After 14,000 miles & 162 days on the road, we’ve arrived back at our home in VT.
We accepted the trade off… Memphis jam and extra time in the south with friends and family would mean fewer, longer driving days to get back to VT before (or between) snow storms. Doug summarized his anticipated feelings for this last leg of the trip: ‘It’ll be like driving home late from the airport after a vacation.’
This is Walker. Walker lives in Beaufort, NC, which is pronounced “Bo-Fort.” (If it were pronounced “Biew-Fert” you’d be in an entirely different town in South Carolina.) Walker’s humans are named Carlos and Hope and they have a band called the Beaufort Blues Project (1st pronunciation), or BBP.
Traditional snowbirds migrate up and down the 1,500 miles of east coast highways between New England and Florida twice a year and make their trip in about 2 days. It took us 3 weeks to cover our first 1,500 miles on this adventure – a pace we loved. Given our time constraints, we considered ourselves fortunate to have 8 days for our northbound ‘sprint,’ and we wanted to spend some of that time catching up with friends.
We’re expecting to be back to Vermont in less than a week. As we close in on the end of our time on the road, our schedule is losing a lot of the elasticity to which we’ve been happily accustomed (and wouldn’t my English teacher have been proud of that phrase?*).
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.