Sunday, December 30, 2007

Finally We Left Tennessee, Arkansas Was A Dark Blur, And Texas Blessed Texas We Arrived

Before leaving Nashville, as promised we went back and took more pictures. We swung by the Grand Ole Opry House. The Grand Ole Opry was actually playing at a different theater for awhile so the Rockett's could have the space to perform.



Nashville has a life sized replica of the Parthenon that is found in Greece. That sucker was huge!!





Our next stop was in Memphis (notice we are still not out of Tennessee). We HAD to drive by Graceland and Heartbreak Hotel on Elvis Presley Blvd., of course!









On a more somber note we went to the National Civil Right Museum. They converted the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated into the museum and also the house across the street where James Earl Ray shot King was part of the museum.



It was now about 4 PM and we still had to cross Arkansas to get to my friend's house where we were stopping of the night (read about 6.5 more hours). But we trucked on. Seeing the Texas border was the most precious sight, I have seen in a long time. It ran pretty close to getting to see all my family and friends. We rolled into Millican Hotel (our friend's house) around 10:30 PM. Not too bad!

We didn't realize it until on the way back, but somehow I got our timing off by a day and the the car is not due back until the 1st. So we have planned on staying at my friend's house an extra day. It all works out since I don't get to see them very often. We will get to bring in the new year with them.

I hope you all have a very Happy New Year and that it is the best one yet!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

I Lost My Heart...Make That Pillow...In Virginia and Tennessee Is Still A LONG State

We were going to go back into Washington DC in the morning to see more sites and take more pictures, but we decided that we should just go ahead and head on to Tennessee since it was going to be an eleven hour drive. We are definitely making plans to go back one day just to visit there. The two times we have been it has been just a fast branch off the main trip, so that is definitely one place we will make plans to go to.

We packed up and headed out. Again, I must stress how beautiful Virginia is! I would love to see it in the summer when it is all green. We were somewhere in the state, couldn't really tell you and we saw a welcome center, so we pulled in so I could get this picture, the other one I took that was in the last blog was very ugly and it was taken in the metro, so I am glad to get this one.



In memory:


Somewhere along our drive, I was going to take a little siesta. So I reached back to get my favorite pillow that I have had forever and a day, and I couldn't find it! Frankie pulled over so I could check the trunk, but no pillow was to be found. Frankie even checked. I told him it was okay, but he was upset because he knew how much I liked that pillow. He is so sweet. I mean he was really upset about it. I love my husband. I will just have to make a new favorite pillow for myself.

We crossed into Tennessee after 6 hours of driving with still 5 hours to go until Nashville. When you are in the car for that long things start running together. I know this next picture is in Tennessee and not Virginia because I had taken a picture of the "Welcome to Tennessee" sign and this one was date stamped after that. Eastern Tennessee is just a beautiful as Virginia. They are both so picturesque.



I bet no one could guess why I would ever take a picture of this billboard seen outside of Knoxville.


We did a small celebration when we crossed back into the Central Time Zone. We did the clock setting ceremony and everything! It was nice gaining an hour, but it just made it dark at 4:30. That is what it was doing in Connecticut!

We made it to Nashville, but of course it was dark, so I leave you with this one picture. We will get more tomorrow before leaving to get out rears back in Texas where they belong. And this time we will really get them....no empty promises like in Washington DC.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Family, New England, and Washington, DC

We left Connecticut early this morning to head back home. I sure wish we lived closer to our family.


Quick run down on the states we went through today besides CT:

New York-here is a town in that state...Would you pronounce that for me please?



New Jersey-For the entire trip we spent $13.10 in tolls, I think most of it was on the New Jersey turnpike

Delaware-Where we drove over the same bridge that we saw featured on an episode of Dirty Jobs from the Discovery Channel

Maryland-Where the people don't smile, but the cars do!



Washington DC-We saw several of these along the way, this was jut the first time I could get a picture. More on DC in a second.

Virginia-Our hotel was in Arlington, so that is the reason for the back and forth. We walked about a mile to the subway station and rode it back over to DC to the mall.


Images from DC:

Frankie, a pretzel, and the Capitol building


Christmas decorations and the Washington Monument


The White House-I looked for President Bush, but he didn't come out and say hi.



All about Abraham Lincoln

Tomorrow we plan on driving through DC in the car and hopefully get a few more pictures before heading on to Nashville, TN.

