Some of you requested highlights from the trip hubby and I took a couple weeks ago. Recuperation time was lengthy, thus, the delay of this post. LOL
Our intinerary included: Meet fellow graduates in Lynchburg, Tennessee, at Miss BoBo's restaurant, then tour Jack Daniels' Distillery, "hic", followed by a 70-mile drive north to Nashville and the reunion at Treva's (classmate). The next day? On to the Smokies for Terry and me! Woo-hoo! (Or so I thought.)
On the morning of July 17th, Terry programmed the GPS for Lynchburg, then we stuffed everythng into our Camry. At exactly 7:30, our planned time of departure, we jumped in the car and slammed the doors. Terry (hubby) turned the key. Click-click-click. (for want of better words).
After turning the key several times to no avail, he got out, raised the hood, shook a few wires. "Hit it!" Minutes later, still no crank, we transferred the GPS and our belongings to the Ford Ranger, and hit the road. Running behind schedule, we picked up breakfast sandwiches at the convenient store where we fueled and ate while we drove.
Alas! Back on schedule--that is--until we neared Hurricane Mills, home of "Loretta Lynn's Dude Ranch." Our GPS lady ordered, "In three-tenths miles, turn left." We slowed near the narrow, paved pig path, took one look and shook our heads, "Nah! This couldn't be it. Driving on, she screamed, "Recalculating! In three and five-tenths miles, turn left!" (My, she was testy!)
Her suggested road looked about the same as the previous one, but we thought it best not to disobey again. So we took it. Duck River Road started out paved, but in less than half a mile, it turned to dirt, ruts, and wilderness. Cows grazed in forest-lined pastures, rabbits dashed from bushes, but few houses. I expected to see Laura Ingalls waving in one yard. Dust fogged behind us, but we kept on trucking. Five miles later, two jostled pasengers, (one ill-tempered driver) in a truck, landed on a four-lane highway.
"Boy, won't this be something to tell everybody?" I laughed.
"I'm not telling ANYBODY!" came Terry's angry reply.
"Aw, come on. I think it was funny." (Oops! Shut-up, Laurie.)
A few minutes later we came to a small town. I read a sign aloud, "Plunk Funeral Home" and started to laugh. Still frustrated from our Duck River Road experience, Terry didn't see the humor in it.
We reached Lynchburg on schedule, took all the GPS-instructed turns, then came to a stop in front of a red brick house atop a hill. "Your Destination is on the left."
Wrong! No sign to announce, "Miss Bobo's Restaurant." Pulling into a convenient store acrosss the road, I rolled down my window to ask a gentlemen climbing into his truck. "Excuse me, sir, can you tell us how to get to Miss Bobo's?"
"Ma'am you've gone 'bout a mile too fer. Turn 'round, and drive 'til you see an amb'lance service on the left. Miss Bobo's is on the right."
We thanked him, and arrived at Miss Bobo's, ten minutes later. After a southern meal of fried okra, macaroni & cheese, lima beans, a chicken-pot-pie entree' dish, peach cobbler and a history lesson on the civil war-house-turned-restaurant, we toured Jack Daniels' distillery. The intense July heat was unbearable before we entered the steamy rooms with huge whiskey-filled vats. One room had the sweet smell of baking sourdough bread...until our guide lifted the lid. The vapors nearly knocked us backward. By the time the tour ended, our clothes were glued to our bodies (Whose suggestion was this, anyway?)
Terry and I left the other classmates with a promise to meet them in a couple hours in Nashville at Treva's for our class reunion. We left in search of our motel. I must mention here that, "Miss GPS" was of little help. But we finally found the place without her.
While I pressed my new teal blouse made of rayon and spandex, Terry tried to program the GPS to find Treva's house. When his frutration reached the boling point, I stopped ironing to make a suggestion. "Put the thing away. I'll call Treva for directions." When I turned my attention back to my blouse, it had melted to the iron! I almost cried.
We used Treva's directions plus the GPS, and came to stop at the bottom of a rough driveway, balloons attached to the mailbox. Spinning in loose gravel, we backed up and took a running start up the drive. This time we made it. I could not believe it.! A beautiful home in Nashville surrounded by dense woods! It almost felt like we were back in the sticks at home.
