Muscle Shoals, AL – Scenic Drive & Champy’s Fried Chicken…

I’m in Meridian, MS, tonight.  My only plan for today, Monday, was to attempt a backroads, rural route from Nashville to Meridian, using Muscle Shoals, AL, as a stopping point that would “trick” Google Maps into keeping me off the Interstates as much as possible.  Muscle Shoals was also a planned stop on my last Texas road-trip, since it is home to FAME Recording Studio, where artists such as Percy Sledge, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Picket and many others’ music careers broke through.  The area has a very cool vibe, as well as being picturesque, as it sits along a very pretty stretch of the Tennessee River.  I’ve been looking forward to a return visit, since my last.

The Muscle Shoals/Google Maps trick worked like a charm.  Once GPS took me off I-65, south of Nashville, I was on one of the most beautiful stretches of local and back roads that I’ve ever seen.  Much of the ride was like a gentle roller-coaster, gliding over series of hills in a straight line, followed by a series of curvy hills, then back to a straight series of hills.  There were also very few cars, so it felt nearly like having this stretch to myself.

Anyway, it did the trick.  It was very therapeutic to be alone with my thoughts and my favorite music, while gently rolling along over hills and through curves.

In Muscle Shoals, I stopped at Champy’s Fried Chicken, a very cool/funky restaurant, as indicated by all of the “stuff” on the walls.  My son, Nat, had found out about this place for me on my first trip.  They have amazing fried chicken.

I chatted with the owner when I got there, explained my trip, and asked if it was okay to take a few photos.  He was more than happy to let me “have at it”.  I also chatted with two of the three waitresses there, including Rebecca, who waited on me.  One of the other waitresses told me she had been to NYC once and loved it.  I explained that driving down south was the same for me.  Funny how the urge to escape the familiar, whatever it is for us, is so universal.

I also told this same waitress about my backroads route from Nashville.  She said she’s taken it, and that even for her, growing up right there, it’s her favorite scenic drive in the area.

Anyway, here is a photo of the three waitresses.  Rebecca is on the right, and the waitress who visited NYC, whose name I didn’t get, is on the left.

Tomorrow, I head for New Orleans for great food and photo-ops.  Can’t wait!