I can't wait to get back to Texas! :)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Pennsylvania Had Snow, New York Had More Snow, and Connecticut Finally We Reach

After FINALLY getting 8 hours of good quality sleep we headed out this morning on our had better be final leg of our trip. Since our hotel was on the border of Maryland and Pennsylvania we just had to go a few miles to get to there.

We thought for sure that we would have a white Christmas, I mean after all we were going to be in NEW ENGLAND!! But as it turns out we will only have the left over stuff from the storm that hit here the weekend before. I guess I should just shut-up and take what I can get seeing how this will be only the second time in my life when snow had any kind of presence on Christmas day. There is this song that says, "What is Christmas without snow?" Well I have an answer to that….almost every Christmas I have ever known and I have been just fine with that thank you very much!

Our first stop today was in Gettysburg. It was amazing. I never really understood how bloody the Civil War was. Of course the information signs were slightly biased towards the north, but then again we were in PA.

Next we drove an hour east to Hershey, PA. I LOVED Chocolate World! There was a short tour (that was FREE!) where you sat in a cart much like in an amusement park and rode through the description of how they make the chocolate. Here is a short clip and other pictures of Hershey.


The whole town was build up around the chocolate, in fact even the street lights on Chocolate Avenue are in the shape of Hershey's Kisses!


As much as we wanted to stay we had to get going. After all the driving over the last few days it took us to mile marker 105 in Pennsylvania to see snow!!

And further along even more snow.

Pennsylvania gave way to New York which gave way to Connecticut and finally to our destination...to these guys!

I will be back in a few days with details from our trip back home. Have a Merry Christmas tomorrow!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Tennessee Was Nicer Today, Virginia Was Beautiful, and West Virginia and Maryland Were Dark

Since we didn't actually get to bed until 3 AM last night we decided to sleep until 10 today and just make another late night tomorrow to finish our trip to Connecticut.  So far we have gone over 1300 miles!

I woke up at 8 and couldn't go back to sleep. UGH! Another 5 hour night of sleep for me, not something I want to make a habit. I decided to check on somethings online since we had free Internet and I was awake. The weather still looked good for the day with possible rain, but no ice. I took pictures from the hotel in Sevierville, TN (close to the birthplace of Dolly Parton and Dollywood!) of the incoming clouds.

We didn't leave Sevierville until 12 PM. What a long day ahead we had! We figured we would get to Connecticut at around 2 AM. Oh I was so looking forward to that!! But we cowboyed up and got on the road.

We saw the Smokey Mountain region of Tennessee and eastern Tennessee today during our travels and it was very pretty. We managed to stay in front of most of the clouds so I was able to get some great pictures of the area.



Finally we got out of Tennessee (that ordeal outside of Nashville yesterday really threw us off schedule) and into Virginia.

Virginia is beautiful!! I loved it. Picture green rolling hills, wide open spaces, barns, cows and you have it. I got a few pictures, but I was driving so I had to be careful.

We had plans to go to Gettysburg, PA and Hershey, PA, but it started to get dark. I really wanted to see it and it we were going to get to CT very late, so Frankie and I started talking. We decided to get a hotel room in Maryland or just over the border in Pennsylvania but we needed Internet access to easily book this room without spending an arm and a leg like we would if we just walked in a hotel. We though of calling several people that we trust and had Internet access to go on Priceline.com. Instead we stopped at a random hotel that said they had free Internet and simply walked in and asked if we could use their Internet. To our great delight the desk person said, "It's free, I don't care." with as much enthusiasm as the counter she was leaning on could muster.

So lucky us found a room along our route, in our price range, and got there around 9 PM. Imagine that 9 PM!! We could watch TV!! :)

Before we got there we had some "excitement". Frankie looked in his rearview mirror, said a naughty word (the shame!), and started slowing down. Here came a cop with his light and siren! Frankie was going about 10 mph faster than he should have, but thankfully that cop just kept going. What a relief!!

Maybe 20 minutes later we found where the cop went as everyone was slowing down and there was a flurry of flashing lights. The only thought I had was, "Crap, not another wreck!!" Visions of yesterday flashed in my head and instant weariness came over me. Travel was slowed but still moving, so that was good. People were merging into the left lane (the one we were not in, of course). We got up to the lights and there were about 8 cop cars surrounding this one car and they were searching it. So no wreck thankfully, but seriously, did they really need EIGHT cop cars to search this one car?? Must have been a slow night in northwest Virginia!

