Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Old Thoughts - New Thoughts

Well - we have spent the better part of the last three days 'on the move'. Which has given time for thinking - for better or worse.

First the activities - then the thoughts.

Finally weather and lack of planning caught up with us. Saturday we were up bright and early for our drive to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park via the Blue Ridge Parkway. What we could see was beautiful - but we were in a cloud/fog a good portion of the way. AND - this was to be Gary's BIG day - the purchase of an annual National Park pass for a mere $10!! (This is a result of his celebration of his 62nd birthday.) After driving all over the park without any entrance gates to collect our fee/buy Gary's pass, we found out that there is no entrance fee for this park!! Gary was soooo disappointed to NOT spend his $10!!

Rain and fog in the Great Smokey Mountains

Our spot next to the river in the Smokey Mountains

The next morning was still rainy and foggy, preventing any kind of views - so we decided to continue on to Nashville. The thought occurred to us to call and see if anything we wanted to see or do was open since we were now to Easter Sunday! The Grand Ole Opry is dark on Sunday and Monday (and we just missed Vince Gill and a host of others on Saturday night), the Bluebird Cafe is closed on Sunday, etc. etc. etc. After deciding that we could at least 'do lunch' at Cafe Loveless - only to find an hour wait - we grabbed pulled pork sandwiches at their market and kept on trukin' to St. Louis for the night. It was still so rainy, windy and cold that we did not even stop for a picture at the arch.

Monday was an all day drive to North Sioux City, SD - right through Omaha, again because of the rain, wind and cold we did not stop at the zoo as previously planned. We did have a little sunshine by the time we arrived at a KOA campground to get the golf clubs out and dry them off from our rain-out at Mt. Mitchell on Friday!! One other item I keep forgetting to note - mileage. As we passed Kansas City we logged 5,000 miles on this trip!!

Now for the thoughts. All this driving gave lots of time to ponder------

1 - Our country is beautiful! We came back to the land of pink blossoming trees the last couple of days - much like what we saw through Arkansas and Alabama. They really made the highway wonderful to drive. AND - it is also interesting how the landscape knows where the state line is! It is true - trees, hills/mountains, grass, etc changes as you pass from state to state. How does that work???

2 - Remember when you were young and did these road trips with your parents (or maybe as young parents with your children) and you looked for the Stuckeys for a bathroom and snack break? I wondered where they had all gone - I found them! They are still out there, especially along the old Route 66 stretch. Now, however, they are really a Dairy Queen (under the sign of Stuckeys - did they buy this right??). This is just fine with me as I live for a small chocolate Dairy Queen sundae mid-afternoon. So - all is well on the Stuckeys front.

3 - There are more Baptist churches in Arkansas, Alabama and South Carolina than Catholic churches in Italy!! Something I never thought possible. AND - there are so many different kinds - Free, Independent, Free Will, Evangelical - you name it. They are from the very large to the very small - BIG brick buildings to corrugated sheet metal - three on every corner across from each other - very BIG out in the middle of no where! How are all of these supported??

4 - Every town and city seems to have an 'Historical District/Main Street'. Does every town really have historical significance? Do you have to have historical significance to have an historical district? In our travels yesterday I came to the conclusion that every town in America puts up a sign on the highway "Historical District Next Exit". I came to this conclusion as we passed by Blackwater, MO and asked Gary what he thought the historical significance of Blackwater was?? He looked up Blackwater on his all-knowing iPhone. Blackwater has a population of 199 people covering .3 square mile (according to 2005 census) and had NO mention of any historical battles, birthplace of any notable, nothing! It almost made us want to go back and see WHAT made up the Historical Main Street of this town - original saloon, sheriff office, ?????

Well - this is probably enough of my rambling and we need to get on the road to the BADLANDS!

More later - E&G

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