So far on this trip, we've flirted with two grande dames of cities, Savannah and Charleston, eaten barbecue from roadside shacks and the hands of championship level smokers, toured a really big house and a culturally highly dubious road side attraction, and seen very very few cows. Just the typical sort of days the Plucky Survivors have come to realize as possible when they set out to See America.

A disadvantage of road trips is that so much time is spent on the road that one often, if not typically, has little time to spend in some really wonderful places. This is why our acquaintance with Savannah and Charleston is so sketchy. We loved what we saw so much we seriously considered checking out real estate rentals, but in depth exploration must wait for another, different kind of trip. After all, spending a decent amount of time in Savannah and Charleston might mean not going to see South of the Border, a cartoonish Mexican themed glorified truck stop just, wait for it, south of the North Carolina border. Okay, perhaps that's not a good trade off. But honestly, how often do you get to see an observation tower shaped like a giant sombrero? Or Santa's Fun Land, a toddler-appropriate amusement park where every day is Christmas? Don't get us wrong, we went with reverence to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic site, and with plenty of interest to the Biltmore House. But we also gloried in the accomplishment of the 20,000 shakers on display at the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum in Gatlinburg, TN. Plucky Survivors is all about the balance between sacred and profane, sublime and ridiculous.

It's also all about pork. So far, there's been mediocre barbecue in Georgia, divinely perfect pork roast at the South Carolina State Barbeque Championships, and just flat out satisfying pulled pork sandwiches at a creek-adjacent road side spot in North Carolina. We've seen more pork puns than you can shake a pork butt to. And we are only halfway there. Still ahead is our foodie folly as we drive 200 miles out of our way for a hot dog--the shop has its own theme song! We are compelled! -- a little horsing around at Churchill Downs, caves and concrete dinosaurs and the Scopes Monkey Trial Museum.

We've talked a little in this space about the twin themes of endurance and resilience. These are proving more subtle than we had once thought. It's not to say they aren't there, but they aren't manifesting with the kind of awed solemnity that we expected. Instead, a big theme is just laughter. We've laughed a lot on this trip, and we are only halfway there as we write. But isn't laughter a way to get past obstacles? That, and really good barbecue.

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