Freedom and Liberty

Freedom and Liberty
I travel in Freedom but sleep in the security of Liberty (not only on the road, but in this amazing country of ours)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Travel Day (Eutaw, AL to Hixson, TN) (bad wrong turn)

Since Jenning's Ferry Campground was an Electric/Water only site, I emptied my tanks on the way out of the campground. I filled my fresh water tank about 1/2 full just in case something happened and I wasn't able to connect to fresh water. After visiting with a few of the old men at the waste water dump site and solving most of the problems associated with the country, I pulled out around 9:00 am. I needed to get an early start because I had a long tow ahead. I planned to travel about 260 miles which meant one eating stop, one fuel stop and one Welcome Center stop. Since no one wants to travel with me to help navigate, I have to do a lot of pre-navigation before pulling out. That means I need to scout out fuel and eating places to make sure I don't pull into one with the RV and not be able to get out. I use the internet and Google Earth to do it. I then write down the Exit numbers and other information on a tablet of paper that rides on the console of the truck for ready reference. As I'm going down the road I will study, read, glance at it every now and then. I guess I was obeying the law since I was only reading a tablet of paper and not a text message. I felt safe at least. There are several good web sites which list truck stops along the roads. If I can find a good truck stop that has easy access to the pump and a good restaurant then I've bingo'ed (there you go Joy). It didn't work out this time. I could not find a good combination so I looked for a restaurant about an hour down the road. I found a good truck stop where I could park with the 18 wheelers and the restaurant was rated high on the truckers page. They were right, it was very good and the waitress said it was nutritional also and I believed her.

Breakfast of Champions

After filling my belly, I got back on the road. I was cruising pretty good until I hit the north side of Birmingham and ran into about 10 miles of the worst road I've been on this trip. It was a composite roadway, meaning it was originally a concrete road that had been overlaid with asphalt many, many years ago. This type of road must be overlaid about every 5 to 7 years or it turns real rough as the cracks and joints from the concrete road reflects through the asphalt causing it to start spalling. Once this happens, the asphalt will spall off creating a multitude of small potholes. It will be rough and get rougher until the asphalt can be removed and replaced. I hated composite roads for most of my highway career and this was a reminder and validation for my anger. During the fuel stop I debated whether to look inside Liberty to see how much damage that road had done. I lost won the debate with myself and decided to wait until I got to the campground. About 20 miles after the fuel stop my blood pressure went back down as I started seeing mountains down the road.

Yep, I still didn't text while I drove, but those are pictures taken through Freedom's dirty windshield while going down the road. After leaving Alabama and going about 25 miles through the northwest corner of Georgia, I made it to the Tennessee Welcome Center. I was glad the bathrooms were open because I was regretting all that water I had drank. I was beginning to eye that empty water bottle.
Freedom and Liberty waiting on me at the
Tennessee Welcome Center. I threw the empty
water bottle in the trash can so I wouldn't be
tempted again

 I gathered up about 2 inches of pamphlets, got my free Tennessee state map, signed their book and got back on the road. I was ready to get to the campground because the trip was getting old fast and I still had to go through most of Chattanooga before the day was done. 

My handwritten notes served me very well. I knew what turns were coming up well before I got to them and knew which direction to turn. I also knew the approximate distance between turns so I could start looking for the street signs and highway numbers. Nothing wrong with this system. That fancy Garmin GPS can stay in the box and I won't have to learn how to use that GPS thing they said was on my new phone. I think the Ford dealer said something about my truck having a GPS or something on it too. To heck with all that, just give me the old fashioned pen and paper (plus internet) and I'm good to go. Well, until the last turn.

The last turn was suppose to be on to a road called "Gold Point Circle North". I had the approximate mileage since my last turn so I began looking for it and knew it was close. I slowed down as much as I could; even though the speed limit was 55 mph. Sure enough, there on the right, the green street sign. As the words came into focus I read them off one by one,,,, "Gold",,,,,,good,,,,, "Point",,,,,,,,good,,,,,, "Circle",,,,,,,OK, this is it, start to turn, check the right mirror to make sure the RV wheel clears the curb,,,,,look back at the street sign and read,,,,,"South". South???? That can't be right. I slow to a crawl hoping there is a quick place to turn around. I spy a pretty good sized driveway but there's a sign saying "private drive, don't think about turning around". Obviously this has happened to other people before. I continue on looking for a turn-around to get the heck off this "south"??? road and hoping it doesn't dead end. The road started getting narrower and the edge lines disappeared. In Louisiana this means the lanes are less than 11 feet wide and I'm pretty sure they mean the same here in Tennessee because these felt like 10 foot lanes. I was lucky there wasn't any traffic on the road coming or going because I was going slow as the road began to get curvy. About 2 miles and 5 hours minutes later I saw a guy cutting brush on the side of his driveway. I came to a stop and hollered out if there was a good turn around ahead? He say "Nope" as he took another swing with his blade. I said does this road end up at a campground? He said "Yep, after a few kiss-your-ass curves". I was familiar with that expression but I had no choice but to continue on and hope I didn't met a truck or school bus coming the other way. Well after a 5 mile white-knuckle, butt-puckering, curvy, hilly drive, I pulled into the campground. The place looked great, the price was the cheapest I've paid so far, and it wasn't crowded. I got a nice campsite next to the water.
I couldn't decide which picture was the better at showing the campsite so I posted both of them. Ya'll can comment and let me know which one you like the best. I was ready for rest and relaxation. I went into town and got a good dinner at Ryan's. The ribeye's were cooked just right and not overly seasoned (I'll go back there before I leave the area). At $10.00, I couldn't have bought and cooked the steaks and everything else I ate. So, with my belly full again, I turned in early for a good night's sleep. Every so often during the night I thought I heard a loud engine or generator going. I thought it strange because the campground gate closes at 10:00 pm, so no one should be entering the park and no one should be using a generator since electricity is part of each campsite. When I opened my door the following morning, the mystery was solved.

The lake I'm camped next to is part of the Tennessee River which is navigable. The engines were the tugs as they were pushing their barges. Now that I know that, it is like a song. While looking outside this morning I also took the following two pictures. They made the harrowing and long trip yesterday worth-while.

Sunrise over the lake

The view out my door
The picture reminds me of a saying some of the full-time RV'ers say. It goes something like,,,, "I live in a small house but I have a BIG backyard".
Ya'll take care of each other. Cya.


  1. Sounds like you had an exciting day! I like the second picture. They were both good, but that tree was the "center" of attention in the first one.

  2. What a scarey day u had! Now I know what u meant when u said u would post so we would know u weren't n the ditch somewhere! How n the heck do u think u will b safe driving up north n the mountains? U needed a 1 year pre-retirement driving practice. I can't believe u dont use GPS..Garmin will even talk to u and if ur lonesome u could talk back! Please be careful. And I vote pic 2...what a view. Love u

  3. Safe? It's all part of the adventure. So far, 2 votes for pic 2.

  4. #2. Adventure is the point...right??!!??