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Food

Second Chances and a Hot Chicken Takeover

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Second Chances and a Hot Chicken Takeover

Through years of volunteering at soup kitchens and homeless shelters, Joe DeLoss had come to understand how difficult it often was for people who had been incarcerated or experienced homelessness to get back on their feet. Often all they needed was someone to give them an opportunity. When Joe started selling chicken from a pop-up location in 2014, he decided that a part of his business model would be to give people that second chance.. DeLoss now has three brick and mortar locations for his thriving restaurant Hot Chicken Takeover, and his mission to help people in need has continued to grow. 

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The Little Hamburger Wagon That Could

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The Little Hamburger Wagon That Could

In March of 1913, massive rainstorms over Easter weekend caused the Miami River to swell and break through the levees built to contain it. Water rushed through downtown Dayton reaching depths of 20 feet. The flood would do $100 million in damage, destroy 20,000 homes and take 360 lives. Miamisburg was devastated with much of the city underwater. 

Relief efforts arrived with the Red Cross setting up tent cities to provide shelter to the displaced population. Miamisburg resident Sherman "Cocky" Porter volunteered to try and help feed the people and the relief workers. Trying to feed hundreds of people a hot meal is no easy task, so Porter decided to cook up a huge batch of hamburgers and pass them out to the crowds. They were a hit…

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This Week on the Road, July 25th-August 2nd

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This Week on the Road, July 25th-August 2nd

Sadly leaving Athens County behind, I stopped for a brief visit at the Buckeye Furnace State Memorial. Tucked back in the woods, this was a great place to learn more about the production of pig iron, an industry that brought a lot of wealth to the region. I had the place all to myself but could imagine the small community which once stood there and kept the furnace going. This was another of Appalachia's hard labor industries, and one that disappeared as the iron ore dried up and the nation's demands shifted to steal. It was a cool place to visit. 

From there I headed out to the Bob Evans Farm in Rio Grande where I had a big breakfast for lunch and wandered around the property for a while. I learned the story of Bob and how he started with a steakhouse, but soon started making sausage as well. This sausage would catapult his business into one of Ohio's best known names.

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A Cajun In Appalachia

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A Cajun In Appalachia

I first met Will Drury at the corner of a bar in the middle of a parking lot on the edge of an island in the middle of the Caribbean. The bar was Duffy's, an institution in Red Hook on the east end of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Will had arrived that day to take over management of Duffy's and I was a regular there. Duffy's was right down the hill from my apartment and I didn't even have to cross the street to get there. I liked Duffy's because the clientele was a good balance of locals and tourists. While most people who lived on the island tried their hardest to avoid the tourists during their down-time, I loved interacting with them. It was great to welcome them to our little island and help them with their plans, and I never tired of their enthusiasm… 

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Tennessee Rib Trail

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Tennessee Rib Trail

If you are a fan of pork ribs like I am a fan of pork ribs, then Tennessee is one of the places you really have to go. Good Tennessee ribs get a dry rub of spices and are then slow smoked over a wood fire. Back in the 1950s in Memphis, Charlie Vergos combined his father's Greek spices with some New Orleans style cajun seasoning and turned scrap-meat into something altogether magical. Charlie Vergo's Rendezvous still sets the standard for ribs in Tennessee and is definitely one of my favorites. In my travels around Tennessee, I stopped into a few different rib-joint though and found some great spots around the state. While Rendezvous ribs still tops my list, some of these places gave them a run for their money… 

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This Week on the Road - May 31st-June 5th

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This Week on the Road - May 31st-June 5th

I'm going to write this a little early this week as I am headed down to Bonnaroo in the morning. I'll be there for almost the whole week, so I thought I would write this and then put away my computer and go enjoy the festival. I've spent this past week heading up the west side of Tennessee, through a lot of cute small towns and state parks, and finally making my way across the north and into Clarksville. It's been a pretty quiet week, but a good one for sure. It's really starting to heat up down here and while I am really looking forward to Bonnaroo, I'll be making a beeline north when it's over. While it hasn't been the most exciting week I've had, I've still been enjoying myself. Here are some of the things I got into this week on the road.

