“Go ahead,” the doctor said, with a funny look on his face. “But call this office as soon as you get back home!” Well, what could the doctor say to a man with severe heart failure, once on the transplant list, now presenting himself with slight “chest pain” and a car fully packed and ready to go to Florida, right from his parking lot?
So….here we are. Two refugees from the snowy frozen Northland, enjoying every mile of the way. Indiana goes by very, very fast. Good farmland (i.e., not much “scenery.”) — and still a little astonished that we “got away with it” — ha ha. We’re on our way!
And then, the world opened up, right before our eyes:
That’s a view with the road just stretching before us and mountains way in the distance as far as we could see. When you live on “flatlands” you can hardly ever see more than a few miles ahead – even if you’re out in the countryside.
We are always fascinated seeing the “inside’ of those mountains. Beautiful layers of rock cuts that the highway flows through. This is in Kentucky, Mammoth Cave country – and a few hundred other caves, if you read all the billboards. I like caving, a lot, but this wasn’t the right time to stop.
Tennessee has them too.
Tennessee again, with a close-up up those rock cuts oozing water. I imagine the wells up there must deliver delicious drinking water, filtered through many rock layers. This water was frozen. I don’t know why…the sun was already feeling hot through the windows.
Traffic was flowing along very, very fast. Fine with me, although this is a sobering thought:Many of you can recognize the “road” on the left made for trucks so if a truck loses its brakes on the way down those mountains, the trucker can steer off the side of the highway onto that ramp, and the upgradient will bring the truck to a stop as it reaches the top. At least, that’s the idea. This one looked freshly graded – as in “recently used.” The grade here was 6% downhill. Everywhere today when the speed limit sign says 70, you drive about 80 or so; but here, when the speed limit sign said 55, most of us drove about 50. Steep downgrades, sharp curves.
Mountain driving can be dangerous.
That’s just so…”wrong.” I listen to the Truckers’ show on the radio every night; I’ve come to like and respect these guys.
The accident slowed traffic to a crawl for more than an hour, but you can’t complain at a time like this. We did have lots of time to see some beautiful scenes again. A waterfall coming out of the rock cut:
Sorry if this is boring, but we kept staring at the Great Smokies — which are really very smoky! Hundreds of miles of smoky tops. There was a place you could stop that offered a view of seven states, all “smoky,” I’m sure. Dirty windshield, but the mountains really are “smoky” like that.
Coming down in elevation, we crossed the beautiful Chattanooga River, winding through mountain tops.The first one looking north up the river, this second one looking south down the river. It was a real thrill driving through the middle of those two scenes, looking right and left out of the windows.
We’ve had nothing but friendliness and politeness from the southerners. Hubbie likes to close out our time in the lobbies of motels by saying, “Oh, by the way, is the pool open?” We get the strangest looks. They solemnly tell us, “It’s winter here.” But one young man was ready with a reply: “You folks from Michigan may be ready for a swim, but it’s too cold for us here.” Hubbie looked a little surprised: “How did you know we’re from Michigan?” “Oh,” he said, “I can tell by your accent.”
That’s not fair – we swear he can’t – at least he shouldn’t have zeroed in on our state. So I reminded him he spoke with an accent too. Ha Ha! He agreed. He said, “Yeah, we say Howdy around here.” (But, I thought, you say it funny.) Then he asked us to say: “You betcha!” Well, of course we could; you betcha.
The food is delicious!! Delicious!! They barbecue everything in a most delicious sauce!! Even barbecued coleslaw! Tonight I had Brunswick Soup — in a barbecue sauce. It was so good I was astonished at the flavor. I think I must haave slurped it down. Ever hear of barbecued soup? (And isn’t “Brunswick” up in Canada?)
And the iced tea. This is the only place in our whole country that makes iced tea just right. It tastes fresh-brewed and it’s sweetened exactly right. How do they do that? In every restaurant – just right!
So we ended Day 2 of our road trip.It was a gibbous moon tonight as we entered our motel. Hubbie hit the Internet in the lobby, I ran around the motel buildings three times. Really. What else do you do when you’re wearing your MBTs and you’ve been sitting in a car all day – and you have a belly full of barbecued Brunswick Soup!
(Thanks, Son, for the phone call about the heavy snowfall at home today!)
And thanks to Our Lord for watching over us. Deo Gratias. You have a beautiful world.