Sunday, December 7, 2014

On our way!

We left Illinois around noon yesterday.  At that point in time I was just very relieved that we were getting the heck outta dodge finally!  I'd had all of Princess Bear's (PB's) and my things out and ready to go into suitcases by Friday night.  My parents on the other hand had NOTHING packed.  Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.  Yesterday we made it from Peoria to Oak Grove KY.   Otherwise known as the home of Fort Campbell KY, home of the Screaming Eagles 101 Airborne.  My friend Susie and her family had been stationed there for awhile.  She warned me the town was boring.  It was.  We went to mass at St. Michaels this morning.  It was a lovely little church that really seemed to focus on the military families.

We didn't leave Oak Grove until around 10:30am by the time we repacked and had a quick breakfast after mass.   I was the first one up for driving today.  We wound up going through Nashville less than an hour before the Titans had a game starting.  It was a bit chaotic around the stadium and my friend had warned me that Nashville is a bit crazy to drive in.  It was but since I cut my teeth driving in Chicago it wasn't too bad.  Kentucky certainly is beautiful to drive through.  PB wanted to know if we could stop in Nashville and find Luke Bryan or Florida Georgia Line!  The driving gets really dicey near the Cumberland Plateau.  It's a 6% grade and pretty nerve wracking.  There are 2 runaway truck stops!  Yeah, I was not loving the driving at that point in time!  The following is taken from Wikipedia about this particular stretch of road:

One of the more hazardous stretches of Interstate highway in the United States[citation needed] is located approximately 40 miles (64 km) west of Chattanooga on I-24 in Monteagle, where the highway crosses the Cumberland Plateau. Compared to grades elsewhere, Monteagle's 4–6% grade does not come close to the steepest (Interstate 40 between Nashville and Knoxville features 5% grades in each direction as well as a 5% grade north of Nashville on 24, near Joelton), but the slope is protracted over a distance of several miles. While all motorists need to exercise caution, truckers are particularly vexed by Monteagle, and many have died going through this area.[citation needed] As runaway trucks had been a regular and deadly occurrence, in part of the failure or inability of truckers to slow down to the 35 mph (56 km/h) truck speed limit once on the slope, the eastbound lanes were rebuilt in the late 1980s. This work reduced the grade, widened the road, added a required stopping area with traffic lights for trucks prior to descending the mountain, and added two runaway truck ramps where a truck whose brakes have failed due to overheating can exit into a long pit full of loose gravel to safely stop. Owing to geography, these two ramps are on the left side of the grade. This stretch of highway inspired Johnny Cash to write a song about Monteagle Mountain.

I wound up driving for near four hours through some beautiful country into Tennessee and into Georgia.  My mom wants to take a return trip down there in the fall.  After that it was naptime for me.  I slept my way through Atlanta.  We spent time discussing with PB what each state is known for, what its major crops are and any other points of interest.  I figure since she's missing 2 weeks of school we might as well work the brain a bit.  We made it as far as Valdosta Georia which is near the Florida- Georgia border.  It's also where Moody Air Force Base is.  I'm detecting a theme here!  Tomorrow we're either driving to Clearwater first to stop at the Clearwater Aquarium where Winter the dolphin from Dolphin Tale fame resides and then on to Tampa for a quick visit to Busch Gardens or vice versa.  I'm then hoping to drive into Orlando so that Tuesday morning we can drop off our luggage at the hotel and hit Disney first thing.  We do have 3 fast passes as well as dinner reservations for Be Our Guest.  

So far I will say the trip has been pretty smooth.  PB and I are making my parents crazy listening to tons of Luke Bryan and Country Christmas on XM radio.  My parents and I haven't really wanted to kill each other...always a plus.  There's been a ton of roadkill which I hate.  Last night there was a deer that had been hit but wasn't dead yet in the middle of the highway.  I really hope the game warden was called to put the animal out of its misery and clear it off the highway.  I really do hate seeing stuff like that.  I've also can't remember ever seeing as many police pulling people over as I have in Georgia. 

This is a picture of PB hanging out in the hotel tonight with my parents

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