Soooo, we went dark a day, didn't we? Well, it wasn't really DARK, it was simply looooong and tiresome. We started out with a free buffet breakfast, but because of COVID, items were limited to "To Go" snacks in sacks. Driver picked up a couple on his way back in from Bailey's morning constitutional. We laid everything out on the desk to admire the wonderful and nutritious spread of the day. Didn't take us long! In each bag was a muffin, a cup of canned peaches in heavy syrup, a small bottle of Sam's Club water, a wrapped spoon, and the TINIEST granola bar I've ever seen. I really shouldn't complain though; in many countries, this is a whole week's worth of food. For four people.
Driver thoroughly enjoyed his hot and delicious breakfast. LOL Please overlook the bag of dirty laundry on the floor. A little TMI there, eh?
So, we had spent the night just east of Memphis, so when we set out, we headed to Nashville, TN. (took me three tries to type TN, as opposed to TX) Just before we got there, we crossed over the Tennessee River. It's been a while since we've seen so much water in one place, that wasn't the Gulf of Mexico, from one side or another.
Nashville is actually one of my favorite cities, or at least, it was many, many years ago, when we were there and I could tolerate cities better. Nevertheless, I was excited to see the skyline appear, especially that pointy-topped AT&T bulding. (It's the one on the right, between the two right-most lightposts.) I knew we were planning to go right by it, and I'd be getting a much better picture in just a few minutes.
But, at the VERY LAST minute possible, Google notified me that there was a 30 minute backup and I should consider taking an alternate route, down a new bypass, I440. Weeeelllll, hmmmm...OK. Driver was quick-draw on the lane changes, and off we went! Oh my gosh, the new road was spectacular! The asphalt was NEW and SMOOTH, and traffic was super light. Almost non-existent! Soo, we added a few miles, but we saved quite a bit of time, and decreased our opportunity for an accident by quite a bit. Always a good thing, if you ask me, and since it's my blog, I'll consider myself asked. Only downside, I didn't get a very glamorous shot of downtown. Please accept the photo below, and my sincere apologies. Not 100% sure what the routing is for the return trip, but I may (or may not) come this way again soon. If we do, I'll see about getting you a better photo. Don't hold your breath, though, I value your life too much.
In just a couple more hours, we found ourselves on the approach to Knoxville. Of course, that comes with more mountainous views.
Remember that bowl-dome from a couple of days ago? I've been enlightened by two different followers. Thank goodness there are people with more knowledge than I! One theory is that it is the top half of a pressure vessel. Exactly what kind is beyond the scope of the informant, but he has seen items of this nature before. The other theory is that it is a contamination containment system, much like is shown in the movie, Monsters, Inc. Well, I have not seen that movie (I have not seen a movie since Pretty Woman, but that's really not relevant, because now, there's YouTube!) so I had to do some research. Pay attention at the 1:14 mark, and you'll see how it was used. If you can't see that video embedded down there, just give a little clicky right HERE and you'll go directly to YouTube. Thanks to Ken and Jean for the new knowledge!
Wondering what yesterday's interesting load was? Well, how about a truckload of rocks? Not just any rocks....big, beautiful landscaping boulders! The were spectacular, and would look soooo good around the waterfall that dropped into the hot tub that flowed into my salt-water pool. If I had one, that is. Think we could have this driver follow us around until we found another house and were ready to settle down again?? Yeah, me neither.
As we approached Knoxville, on the east end of Tennessee, we ran into more and more traffic. And yet another jam up. It's been a couple of years since we'd seen traffic like this, and it was going the loop around the north side of Atlanta. But, we were in the coach, so it was waaaay more stressful than yesterday. When we came upon this, we just routed around again, and BAM! We jumped back on the interstate at the very end of the jam up. And, an added bonus - we stopped for fuel at a Kroger, right beside the street we were traveling, and there were no other cars at the pumps! Win-win!
Right before we jumped off, though, we got to see the inside of a really big pole. Or tube, or something similar. Any thoughts on this one?
So, we got to our hotel. It was a Quality Inn, and don't let that name fool ya...Quality was NOT their priority. And it wasn't even cheap, either! The hallway and the room smelled like cigarette smoke, and this charming decoration was already dangling from the ceiling to enhance the mood and get us ready to celebrate Halloween. And, to top it off, poor Driver, went to get his evening shower and couldn't get very much hot water at all. He waited and waited, but it never got much more than warm. I, on the other hand, got in there, cranked the handle, didn't get more than warm water and cranked it some more! I got hot water! It wasn't scalding, but it was so forceful, it pelted my back and was really uncomfortable.
It was a good thing that I had not eaten all of my goodies from the Snack Sack, the day before, because, at this (low)Quality Inn, there was no breakfast. Not a limited version, and no reduced rates to compensate for the inability to serve food. And no Snack Sack...well, you know how Driver likes his hot breakfasts...he made do with my cup of peaches and that itty-bitty granola bar. I promised him we could stop along the way if we found something tempting. Haha, we didn't stop. It wasn't long before we crossed into Virginia. And I know you can't read those signs; I couldn't either. But, from what I gather, they refer to slowing down for poor weather conditions.
Ahhh, the good ole' Blue Ridge. They aren't the biggest or most rugged mountains in the world, but they are pretty. At least, they are to us.
And what was the load of the day TODAY? Why, it was gi-normous tires! I would love to see the Tonka Toys these puppies fit! And can you imagine how much they must cost? Geeze, I'd hate to foot THAT bill.
