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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Long Day on the Road Nov.2/17

We left Oklahoma City with Starbucks in hand. The freeway was fast and I was busy observing signs of interest, for instance this is the home of Garth Brooks. We crossed through Chisholm Trail where huge cattle drives on their way from Texas to Kansas, today they move them by truck or train.
Further on down the road things got a little more exciting......we could see a police car, siren going and lights flashing coming up behind us. No worries, we knew we weren’t speeding. Soon we were pulling over and they pulled up behind us.  We know to wait in the car till they approach, one officer came to each side of us. We knew too to follow proper procedure, sunglasses off, hands visible on steering wheel for driver.  When asked to present his licences Jeff asked for permission to get his jacket from the back seat.....which was granted.  The officer on my side asked if we knew why we were stopped.  Apparently the “state”on our rear licence plate was not visible and must be visible to,officers from a distance of 50feet. They then queried us about where we were from and what we were doing.....blah blah we told them we were on a big road trip.....and they let us go. As Jeff says, they see two old people and odds are low that we’re up to no good!
On our way again, it’s cotton fields and windmill farms, don’t mess with Texas signs. Yes, we crossed into Amarillo Texas, everything is horsey, cowboy and big.  The road is long and straight......and leads into New Mexico, through Alberquerque, we decided to push on a little further and ended up for the night in a place called Gallup. Our hotel upgraded us to a suite, gave us a recommendation for dinner and off we went to Badlands Grill.  It was probably the best meal we have had on the entire trip, steak for us both.....Jeff’s a 16oz for the princely sum of $37. and mine a respectable 6oz for $32.
Washed down with Dos Cervasas.
Tomorrow we head for Carefree Arizona where we will enjoy being relatively stationary for the rest of November.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November 1st moving on

This morning we got an early start at just after 8, found a stand alone coffee shop in Fayetteville, as there was not Starbucks. We set our gps first to Memphis, it was to be a long drive. Highway 40 as opposed to the mainly secondary roads we had been on for most of our trip.
We saw cotton fields, some already stripped, some still white balls of cotton on the fields. We took a bridge over the Mississippi River into Arkansas then into the state of Oklahoma.  Trucks, trucks and more trucks, reminding us of how all those goods get moved around the country. The ugly side of road trips, semis in the fast lane and gas station bathrooms!
We had purchased some cold meat, cheese and crackers so had lunch on the road, with just stops for gas. At one such stop I came out of the bathroom and wondered, where was Jeff? Then I noticed him cleaning the windows of a car at another gas pump, the woman in the car had seen him cleaning our windows and said she would pay him $2 if he would clean hers too! He of course said I’ll clean your windows but you don’t have to pay me......as I came over she proceeded to tell me she was gassing up for a trip tomorrow, where she was going and staying...blah blah blah!
On the road again....we settled for the night in Midwest Oklahoma where there is a large air base. We have been staying in so many best westerns we have again qualified for a free night. A little workout in the gym and a light meal at Chili’s restaurant with a pretty good margarita!

Oct 31/17 Halloween in Lynchburg Tennessee

We left Kingsport , found a Starbucks a ways down the road, it is about 4 1/2hours to Lynchburg Tennessee. The countryside is very pleasant, large properties in the towns we pass through, very well kept. Graveyards are present in all  the churchyards, well tended with lots of floral arrangements, mostly plastic. This is moonshine country, Chattanooga, Tallahassee,  Tulahola. We see signs to the Davy Crockett homestead. 
We arrive in Lynchburg and it is about lunchtime. We go into Lynchburg Fixin’s, as we enter the girl calls out Y’all set where u’all like, the tables are Formica topped, chairs are chrome, totally fifties diner style, not fancy, its always been like this, it is not a reproduction! 
Lynchburg exists because of Jack Daniels Whiskey. 
We see a sign for Jack Daniels tours  .....”there are road trips, and then there are pilgrimages” another proclaimed “Jack Daniels, every drop, made right here, welcome to the source”
Before we took the tour we visited the Jack Daniels House.....this house is only for Squires or for purchasers of a full barrel of Jack Daniels. Jeff is a Squire, nominated by his friend Preston Westmoreland. We took a few photos and then went to the visitor area to sign up for a walking tour. Jeff as a Squire was “welcomed home” and exempted from the tour Fee. 
A little history......
Jack Daniels was the 10th born child in his family, his mother died in childbirth, his father remarried and Jack and his stepmother did not see eye to eye. Jack left home age 6 to live with the Green family, where he learns to distill at age 7. Members of the Green family are still employed  in the business today. Jack registered his distillery at age 16, it was the first ever registered in America. 
Jack died at the young age of 61, he kicked his safe early one morning when he had forgotten the combination, resulting in a broken toe, left unattended it became gangrenous and although he had subsequent amputations it eventually killed him months later. The business went to his nephew Lem who worked with him, but was shut down in prohibition for 30 years. Lem’s sons who inherited the business sold it in 1953 for $20 million to the Browns who still own it today.
A couple of  other interesting  facts .......all the JD in the world is made right here in Lynchburg, a dry country where you cannot purchase a drink or consume one. The whiskey is fermented 4-7 years and aged  in Oak barrels which are only used one time then sold all over the world. 
Lastly, the 620 employees in Lynchburg each receive a bottle of Old no.7 on the first Friday of every month.....they call it Good Friday ! 
A very interesting tour which we highly recommend.  We moved on down the road to Fayetteville for the night. Finished our day with dinner at Tammy’s Outback.....a bizarre bar where Halloween costumes were in vogue....everyone seemed to know everyone else......good people watching! 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Oct. 30/17 Virginia/West Virginia/Maryland/Tennessee