Pass that, there was an electronic sign that said there was an accident 39 miles ahead. Where was this sign yesterday?? We get about 40 miles from where we need to be and yep sure enough we started inching. At least we were not completely stopped and we didn't have hours still to go. I am trying to find the bright side, but "Crap another wreck!".  We inched for about an hour before getting past the wreck. I was so glad we decided to stop at a hotel. It was a wise decision.

Got through the part of West Virginia we needed...all 25 miles of it.

Got through the part of Maryland we needed....all 11 miles of it.

Hey, Nicki if you read this we spent the night in Hagerstown, MD very close to Williamsport which if I remember right (and why I remember it I couldn't tell you) is where you moved from when you first came to Crane. :) I hope to take a few pictures in the morning of Maryland. I will post them tomorrow. Speaking of where we spent the night, the hotel was on the Mason-Dixion line. How cool is that!!

I am outta here...gonna go find supper and go to bed! :)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Texas Cried, Arkansas Waffled and Tennessee Stalled

After going to bed at around midnight, I got up at 5 AM to get ready for the new traveling day. Around 6 we were ready. We said our goodbyes to family who let us use them as a hotel. :) Bless them, as that cut off about 300 miles from our trip for the next two days. So for your holiday travel I recommend:


We stopped here for breakfast.

Look how nice this restaurant was decorated! Can you believe that this is a McDonald's?? Need proof?

So if you want a nice McDonald's you need to make trip to the one in Princeton, Texas (pop. 5600).


I drove again, while Frankie slept.

There was not much in the northern part of Texas to talk about. The trees did start changing to pine trees.

The closer we got to the border of Texas-Arkansas it got cloudier and cloudier until Texas could stand it no more and shed tears that we were leaving her. We promised her we would be back and that we would stay true. She is our love and we are loyal to her and her only. I hope she will be okay while we are gone.


We got to Texarkana after 2 hours and drove down State Line where one side of the street is Texas


and the other is Arkansas

(notice which side looked nicer!!) to the post office where we took these pictures.

 

Half of the town is in Texas and the other part in Arkansas, which brings up so many questions for me.

How does the government work there? It has to be set up slightly different that a normal town, I mean different states have different laws and here is this town that sits in two different states.


After the photo opportunity (Frankie finally drove so I could take picture safely) we headed into Arkansas which welcomed us by pouring every last ounce of water on earth onto us as hard as possible all the way to Little Rock.

It was clear sailing after Little Rock all the way to Memphis, Tennessee. The welcome center in Memphis was awesome and had a great vibe! They had HUGE statues of Elvis and B.B. King.

 

Things were going smooth through Tennessee until we got 40 miles outside of Nashville (with over 200 miles still to go to get to our hotel!) We came to a complete stop on I-40 East for about 10 minutes then the ambulance came speeding up the shoulder of the road. Slowly the traffic started back up and we passed the problem, but I don't think it was a wreck, not sure what happened. So with that far in our memories already we got about 20 miles to Nashville and again the traffic on the Interstate came to a dead stop. We sat there for over TWO AND HALF HOURS. Cops sped by on the shoulder, fire trucks, ambulance, and a few idiots who thought that their time was more important than anyone else's. We made the best of it, but it got tiring after awhile and the dream of getting to Nashville seemed to be fading let alone getting past Knoxville where our hotel for the night was. We found out the road was closed due to a wreck involving seven tractor-trailers and seven cars and unfortunately one person lost his life.

We thought about getting a room in Nashville, but we would have lost our money from the hotel we had already booked and paid for further down the road. We stuck it out and kept on trucking.

We past the Eastern Time Zone and all the sudden the rain let up some and we ran into a thick fog. It was very freaky that it happened right after passing through the that time zone! It passed as quickly as it came and we continued on.

FINALLY at 12 AM (1 AM Eastern time) we reached the hotel. We were thinking of splitting tomorrow's drive up into two days, but we think we will just get some sleep tonight and get there later tomorrow than planned...but at least we will be there. We are going to play it by ear tomorrow, we aren't sure of how the weather will be.

I am pooped and going to bed. A domani! (See you tomorrow!)