I left Bartlett when I finished writing last week and headed back north to Mason. I wanted to visit the original Gus's Fried Chicken there…

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The Road From Memphis To Nashville

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The Road From Memphis To Nashville

I have driven Highway 40 from Memphis to Nashville many times. In fact, when discussing the trip I'm currently on, I often reference this drive. I tell people that when I was working as a tour guide I always rushed between the two cities because there is SO much to do in each, but I always wondered what was happening in between. Now I have an answer to that question, and the answer is A LOT. If you have the time to spare, making a day of this journey is well worth it. Here are just some of the things you should definitely check out on the way, with stops in Jackson and Brownsville… 

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This Week on the Road - May 24th-30th

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This Week on the Road - May 24th-30th

It's been another great week on the road, this one spent in wonderful West Tennessee. It's been a hot week, as summer is moving in fast here in the south, but with it come the festivals and fun of the season. My week has been full of barbecue and music and really good people. West Tennessee is very distinct from the eastern part of the state, more resembling the Mississippi Delta which it is intimately connected to, than the rest of Tennessee. This region is flatter and poorer than the east of the state, but it is still full of wonderful stops and cool things to see. 

When I finally left Nashville, I headed down the Natchez Trace Parkway. The parkway roughly follows the old Natchez Trace, an ancient trail which leads from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville. In the days before the great paddle wheelers plied the Mississippi River, boats carrying cotton, hides and other goods made a one-way trip down to the major port of Natchez. The boatmen would then sell their boats, whole or for scrap and walk back up the Natchez Trace 400 miles or so back to Nashville and start all over again. It was interesting to duck off the Parkway and walk some of the historic trail and imagine myself back in those days doing the same.

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This Week on the Road - May 17th-23rd

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This Week on the Road - May 17th-23rd

I haven't gotten very far this week! When I wrote last week, I was in Nashville, and this week I am still in Nashville. I did spend three days in nearby Franklin, which was really great, but otherwise I've been in Music City. It's been a good week though, full of great music, good food and good times, so I guess I can't complain. Plus I finished a podcast and got some other work done as well. I have signed up to work at the Bonnaroo Music Festival the second weekend in June, so I won't be l leaving Tennessee until after that. That has left me with a little extra time in Tennessee, so I've been getting to know one of my favorite cities a little better. I've been able to explore some areas of the city I have been wanting to check out but haven't had the time, and been catching up with some friends too. In all, it's been a fun and productive week, even if I have been in one place.   

After I finished writing last week, I headed back to Bobby's Idle Hour to check out Sam's Jams, a local singer/songwriter show which is held every Wednesday from noon until 8 p.m. It really is a great thing to see, and very Nashville. The musicians were great, and I got to hang out for a little while with Sam Cooper, the host…

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A Perfect Saturday in Franklin

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A Perfect Saturday in Franklin

I've had a lot of good days since this trip began back in November. I've had a good number of so-so days and a few bad ones as well. This last Saturday though, was a pretty awesome day out here on the road and darned close to perfect in my opinion. The stars aligned over Franklin, Tennessee to create a day which left me tired but feeling really good about life and this journey. If only we could all have a day like this last Saturday was for me now and again, the world would be a better, happier place. 

The day started off cool, allowing me to sleep in a little bit in my van. As spring has started to give way to summer here in the South, and as I have moved into Central Time, it starts to get warm in my van pretty early. Saturday I had myself parked in the shade of a nice tree, though, allowing me a little extra sleep and waking up well rested for my big day. Once I was up and caffeinated, I headed off to the gym for a good morning workout..

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National Cornbread Festival

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National Cornbread Festival

I really love good small town festivals, and my visit to the National Cornbread Festival in South Pittsburgh, Tennessee was one of the best I can remember. Apparently, when the Tennessee Department of Transportation built a bypass around South Pittsburgh, downtown really took a hit. Town leaders gathered to try and think of a way to bring business back to town. Since they are home to Lodge Cast Iron, they decided to try and stage a cornbread festival. After all, who doesn't like cornbread? The first year they brought out their card tables and folding chairs and hoped for 500 people to show up. An hour after the gates opened there were 5,000 people there... and they were out of cornbread. In the 21 years since, they've learned a lot about throwing a festival, and it really showed…

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Iconic Food and Drink of South Carolina

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Iconic Food and Drink of South Carolina

I ate out a lot during my stay in South Carolina. South Carolina is definitely a wonderful food destination. With tons of seafood coming off the coast and wonderful farm-fresh meat and produce coming from the Piedmont, it's hard to go wrong. Unfortunately I didn't plan my meals out as well as I could have, nor did I do my due diligence by really researching the places I ate. These long days have kept me busy and I usually ended up eating wherever was open and grabbing a quick burger or a salad. This is something I hope to correct in Tennessee as I eat in a little more often and save my money and my appetite for some well planned out meals. I did, however, find a few cool places around the state so before I move on, I thought I would share some with you today. 

I had some really great seafood up and down the coast. When I was out on Daufuskie Island, I had a plate of fresh fried grouper over jasmine rice with green beans and slaw at Lucy Bell's Cafe. When I tell you it was to die for, I really mean it…

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