Archives for posts with tag: pop-up camping

I left the redwood area, reluctantly, today only because I knew I had some wonderful adventures ahead of me taking roads through Oregon and Nevada I’d never before traversed. What a change of scenery in just seven hours! I have determined that Oregon is schizophrenic…it can’t decide if it’s a coastal state, rain forest or arid, bleak lands! Here, let me prove it!

Hwy 199 out of California into Oregon.

Then it starts to change to a more arid terrain.

Then fertile fields…

now with snow-capped mountains…

rolling hills meeting majestic mountains

Back to arid again

Oregon starts to look like northern Nevada as Highway 140 turns southward

Must be getting closer to Nevada but this place is so dessolate so I don’t really know!

Nevada is getting closer…

And…there it is! Nevada looking like a huge meteorite crashed into the middle of those mountains. Wish you could see it better in this photo.

Beautiful colors only Nevada has…

Mountain peaks which look like ocean waves crashing into each other.

I came around the corner from all that arid terrain to think I was seeing a mirage…which turned into a lake in the middle of it all!

Then more change in the mountains…beautiful change.

So, my friends, there you have my case on Oregon. I didn’t show you what I’d already witnessed yesterday on Hwy. 199 of the Smith River area that’s more rain forest than anything else but you’ve already seen that post, right? Sure you have!

Happy Trails!

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Today was so full in such a short period of time! It took four hours to drive less than a total of 40 miles! When I found yet another dirt road to explore, it was a “no contest” kinda’ decision and off Montana and I went to see hidden groves of redwoods. We went down Howland Hill Road and found some amazing views. Apparently, parts of Star Wars was filmed in these woods or some close by and I can certainly see why!

I can so see this tree in Star Wars!

Now this is what I call a tunnel of love!

Perspective!

I could have driven my truck through that tree! The tree was quite larger than it looks. Crazy!

Only one in five seeds actually becomes a redwood. They regenerate themselves in so many ways, one of which happens to be through the dead ones on the ground or through burl which provides a whole new eco system for them to sprout up out of the dead logs!

Another whole world inside the base of a fallen tree!

There’s something up in that tree, grandma! I just know it! (Myrtle Grove)

We went hiking up a trail with lots of wild flowers blooming everywhere! Looks like rhododendron to me! Ours don’t get that big at the cabin!

By making a wrong turn, I found the Smith River again! I lost it 15 years ago! LOL

Glacier water…as green as an old Coca Cola bottle held up to the sun!

spectacular!

Then it was off to introduce Montana to the beach! Boy, did she ever have a blast running circles around me. I never saw a dog so happy! We both had been cooped up too long either in the house, the truck or the camper! It just felt so good getting out there. I couldn’t let her off the run but I’d taught her dressage as a pup so she could get enough exercise. I hold up my arm and she literally runs circles around me as I walk. It draws quite a crowd and she gets the exercise she needs. After jumping in and out of the water and laughing like a kid for about a mile or so, she started to calm down a little. It was so cute seeing her be so happy. Dogs are great that way!

One happy puppy!

No wonder they call it “Pebble Beach”!

And the grande finale!

Well, we’re off to Boulder to see Mandy and family! I can’t wait to get big hugs from my oldest daughter! Love her so much!

Happy Trails!

Remember the part in my last post where I talked about this nice guy from Tennessee (now living in Oregon) who stopped to look at the same trees in the redwood forest where God lives who took a picture of me and Montana? Well, if I forgot to tell you then, I’m tell you now! Well, as I was meandering along, stopping hither, thither and yon and missing turns, lo and behold there is a car in front of me that looks a great deal like his with Oregon tags turning down the same trek I’ve been shooting for the last hour! I’m talking to myself saying, “Naw. Can’t be. This is cosmic or something…but what?” So, there’s this really cool place where we both pull off and I’m determined to see if it is him or not. Yep. It’s the same guy. I say “Hello” and “What are the chances of this happening, like a bazillion to one?” and he just smiles and goes on his way as I do as well.

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I’m now thinking Celestine Prophecy and start wondering what the message is as I keep driving ahead of him now. Next think I know, he’s passing me from the opposite direction on a road that is a one-lane dirt road. Third time is a charm or just another coincidence? We’ll never know because that’s where it stopped.

