Thursday, December 01, 2011

Homeward Bound

Rather last-minute, my brother and I drove to Clarksville Tennessee for Thanksgiving.
We grew up in San Antonio and upstate New York, but no matter where we were living our true second home was always in the woods along the Cumberland River.
For a month at a time in the summers, or when life was handing us lemons, that's where we went to reconnect with family and the earth.
Our uncle schooled us in hunting and fishing, taking our late father's place.
The herd of cousins (all older than me) schooled us in smoking, rock albums, sneaking out, and according to the stories--playing doctor.
We were tight, and it was a shame that Ken and I hadn't managed to go back in 20 years.
Mainly we went to see our aunt.
Words can't describe what she means to us.

The drive up was rough.
18 hours non-stop.

Gridlock in Austin, of course:

Same thing in Belton or Round Rock or whatever:

Not too bad in Salado, but that probably didn't last long:
In fact, it was stop-and-go from Austin to Waco.
NEVER drive IH35 on the day before Thanksgiving if you can help it.
Always heard it was bad, but this was my first time.

Once we could open it up, the miles flew by fairly quick.
Here's the rented Mazda 3 at a pitstop somewhere in west Arkansas:
Nice little car.
Fast, with nimble handling in the twisty back roads later in the trip.
35 mpg--a big help.

Crossing the Mississippi River into Memphis--the beginning of the end:
Had I not been driving, could have messed with the GPS app on my phone to find a better route for the home stretch. As it was, we spent a lot of extra time going 30 mph through small towns and hitting tons of red lights and stop signs.
Lesson learned, and I managed to improve the results on the way home somewhat although the final tweak wasn't made until just before navigation went back to big signs over the highway. That's what we deserved for not even bringing a map.

I had never used any kind of GPS before, and at times it was wonderful.
Even bombing down IH35 on the way home it was cool to have a constantly updated ETA.
Just should have practiced with it before leaving to learn the quirks and traps of a free phone app.

More to come...

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