Monday, June 21, 2010

As you can see by this topsy turvy picture we didn't stop in Nashville but continued on toward Memphis on our Sunday drive, June 20. The Grand Ole Oprey has been badly damaged by flood waters of a few weeks back.
This was Father's Day and Linda had tucked away some cards and gifts from our family which she brought out and presented to me before we checked out of our hotel room in Johnson City that morning. One of the items was a CD from our daughter Melissa that her son Garrett helped her prepare. It was full of songs by John Denver, including special favorites like "Almost Heaven, West Virginia," and "Rocky Mt High, Colorado." What a great time we had playing that CD as we went down the highway through music land, USA.

When we continued on journey westward from Johnson City, TN on Sunday morning, June 20, I left behind my set of maps and didn't realize it until we were quite a ways down US 11 towards Knoxville. I knew we needed to connect with US 70 somewhere outside Knoxville, but without without the road atlas and considering the slow pace through each and every little country town it became apparent that we needed to get on the I-40 and stay there. I felt bad for Linda because she really doesn't like competing with 18-wheelers and the high-speed of the freeway, but it made more realistic our being able to arrive at our destination in Arizona by the 23rd or 24th.

Note the turn-off for Oak Ridge, Tennessee in this picture as we were westbound on the I-40. The Oak Ridge Nuclear Laboratory used to be in the news all the time back in the days of the Cold War. Now, you never hear of it, but it is still there.

On Saturday, June 19, as we crossed the Tennessee border on US 321 we entered the Cherokee National Forest. Our roadway took us along the southern edge of Watauga Lake State Park. It was a warm, humid day and the lake was busy with boaters, water skiers and many families and groups picnicing, swimming and enjoying their Saturday.

On our drive home to Arizona from Virginia we determined at first to take the back roads and enjoy the countryside, staying off the Interstate highways. So, after a very tiring and emotional time of packing up and saying our last goodbyes to our dear Bedford members and friends we made a very late start down the road on Friday, June 18, getting only to Rocky Mount, south of Roanoke before stopping for the night in a hotel. The next day, Saturday, June 19, we left Rocky Mount at about noontime and made our way west and south into western North Carolina, crossing up over the Blue Ridge and, after a good many twists and turns up and down narrow mountain and country roads we stopped for the night in Johnson City, on the extreme east border of Tennessee, getting a lovely, so comfortable room in a Courtyard by Marriott hotel. What a blessing for two very happy but still very tired people!
On our way across the Blue Ridge in western North Carolina we kept seeing sights like this: whole mountain sides covered in Christmas trees! Mile after mile of them! It was a first for us. We have seen tree farms before but nothing on this scale!