You know those days when you find yourself going from one side of the extreme scale to the other in a short period of time? It leaves you feeling a little disoriented, off balance, and torn between anxiety and restful. This was one of those days that started off with a visit to a beautifully serene visit to a state park and ended with sensory overload at a gas station.
Frozen Head State Park
When we moved to Tennessee, we set the goal of seeing every state park in the state. We have now seen 24 of the 57 state parks here. The day started with a visit to Frozen Head State Park in the east part of the state.
Even though spring has come to other parts of the state, here in the state park the buds of new leaves have just barely started to poke out along the branches. But the rocks have a layer of bright green moss which gave the whole park a little mystical feel to it. Small waterfalls could be seen on the side of the creek.
This park is smaller than most the others ones we have visited where all trails begin at the same place and they offer fewer amenities. But the park is all the more lovely because it’s not as busy as other parks.
Buc-ees Gas Station
After our hike through the state park we started on our way home where we saw a billboard advertising the new popular Buc-ees Gas Station. Started in Texas, this chain has made its way to Tennessee. This is the first Buc-ees to come to Tennessee and it is wildly popular. We had heard about Buc-ees and seen people wearing their merchandise so we decided to stop and check it out for ourselves. We pulled off the highway only to join a line of 50ish cars along the ramp, all heading to Buc-ees. The line of cars took up the whole off ramp and continued down the street and around the corner to the gas station…what kind of gas station is this?!?!
We pulled into the parking lot and looked out at the two long rows of gas pumps with pumps enough for 100 cars at once to fill up. We entered the side door and found ourselves in the largest most busy gas station ever. We asked the police officer at the entrance where the restrooms were and he told us to go past the clothing and home decor sections then continue past the food court and they would be on the left. There was a line into the restrooms and two employees acting as traffic directors into the stalls.
We wandered through the food court where they had sections for tacos, bakery, and jerky and also a grab and go area with salads, sides, chips, and things like that. But the main area had plenty of BBQ options. You know you’re in the south when a food court has 4 different kinds of BBQ meat sandwiches on one side and rows of specialty fudge on the other side.
There is a regular gas station section on the far side of the building, but that was far less used by the masses of people that were there. Not only was there specific Buc-ees merchandise on sale everywhere, there was even a meet and greet opportunity with Buc-ee himself.
Maybe we just happened to go at a busy time or maybe it’s this crazy all the time. But for better or worse it seems to be the new favorite place to visit.
It was a day of extremes for sure between the natural beauty of the state park and the wild commercialism of Buc-ees Gas Station. Though incredibly different, both places were very fitting for the day in their own way. You just can’t go wrong with a walk through the beautiful landscape of a state park and then finish off the day with a great BBQ brisket sandwich.
Looking for some more interesting stores here in Tennessee? Then check out these:
Thanks for coming along on this day of extremes from Frozen Head State Park to Buc-ees Gas Station. May the day give you the balance of hiking and BBQ.