Cracker Barrel serves fat-laden and bad food.  This branch is located off of I-70, about 12 miles east of Indianapolis, in a state I previously noted was simply depressing.  Lured by a roadside advertisement for a $29.99 room in a Days Inn, naturally…I paid $45.  This branch was run by a polite if hard-charging Indian man. What brought him from his home country – which I’m sure is lovely- to this particular hell-hole in Indiana, I will never understand.  Needless to say, after checking in and setting down my things in a room politely marked as non-smoking (clearly more a request than an order given the overwhelming stench of stale discount cigarettes), I was ready for some eats.  The only thing around was a CVS, the sour patch kids of which I refused to dine on, and a Cracker Barrel.  “Table for 1 please.”  The hostess sat me at the exterior-facing position at a 4-person table – evincing indignation for my status as a solo traveler – a jab to the arm of a lonesome eater.  After a 3 month long solo sojourn last summer, I was unaffected by the gesture and so I looked forward to what I thought would be a pleasant quasi-fast food franchise meal.  Although the restaurant was nearly empty, save for a sparse population of unanimously obese people (another sad reflection on the state of the American diet, and our sorry public health), my waiter was in a hurry.  He wanted my drink and food order all at once, and STAT!  “I’ll have the bbq pork with mac and cheese and green beans.”

Just about as soon as I could close my menu, it seemed the food arrived.  Just enough time for a 2 minute stint in the microwave, my food was served, all in separate plates, which wouldn’t have been weird except the dabble of bbq pork looked about as lonely and out of place as a dignified Indian man running a Days Inn near Indianapolis, IN.  AND, the food tasted micro-waved. I decided to wash down this horrendous meal with sugar-free apple pie, with full-sugared vanilla ice cream.  The waiter had been in such a hurry he cleared all the plates except the one mini bowl of mac/cheese, or more aptly, noodles in imitation velveeta/non-dairy creamer.  When asked why I didn’t like the M&C, I politely responded “YOU CALL THIS EDIBLE?!?” No, seriously, just too dang runny and cheesy, or non-dairy creamer-y.

The flea bag motel had to be good for something, because it came with free wifi and HBO. I watched an episode of “Poetry Jams,” which seems to be about overly dramatic urban youth recounting poems that make audiences sob in tears – sounds uplifting. No really, it was a good show and I’ll probably watch further episodes.

So at some point during the night my phone died without so much as a dying utterance and so my wake up call never came.  My intended 5am waking time was pushed off until 7.30 – way too much time to stay asleep when I’m breathing what smells like I imagine asbestos smells like.  As soon as I washed down some tepid, weak coffee, I hit the road.  The drive was uneventful and the weather was perfect for driving – cool, clear, blue sky.  I cut the driving short to spend the day with family friends in the Ladue part of St. Louis – which is lovely.

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