We left the town of Front Royal this morning, cold but sunny, an improvement on yesterday! Shenandoah National  Park ($25 entrance fee) on a 2 lane road, right away we could tell it was going to be a beautiful drive. Our first clue of things to come was a glimmer of frost  on the roadside. Th3n the frost became snow😜. We were at 950 meters elevation. Not too worried.....yet.
The foliage is dropping, it has its own beauty when you can see through the tree trunks, light shining and the wind swirling the leaves all around . A young buck was so close on the road, he darted into the woods on hearing us approach.  There is lots of debris on the road, branches as well as leaves from last nights wind. Soon we were seeing cars coming toward us with fairly heavy snow on them. We concluded they must have overnighted somewhere in the Park . 
At about 1098 meters traffic stopped. We could see an ambulance, a police car and a school bus ahead. At this point there was also a lot more snow on the sides of the road. 
After waiting to see what was going on a Ranger was approaching each vehicle in front of us and having a chat. We could hear her tell the car in front of us they had to turn around and go back the way they came. It was our turn next! We were asked about our vehicle....4wheel Drive, all season tires. Then  the police officer was at our window......assessing our capabilities and comfort level with continuing on. The officer upon asking where we were from......Vancouver....said, oh you are used to this, if you were from Florida I’d be worried.  The school bus had hit black ice and started to slide and was partially blocking the road. The bus was full of kids which they were going to unload and wait till the sun melted the ice enough for them to continue. They allowed us to pass! 
Further on in the park we climbed a little higher, deer and a buck jumping across the road beside and in front of us or nibbling on the grass as we came around a corner.  The road dropped thousands of feet on either side of the road as we made our way, breathtaking but a bit unnerving with the snow. Descending we decided to take a turn off to get something to eat......a sign directing us to Steelers Tavern sounded good, 5/6 miles, on a winding road......we finally found it, it was a b&b!!! A guy was raking leaves in the yard, I asked if they served food.....ha! No...it’s a B&b they serve breakfast! I told him they shouldn't call it a tavern! We had just driven 10 miles return trip on a terrible road! Grrrr.  In Vesuvius on  our way to the tavern I had seen a sign for Gerties Cafe .....it looked ramshackle but we decided to try it.....mediocre eggs on toast.  We bought some water, (one of which turned out to be watermelon flavour) ugh! and hit the road. 
Soon we were out of the Shenandoah Park and onto Blueridge Parkway. Jeff and Jon rode it on their motorcycles 7 or so years ago 45 miles per hour and no trucks allowed.  He has been wanting to take me there ever since. The drive is very similar to the Shenandoah but so far without the snow.  The elevation rises to above 6,000 so who knows what we would have found. We travelled about 1/2 of the route and came off to Hwy 81 and the town of Kingston Tennessee, as it was getting to be dusk.
Alas we will abandon the rest of the Blueridge Parkway, a hard choice, we will head for Lynchburg tomorrow as time is of the essence. Perhaps we will return on the motorbike in warmer weather. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Rain, rain, go away!

It is Sunday today, my sister, Dorothy’s Birthday, and it’s raining in Pennsylvania!
We discovered that everything (almost) is closed in Amish country. What a let down. We check with our hotel and find that a few miles down the road in Paradise there is an antiques mall, so off we went.  It turned out to be a giant flea market,! Not to be daunted we entered shortly after opening, all of 4 customers in rows and rows of stalls. BUT all was not in vein, I was rewarded! I found a couple of Andrew Wyeth books, not the autobio I am looking for but nice nonetheless, I purchased one of the books......a treasure in my eyes.
We then continued on to Gettysburgh. We have so far driven 11,000 km from home. It continued to rain all day. We toured a bit of the civil war grounds, viewing monuments from the inside of the car, too wet to see much.
We pushed south toward Frederick Maryland and soon we were crossing into West Virginia and Harpers Ferry.  A further 22 miles down highway 30 we stopped for the night in Front Royal .......amusingly at a golf resort. Not wanting to brave the weather any longer we opted for dinner at the attached restaurant.
Praying for a dryer day tomorrow as we drive the Blue mountain parkway towards Lynchburg Tennessee.......a dry county where they make the worlds supply of Jack Daniels. Jeff is a squire and owns a square inch of the county, so we will visit his land! He will sit in the special Squire room and sip a JD.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