But it’s also where I totally came unglued. Still don’t know what charged the eruption other than the horrific loss of my gypsy belly dancing opera singing best friend daughter and how she was supposed to make this trip with me this summer but why at this moment. And maybe the lack of sunlight for the last few days. But why at this place? I’ve held it together so many weeks. Was it because I’d finally made it back after fifteen years of longing to see this beautiful place again and to show her?

Sorry, I digress but it’s what I do best these days.

So, back to the yellow brick road story. This road I was taking this afternoon was called Prairie Trail because it was used by the settlers on their wagons as they settled the west and, when you think about it, most of our major highways and byways are animal trails followed by Native Americans followed by settlers now permanently carved into history with asphalt.

OOPS. Did it again, didn’t I?

I finally screamed and cried enough out to settle back down to driving the redwood forest back toward Crescent City as I’d strayed about 35 miles south to Klamath where Prairie Trail Redwood Forest is located.

I’d been told earlier today that the drive up Pebble Beach Road was pretty awesome in Crescent City so I followed my normally straight nose down a very crooked path but ended up getting where I wanted to be…driving up the coast toward the city’s first lighthouse about six miles off shore. See, the coast is so riddled with huge, hidden boulders that the lighthouse needs to be six miles away to warn sailors of their impending doom! There’s also a smaller, closer version (probably for looks) near where I ate dinner.

BUT, before I even get back to Crescent City, on Hwy. 101, cars are pulling off the road like crazy! Then a pack of motorcyclist pull off like an emergency vehicle is coming from outer space because I can’t see why they’re doing this. People are walking into the right-of-way! Then, I see it!Image

A MOOSE IS CAUSING THIS TRAFFIC JAM? REALLY? These crazy people are just a few feet away from this male moose who is horny and hungry! They obviously didn’t read the precautionary information about wild animals! LOL

Now for the journey down Pebble Beach Road:

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And the Crescent City Lighthouse on the Bay (not the one six miles out):

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As I drove back toward the heart of Crescent City I realized I hadn’t eaten since those pancakes this morning and all I could think about was finding descent seafood. There, in her front yard, was a woman about my age. I pull over and introduced myself and she directed me to eat at the Chart Room off Anchor Way at Crescent City Harbor. It was a lovely Mom and Pop restaurant with reasonable portions for reasonable prices and well prepared food. For dessert, I had seal. “What,” you say?

This is what I had for dessert!

ImageThe whole time I’m seated at the table either waiting for food or enjoying it, I’m thinking about seeing a sunset not even noticing out in the water is a floating dock full of seals! I overhear one of the waitresses saying they’re quite lazy and wait for the fishermen to come in and throw food overboard. What a life! I just had to take Montana (who had been patiently waiting in the truck while I ate) down to see them! She shivered like she’d just seen that moose again! Poor dog. I’ve tortured her terribly on this trip. She didn’t really like sitting down on that damp ground in front of all those redwoods today either. I’ll have to give her some of my pancakes in the morning to make up for it.

Well, that’s it for today except I won’t be using this method of posting again. It’s queer.

Happy Trails!

Entering His sanctuary

As they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, I’ll let this beautifully preserved part of the Jedediah Smith do all the talking for me. It truly is where God lives.

Burl is caused by a fungus which causes abnormal growths to form. They’re amazing as you will see.

Gaining some perspective…

it’s all about perspective, isn’t it?

And your little dog, too!

Perspective

and more…

Precious – posing…see! she is trained! LOL

I have a picture of my niece, Mandy, standing on this exact same stump from 15 years ago!

Faces in the redwood burl. What do you see?

Faces. Lions, tigers and bears? Oh no! Turtle? Oh yes!

or trolls?

or octopi?

or ME & Montana! Surprise! Nice guy from Tennesse took this!

Burl heaven!

See Ava? She’s up a tree!

Ava – close up

Same path we all took 15 years ago!

more perspective w/ Montana as we walk down the path

more faces in the burl…look closely toward the left

and the grand finale

Right after taking this picture, Montana and I continued down the path as I remembered there being a beautiful meadow just a little further down. But, as we walked on, Montana started getting jittery and wasn’t showing a whole lot of interest in going further. I heard some stomping or heavy walking which gave my heart a start. You’re in complete silence so every noise is magnified. I stopped and waited to hear more. Montana turned to go back toward the truck but quickly looked over her shoulder in a nervous, quick jerk. “Hmmmm, I said. We’re in Sasquatch country…don’t wanna be his woman! What say we get outta’ here post-haste?”

