The last day! Saturday Jan. 4- Red Bridges BBQ- Shelby, NC

IMG_1101Waking up in a hotel room in downtown Charlotte was awesome today. We felt like we had just gotten off a rocking ship after 8 days of RV living. True to nature, Brian and Ben couldn’t resist getting out early to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

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Drew and I happily stayed behind. But one last BBQ adventure was left and the power of twitter brought a great last expedition to life.

With the timing set, bags packed, and all in the car, we set off for Bridges BBQ Lodge in Shelby, NC.  You have to know that over the past visits to well known joints, the obligatory Brian pic in front of the sign embarrassed the boys ( there is so much more that they were embarrassed by but they’d have to write their own blog if they cared enough to share) As we took pictures in front of this classic restaurant, built in the 50’s and a local hotspot, a gentleman walked up to us and said ‘You aint from around here I take are you?’ The nicest man, we ended up having quite a long chat with him, hearing the whole history about Bridges. Once inside, he ordered his food to go and stopped once again to say goodbye.

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In the meantime, Andrew and his wife and darling daughter joined us. It’s amazing how the love of good teaching and technology can connect people from different parts of the country in ways that would have never happened in the past. It was great to get to know Andrew and his family face to face. As much as I appreciate the connections tech can bring, nothing beats gathering around a table.

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Our food arrived, and to our surprise, our order of pulled pork sandwiches and hushpuppies was quadrupled. The sweet man from the parking lot, wanting us to sample it all, purchased beans, chicken, onion rings, and potato salad for us! We sampled it all, just a taste, I seriously think I will be full for the next week. This was the last kind of BBQ we were waiting to try- Western BBQ- chopped pork with a vinegar/tomato based sauce- not the thick sweet kind you would think. It also is well known for it’s red cole slaw. Diced cabbage with more of the vinegar, tomato sauce. Put it altogether and it was a combination that was incredible. The boys loved the hushpuppies and gladly took a doggy bag of the leftover ones for the airplane ride home.

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Making connections, trying new things, seeing new places….this trip was not just about eating. It was about showing our boys how others live and the places they call home. It was about slowing down, spending time together and seeing a side of the country, explored through the culture of BBQ. We did eat a lot, plans of salads and workouts are already filling our heads as we go back to our busy, calendar driven lives. The memories of the places we explored will undoubtably  stay with us forever. We went in search of great BBQ, and found it, but also found great people and connected in a way that technology can’t do. This was our first family vacation since my parents had gotten sick and passed.  Maybe it was a greater  journey of sorts, to see some family roots, regroup, and remind ourselves what our place is and how are we connecting with each other and those around us every day.

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