Monday, October 1, 2007

Texan Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee and Arkansas

After picking a few more Honeycrisp apples in Michigan, I started the drive down to Tennessee and stayed overnight in Franklin, Kentucky, just south of Bowling Green. I'd never actually been to Kentucky, so this was a first, but I do have fond memories of Bowling Green...from a trip to Scotland and a guy named Bill.

Back in 2001, I had decided to leave my job in Nebraska and take a little time off. (Sound familiar?) People were shocked and horrified that I was leaving without having another job - they'd ask "What are you going to DO?" "Well," I'd reply, "I am planning a trip to the UK with a friend of mine..." And that, magically, seemed to make everything OK!

Now there are good friends. And then there are good friends that you can travel with. For me, Heidi is a friend I can travel with. She and I planned a 10-day trip to England and Scotland; I was in charge of making hotel arrangements. When we got to Edinburgh, Scotland, I had to make a confession: I'd booked two beds in a co-ed hostel.

Normally, I'd be the one to freak out about something like this but hey! I had backup! Anyway, we got the key to our 4-bunk room...opened the door....and there was no one else in the room. There was, however, a huge green army-issue duffel bag. Heidi looked at the tag and announced that it was a he, his name was Bill, and he was from Bowling Green, Kentucky. Then she thought we should go for a walk. So we got our first taste of Edinburgh, which is a really fun city:(I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel to pull that picture out of my hat - the trip was in pre-digital days...) And then Heidi took me on the walk 'o death; I won't go into detail here. I think neither of us wanted to be around Bill longer than we had to....but Bill ended up being hilarious! Picture this: a former anti-terrorism trainer who was out of the military and pursuing a Master's degree in Theatre Set Design from the University of Kentucky, who was traveling in Scotland after spending a semester studying in Wales. We laughed so hard...including Karen, a Canadian nurse, the fourth member of our first-night posse.

Anyway, back to the current road trip. After stopping overnight in Kentucky, I stayed in Calhoun, Georgia for a couple days and got a chance to visit with Carolyn, and friend and mentor. She had to give me crazy directions to her house, like "when you see the fencing, turn right," sort of an "over the river and through the woods"-like drive. We had a great time getting pedicures, getting lattes at a fun little coffee shop, and walking on the pedestrian bridge over the Tennessee river:I stopped in Jackson, Tennesee and had dinner with Ryan, a friend from academy days, and his lovely wife Tiffany:

They're expecting their first child next year - Congratulations!!!

Then it was on to Little Rock, Arkansas, where I stayed overnight with family before heading to Amarillo and a beautiful sunset at home...

Miles driven: 1,811

Length of this part of the trip: 5 days

Total miles driven: 3,513

States my tires touched the ground in: Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas

Weirdest sight: a Tennessee truck stop restroom that had a device on the wall that sprayed you with a knockoff perfume for a quarter. Very odd...

Worst roads: From the eastern border of Oklahoma, all the way to Oklahoma City. You'll need a front-end alightment (and maybe a massage!) after that bumpy ride...

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