Traveling Cross Country, the Departure
Thirty years ago when Jenni and I had first become engaged, we drove from the Upstate of SC to San Antonio in a rental truck crammed with all her belongings, pulling her Pontiac Sunbird behind us. We had to look for strictly pull-through parking lots and joked that if we were still speaking at the end of that trip we would get married. We were and we did. So this past month, perhaps in recognition of our 30th wedding anniversary, we kicked it up a notch and planned a trip in our Honda Civic from South Carolina to California and back! We said if we were still speaking to each other after THIS one we would stay married another 30 years (hopefully more!).
The car was packed with the precision of a Lego structure…meaning you may have to remove two items to extract a third. There was a food cooler on the back seat that would later hold our hiking boots and winter coats when we began to run out of space. We had suitcases earmarked for different locations and climates. And we had our new graphite walking sticks.
We planned the trip to be about 6,000 miles using rough estimates on an old atlas and we had a strict deadline to be home by November 30th. So on the morning of November 7th, at 7 AM we pushed the reset button on our odometer trip recorder and pulled out of the driveway. At 7:07 AM we made our first U-turn and grabbed some muffins at Marci Jo’s Olde Mountain Store and Bakery and then it felt like we were really on our way. We had made it all of 7 miles before we realized we left our metal water bottles in the dish drain at home. Oh well, we were truly on an adventure now!
My mind works off of numbers; I’m always counting something. We saw 2 hot air balloons west of Asheville. We took pictures knowing at the end of the trip we would wonder if we had dust on our lens. Then we saw a whole string of hot air balloons stretching in a line across the interstate only to realize they were the orange marker balls placed on power lines to alert aircraft to the wires. The longest convoy coming down the Smoky Mountains into Tennessee was 8. We had a 27 minute delay for construction which led to a convoy without end. We made our 2nd U-turn in Lebanon TN for an Outlet Mall that had twice the vacancies for each occupied store (and we didn’t enter a single store). And if you were curious, we (okay, I) counted 6-1/2 dead deer along the TN interstate. We spent the first night in Memphis but did no more than walk a mall for exercise, walk an Ikea for MORE exercise, and then eat Memphis-style barbeque. I suggested we break out the walking sticks for the mall but Jenni declined; I forgot to suggest it at Ikea. But all in all, not a bad day.
Check back later for more of our adventures.