Friday, October 2, 2009
We started the day with sun and clear skies. It clouded over by mid-day and cleared for a sunny drive in Ohio. We didn't make it back before sunset, so we parked and unloaded in the dark.
It's been a wonderful trip. We're anxious to head out again, but not before we let the memories of this trip sink in.
9,167 miles driven (14.4 mpg)
6,934 miles towing the trailer
Some of the places we visited:
13 National Parks
8 National Monuments
4 State Parks
2 Space Museums
The employees and volunteers at national and state parks do an outstanding job of teaching and serving the public. Everyone we met was very pleasant and helpful.
We met strangers whom we'd now like to call friends.
Every place we visited was unique ... and the country is full of new sights to experience.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Methodist Church … a blacksmith and carpenter built this church in 1902 in 115 days for $115
Missionary Baptist Church, built in 1915 ceased to meet during the Civil War because members were mostly Union sympathizers and the Confederates held the upper hand here
John P. Cable Grist Mill was built about 1870. It was originally a grist mill and a sash sawmill
Smoke House (and snake resort ... they warned us not to go inside)
We drove over the mountain to Newfound Gap and to Clingmans Dome after leaving Gatlinburg.
Clingmans Dome (6643 ft) … the temperature dropped to 42°F and clouds covered the peak
Clouds at the Dome
Monday, September 28, 2009
Scenery between Nashville and Knoxville was beautiful, lush, green and so very different from what we saw in the southwest. Carol was entranced by the many “brown” highway signs. It seemed that Tennessee offers public park opportunities at nearly every exit. Their rest areas are well maintained and beautifully placed among trees.
Big Meadow Family Campground offers everything missing from last night. We’re parked along a river. It’s peaceful and cool. This is a phenomenal introduction to the beauty of the Smoky Mountains.
We decided to see the Smokey Mountains before going home to Columbus. After a pretty, 374 mile drive through forested areas in beautiful weather, we ended up stopping in Jackson, TN. It's halfway between Memphis and Nashville, and kind'a out in the boonies.
There are very few campgrounds between Memphis and Nashville. We drove until after dark and finally pulled into Whispering Pines RV Park about 3 miles south of I-40E. This is one of the worst parks we've been in ... power was miss-wired and no rest rooms. Fortunately, we were prepared to operate self-contained and did. We wouldn't be here had we seen it in the light.
The day had a few highlights. Unfortunately, one will suggest all we do is eat.
Take exit 183 on I-40E (between Little Rock and Memphis), go south about 3 blocks and you'll find a parking lot on the left jamb packed with cars and semis. You're at Nick's BBQ and Catfish Restaurant. Dick had ribs, Carol had catfish and we shared fried peach pie. Wow! The meal was excellent.
We drove through downtown Memphis at 6pm. It was Sunday evening and the sun was setting. The view of the city and the Mississippi River was very pretty.
Did you know?
Texarkana is the only city in the US where the post office resides in two states and has two zip codes.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
The trip to Texarkana was long (386 miles) and the route (FM 620 to TX-45 to I-35N to I-35E to I-20 to I-635 to I-30E) was pleasant.
We stopped at Collin Street Bakery in Waco, TX on a lark. It was an unexpected treat! We learned it was founded in 1898 and is famous for fruitcake. Their chicken salad sandwich on pecan bread was really delicious. Go north on I-35 and take exit 220A at Waco for great service and fresh baked goods.
Time out for lunch
There's little chance of wake damage with lake water this low
We had the opportunity to meet Barbara's daughter-in-law (Jill) and granddaughters (Cassidy and Kendall) at River Ridge Rattlers cheer leading practice.
Jill and Barbara enjoy the practice
At Jill's recommendation, Bruce took Dick on a shopping trip to Allens Boot Center for a real leather, hand-tooled, western belt. It was a great suggestion. The search was successful.
We finished the day with a fun dinner at Z' Tejas Southwestern Grill. Everyone decided to experiment by selecting a unique entree. The selections were delicious. As a reward we went home and finished off Barbara's Chocolate Whacky cake. We're obviously a very disciplined group.
Friday, September 25, 2009
We slept late and went to City Market for lunch and some grocery shopping. Their tortilla soup was excellent. The market specializes in offering the unusual … their shopping selection was out of this world. Fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, delicacies, you name it – they have it in wide selections.
Dinner was another Stevenson treat. Bruce prepared shrimp in garlic butter over linguini with asparagus. It was delicious. Barbara added her wonderful Chocolate Whacky Cake with ice cream to the event. Everyone smiled for the rest of the evening. (Note to us: we need to leave here soon or our clothes won’t fit.)