Back safely in the truck, I remembered seeing where an elk had pawed the ground so it probably was notifying me I was getting a little too close to the meadow. If you were raised in the city, don’t go to the forest without someone who knows what to look for and listen to in order to be safe.

Now that my camera is all charged up again, I’ll go check out more of the area as recommended by Rod this morning here at the KOA. So much redwood history…so little time!

I want to give a shout out to the KOA owner Joan Fallon fo Crescent City Redwoods KOA. She booked my stay here the other day and took care of me putting me right next to the restrooms in a pull through site. I was pleasantly surprised to find this KOA site to be very small and homey and not crammed packed with pavement and people. I was also impressed by the video they had playing this morning during breakfast which told about the redwood forest history and eco system. By the way, there is NO pavement in this KOA but there IS a redwood grove where the tent section is! The personnel here are so friendly and helpful plus they make a mean pancake breakfast (all you can eat for $3.50 which includes coffee) which charged me right up for the day! They’re at 4241 Hwy. 101 North, Crescent City, CA.

Now off to see the Crescent City Lighthouse!

Like I say, “It’s Motel 6 or KOA for me!”

Happy Trails!

Pacific Coast Highway (PCH a/k/a Hwy. 1) at its best is just above Bodega Bay all the way up to where it meets Hwy. 101. WOWSER! But first let me tell you about this little Mom & Pop restaurant in Petaluma. Last night, I was hungry and cold (still had my Vegas clothes on) and didn’t want to hike around late at night so I found a place that would deliver to my fav place to stay, Motel 6. It was called the Round Table and, as always, I ask THEM what is their special. When they told me it was a garlic sauce pizza with vegis and meat I had to know more. Tomatoes, green onions, cheese, sausage and mushrooms on pizza dough. Hmmm. He said it was simple but really very good. Well, don’t ya’ know you always go for what THEY say is their best item even if you never eat pizza but have driven a bazillion miles, are cold, tired and hungry! It was delicious! I saved the other half to heat up in the microwave tonight and it was still very good after riding in the car eight hours being thrown around in the box all that time on switchback roads!

Wait. I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s get back to how beautiful the drive was just outside of Petaluma on the way to Bodega Bay…so quaint and pastoral…happy cows everywhere!

Beautiful countryside just outside of Petaluma on the way to Bodega Bay via Hwy. 116.

Get a feel of the road here. Pastures on both sides of the road. See those happy cows on the left?

Gorgeous, lush pastures

Great road!

Then, when I thought I was already livin’ the dream, I came into Bodega Bay where the Bay meets the Pacific Ocean. Dreamland. Pure Dreamland.

Bodega Bay is a cute little village community.

Bodega Bay

Bodega Bay meets the Pacific Ocean!

Now the trip triples in delight as I drive up Hwy. 1 along the coast with the Pacific Ocean crashing against huge boulders stranded a million years ago from volcanic eruptions and held captive by the unrelenting force of this powerful body of water.

Wind surfers! Wind must have been 30-40 MPH!

Small rocks probably broken off from the boulders

Pacific Ocean Majesty

Views just kept getting better!

…and better

And then the road turns inland…

…where past generations established their boundaries by planting trees along the road. Each of the villages had trees planted along the roadway. Quaint. Homey.

The vegetation was so lush and full of so many varieties of green and more wildflowers of every color!

So many rivers that feed all this vegetation to cross as they stretch toward the ocean. (left the side mirror in for effect!)

stretching toward the ocean

The road turns inland again for a hair-raising switchback road from hell where Montana and I both got queasy from the turns even going only 10 to 20 MPH which the sign said was only 22 miles but I think it was for 122 miles! And, right when I didn’t think I could stand another turn in the road…there they were! My first grove of redwoods! I cried. Ava was supposed to see these trees with me.

And then….there they are!

They aren’t as pretty or as big as the ones I’m going to re-visit tomorrow after a 15 year absence but they were redwoods and God knows I’m a tree hugger from way back and these particular trees talk to my heart like no other.

