unplanned random thoughts . . .
Being one who appreciates weekly routine, traveling like this, unplanned adventuring, can be tiring. Well, at least for me. I have enjoyed every state and each touring stop but the one or two night stays at each campground wears on me.
We have our routine down as far as how far to drive in a given day, how to search for campgrounds with hook-ups and the occasional laundry, preparing a fast dinner because the day’s travels took longer than we thought, pack up to leave, dump the tanks and etc.
But the rewards of driving across the northern Midwest and south far outweigh my weariness. Once we get going down the highway to our next destination, I am ready to watch the countryside, never boring and ever changing from one state to the next.
We are doing as we planned, no plans other than a destination. The destination may take a two day drive, but we know where we are going. We do not make reservations along the way. At times I’ll call the day of our day’s end stop to reserve a spot. In the north Midwestern states, we really didn’t need to do that, the campgrounds were basically empty except for local residents enjoying their lakes and fishing.
Up until a few days ago, we traveled along back country roads which Dale and I both loved. From Indiana south, we find ourselves on the interstates as they are more direct to where we are going. We agree that traveling the interstates is stressful for Dale; on the country roads we rarely see a big rig and no one seems to be in a rush.
All of our stops so far are more than we ever anticipated. Each one, beginning in Great Falls, MT to Nashville, TN, is uniquely different. I think what is most awe inspiring of all is the people. My respect and love for the Midwest grows with each town we visit and new person I meet.
Dale and I have traveled the west coast and parts of the east coast; we find “middle-America” exceptionally welcoming. I wrote in earlier postings, in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and even today in Tennessee, proprietors astound me with their trust; walking into a store with no one around impresses me with a sense of how it used to be in our towns and cities decades ago. As we walk down a street, eat at a restaurant, ask a local for directions or recommendations in what to tour in their state, they are happy to oblige and when we tell them we are from Montana, many say that is a state they would like to visit.
I am in love with the country. I love Montana’s continuing miles and miles of wheat coloring the horizon gold. I love the farms of Minnesota and Michigan, their tall silos silhouetted against the dusky sky. I gazed at the never ending blue of the Great Lakes. I love the forever corn fields in Indiana and Kentucky and their fall harvest as the tractors slowly mow down the brown stalks and miraculously produce a heap of yellow kernels in the catching tractor trailer.
We have traveled through countryside with unobstructed, sweeping views; woods dressed in autumn color and the rolling hills of Kentucky blue grass, perfect grazing for thoroughbred farms.
We hoped to visit the Great Smokey Mountain National Forest, but as so many are groaning we are barricaded from seeing our park. Somehow we’ll figure out how to drive at least a short stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway and then skirt our way south, south to the east coast, the ocean.
I am eager to experience the gentle south; history rich Charleston, South Carolina and an equal, Savannah, Georgia. I look forward to the changing landscape and new flora. I also look forward to breathing in the ocean air, a smell only to be found on the coast, both west and east.
We are leaving behind the quiet Midwest the further south we drive; it is becoming more and more congested with a different America. I know for sure, I will look forward turning north in a few weeks to go back to what has captured my heart, middle America.