Around New Market, VA, we turned into the Rest Area for a little walk-about. Can you see that sign, way off in the distance, among the trees? Well, unfortunately, we wouldn't have time to visit Endless Caverns today, but maybe on the way back? I know, I know, I keep saying that... especially to all our friends who have SOOOO graciously offered us lodging along the way. And Samuel T Bryant Distillery. We were originally going to stop there as a Harvest Host boondocker stop, but then, well, you know...God laughed. So, being as the distillery was right beside the Interstate, at exit 74, we were going to stop in anyway, just to see about that peach moonshine, but then, we were early, and he was closed (till 10 am), and Driver thought maybe we would have more time to enjoy the facility on the way back. Plus, then we wouldn't be knocking a bottle of shine all around the back of the car for all those miles up & back. But, again, I digress...THANK YOU to all you dear, dear friends who have so generously offered us assistance, without regard to their personal health and safety.
A few miles north, still on I81, we came upon the water tower for Mount Jackson, VA. It's (very well) painted to represent a bushel basket of apples. Sort of like the Peachoid (yes, that's its true name, even tho I just call it The Peach) water tower in Gaffney, SC or the watermelon tower in Luling, TX. Barbara, from Portland, OR (that's a link to her blog, not to Portland's home page) has plans to make a barn quilt, and she's already made a doors quilt (Doors of Ireland)...OK, so here's a confession, I just spent a goodly amount of time, re-reading a lot of her posts, and searching for a picture of her completed Doors of Ireland quilt, but, sorry, couldn't find one....where was I even going with this runaway train???? Oh, yeah, the watertowers. Maybe one day.....yeah, probably not. I'm just not that talented a quilter, nor do I have the stash left for such a quilt. But, this one was right up there in the pretty and pretty unusual categories.
So, every night, it's been quite the ordeal, getting from the car, into the hotel. You'd THINK we were going to move in permanently, for all the amount of
stuff crap we bring in. For ONE NIGHT! We have the green bag - that's toiletries and Water Pik. The light blue bag is Bailey's daily food. The burgundy bag, that's chips and paper plates, napkins and utensils. The suitcase, well, that's our suitcase for clothes. The big blue cooler holds our milk ('cuz, ya know, lactose-free is hard to find!) and beer and dinner (seafood/pasta and garden salads, for 3 nights running now) and some baggies of ice. And some grapes and cream cheese. And the little cooler - that is for water during the day, but we bring it in to use as a vessel to get the ice from the hotel cooler back to the room, to pour into the baggies in the big blue cooler. Hiding between the blue bag and the burgundy bag is a little brown paper bag, containing a tub of wipes, anti-bed-bug spray, spray bleach disinfectant, and a can of spray Lysol. And, to top it all off, hanging off the side, the white mesh bag that is our dirty laundry. In plain sight, for all to see. Now, you tell me. ......exactly which one (or more) of those bags do we leave outside??
Yeah, we can't decide which one to omit, either. We may look like the Beverly Hillbillies come to town, but, at least, we are doing our part to reduce our exposure to that darned virus. It hasn't been TOO awfully bad until tonight. You know we always ask for non-smoking rooms, and when we book online, we ALWAYS book non-smoking rooms. Tonight, at the Travelodge, by Wyndham, the hallway was smokey, and that was our first clue. Even though ALL the rooms had no-smoking signs posted on the doors. I opened the assigned door (after dutifully wiping the handle down, yes), took a half a step in, and had to come right back out. Oh my, the smoke was simply overpowering. Trucked right on back to the front desk, while poor Bellboy Driver stood guard over our Towering Pile of Possessions, made suitable apologies to the clerk, and requested a different room. A few clicks later, two new passkeys, and we were assigned a different room. I entered it first, and it wasn't AS bad, but it was still smokey, imho. I asked Driver to come check it out and offer HIS esteemed opinion, and he agreed, it was NOT a non-smoker's room. By this time, I didn't really want to go back to the front desk alone, so he pulled our Mile-High Pile of Possessions back to the lobby and waited behind me while I asked for yet another room. The clerk looked a little skeptical by now, but, we were both ready to walk, even though the reservation was both prepaid AND non-refundable.
After we'd been in the third room a while, we sort of got used to the smell...it's not great, not even good, but at least it's tolerable and not causing an immediate migraine or asthma attack. But, seriously, you'd think at these prices, the rooms would be clean, the toilets would flush, and there wouldn't be Halloween decorations up in August. Rant over, for now, but know this - I AM SO READY TO BE BACK IN MY CAMPER I COULD.......fill in your own blank there, but mine includes a brick!
Tomorrow, we should arrive in West Chester, and we already have an appointment to meet the guy who's going to pick up the dark room and photography equipment. Who uses that stuff anymore, anyway? I dunno, but I don't really care, either, just so long as it gets gone and we don't have to pay to have it hauled away. All the better that it's not going directly into the landfill. It probably will, eventually, especially when the dude determines how old and useless it is, but, hey, that's his call, and I don't care WHAT he does with it, so long as it gets gone. I have a lady coming to get the stained glass tools and supplies, hopefully, she's coming with about $350 cash money; Charlie says it's all worth well over $1000, so, she's getting a bargain, and again, I don't care, so long as it gets gone and I don't have to pay to haul it away.
We'll be in another Quality Inn for the next two nights...I hope it's better than the first one! Then, starting Monday, we'll move into a private (non-chain) hotel that offers us a kitchen and costs LESS than the hotel room without kitchen facilities, but only for a week. We are hoping to extend it as necessary. We'll see. When we get everything hauled off, and the buyers have looked, and hopefully, placed their offers, we are OUTTA THERE! And then it will be "the way back." So, look out friends, we'll be heading your way!
Till then, y'all stay well and safe! Thanks for riding along with us!!