Day 4 – Albert’s Birthday

Today is Albert’s 24th birthday.

Today We drove from Council Bluffs, IA to Sioux Falls, SD.  We stopped at the COSTCO in Sioux Falls and filled up with gas and did a little shopping.

While standing in line at the check-out, Shari asked the women in line behind us if there were any good restaurants nearby.  She suggested Johnny Carino’s.  It was just a couple of miles away, so we drove over there.  Fortunately, they were offering dine-in service with tables inside or on the patio.  Since it was such a gorgeous day, we chose to eat outside on the patio.  The food was good and the service was attentive.  Since is was his birthday, they brought Albert a piece of chocolate cake.  I order a slice of Italian lemon cream cake for Shari and I to share.

After lunch we headed for Badlands National Park near Wall, SD.  It was after 5:00 when we arrived.  The park was not crowded.  Our first stop was an overlook.  Next we drove the scenic drive through the park towards Wall, SD.  At the start of our drive we were greeted by a group of locals.  Four Bighorn sheep were grazing just off the road.  It was a beautiful landscape, but not any I’ve seen before.

Once in Wall, SD we drove around town to get a feel for the town.  After looking at a few hotels, we settled on the Best Western.  We check in and got settled for the night.  Since it has been a long day in the car and we had a big lunch, there was not any enthusiasm for going out to dinner.  We opened a bottle of the wine we bought at COSTCO and had snacks in the room for dinner.

Day 3 – Nashville to Council Bluffs, IA

I started packing the car while Shari took a shower.  I made us both coffee and visited with Mike in the kitchen. When we were ready to leave, Mike went and go Martha up. We said our goodbyes and left around 7:00.

Our destination today is Columbia, Missouri which is a little over 6 hours drive time away.  We drove for almost an hour before stopping at a Chick-fil-a in Clarksville, TN for breakfast. Only the drive thru was open so we got breakfast to go. We drove down the road a short distance and found a shady parking spot outside a Hobby Lobby store. We sat there in the shade and ate breakfast.

After breakfast I stopped at a Shell station and filled the car up with gas. The restrooms at the Shell station were closed, so we stopped at the next rest stop off the interstate for a restroom break.

When we made it to Columbia, MO we decided to keep driving. We drove until 8:45 and stopped at The Hampton Inn in Council Bluffs Iowa. 

Day 2 – Car Repairs

We had problems with the air conditioner in the Jeep yesterday on the drive to Nashville. So this morning I’m taking the car to Christian Brothers to get it checked before we continue our trip.

We spent a quiet day at Martha and Mike’s house. Mike cooked a big breakfast of bacon and eggs for breakfast. After breakfasts we sat around and visited and read. Albert mostly stayed in his room watching movies.

Christian Brothers did an assessment on the car and called me around 11:00 to say they didn’t find anything. The next option was to extract the freon and refill the system. I told them to go ahead and do it.  I thought it would at least eliminate one possible problem.

Around 2:00 Mike drove me to Christian Brother to pick up my car. After getting the car, I went to Sonic next door to pick up Albert a hot dog for lunch.

Around 5:30 Martha ordered pizza from Marco’s and when it was ready Martha, Shari, and I drove over and picked it up. My nephew Kevin, his wife Jourdan, and son Ronan came over for dinner around 6:30. It was good to see them again and we talk a lot about Kevin’s work at Home Depot. He was recently transferred from the Murfreesboro store to one in Hendersonville.  A substantial reduction in his commute time. 

Day 1 – Headed Out

We left the house a little after 3:00 headed to my sister’s house in Gallatin,TN. We took the back way through Canton to get on I-75 North at Adairsville, GA. 

After going through Chattanooga, I noticed a problem with the car’s air conditioner. The air coming out of the vents felt cool, but it just wasn’t blowing. Even when I turned the blower to the max, it would only blow a little harder. You could hear the blower, but the volume of air coming out of the vents did not match the sound.

We stopped at the rest stop at Mount Eagle just past the Sewanee exit. Shari started driving.  Now we were not getting any cool air, so we rolled down the windows a little.  This improved the temperature in the car, but the noise was so loud you couldn’t hear the music anymore. While we drove, I removed the glove compartment to get to the cabin air filter.  I removed the filter and could feel the blower blowing.

Once we made it to Murfreesboro, I texted Martha like she asked me to. Murfreesboro it about an hour from her house.

We arrived at Martha and Mike’s house around 6:45. Once we arrived inside the house we were greeted by their new dog Bella. She barked and growled at us anytime we moved. Bella is a border collie poodle doodle.

Martha made lasagna and a salad for dinner. We brought a bottle of Hess Allomi wine to go with dinner. I has two small glasses with dinner. After dinner Mike persistently offered me a bourbon, but I declined sighting my diet for not wanting any.

Great American Road Trip

Leaving today for a classic road trip across the Western United States. Our plan is to drive North to Mt Rushmore, then to Glacier National Park in Montana. Next we will drive to Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. From there we will drive West to the Pacific Coast Highway and take it to Santa Monica. At Santa Monica we will get on Route 66 and head East as far as St Louis, Missouri. Then we will turn South to Memphis and go to Graceland. After Graceland we will head for home. We plan to be gone a month. Should be a great adventure.

Happy Birthday, America

The Declaration of Independence might be more relevant today, in 2020, than it has been in years. The second paragraph strikes me as particularly relevant today. (Emphasis added)

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness”.

Below is my favorite rendition of America the Beautiful sung by a great America, Ray Charles.