I just love the texture and color of new growth on young, healthy evergreens. There was a bunch of it to see, too!

Well, guess that’s it for today’s Great Adventure.

Happy Trails!

Numa (Ava’s husband) and I decided to head for Tonopah, NV where my son, Carl, used to have a gold mine. My dad owned quite a chunk of land there and every year Mom and Dad would take Carl out west for him to work his mine. I’d tried to find my son’s old gold mine before but ran out of road and time. This time, Numa and I were going to find it and we almost did! All we needed was a 4-wheel drive to get to it!

We stayed in my pop-up camper over night. The last thing Numa said before he fell asleep was that he hoped the winds didn’t pick up. Well, talk about foreshadowing! I thought we were going to end up in Kansas in those early morning hours! We did a little more exploring to find a ghost town called Belmont. When I looked at the lady’s map, it sure looked simple enough to me. No need to write anything down or get more details, right? WRONG! We did have fun driving too fast over a crazy road to that DOESN’T go to the ghost town of Belmont giving me screams! He thought it was funny flying through the air leaving my heart in my throat and Montana throwing up in the back seat! The road really wasn’t that bad but I get butterflies going over little knolls too fast and he, a person who loves a good thrill, thought this was a cake walk! It was awesome!

I left Tuesday morning, taking the back roads, of course. What an amazing drive! It was just what my broken heart needed to see. Some of this country’s beauty to help me through today. It was two months ago today that my girl, Ava, took her life.

I got momentarily excited seeing how diverse our country’s landscape is and how quickly it changes from alien lands to canyon lands to river basins to lush, fertile farm lands. These next few pictures show you some of that diversity I saw in a few short hours yesterday.

Alien lands north of Tonopah, NV. Large fields of sand butting up to craggy mountains. Surreal.

As I got past this alien land, I got into a more remarkable area called Walker Lake. Talk about strange! A HUGE lake in the middle of no where with crumbling rocky mountains all around and no greenery!

Walker Lake just on the other side of Alien Lands!

Walker Lake with a touch of green!

Walker River Canyon just north of Walker Lake, NV

Walker River Canyon, NV

Walker River Canyon, NV

orange lichen growing on the side of this rock wall of Walker River Canyon made the whol rock look orange in the late afternoon hours. Pretty darn cool.

Mom kept telling me about raging fires in Arizona and I reminded her that I wasn’t going that way at all. Lo and behold as I come out of Walker River Canyon, I see fire in the distance and think, “Boy, am I glad I’m not headed for there!” Boy, was I ever wrong! My back road took me right past it! They closed the road and I begged the officer to let me go through so I could get to South Lake Tahoe for my prepaid Motel 6 room for the night! (Motel 6 rocks). Thank goodness they let me through but here’s a close-up of the fire with a touch of truck window thrown in for the heck of it!

What started out as a 1400 acre fire turned (at last I heard) into over 4000 acres maybe more. It was near Smith, NV

More fire near Smith, NV. I’d never seen anything like this before. It was a little frightening.

Cleared the fire and went through a little town called Wellington, NV. Cute!

Wellington School House 1898. Cool little town.

I made it from Tonopah, NV to South Lake Tahoe, CA in about four hours taking the road less travelled. Lots of little towns and beautiful countryside. Just what a soul needs.

Today, I’ll stay over to rest and catch my breath from the last two months before continuing on to the redwood forest where God lives. See, I’d been telling my daughter, Ava, about this place for fifteen years and this year she was going camping with me to finally see it. The local funeral director, Jeff who is now and forever my best friend, sent me a small urn with some of Ava’s ashes to me while I was tending to her final affairs in Las Vegas so she could come with me on this trip. Thank you Jeff. Your Mom-n-Pop operation sure has been there for me, first with Carl and now with Ava. You made a terrible and alien experience into a simple feat. You arranged everything from Atlanta so I wouldn’t have to worry about the arrangements after I told you how simple I wanted it all to be and my timeframe. Donahoo-Lewis Funeral Directors in East Point, GA were remarkable, loving and efficient.

I plan on writing more about my daughter as I move along this journey. She wrote of herself as being a “revolutionary woman” and that she was. More to come.

Happy trails!

