Driving Southwards

The hills and mountains are so beautiful. Tall trees, long and winding roads take us through small towns. New supermarket chains appear as we change states.

The last save date for this post was 20th November 2017. It is an historical recollection at the time it was written. For more about looking backwards, read the introduction.

Enjoy what was...

Dear Adventurous Reader,

Thomas, Stella and Adeline posing for photos

Thomas, Sarah and Stella have come camping with us. A few days, in the mountains, the sun is warm and the Appalachians are magnificent. Adventure, or relaxing, or something in between.

We leave the Faust’s with photos and tears. They have become family to us, which is something we love about how we get around in North America. We have moved from one family to another.

The roads out of North Carolina become familiar, a reminder that we are on another road trip. Car packed tight with all our things. The first day is hot, somewhere in the high 80’s, and it is slow going. First days are always slow. 100 miles is an eternity.

I always remember that a mile is almost 2 kilometres. And then I get sad about all the driving ahead. I have a Love/Hate relationship with road trips - it is a lot of effort for a few stories.

Camping...

Two days with Thomas, Sarah and Stella are great. We sit and chat. We figure out how to work Mr Faust’s gas stove. Talk about the future and possibilities. We enjoy a lunch, hidden in the back of Thomas’ truck to avoid park rangers. The boys and Jacqui enjoy a swim down in the freezing ice melt at some rock-falls.

They always find some rock slides to enjoy.

I use the internet in the state park to converse with a potential employer. The weather is pleasant and the company is finer.

Saying goodbye was hard. We had come to them through such difficulties. In the past six weeks we had made a home in North Carolina. Home was living with the Faust’s, and enjoying being so close to Thomas, Sarah and Stella. It has been a long time since the community we lived in included these family members.

Setup camp in the mountains

It was a great joy that we got to enjoy camping. Both Jacqui and I feel like leaving would have been much more difficult if we had of said goodbye to everyone at the same time.

Song of the Southward

The hills and mountains are so beautiful. Tall trees, long and winding roads take us through small towns. New supermarket chains appear as we change states.

We leave the Appalachians and head southward. Maybe we’ll move to Mexico for a while?

Inter-State of Mind

The white, paved roads of the interstate no longer climb and fall over huge mountains; they rise gently, and fall with easy rolls. Green trees line the road. Buzzards circle in the sky. The slip lane is dotted with dead armadillos.

We have driven southwards. The border to Mexico is calling. And just as the Interstate keeps on going, we keep on following. North Carolina. South Carolina. Georgia. Alabama. The weather is nice, warming up. The car is rolling. The kids are varying degrees of bored.

I am in awe of the interstate system. It is a beautiful simile of the US. It is fast, and brash; cars rocket past taking the speed signs as guidelines. It gets us to places quickly; bypassing the small and large towns that once dotted the old highways. It embraces the beauty of the country; lined by trees, or over long bridges of the bayou. The rest stops are treated as somewhere you would go on a Sunday picnic - magnificent.

When the Interstate backs up into a long traffic jam, it does not happen half-heartedly. The artery is either on or off. Very fast, or at a dead crawl for an hour (or more).

Setup camp in the mountains

These ribbons of tarmac and concrete are the lay-lines that keep the gods of the country together. Power lines that connect satellite towns. Arteries that let the lifeblood flow. Stop the Interstate, and you stop America.

In the South, the Interstate is lined with billboards, raised in worship to those who pay homage to another god of America: Money. For a sacrifice you can have your product raised above the natural beauty of the countryside. Cracker Barrel. McDonalds. Guns. Even, Jesus - he has plenty billboards raised in worship.

We head south on the interstate. Running state to state. Move slow through the big cities. Drive and merge with care. Long distances covered in long days of driving. Stop. Camp. Pack the car, and back to the road.

Road Runner. Our Car is called Road Runner

Our car is a marvel to me. Day by day it goes by, and keeps working. After our last drive south I am cautious of our car being up to the task. The Unease takes me every time I turn the engine over; I wait for the "click" of the starter motor, or the crushing of gears as we speed down the highways. I wait for the car wheels to fall off, or the 4wd to engage eternally. I am grateful when any of these don't happen, happy beyond measure, but I am still concerned next time the car starts, and we drive down the highway.

The first day on the road we had a rodeo of noise coming from the back of the car. Yelling of fighting and playing, pushing, shoving and tickling. Adeline screaming as Zeke scares her; Elijah and Adeline yelling, without tune; the words to YMCA, they had heard at the baseball in Greensboro.

Like sardines in a tin can.

About an hour from our destination, after a day of driving, with the temperature getting above 90 degrees, they fall silent and play Lego with each other. Silence, except for the wind pounding in through the windows of the car. Our air conditioner is the outside air.

The next spot to stop for a few nights in beyond the south. Louisiana.