Updated: Mar 20
I am not sure if it is a strength or a weakness, but I suppose I am a homebody at my core. After four weeks and 4,800 miles, we are finally home . . . and it feels good.
For the sake of brevity (and the fact that it was an incredibly boring trip back), the following post will encompass the entire trip back home (as I hear a collective sigh of relief). Tuesday morning, we headed out early and pointed the car in a southeasterly direction. No more back roads; no more scenic routes through the mountains; no more site seeing. We were on a mission and looking at a deadline. We hit the interstate system like a rifle shot and headed home.
Here is the trip summary:
Wyoming - Beautiful as always and much more snow than when we arrived. By this time, we were old pros and laughed at the snow covered mountain passes with their feeble attempts to slow us down - not really, but easy to say now!
Nebraska and Kansas - Dear citizens of Nebraska and Kansas. I am so sorry, but you know you don't have to live there. Don't go to Missouri because it looks just like Nebraska and Kansas. However, if you choose to leave, you might want to go slowly. Too much visual stimulation might be difficult to assimilate.
Missouri - See comment above.
Kentucky - It was like moving through a portal. Color slowly awoke from its hibernation and the landscape began to move. The browns and tan colors of the heartland were replaced with blue-green fields that rose and fell ever so slowly preparing the traveler for what would await them just down the road. The rolling hills of middle Tennessee create some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. I felt as if I was watching color TV for the first time.
Shortly after crossing the state line into Tennessee on I-65, we crested the hill giving us our first view of Nashville. I know how Dorothy felt when she saw the Emerald City for the first time. Even with the rush hour traffic, it was great to be in one of the cities we called home for a time. We chose to take Hwy. 31 down to Columbia and spend the night with my sister.
So many of the old battlefields from the Civil War that used to line Hwy. 31 were now covered in strip malls and apartment buildings. The old plantations that did remain stood out like ancient diamonds amongst the McDonalds and Burger Kings. But the beauty of the rolling hills of Tennessee are not easily covered by "progress".
We arrived in Columbia, TN, around sundown. Many of the landmarks from my hometown were gone, but it was still Columbia. The county seat was slowly being absorbed by the southbound growth of Nashville through Brentwood, Franklin, and Springhill and will eventually be just a suburb of Music City . . . but it will still be Columbia.
After too short a visit with my sister, we woke up early and made the last leg of the trip to Banner Elk. The day was gray and rainy. The first day of this adventure had started this way, and it was only suiting that we would come back home to the same rain we had left. However, the rain did not dampen our spirits.
Crossing the state line into North Carolina felt warm and comfortable which still amazes me. I have been and always will be a Tennessee boy, but the mountains are special. Marcee and I have always discussed the possibility that some people are born with a "beach gene" and others were born with a "mountain gene". We are definitely one of the latter. The Blue Ridge Mountains are certainly not as spectacular as the Rockies, but the Rockies are not ours.
(See note below)
p.s. In fairness to our friends in the central states, we did see the first Pony Express Stop while in Nebraska which was kinda cool. And somewhere near Benton, IL, there was the billboard-type thing of George Harrison on the road. I don't know why it was there, but who can argue with a 30' George!