Day #4 Staff Pilgrimage: Huntsville to Tullahoma

June 20, 2016 | BBQ Road Trip

by Alex, Nottingham

 

THEY THREW US OUT OF A PLANE!

THEY. THREW. US. OUT. OF. A. PLANE!!!

Yesterday was just incredible – the best day I have had in such a very long time and I’m sure the same goes for everyone else! The best activity any of us have done. We started the day, as always with a real good Southern breakfast, this time at The Blue Plate Cafe. Plenty of super thick pancakes with fruit, chocolate chips, icing sugar and nuff maple syrup.

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Seeing the ‘country fried steak’ on the menu just topped the meal. They roll a piece of steak in a spiced flour rub and deep fry the shit out of it. Obviously. It’s like meaty Colonel Sanders ribeye served with French Toast and gravy… This can’t be breakfast I hear you scream. It is and its seriously tasty grub. This was the highlight of American innovation. Good coffee and juice kept us furled and ready for the road trip up North of the border.

We jumped in da ride headed over to Edz Wingz in Feyetville.

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The location was pretty unique – imagine Deliverance meets The Waltons and the atmosphere inside this joint was true to the feel of authentic Bar-B-Q. This backwater shed welcomed us Brits and fed us heartily. This place was definitely a highlight for me just because of the proper old skool 60’s Formica design with bad electrics and tired refrigerators. To be fair the food was pretty average, but it was definitely great to experience a proper wreck off the beaten track.

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We then crossed the border into Tennessee. When driving through Lynchburg, you gotta go to the Jack Daniels Distillery,right!? Drink a Lynchburg Lemonade to, right? Well that is partly what we did. We drove up to the distillery, parked up and checked in the visitor centre for a taste of the good stuff. But guess what? Lynchburg is a dry county! That means you cannot sell alcohol in the city limits, so you can’t drink a Lynchburg Lemonade in Lynchburg! Absolutely outrageous.

It was still a really awesome experience to visit the distillery and learn about the biggest brand of whisky on the globe. You can’t just come to Lynchburg and not see the place, more knowledge to share with our loyal customers. Scott treated himself to a massive bottle of Jack Daniels Sinatra Select that was distilled to celebrate one of whiskey’s biggest fans, The Sultan of Swoon.

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Right, here it comes. The friggin’ skydive, at an airstrip in sleepy Tullahoma. Just to build it up a bit… There was a risk of thunderstorms which would have grounded the plane and we wouldn’t have been able to jump. Most of us were pretty excited but equally very nervous. Liam on the other hand was absolutely bricking it!! So, at the news of the storms, I think he was secretly a little happy it might not happen. Fortunately it was appearing to all be good, and the green light was given by the manageress, Leslie. Bye Mr Jack, we gotta jump out of a plane!! Hit the road and let’s do some crazy s**t we will never forget. Everyone was as always super friendly at Skydive Tennessee, helped calm some fluttering tummies for sure.

Matt & Scott were up first, harnessed and furniture securely moved to the centre of the room (that’s what these guys say to make sure your manhood doesn’t get crushed when the chute opens, from 100mph to 5mph in around 3 seconds!). If you haven’t arranged, it’s going to hurt. Us 3 lads waved farewell to our captors and they climbed onboard. This was about to be one hairy experience for two bosses, as they were climbing to altitude in the shitty plane, a storm hit and just as the jump door opened, it started to piss it down fog rolled in. “Do you still wanna jump, the rain really hurts!” asked the instructor. Matt looked at Scott with a concerned, yet chubbier face and then the instructor. “Let’s do it” said Matt. The jump door opened and they were primed to jump, as the first jumper got into position, the pilot shouted back pointing at a cloud that looked like Hurricane Katrina (that’s what Scott and Matt claimed anyway) “ABORT JUMP, ABORT JUMP” went the calls, so Scott had to shuffle to the front of the plane and shut the door and pull the girl in who was half hanging out! That’s some Die Hard sh*t right there! They were going to have to land the plane – the instructors class this as bad luck as it’s actually safer to jump out than it is to land in the plane! Crazy right.

Safe to say by this point we were pumped and wanted to jump so hearing we may not be able to do it was really lousy! The rain was hammering it down, but blue skies in the distance gave us hop – lo and behold it cleared up. “ALL SYSTEMS GO!”. Matt and Scott went up and successfully jumped! Wooooo! We drove out on to the air field to meet them as they came down, never seen 2 guys with smiles this big and as happy. No time to chat as it was time for us 3 to jump! As soon as the plane landed we were loaded in. Nerves were all over the place. Still super excited though!

The plane climbed to 14,000 feet. When that door opens and the air rushes in dude, it gets you super pumped! Leaton was up first! We all shuffled to the door, held tight by our tandem instructor and… WOOSH, Leat flew out the door into the sky. I was up next, shuffled, hanged my legs outside and down we went. Liam being the most nervous was being filmed the whole way down (you guys will see the video soon!). We free-falled for a massive 60 seconds, popped the chutes and took it in the groin for about 6 minutes. As soon as we touched down in the ground we were all buzzing, the best experience of my life. I think Liam was just happy to feel grass on his face.

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Great timing because minutes after a super storm brewed up and the rain was lashing down. We had some ups and downs on the lead up, but luckily we got the chance to jump and I will never forget it. Oh and for the second time this trip Leaton threw up after his feet touched the ground. Apparently his instructor likes to do that to jumpers who are prone to motion sickness.

As I’m sure you’ll agree, after an experience like that it’s time for beer and bourbon, and more BBQ food of course. We headed to Wild Buffalo Wings – this place was pretty slick and well corporate! With all the booze ordered we got stuck in to some seriously good appetizers. 4 different types of sauced wings, some of the best fried pickles I’ve tasted and a couple of other real good sides. After a couple more drinks, it was time to go and find a place to take five and get ready to hit the bars for the night, when asking locals where was good they had a few suggestions but apparently there is no UBER’s or taxis, yes that’s right, a town with no taxis running at night! We had to figure out what was in walking distance that we could go to… Applebees it was then! More beer, tequila shots, and of course top up our bellies with some interesting Cheeseburger Egg Rolls, mozzarella sticks and Sriracha shrimp.

We walked back to the hotel through the wet streets of Tullahoma and caught some zeds in the awful “family” room we managed to book last minute….

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