I’ve been absent but for good reason. I’m diligently working on a book of short stories of real life adventures and misadventures from my childhood, my life and my journey toward mental health, happiness and rediscovering my joie de vivre, from a Friend, a book of short stories. As writers go, we write, re-write, edit, write some more and re-write and re-edit. It’s an OCD process that keeps my ADD very happy and my dyslexia in absolute misery. LOL I wouldn’t have it any other way because I wouldn’t know how to be any other way!

Want a peek into my novella, from a Friend, a story of Great Warrior? Read my blog “My Son’s Eyes” for a taste. It’s about the great adventure my family went on with my son, his disappearance and his communications with us from the other side. Faith, love and communication from all levels are explored and experienced in my journey through it all.

Jus as an aside, it seems like someone’s protesting or  complaining about the size of a person’s wealth but, to my way of thinking, I coulda’ been born into a wealthy family as there was a time when Mom’s family was. But things happen and as Dad used to say, “I shoulda’ been born rich instead of so damn good looking!” Yep. If he had been born rich, I would’ve had a totally different experience. Maybe I woulda’ never lost a son and almost a daughter but I also wouldn’t be the woman I am today and I like me just fine.

My next Great Adventure is June and July so we won’t miss the PowWows and Rodeos this year! I had thought I’d cancel this year’s adventure but I was reminded about the Mayan calendar thingie and decided I really needed to cram as much in this year as possible just in case they knew what they were talking about. So, Montana and  I’ll be heading west hoping Ava will join us on a great adventure up the Pacific Coast Highway to my favorite redwood forest in all the world where God lives. I can’t wait!

Right now, Montana won’t come away from the wood burning stove. She’s so cute! It’s funny but it’s very comforting to see my bird dog in front of a fire.

Happy Trails!

Montana in front of the fire

This part of my trip is just too good to skip over so I’m dedicating this post just to the beauty and wonderment of Flaming Gorge, Utah located in Ashley National Forest. I was so excited that I took this 14 photo sequence of my journey into the park and going back out. These photos have not been published in this blog before. I hope these images sends to you what I felt as I drove into this wonderland… awe, respect, quiet, wonderment, excitement, joy and about a million other emotions. Enjoy the journey.

#7 of 14 in sequence

#8

#9

#10

#11

#12

#13

and, last but not least, #14:

#14

You can visit other photos taken that day of Sheep Creek, the cabin I stayed in and other great views in my earlier post named “From Wyoming into the arms of Utah” published 5/17/11.

Happy Memories!

We’ve had the hammer down these last few days trying to finish up our trip to  Atlanta as Ava has music to learn before leaving for Austria, people to see at  home  and I’ve got 6 weeks of accumulated mail to dig through and grass to cut.  I’ll be  glad to be back home but I’m already planning my next trip.

As for this one, last night was scary. We were outside of Memphis by about 70  miles when we noticed quite a “light show” going on. The more east we went,  the  worse the lightning got; I’d never seen cloud to cloud lightning before and  this was  scary stuff. Strangest part of it was the lightening skipped across the  sky like a stone across water… barely hitting briefly down before showing up a  little farther down an imaginary horizontal line. THAT’s what convince me we needed to take action.

Ava, feeling the same way, whipped out her IPhone and went on Weather.com  while I tuned into a  local radio station to see how bad the weather was ahead.  After all, we were still in Arkansas and they’re known for tornadoes and hail.

That horrible ehhhhh ehhhhh alert was coming out of the radio at the same time  Ava found hail and storm warnings on her phone. That was it. The radio told us  to find shelter immediately! I’d remembered there was a Motel 6 in Brinkley,  Arkansas just west of Memphis from my 2009 trip. Ava pulled it up on Google  map and we got there without difficulty. We checked in and went to bed  unscathed. That was a close one.

This morning we drove to Knoxville to visit family and tomorrow we head for  Roanoke to visit a friend and then we head for ATL. Whew! 10,000 in 6 weeks.  I’m ready to go again.

I’m hoping to upgrade to a more unpredictable weather friendly structure to replace the pop-up by summers end and explore western half of Colorado.

In the meantime, Happy Trails to you until we meet again.

Ready for action - 5/13/2011

Ann (part owner of the Thai restaurant where we ate last night, Thai Cafe) had  invited Ava and me to her private 3 year anniversary celebration at Thai Cafe  today from 9:30 to 11:3o. After we broke camp, we drove into town where I  dropped Ava off and went to look for a parking space large enough for Silver (my  truck) with a pop-up attached. Good luck!

