Great Western Odyssey — anticipation!

Tell all of your friends to “like” this page, so everyone can keep up with the Great Western Odyssey that will be pulling out of here next week!

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Well, we’re gonna crank up the Prius about this time next week and head north and west. The REAL west!

Yes, that’s the “covered wagon” we used for the whole trip!

First, we’re heading to our family reunion for the 4th of July outside of Nashville. After that, it’s first to Kansas City overnight and meet with a Principal who wants to meet and talk about some of my books.

Then, it’s several days of what seems to be continual driving, mostly 8 hours per day and less. Maybe I can get another book written while we’re on the road! West to Denver for overnight (Kansas is a WIDE state!). Up to Cheyenne then west to Salt Lake City, then up to West Yellowstone KOA for 5 nights. Using that as a base, we’ll go to Jackson Hole, Grand Tetons and Yellowstone.

Over and down to Buffalo, WY for 7 nights. Longmire Days Festival is 7/17-19 and we’ll stay at the same hotel (only 4 star hotel in a 2-star town; all the rest were 1-stars) for day trips to Deadwood, Little Big Horn, Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse monuments. Then across SD to someplace with a drugstore. Wall, SD, I think. That’s the only “thing” in that town. Down to Kansas City again, where I have 2-3 speeches (same topic) at different libraries. Then back to my brother’s house in Ashland City for a couple of days, then home by the 28th or 29th.

THIS, and the lack of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee between Salt Lake City and Kansas City again, more than anything else, will test the mettle of a marriage!!

YES, Bad Guys, there WILL be someone in our house watching out for your approach!!

 

Great Western Odyssey — Family “Leg” of the trip!

What a start to a month-long Western Odyssey!

SERIOUSLY rained in Dalton, causing traffic to crawl at 37 mph. Traffic crawled through Chattanooga because those DOT people have YET to recognize, 50 years later that the I-24 chicanes through town are STILL only 2 lanes past downtown. Can you say northbound FUNNEL?!? Southbound traffic CREPT past us as we picked up speed near Nickajack Dam.

If you've got to take I-24 east between Nashville and Chattanooga today, take a room and wait until tomorrow. 3 different backups, SB/EB each with traffic STOPPED DEAD STILL for 1 to 5 miles long. So far…

Rain on Monteagle, but there's a @Dunkin'Donuts at the top, so we calmed down a mite. Until we crested the mountain.

A fiery tractor-trailer rig on fire, on southbound I-24, just north of the crest of Monteagle, TN. Scary!

Traffic will be stopped just before the top, southbound on I-24 for a few week this day. Tractor fully engulfed in flames. The couldn't detach the trailer because the inferno was too great!!!

Onward toward Nashville! Pray for that truck driver. Wish I knew about his safety. I'll check my secret sources and get back to you…

Great Western Odyssey — Family “Leg” of the trip!

Mama, I’m home! Almost. My dear departed mother, Vivian Rebekah Binkley Wright, was born and raised in Ashland City, TN, so every year, we have family reunions near there. God’s Country.

Saw this in Scottsboro, just down the road from Ashland City. Made me feel VERY welcome!!

Not ours, but what a good name for a country store!
And I agree with them!  I sure felt at home in this store!

Great Western Odyssey — Family “Leg” of the trip!

The Binkley Family Reunion continues! Bocce ball tournament won by the GA Boys. Best Dessert and Most Patriotic Outfit were won by our granddaughter, Avery! Best Ice Cream won the Betty Nella Award, won by Steve Maxey! Lightning put a stop to the festivities, but not the fun. There’s ALWAYS a next year!

Teams of steam play this game of bocce ball every year. One year, the Georgia part of the family wins, then the Tennessee part of the family will win! Great fun!
Ain’t they cute?!?  These guys will play until the lights burn out!
But SHE’S wearing the cutest “Most Patriotic Outfit” in the bunch!  AND had the best dessert!

 

Great Western Odyssey — more anticipation (2)!

Tomorrow begins the great Odyssey! SSOO excited!!

First stop, Overland Park, KS, followed by a meeting with a Principal on Tuesday morning, lunch with a dear friend, then onward/westward toward Denver. I hear that there is nothing to see in Kansas, as once you’ve seen one wheat field or corn field, it looks just like the next one and the last one. No hills, no mountains, no trees, no nothing.

Good thing I’ll have a computer or I’d be asleep before we got to the second square county (all of them in the state are squares!). I’ll be taking pictures of THE gas stations at the exits ’cause there there may not be much else to see!!

