We had breakfast at Cracker Barrel. The Cracker Barrel. The first one ever opened in Lebanon, Tennessee. It should have been more impressive than it sounds, but it wasn’t. The only interesting thing was that they serve syrup in mini-bottles.
We were in a hurry to get home. Apparently traffic and construction were going to be against us. Even though it was Sunday, the traffic was terrible. We toyed with the idea of leaving the noisy trucks and interstate behind and taking a cruise through the Great Smokey Mountains. Eagerness to get home prevailed – that, and the fact that the exit ramp to the park was backed onto the interstate.
This trip has had an amazing symmetry to it. We started going through a gorge next to a whitewater river (I-40) and ended the western portion in a similar gorge (Wenatchee.) We started the entire trip in clouds and fog and ended it the same way. Construction and an accident slowed us to a crawl on the way out, and the same thing happened on the way back.
When Laura suggested the title for this segment, she was hoping that this tale doesn’t end like Tolkein’s, and that Saruman had not defiled the Shire. Turns out David was an excellent house-sitter, so the trip ended more like the movie than the book. The house was well-ordered and a welcome site when we arrived.
The last time we took a cross-country drive, it was for a year in Tucson. On the drive back that time, four things struck me – Southern Accents (even though I’ve lived in SC all my life), green everywhere, humidity, and the astounding number of radio evangelists. We hadn’t been gone as long this time, so the effect was not as profound. However, we are exhausted, and probably crashing early so we can go to work tomorrow, but here are some statistics…
3244.3 going west (with assorted tours)
2868.2 going east
6112.5 total (about 1/4 of the Earth’s circumference)
South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Utah.
National Parks/Monuments Visited:
Gateway Arch, Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Devil’s Tower, Yellowstone.
Horses, cows, prairie dogs, bison, antelope, deer, elk, avocets, bears, moose, humming birds, bald iggles, magpies, orioles, coyotes, pikas, chipmunks, and a badger.
Back Home Again…