Saturday, May 09, 2009

I'm behind posting on my road trip. I didn't get away from Memphis until Thursday afternoon. Before leaving I learned my mother-in-law — who is 90 and in poor health — took a turn for the worse. I headed pretty much straight home rather than wandering back roads.

The motel Thursday night didn't have an internet connection and I got home so late on Friday I didn't post last night.

Friday, May 8
Day 2 — Crossville to Richmond

Crossing the Cumberland Plateau in Eastern Tennesse

This was my view for the first 200 miles. At times the rain was so heavy and fog so thick that driving faster than 25 miles per hour wasn't wise.

I-81 Southwest Virginia

At one stop I came across this "Waterless" urinal in the men's room. In my travels across the globe, I've used a number of "waterless" facilities. They are generally a hole in the floor or a pit in the ground. I find it fascinating that here in the U.S. we take a hole or a pit, find a way to mount it on the wall and charge a lot of money for it. What a country!

Troutville, Va.

The coffee roaster at Mill Mountain Coffee outside Troutville, Va. The aroma is wonderful ... and the coffee good.

I also like the way Mill Mountain sells its various coffees, scooping them from a bin into a bag.

I-81 in Southwest Virginia

As much of an aversion as I have to interstate highways, the route along I-40, I-81 and I-64 from the Tennessee River to Charlottesville, Va., can be spectacular. This was shot from the pumps at a gasoline stop. There are more spectacular views than this, but I didn't stop for them on this trip.

I-81/64 near Greenville, Va.

Tony and Linda are fellow crosscountry road trippers. We met at a gasoline stop. They left Southwest Michigan on Tuesday, dropped south through Indiana to the Ohio River, followed it on riverside roads nearly to Pittsburgh, Pa., then crossed West Virginia into Virginia. I suggested the Blue Ridge Parkway from here. The last I saw of them, they were headed north on it, uncertain where they would go next. 

Somewhere along I-81/64 in Virginia

Most of my trip through Virginia was like this, a pleasant change from rain earlier in the day.

Short Pump, Va.

Home at last. With Dianne for a late supper at Short Pump Mall ... 

... where we meet, left to right, Shawn, Alison and Jenine, pictured, and Sam and Feris, out of the frame,  for the evening meal.

Shawn, 15, will graduate early from high school in a few weeks.

Road Trip to Richmond

Thursday, May 7
Day 1 — Memphis to Crossville

Memphis, Tenn.

I love the old Osage Orange tree in my daughter and son-in-law's side yard. I posted an image of its trunk earlier in the week. Here is the entire tree. It is the largest of the species I have ever seen.

Before leaving town I visit my parent's grave. We lived in Memphis for eight years 20 years ago. Since we had their only grandchildren, my parents followed us here. They were great years, both for them and us. It's time I'm glad our daughters had with them.

This Canada Goose seems to stand guard near my parent's grave. My father would be pleased. He looked forward the return each winter of Canadas that settled into rafts of thousands on the Chesapeake Bay near our waterside home outside of Annapolis, Md. 

He or she is a beautiful creature. They mate for life. If you ever see a lone Canada, you know something has happened to its mate. I once saw one follow his dying mate as she faltered all the way to the ground, only heading off alone once he realized she would not be returning to the air.

Somerville, Tenn.

Four-car accident along U.S. 62 near Somerville, Tenn. The pickup seems to have gotten the worst of it. The other three cars apparently careened off of it and had relatively minor damage.

Near Gordonsville, Tenn.

There was a lot of rain in West Tennessee this past week and many streams were over their banks. Here Cedar Creek creeps into a pasture.

Roby, Tenn.

This sign on Highway 100 outside Roby, Tenn., is somewhat perplexing. There is no office or store nearby — other than the old building in the background. Hopefully the travel agent isn't operating out of it and one must be a local to know where the office is.

Leipers Fork, Tenn.

The end of the day at Puckett's Grocery in Leipers Fork, Tenn. The old men gather to talk. I returned to the store for dinner and to exchange a t-shirt I bought here on the outbound trip that was too tight for one with a better fit.

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