The first day of Christmas

Arnold Travel Blog

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Shenandoah Valley sunrise
As my fellow traveling enthusiasts  know the question I get the most when I tell people of my travel plans is "ARE YOU CRAZY!?" I may have started to think so until I found this forum. See I still believe that you don't have to leave America to see great things. I believe that this country has one of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes, cultures, and personalities that you'll find anywhere. Afer finding this forum its good to see so many people who are willing to get out and travel. For us the reason why we can't does not exist, only the reason why we can, if nothing more than "because I want to", that is good enough.  As we become more isolated in the world people tend to forget the generosity of fellow Americans, the willingness to share a home, a meal, a story, or an adventure with a stranger. Fortunately there are those of us who still believe, who are driven to see this beautiful country despite all odds. And although we may not be understood, I dare say that those who discover our adventures will be drawn to the simple American desire of exploration.

Pre road trip day 1.

Devin (my 10yr old) and I have studied as much as could about the attractions there are to see on the way to Hollywood. We are planning to leave tonight at 2am and drive for 14hrs the first day destination Memphis TN. The weather doesn't look like its going to cooperate the first two days but come rain, sleet, snow or all 3 we are going. It reminds me of National Lampoons Vacation with all of the driving we plan to do only I hope it goes much smoother. Today we packed everything we could think of except the kitchen sink and are excited about what lies ahead. We rented a Jeep Laredo for the trip supposedly we should get 22mpg off of that. The rear is full with luggage, food and busy work for the little guy. We are planning to arrive at our destination (HOLLYWOOD!) on Saturday or Sunday depending if we stop by Las Vegas.  From there the plan is to return through San Diego and down I-10 with stops in Arizona and San Antonio. As most of you who know me know, plans on vacation are for suckers. Where are we going to stay along the way?.....I don't know. Where are we going to eat?....I don't know. We are aiming for CA but who knows where we may end up that's what vacation is all about, doing what you want. So I want to thank you all for following us on this adventure and hopefully we can inspire you all to get out there to see what this beautiful country has to offer, even if its only in the next state. If your not so inspired I hope that this journal and others you may find here will inspire your imagination through our adventure.

2:30 am 12/23/09

Uggggghhhh...... OK so zero dark thirty is here. I don't know if you've ever tried to wake a sleeping 10yr old but they don't speak english when they wake up.
The sunkissed sky, welcoming us to the road day 1
When I woke up today it was cold and I didn't really want to get out of bed, you know the most comfortable place in the house. Knowing that I'll be giving that up for a while kind of left me wanting to stay there for a while but, progress has to be made. I jumped in the shower, and now we are about to grab a quick bite and then we're off. Now the question I know some of you are asking is why leave so early? Well simple I live by D.C. and I don't know if you've ever been in traffic there but it will make you do anything to avoid it, even leaving at 2:30 in the morning. Next stop that long road to who knows where......

We started on the highway this morning at about 4, traffic through the D.C. area we relatively light, couldn’t say so much for headed towards D.C. In order to stay accurate on the accounts of the trip I initiated a verbal blog to help me remember what the day had brought. After 16 hrs of driving the memory isn’t exactly the sharpest tool. At about 6:15am I started to get an unusual tired feeling so decided to pull over in the Shenandoah valley exit 6 on I-66. We pulled into a Handymart where I grabbed a cup of coffee and a 5hr energy shot. There were 2 workers and another female customer there talking, after noticing they sold fishing equipment there I asked them where there was to fish. We talked for several minutes about the area and Tracy (the customer) gave me an interesting fact. The river in the Shenandoah valley flows from South to North and dumps into the Potomac. I wished the ladies a Merry Christmas and jumped back into the car and on down the road. About a half an hour later the sun although not up yet was starting to signal its coming with the sky lightening up. Up until this point I could see only darkness, its funny how much we miss in the dark. The light in the sky illuminated the mountains both ahead and beside us in the distance, there was a low fog leading up to the foot of the mountain. It was a beautiful welcome sight and not a bad view to start a road trip out to. Some sights you will see only in the dark though are: An illuminated TeePee, Three giant Illuminated crosses (very stoic at night), and a giant star off in a distant field (I don’t know if this is for Christmas or not but beautiful none the less.

Exit 50 on I-66 there is a town visible to the  highway that is comprised completely of trailers, the city of Atkins. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen an entire town like that before, interesting.

The drive into Tennessee was mostly uneventful traffic was light compared to what I was expecting not many delays at all.  Now I say mostly uneventful because of what I found on the radio station. Unfortunatly the satellite radio I asked for in the rental car isn’t working so I have to do the station shuffle from town to town. It was in this process I came across a gem of a station 92.7 in the middle of Tennessee. See, I like listening to talk radio so when I hear two guys talking I stop and listen. So the man describes himself as an active duty homicide detective.  He goes on to describe how we need to get our guns ready for the next 3 years as the war is coming and we need to get saved and know the lord because Obama and Bush have sold their soul to the devil and are going to hell.  He then went of to describe how the government knows what is going to happen and they have designated the Ozark mountains as a safe white zone, he then clarifies that white as in white. He gave no word on Brown, Black, Yellow or Red safe zones. This ladies and gentlemen is the Micro militia station, with commercials for dried fruits and shelters. This station would have been hilarious if they were not serious, and because of that it’s scary. Still so far to go in some places. For the record I have to state that I am in NO fan of this state and can’t get through it fast enough when I travel. Needless to say I have had some interesting experiences here in the past.

As we drive on into Arkansas the weather starts to deteriorate and we decide to hunker down in Little Rock. We did have to make a stop and put new windshield wipers on the car (it got a little tense…lol). Tomorrow they are calling for snow (6-10in) on I-40 so we may have to change our route. That’s to worry about tomorrow, right now I’m only concerned about showering, eating, and sleeping. Devin made us dinner tonight of ham and cheese sandwiches with BBQ chips and Gatorade. He’s in high spirits after a 16hr drive, its amazing what a good book and a Nintendo DS will do for kids on a trip.


~ Onto tomorrow

Dalmia says:
Safe travels my friend! :)
Posted on: Dec 22, 2009
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Shenandoah Valley sunrise
Shenandoah Valley sunrise
The sunkissed sky, welcoming us to…
The sunkissed sky, welcoming us t…
photo by: MDandbeyond