In addition to our annual road trips, my wife Anne and I have a twice-yearly tradition of spending our respective birthdays together traveling to some new place or attraction as a short-term road trip — partly as an excuse to spend time together on those most wondrous days, partly to explore areas we’ve never experienced before. We’re the Goldens. It’s who we are and what we do.

I’ve just now lived to see 50, and after weeks of research and indecision, we planned an overnight journey to the next state over, to the capital city of Columbus, Ohio, which had cool stuff that this now-fiftysomething geek wanted to see. Columbus, then, would be the setting for our first outing together as quintagenarians…

We saw comics and art in museums, and we had food in a museum, so why not make our logical final stop in Columbus a food museum? Well, technically, in a way, kindasorta? There’s only one small exhibit room, but the subject is rather large.

After the record store we returned to Dublin, home of the Wendy’s flagship store, which was opened in 2013 and built with an extra side room to house numerous artifacts and souvenirs from the company’s 52-year history. So they’re only a few months older than we are.

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