One week in, and it barely feels like we left home. The girls are in good spirits, and Addie said last night, “It’s funny when you feel like a 5-hour drive is short.”Read More »
Day 6: Scenic in Savannah, the Random Tortoise, and Happy Bathrooms
As I begin today’s musings, I must mention one thing I neglected yesterday — Coosahachie. Most people think the name of Waxahachie, TX, is strange. But, when we drove into Georgia yesterday, we passed a place called Coosahachie. Even funnier, the initial sign was obscured behind trees. So, it took many forms by the time we saw the full word.
I think it ranks above Waxahachie, because it sounds oddly gross — like saying the word “moist.”
Now that I got that out of the way, let’s talk about today.Read More »
Day 3: The Longest Drive, Ticks, Photos, and Possible Truck Repairs
We struck out this morning from Aberdeen, Mississippi. It was scheduled to be the longest drive of the trip, and it measured up. We crossed through Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and finished in North Carolina. Total drive time was around 11 hours.
The drive through Alabama and Georgia was beautiful — rolling green hills and beautiful pink flowers. Plus, I20 allowed for a quick pace.
We took one small detour near Birmingham, Alabama to eat at Shoney’s. It isn’t the swankiest of establishments. But, I have fond memories as a child. When we took family trips, somehow we always managed to stop for their breakfast buffet. For a husky child with an affinity for breakfast meats, it was a dream come true.
My mom said, “That was your dad’s and your happy place. Unlimited bacon.”
Indeed. Emmie was more than happy to eat her fill of sausage. And everyone enjoyed the french toast sticks, which were also enshrined in my childhood memory.
We finally rolled into camp in North Carolina in the dark. At this point, I know that our campsite is nice, since I could at least see that in my headlamp.
A fat raccoon paid an early visit, rustling through the foliage. He was brave — rising above the leaves to let his creepy eyes reflect the light back at me.
Beyond that, it was complete darkness when we arrived. So, I won’t know what the campground is like until morning. I do know that it has a marina, and there are at least 3 beaches nearby.
However, I also know that this place has ticks. Within 20 minutes of setting up, I felt a tickle inside my shirt and found that I had a passenger. He is no longer tickling anyone.
I did stock up on insect repellants for this trip. So, we will be testing 3 heavy duty options over the coming weeks.
Addie is experimenting with photography. Before the trip, she saved her money to buy a nice point-and-shoot digital camera. We have had discussions about composition, the rule of thirds, and Fib’s Golden Spiral. It is fun to see how her skills are progressing.
Oh, and I forgot one last thing. While we were pulling into camp tonight, I noticed a creaking in the front wheel well of my truck. It sounds like it may be strut or shock related. It could also be steering related.
So, in the morning, I get to try out a local mechanic.
Let’s hope it’s nothing serious. And, let’s hope I don’t have to spend the entire day in the waiting area of an auto mechanic.
Se la vie.
Day 2: Crazy Stories from the Aberdeen I Remember
I awoke today excited to revisit one of the many small towns from my youth. This one, Aberdeen, is the one I most closely refer to as my hometown because it is where I lived from the time I was 8 until I was 16.
It was a beautiful morning at the campground.Read More »
Oh how embarrassing! The most awkward moment of our California trip…
There are few pleasures in this world that rival espresso. Campfire coffee from the percolator is fine most mornings. And our little hand grinder does a fantastic job. But, sometimes I find myself craving a good, stout, fruity espresso.
Quite often, our 3-4-week camp itinerary includes local espresso joints. I meticulously scout the ones with top reviews and the best hipster vibes. Only 1 in 3 cups matches my expectations. But, I enjoy the hunt.
In 2017, we were on a 4-week journey through California. As we entered Fresno, I had that familiar craving. We stopped off to get groceries, and I wanted some caffeine.
I pulled out my phone and did a simple search. There were two choices near us. One of them was better reviewed than the other, and it was a drive-up espresso joint. Since we were towing the pop-up behind us, the drive-up seemed a better option than parking in a cramped lot.
So, off we headed to Bottoms Up Coffee.Read More »
Flirting With Vertigo at Pike’s Peak
“Are you good to drive to the top?”
That’s what the attendant at the entrance asked me.
“Yes,” I replied.
In truth, I didn’t know what I was saying. I had already driven portions of Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park. Seeing Pike’s Peak from a distance — it barely seemed GTSR’s rival.
It wasn’t until the bus lot mid-way up that my doubts began to emerge. Everything until then had been relatively boring. I even said to my wife once, “Is this it? This ain’t nuthin’.”
But, mid-way up, every car in front of us turned to park. But, I said I was going up. So, up I went.
My Honda Pilot was in 2nd the whole way, and I took my time. As we crept above the clouds, I could feel my hands involuntarily clinching the steering wheel.
My eyes watched the temperature gauge on my dash.
My wife laughed at me, because I avoided looking toward the drop. It felt to me as if looking outward would somehow compel me to drive over the edge, like I had seen one of the creatures in Bird Box.
We reached the top with the Pilot huffing and puffing. After I parked, the fan in the engine continued to run, like a dog on a hot day. (Thankfully, she recovered while we looked around.)
Despite the anxiety on the drive up, I was amazed by what we saw. 14,000+ feet above sea level, we could see far and wide in every direction.
I am not a fan of heights. But, I have often found that the places that feel most heavenly are in the mountains. If given the choice between beaches, plains, and mountains, I would take mountains every time.
After a bit at the Peak, we finally decided to venture below the clouds. That too was an experience, with the temperature station part way down to force you to pull over if your breaks run hot.
Perhaps the most fascinating thing we learned from our visit was that they use to race semi’s down Pike’s Peak. They also have a Pike’s Peak motorcycle race.
Those people be trippin’.
If you haven’t been to Pike’s Peak, you must go. If you do it to race trucks or motorcycles, let me know.