10 Hour Drive New Hampshire/Vermont/New York/Pennsylvania

We started our day at Starbucks, the first in quite awhile.. New Hampshire this morning was foggy to begin, rural road, ponds like glass and rapid streams. Sunlight breaking through glorious foliage. Soon we left N.H.  for Vermont, much the same countryside, quaint names like Brattleboro, Bennington, and in one town Wellington, Dot’s Restaurant (RiP aunt Dot,) . 
There are frequent warnings to watch out for moose on the roads.  We also saw our first covered bridge! At about 11am we crossed the state line into upstate New York. We stopped at a little clapboard coffee shack. The old gal owner and her dad were inside the tiny place.......we ordered a latte and an americano.....she said, I only take cash. We said, hold on, while I check my wallet in the car. She told Jeff if we didn’t have the $ she would give us the coffee for free and next time we were by we could pay!  We laughed and said it would be a long time! She still said it would be gratis, but I discovered I had a $10 as well as a few $1’s. The darn US bills look the same. 
We were on the road again driving inland, colours were muted as most of the leaves are fallen now, but still beautiful areas to photograph.  We are constantly putting our destination into the GPS by voice command and are amazed at what ”she” understands and what she doesn’t! “She” had no problem with Schenectady but could not get Concord!  We have seen interesting road signs......NY state law says 3text violations you lose your licence. Many more Moose warning signs.  
I’m always amazed at the size of the graveyards, more dead people than the population in many cases, also some towns the headstones are lined up so precise and straight while others are scattered like thrown stones....not sure which I prefer, I like them all. 
In Pennsylvania we stopped  at an information  building after we crossed out of New York. We got a wealth of maps and info about the Amish area we want to visit.......Lancaster county. 
We are staying in a town called Intercourse.....which has a funny story about its name,  apparently the Amish wanted to change it but after trying unsuccessfully the name stuck.  As we approached our hotel we came up behind our first of  many horse drawn black carriages......three little children peering out the back window.....the boys wearing straw boater hats and the little girl in an old fashioned bonnet  ❤️.  I took a photo and then waved and one of the children waved back just a little. 
We settled into our hotel and inquired about where to get a beer.......not possible, Dry town! We could go 7 miles down the road to another town and have a beer and dinner.....which we did. 
Tomorrow we will explore the area before moving on.


Friday, October 27, 2017

New Hampshire & Andrew Wyeth

Our hosts at the Spouter Inn in Lincolnville cooked us a 3 course breakfast this morning, which we had chosen from three options the night before. Jeff had eggs and crab cakes, I had a German puffed eggy thing....they said if I googled Dutch baby I would get a similar recipe. We both had homemade applesauce with cranberry swirl with shortbread pecan bites, lovely latte and coffees. Our hosts were very kind and accommodating.....especially with my multiple requests to fill my hot water bottle!
A very short way down the road was the town of Camden,  bit on the Tony side we were told and the homes were stately, well cared for, many inns and b&b’s. Interesting names, Blue Inn, Green Gables, The Droughty Bear, Snow Squall Inn, Schooner Inn, Ossipee!
Next up was the town of Rockport, which was more industrial......and a few miles further we came to
Rockland and the Farnsworth Museum.  Maine is the birthplace and home of Andrew Wyeth and the Farnsworth has a building dedicated to his works.  His most famous painting is “Christina” a painting of a young girl in the foreground of a field, with a house (hers) in the background. Christina was a neighbour who was handicapped, she could not walk......anyway he painted many of her family members  and their home. His medium was mainly watercolour.  BUT the painting is not at this gallery but in the MOMA in NYC!  There were many awesome paintings and drawings to enjoy. I will probably never be back in Rockland so was so glad we took the time to stop.
Back on the road again 🎶🎶 we were passing apple farms, a field full of turkeys....all of them Snow White., there must of been 200 of them, and a big sign....order your turkeys now!  Numerous towns, homes from another time, old fashioned screen doors or screened in porches complete with rocking chairs and porch swings. So many galleries, every town has several.
The leaves are rusty Brown now, ready to fall in the next wind.  New Hampshire is lovely.
We are in the town  of Concord for the night, a sizeable town. It was a great sunshiny day!