The alarm clock goes off at 4:30 a.m.
You wanna know my first thought; is this what early morning looks like?
Arielle pulls in at 5 a.m. We pick up Rachelle by 5:30. Everything's going smoothly. We're right on time. Ten hours didn't seem so bad when we were two hours in, but ten hours is hell when there's only two hours left. Especially when there's stop and go traffic.
So we decide to pull into the closest hotel with the best rating. It's in the downtown Athens area, close to where we plan on spending our stay, but it's shady looking, rundown and not in that artsy vintage type of way.
The three of us walk in to pay ($62 a night; not bad, right?) and then we're on our way to our room. Except that there's no elevator, and each of us has a 50lb bag on us. But it's only on the second floor and we're not pansies, so we lug our stuff up and make it to our room in one piece, all the while hoping the room doesn't smell funny. And it doesn't, thank God. But it's gross. And there's no lock on the door.The bathroom is barely big enough to sit in and the shower is non-existant. But there's a large flat-screen TV so HALLELUJAH. Just kidding. We booked it outta there faster than you can say bless your heart.
The lady gave us a refund without question, in fact looking relieved that we were leaving. That solidified our decision.
Until we drove down the road and stopped at a much nicer looking Holiday Inn, and the front desk receptionist proceeded to tell us that there were no rooms available at any hotel in Athens. "There's a school convention," she told us. Of course.
Finally, after honing my skills of persuasion, we managed to snag a room at a decent Days Inn.
The smell of a hundred wildflower fields hit us like a brick wall upon walking into our room.
"They're trying to hide something," Arielle said.
Hungry and desperate to walk around, we got back in the car and went downtown to find some food. But it was only 38 degrees outside, and these Florida girls were not prepared.
It gave us an excuse to walk into any open building, which led us to find some pretty cool places.
We ate at the best mexican restaurant ever. (How is it that Georgians do Mexican better than we do?)
Had classic lemon drop shots at the Georgia Bar. Played pool at the Boar's Head Lounge.
Made up fake names and fake occupations at Whiskey Bent.
It was a successful night in downtown Athens.
Back at the hotel, the smell of flowers is gone, replaced by a totally different kind of plant smell- marijuana. I swear we were getting second-hand high from our neighbors.
And to make matters worse, they decided to let us know how much they loved each other.
Nothing a little bit of banging on the wall on our part didn't fix.
The next day consisted of walking from the hotel back to downtown, finding some really cool shops and really nice people, and the best fried chicken and collard greens in the south.
We were back on the road by 3 p.m. and headed to Knoxville.
Despite the cold, Athens melted our hearts.