Everyone ate barbecue with all the trimmings, while reliving the trouble we got into at school. Soon afterwards, Kemp pulled out the piano bench while I exclaimed, "Oh good! You're going to play!" (Kemp was and still is, a gifted pianist.)
"Only if you promise to dance," came his sassy retort.
Wasn't he surprised when a couple others joined me in the Charleston as we shook a leg to, "Has Anybody Seen My Gal?" After a couple duets with classmate, Charlotte, including, "Mansion Over The Hilltop," someone requested, "Chantilly Lace." Then we sang, "Just a Closer Walk With Thee." That's when Treva slid onto her piano bench to play and belt out, Linda Ronstadt's, song, "Crazy." She put her heart and soul into it. (It still echoes through my brain two weeks later.)
A half-dozen poses for photos, then Terry and I said our goodnights, promising to meet the others at the nearest Cracker Barrel for breakfast. The next morning, after a late breakfast and tearful goodbyes, the two of us headed for Sevierville.
A little too often I'd study the map and discover what appeared to be a route shorter than our GPS Lady's directions, then exclaim, "Look. If we took this road instead, it would cut out a lot of miles." After a couple of my suggestions didn't pan out, taking us to parts unknown, Terry put his foot down.
"Either you get rid of that map, or we throw the GPS out the window! Make up your mind!"
The decision was difficult, but after much deliberation (I still think the map was more accurate), the price of the GPS cinched my decision. I reluctantly threw the map in the backseat.
We arrived in Sevierville around 5 p.m., checked in our moteld, then ate at Golden Corral. The next morning, after a breakfast at IHOPS, we drove into the mountains to climb Clingman's Dome. I had NO idea how strenuous a half-mile climb up a gradual incline could be. We had to stop and sit on a bench every 50 yards. And to beat it all, when we reached the Lookout Tower, the scenic view was blocked by clouds and fog. Ugh!
We drove on to Cherokee and browsed through gift shops. Big trouble started when Terry asked, "Do you want to spend another night in Sevierville, or drive toward Chattanooga?" After several back and forths of "What do YOU want to do?" I pointed to a road sign announcing, "Chattanooga 135 miles," and asked, Why don't we head in that direction since we are already pointed that way?"
Terry pulled down "Miss GPS" to reprogram her. He asked, "Shortest route, or fastest route?"
"Shortest Route," I chirped. BIG mistake. Do you remember that country song from 1988, "Famous Last Words Of a Fool?" (Was it Ricky Van Shelton who sang it?) Anyway, it applies here.
The next two hours found us careening around treacherous mountain curves on two wheels. Some had 20 mph speed limits, others 10 mph. The only other vehicles we met were motorcyles. Each time we swerved into a 360-degree turn, our Miss GPS shouted, "Recalculating!" Most of the time my eyes were closed as I silently prayed, "Lord, if you'll just get us off this mountain alive..." I made indentations on that plastic grip handle, while Terry kept a death grip on the steering wheel. His white face and clenched jaw told me it'd be best to remain silent.
By the time we reached the bottom of the mountain and re-discovered civilization, Terry was not a happy camper. We found a restaurant and stopped to catch our breath and eat our evening meal. During the meal, we discussed where to stop for the night. "Do you want me to get the map out of the truck?" I asked.
He gave me the extra truck key. I got the map. Before I sat down at the table again, I tried to give him the key. He ignored me, so I laid it on the table and said, "Don't forget to put it in your pocket." He still ignored me.
We left the restaurant, drove until dark, then checked into a motel. Terry felt in his shorts' pocket. "Where's my key?"
"I tried to give it back to you at the restaurant. Didn't you pick it up?"
"No, it's not here, and I am NOT driving back."
"I'll call the restaurant when we get home and ask them to mail it."
When we arrived at home, Terry found the key in the zipper pocket of his small overnight bag, right where he had previously put it the night before. Explain that one. I know I didn't pick the key up from the table, and he says he didn't, either. (One of us is crazy. Ha!)
What a vacation! But we are survivors. And through all this, we learned something new. The acronymn, GPS stands for...
GRUELING, PERILOUS SHORCUTS.
Has anyone else had a similar experience? Feel free to share it.