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 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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Our 2021 Road Trip #46: The Final Five Photos

Bug-killer car!

A parting shot of the Nissan Altima, our replacement rental lent to us in Cedar Rapids, and its new coat of 3000 miles worth of bugs.

…or, How We Spent Our Independence Day 2022.

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Our 2021 Road Trip #45: Overdue Outtakes

Roaring Mountain!

DAY FIVE: Jazz hands in front of Roaring Mountain in Yellowstone National Park.

No, I didn’t forget or give up on this series, even if site traffic already did months ago. We were so close to the very end when Oscars season, two conventions, year-in-review entries, and mood swings got in the way. The cool part is, much like Watchmen, Kevin Smith’s Daredevil run, or the Dangerous Visions trilogy, future generations who read the full work in one sitting will have no idea there was a long, sad gap between installments. Sincere apologies, future internet users, or denizens of whatever replaced the internet, for this intro that may seem superfluous in hindsight!

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Our 2021 Road Trip #44: Restaurants Rundown Redux

huckleberry walnut salad!

Nobody makes huckleberry walnut salads back home in Indiana. Adventures got only marginally fancier from here.

Longtime MCC readers may recall our best annual travelogues usually include photos from the restaurants we’ve visited in other states and the foodstuffs we’ve found that we don’t necessarily have back home in Indianapolis. We do enjoy sharing those moments, but you may have noticed their conspicuous absence from this series except in Part 30, when we covered our culinary results from Days One through Five, the first half of our vacation. We had looked forward to leaving home and hopefully leaving the year’s troubles behind for just ten days. The more we drove, the more we had to face reality: it was the same kind of 2021 everywhere in America.

Days Six through Ten had their moments. In this context “moment” isn’t always a compliment.

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Our 2021 Road Trip #43: Black Hawk Up

Black Hawk more zoom!

There he stood up, across, along, on, by, at, above and beyond the river. Not pictured: the river.

One last state. One last stop. One last attraction. One last park. One last forest. One last cliff. One last statue. All the plurals throughout this series come down to these.

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