Mobile to Nashville
Nashville Travel Blog› entry 3 of 7 › view all entries
First and foremost, let me apologize for being slow at updating the site until now. I have been trying to find a groove out here and it has proved to be tougher than expected.
Saturday was an up and down day for me. It truly was a roller coaster of confusion and emotions. I spent an extra night in Mobile with 1,000's of evacuees form Louisiana and Texas. I planned on following the storm on the news stations
to see if I should change my schedule for Texas. I planned on being in Houston in less than a week. After seeing the devastation that Ike left behind in the Houston area, I decided to wait.
I wanted to begin this entire trip earlier to avoid the winter storms that would inevitably hit the Rockies of Canada and America. My greatest fear is being stuck in a snow storm, not just because of the danger, but because of time and money running out. While I left a month later than planned, I guess I was still being hopeful and optimistic that I could beat any potential storms, but Ike has gotten me to rethink this entire idea. I can't afford to be sitting in someone's house for days on end waiting for roads to be cleared of snow.
So you may be asking.... what did he do yesterday besides drive? Well, I decided to head down to the battleship in Mobile one last time in hopes of actually seeing the ship. Luckily, there were enough roads not flooded so that I was able to get in close to check things out. I can see why Mobile is proud of their ship; it is a testament to the power and ingenuity that America possessed during WWII.
As I was driving down the road to get a better picture I noticed an older gentleman taking pictures by himself along side the highway. I had to stop and get a good picture and I decided to sneak a conversation too. I nonchalantly walked up to him and tried to get a feel of why he was so interested in this ship. He didn't appear old enough to be a WWII veteran, so that never entered my mind. What was his interest?
No, there was no mind blowing account of his family members having been in the war, but he nevertheless was interesting. It turns out that he was an engineer that worked on designing the modern day destroyers for the navy. We only talked for about 15 minutes, but I could see in his engineering eyes how much of a feat it must have been to create this battleship with the technology that existed in 1942, when the USS Alabama was commissioned. He threw a lot of technical terms over my head about the ways they design the ships today vs. 1942. I have a feeling that I could have listened to him for hours. His passion and love for his work was evident in his eyes and voice. He was a man of around 60 years of age and obviously loved his job and still keeps an interest to this day.
I had to leave otherwise I would never get out of Alabama. I headed north on my 7 hr trip to Nashville, where I plan on staying for a couple of days while I get reorganized. I will be staying with an old friend from Aberdeen whom I've known over 20 years now. He and his wife have graciously accepted me staying here for a couple of days, all on a moments notice.
While on the 7hr trip through Montgomery and Birmingham, I noticed gas prices rising and couldn't help to think how much things have changed on this trip in the first week alone. When I left Tampa, I paid $3.50/gallon for gas and here I am a week later paying $4.49. I know the prices will drop back down once the refineries are back online, but until then...OUCH!
While Friday was a little disappointing, it quickly rebounded this morning with a donation from a friend and his wife. They surprisingly donated $50 to the idea of raising money for the charity of our choice. This newfound optimism was accompanied by my daily dose of support from e-mailers and things were looking up. The roads to the ship were open and I had a new plan.
After leaving Mobile, I headed north and the rolling hills became mountains and the low clouds rose higher, which made the skies feel so incredibly vast. In Florida, the clouds always seem to be right on top of you and I had forgotten what the skies look like away from the water. It's such an open feeling.
While driving I decided to get caught up on the phone with a few people. First person was my sister. She had been at the big nationally televised college football game between Univ. of South Florida and Kansas the night before. As I watched the game on TV the night before, I remember thinking to myself how great it must be to be 19 with your entire future ahead of you. I never thought for a second how the excitement that filled 60,000 fans during the last minute victory could come to a screeching halt....literally.
My sister proceeded to tell me how after she left the stadium with her friends, she called shotgun to get that front side passengers seat. ( I have always told her to stay away from that seat because it is known as the suicide seat.) I'm sure in the excitement of the game, the last thing on her mind was something bad happening.
It turns out when she and her friends left the stadium parking lot, a car came screaming through a blind spot and side-swiped them at nearly 40mph. Of course, it broad-sided the passengers side of the car. So here she was, in the line of fire of a speeding car. I can only imagine how many people have been hurt or worse yet, killed in that situation. Luckily, she walked away only bruised and traumatized. Hopefully, she will avoid that seat for now on. I am just glad she didn't get hurt because so many people have lost their lives in that very same scenario.
It was listening to her tell me about the accident that once again got me dwelling on life. It's too short. It could have ended for her in that moment of celebration during the happiest times of her life. Yet another reminder why we should all appreciate life more than we do. While driving through the mountains of Tennessee, I couldn't help to notice the sunset more than usual this evening, and think about how beautiful it was. I have seen many gorgeous sunsets at the beach many times since I moved to Florida, but no sunset compared to this one. As the sun slowly fell behind the mountains in the distance, I once again have a more valuable understanding how short life can be.