Did we mentioned we’re enjoying retirement?
When out on the road, traveling around the country for 6 months at a time, you develop a different perspective and occasionally find yourself having interesting thoughts like ‘Hey, we’re so close to my parents’ place, let’s swing by to say hello – it’s only a 2-day drive…’
We were heading from Alabama through Georgia, on towards Florida. Atlanta beckoned because of the potential for a visit with an old friend. From Atlanta, on a relatively direct path to Melbourne FL was a big splotch of green on the map – the Okefenokee Swamp. (Remember Pogo?) Never having visited this or any major swamp, we set our course.
My cousin Jeanette is 12 years older than me. Although we grew up in the same small NH town, we never got to know each other. (She did, however, know my cousin, Jean.) At 18, Jeanette joined the army and got married a couple years later, not to return to our home town (except for visits after I had moved away). As her husband, Ron, made a career of military policing, they lived in many different and interesting places, including 2 assignments in Germany. They retired in Anniston, AL, site of Ron’s last military assignment. We met at a memorial service about a year ago and made plans to meet up at some time in the near future and get to know each other.
With Memphis in the rear view mirror, we knew we’d have to pick up the pace a bit to visit a few people and get back to VT before the snow flies. Although up to this point neither of us had ever stepped on Mississippi or Alabama soil, we had to resign ourselves to visiting these states as more or less a drive-by, and make plans to visit again in the future.
I have two cousins who live near Nashville with their families. They don’t know each other, though.
It was time for a different kind of adventure for us – chill. In the past month alone, we’d been awed and inspired by the beauty of Roosevelt, Badlands and Rocky Mountain National Parks as well as the Black Hills of SD and high peaks area of CO. We’re still giggling about our serendipitous and crazy visits to Carhenge and The City Museum in St Louis. We thoroughly enjoyed visits with old and new friends and family in SD, CO and MO. We were thrilled to join two jam sessions in CO. And we were acutely aware that a major, 3-day jam in Memphis was just 2 weeks away. We needed to take a short break from adventuring and take some practice time.
Drawing a line on the (virtual) map from St Louis to Nashville, where we planned to visit Doug’s cousins, we saw a major splotch of green – the Land Between the Lakes (LBL) National Recreation Area. Sounds nice. And the old man (Doug) gets a senior discount! We laid a course.