THIS is how you pack a Prius for two people to stay gone for 26 days! Packed to the GILLS!

Great Western Odyssey — heading out!

 

On the road!! My seat is well-occupied, with my foot on the dashboard! BTW, all trips for us begin with the theme to “Raiders of the Lost Ark” blaring in the background. Turn up your speakers for a second.

Mandatory stop at Dunkin’Donuts required at Pleasant View, TN before getting on I-24 with our police escort to the highway. My nephew, Adam Wright, is the Asst. Chief of Police at PVPD, so we met him, gave him several boxes of Girl Scout cookies to give to his guys, and bought 4 large @Dunkin’ Donuts coffee to fill the thermos, then hit de road!!

Gas mileage in the @Toyota USA Prius for the first leg, from Marietta, GA to Monteagle, TN was 50.8 mpg. Second leg from Momteagle to Ashland City was 60.2 miles per gallon!! We can do this!

Especially with the playlist Better Half has compiled of traveling songs. “Route 66,” “The Ride,” “Southern Cross,” “The Wanderer,” “See the USA in a Chevrolet, “The Highwaymen.” Just about anything about traveling!!

Later on, we’ll listen to recordings of old radio shows.

Great Western Odyssey — heading out (2)

Better Half has OUTLAWED all controversial topics on this trip. So there will be no discussions of problems in America like: Gay Marriages, Obama, all of the offending subjects, political correctness BS, or tissue stories. So y’all BEHAVE while we’re out on the road! It’s hard for me to run herd over baloney while I’m sandwiched in a Prius!!

There were two fast cars on the Interstate that NEEDED to be in front of everyone!  Within 5 seconds, they were GONE!

Great Western Odyssey — Day 1

Whew! That scare is over!

Those of you who KNOW me know that I don’t panic.., much. Came close to panicking A couple of times in my life and each of those times was in fear of something happening to or hurting one of my children. Once each. So I just don’t panic.

Howsomever. We’d checked all of the gun laws of states through which we’d be passing and found that the only state with gun laws so restrictive that we really didn’t want to go through it is ILLINOIS, just in case something happened and we got stuck having to STOP in the state. You’re allowed to drive straight through on an interstate highway IF you only stop to fill one tank or fill up the other. If you stop to sightsee, you’re subject to the laws of the state, which require that you lock the unloaded gun in the trunk of your car, with the bullets locked in a box on Venus. Or Mars.

Now, I ask you, if I’m in so much trouble that I actually NEED a gun, what kind of good is that weapon going to do me if the bad guy’s in front of me, holding a gun, but mine is locked up in the boot of the car and the bullets are on Mars?!?

ANYWAY, to avoid driving even 3 feet through ILLINOIS, Better Half found a route on a little road through KY, over a little bridge over the Mississippi River to Missouri. But with all of the massive rains in the past few days, guess what river was too swollen (and most areas near Old Man River were flooded) to take that bridge over? The little bridge over the Mississippi! So we were forced to drive through IL!  For about 20 minutes. Worse 20 minutes of my life! Today, anyway.

The Mississippi River was almost at flood stage when we crossed it. The area had had TONS of rain just before we got there.

 

Great Western Odyssey — Missouri

Almost to the westbound music stage! Better Half creates playlists on his phone to be played by Bluetooth over the car stereo.

All of you young whippersnappers under the age of 50 should already know how to handle that (the statement AND the playing), but for Old Farts to have achieved the status of Blueteeth-Dom, that’s a major technological hurdle that we’ve cleared! Our children, Tash, and Trevor, are used to aging parents that “try” to stay on the bleeding edge of technology, but sometimes I have to wipe the blood off my hands just to get a better grip on the rope! This is one of those times!

So. The next playlist, since we’re heading west is…, wait for it…, WESTERN MUSIC! Not Country, but music from Westerns…, TV and movies! Starting with the theme songs from: How The West Was Won, Magnificent Seven, Sons of Katie Elder, Tombstone, Rawhide, Gunsmoke, etc.

In the meantime, we’re in St. Louis traffic at 4:00 p.m. Looks just like Atlanta traffic. We can DO this!!

 

Great Western Odyssey — Missouri

Any of you from Missouri might can answer this question. What do these signs mean when there is a sign with giant single letters on them? Sometimes there will be a road name, sometimes not. Like one sign says nothing but “H,” “J,” and “C” on it. Huh?

????  They can’t come up with better road names than letters?