Tom and I recently spent most of a day off driving 145 miles to go to Chicken Salad Chick. I wrote about Chicken Salad Chick previously in my blog, and Tom and I head there every other week or so when we are in Columbus. We love the many different kinds of chicken salad served there and get pick up the quick chick packs frequently.
You may think that driving 145 miles to go to a restaurant chain is excessive. Haven’t you ever had a craving? When I was at Scout camp one year with John, I found out that I would walk 2 miles in 95 degree heat to get a cold diet coke. Maybe driving that far is extreme, but it wasn’t, of course, our only reason to go so far.
The real reason we drove so far was to see our friend Caitlyn Edwards. We worked with Caitlyn in 2017, our first year here at Fort Frederica. She was a seasonal ranger and we just fell in love with her energy and enthusiasm. After her season at Fort Frederica, she got a term position at Fort Sumter and we met her in Savannah for lunch three years ago. Two years ago she stopped by Fort Frederica to see us before a visit with her parents.
Caitlyn started working at Andersonville, her first permanent position, as a supervising interpretive ranger. Knowing she was in the state, we felt like we needed to find a good halfway point to meet her. If you look at a map of Georgia and draw a line between Americus, where Caitlyn lives, and St. Simons, where we live, you will find yourself in the middle of the pine barrens north of Okefenokee Swamp. Not a lot of restaurant or hiking options. Tom and I decided we could drive 2/3 of the way to see her, especially once we found out there was a Chicken Salad Chick in Tifton, Georgia.
That’s how we ended up driving 145 miles to Chicken Salad Chick. Tifton, Georgia is 145 miles from St. Simons. We took US 82 to get there, which was a long, straight shot on a good, four-lane road. It wasn’t a difficult drive but there wasn’t much to see along the way. It is a rural area with lots of pine tree farming along the way. We saw long-leaf pine trees in all stages of growth, from saplings to mature trees ready to be harvested. We also saw acre after acre that had been clear-cut and was being prepared for more pine trees.
Tom and I saw some interesting towns along the way. Waycross is the biggest we drove through, after Brunswick. Waycross is so named because the town grew up at the intersection of six train lines. It has about 15,000 people, close to the same size as Tifton. All the other towns along the way were very small and run-down. But they had some interesting names like Enigma, Hoboken (named after the city in New Jersey), and Willacoochee. Willacoochee is a Creek word which means “home of the wildcats.”
Tifton, on the other hand, is a more prosperous looking small city. About 17,000 people live in Tifton. It is the home of the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. The University of Georgia also has a branch in Tifton. I think this college atmosphere for the town allows it to be a little better off than some similar sized towns. There were several parks and some lovely large houses.
There is a good Agricultural Museum at the college, but, unfortunately, it was closed on Monday. And the day was cold and rainy so we set aside any idea of taking a hike. Instead, we stayed at Chicken Salad Chick for three hours talking, laughing, and catching up with Caitlyn. It was so good to see her. We gave Chicken Salad Chick plenty of business. We got three lunches – I highly recommend the Chicken Salad BLT and the Cheddar Broccoli soup. Then a little later we got three sugar cookies. Before we left we got some chicken salad to go and picked up some more sugar cookies to give to our rangers.
Driving 145 miles to eat at Chicken Salad Chick might seem like a lot. But we would gladly drive that to visit with a friend and get a great meal in the bargain.