This is Old Santa Fe Trail (also Route 66 in some parts)

First of all let me say this about that. There is very little parking in Old Santa Fe,  the streets are very narrow and parking scarce.  It’s like New Orleans that way.  Finding street parking is because the “parking  Gods” are with you or there’s bad  weather! I understand they’re building parking  decks but that doesn’t  accommodate tourists in RV’s or with any kind of  truck/camper setup.

I proceeded to drive around and around. The good news is that Ava and I had  walked most of the area of Old Town that I was in the night before looking for  just the right place to eat (she won’t eat Mexican and I won’t eat Indian so we  settled on Thai). Fortuitously, I ended up at the Visitors Center where I found an  area marked “RV parking only”. Silver plus the pop-up certainly qualified as an  “RV” so I parked there while I went into the Visitors Center to tell them what I  was doing and why.

The woman at the Visitors Center put so many red markings of unsatisfactory  places of where to go on  the Old Town  map that I was totally confused by the  time I was leaving that I  pulled the “I’m a  writer” card. I told her I was going to  write about the parking  issue in my next  blog. She told me I could keep my car  where it was for a couple  of hours. So there it is; but there’s more!

I also told the woman at the Visitors Center that I was glad to have experienced  “dog friendly” merchants in Old Town the night before. She indicated the “dog  friendly” part didn’t extend to any other facilities. Great. Now I realize that I  won’t be able to take experience the two places I came to see: Georgia O’Keefe  Museum or San Miguel  because Ava was busy and I had nowhere to leave  Montana. Oh well. I’ll just have to come back when everyone else is at home (like the middle of the night) and when it’s not 100 degrees (like October) so I can leave Montana in the car and do it all.

San Miguel from the outside :={

They were repairing San Miguel with adobe bricks to match the ones used in  1610.

adobe bricks

Another church I’ll come back to see is Loretto Chapel.

Loretto Chapel

There are at least a million little shops in the old area of Santa Fe selling  traditional southwestern items for exorbitant prices.

Lots of shops selling everything southwestern

and…

rugs, baskets, turquoise jewelry, silver bracelets, etc.

None of the goods for sale were anything I could possibly afford. A young man  who was selling his art in one of the squares encouraged me to come look closer  at his paintings. I said, “Thank you but I can’t afford any of it.” His retort was,  “I haven’t told you any prices.” To which I replied, “When you’re on Social  Security and Congress only voted themselves a raise and not you, and you’re  2000 miles from home, you can’t afford it no matter how much it is.” True dat!

Because Ava needs to get to Atlanta, we decided to skip Albuquerque. Mostly, it  was me because I was going to have to come back to Santa Fe when the weather  gets cooler (a lot cooler) to see what I missed. I’ll enjoy Albuquerque then. And,  as for Ava, she’ll come back on her own as she’s in love with Santa Fe.

San Miguel from the outside :={

So much for the Santa Fe part and now for the I-40 afternoon!

The first part of my trip was cold, snowy and windy until I got right outside of  Las Vegas. Then, it was just windy for about two weeks until right before I left.  Then it got baking hot with only some wind. When I was in Utah and Colorado,  the weather was kinda’ hot during the day but nice and crisp at night.

That’s all gone now that we’ve left the mountainous regions and headed south  for Santa Fe. There? It was HOT! Thank goodness there was enough of a cool  breeze last night to keep the temperature in the pop-up fairly nice. I think that’s  over. I think the Vegas weather pattern is following me 2000 miles to home.  Mom said it was 91 degrees in Atlanta today.

We made it to Amarillo, Texas to camp for the night and it’s HOT! We’re going to do the Trucker Dew routine tomorrow to get as close Memphis as possible without killing each other. Trucker Dew, you ask? Well, you must be a newby. Last year when I was driving back from Vegas, I got hyped up on Mountain Dew and only ate Slim Jims with a side of cheese and drove for 36 hours to get home. I stopped only at truck stops to nap for a few hours before hitting the Dew again. That’s what I call pedal to the metal, trucker style.

Object of the game is to get to Maryville, Tennessee by early Friday afternoon to see my sister and her family and get into cooler weather!

Happy Trails!