Day 4 starts with us thankful we weren’t bummed to death in the middle of the night, although Stew looks more disappointed.
The City Inn continued to be stereotypically motel-like with police sirens through the night and the sound of continuous trains nearby. Still – it was well located and within budget.
The noise helped us get an early start on the road to Atlanta – it literally is 1 road for about 4 hours. The car has been more than comfortable for the miles – and we are hitting around 32mpg; not bad for a 3.7 litre engine. The petrol prices here really do shame the UK, it’s about 60p a litre and filling the Mustang cost about $48, around £30.
The irony of us sat on an interstate in a Mustang listening to American power ballads and stopping off at Wallmarts for breaks isn’t lost on us yet.
Heading in to Atlanta, you get presented with a gorgeous wide city view which is hard to take in with 6 lanes of interstate to navigate. Once again we find our hotel about a block from part of the city – and also once again it’s a dodgy motel. It’s actually reviewed well on Trip Advisor – so will do for 2 nights.
A five minute walk and we hit a buzzing metropolis – huge skyscrapers and crisp blue skies.
No food challenges today, but the opportunity to visit 2 restaurants from Man vs Food – Gladys Knight’s own place and Vortex – a fairly grungy bar. Fortunately both are on the same road, and 10 mins from the hotel.
Gladys Knight’s Signatures is a brilliant red lounge style restaurant specialising in chicken. We both opt for something a little lighter but still featuring chicken. High marks around, even if it says ‘no weapons’ on the way in.
Before heading to Vortex we take out the World of Coca Cola. It’s all very brand heavy stuff – terrible short films that bleat on about the meaning of Coke, and a tour that promises to reveal the secret recipe then just shows you a locked safe then the exit.
The gem and justification for £10 entry had to be the tasting room. Wonka-esc in appearance, you can try 60 Coke brands from around the world. We take the challenge and rocket through them all, from the lovely Fanta Pineapple from Greece to the frankly shite-tasting Beverley from Italy.
After this room, you get to another with the 100 variations of the US Coke brands on tap. We pass this as the thought of anything fizzy begins to repulse us – fortunately they present everyone with a free bottle of standard Coke on the way out!
After a short break, we jump on the underground (‘Martha’) to Vortex. Vortex is a dark bar, full of various signs and American memorabilia that appeals to locals and tourists. The selection of burgers is legendary, from standard to monstrous. Stew bravely opts for the ‘Double Coronary’ – 2 half pound burgers with onions, eggs, cheese, 8 strips of bacon between 2 grilled cheese sandwiches. He eats it. He regrets it. Fantastic burgers though, and great atmosphere.
We walk back to stroll off the remaining Cola and burgers in our bodies and prepare for our first full day in the same location.