The rest of the trip was relatively uneventful. No stops for sightseeing (we were going to go to Elvis' Graceland but I forgot to add a day to the schedule to allow for a stop - never mind, next time), just driving, driving, driving. We did make it our mission to stop at every Cracker Barrel we could find as we had been deprived over the two years we lived in Washington. I love their gift shop and there were so many cute displays for the holidays. I think Vic ate his body weight in pancakes!
A few shots from the road:
|Window Rock Canyon in New Mexico|
|This one for Sophia in Amarillo, Texas|
|This one near Groom, Texas|
We stopped at Air Force or Navy Bases every night - Kirtland Air Force Base near Albequerque, New Mexico; Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Naval Support Activity Mid-South in Millington, Tennessee and enjoyed pleasant and reasonable accommodations each time. Our last stop before Virginia was not in a military base area so we stayed at the Best Western in Knoxville. Very nice accommodations and the hotel manager recommended a local restaurant and gave us a discount coupon so we enjoyed a lovely meal that wasn't Cracker Barrel or fast food for the first time since Thanksgiving Dinner.
Up early on the final day for our last leg. We drove just north of Gatlinburg, Tennessee during the time the terrible fires were raging. There was a lot of smoke over the interstate, very sad as we read later that so much property was lost and there were several fatalities. At almost every exit, there were vehicles just pulled over the the shoulder, waiting for the time when they would be cleared by the police to travel onward to their destination, no doubt hoping that they would find their communities and homes unscathed.
We decided to take a more scenic route on our last leg as the truck traffic had been quite heavy so instead of taking Interstate 81 and then 64 down to Norfolk, we cut across the southern part of the state on Route 460. We hadn't driven very far when we spotted a sign that said National D-Day Memorial in Bedford so we decided to make a pitstop. How very glad we were that we did so. We were the only guests that afternoon so we had a private tour and were able to ask lots of questions. I highly recommend a stop if you are in this part of the state.
Just a couple of photos for you as my photography does not really do justice to the sheer size of the monument and the detail of the statues. Among the hundreds of thousands who took part in the D-Day landings were 44 soldiers, sailors, and airmen from Bedford. 20 Bedford Boys died on D-Day, the nation's severest per capita D-Day loss in comparison with the 1940s population. How the D-Day Memorial came to be in Bedford is a fascinating story.
|Part of the Beach Tableau|
|The Supreme Commander, a statue of Dwight D. Eisenhower|
|The Overlord Arch, forty-four and a half feet high|
We finished the rest of our journey and even managed to swing by our favorite Chinese restaurant to pick up a takeaway for dinner. The young man at the counter said to Vic, "We haven't seen you in a long time", amazing that he would remember us after we had been gone for two years. What does that say about the number of times we eat Chinese food!
Checked in to the hotel and Chinese food eaten (every bit as delicious as we remembered it), we fell into bed. Eleven states and 4000+ miles later, we were finally back in our old stomping grounds. We would have one full day to buy a washer and dryer and some other bits and pieces we would need, and then we would pick up our keys and move back into the same house we moved from two years ago. The household goods were scheduled for delivery right after we got the keys and then the real work would begin.
Thanks for traveling across the country with us!