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Making Tracks; Cheap Diesel; No Thai for Ty; Fried Bologna and Velveeta! Southern Hospitality

We departed Barksdale AFB and Bossier City heading east on Interstate 20 through Louisiana and Mississippi. We made a brief stop for sleep in Marion, MS, not even unhooking the car in a pull-through spot in an RV park, and then early the next morning continued east through Alabama and into Georgia, where we stopped in the southern suburbs of Chattanooga, Tennessee, the site of our last event before heading home to central Florida. For the first time in ages, we traveled completely on an Interstate highway, driving at a steady 65 mph. The miles just rolled by, and diesel fuel got cheaper as the days passed. By the time we arrived in Chattanooga, a gallon was only costing $3.319, as compared to the $3.919 per gallon high in Estes Park, Colorado. I refused to buy $4.50/gal diesel in Canada (I will not willingly support socialism – sorry, Vancouver and Calgary friends) and made sure we had full tanks when we crossed the border. Frankly, I would do the same in the People’s Republic of California. (No apologies whatsoever to Governor Moonbeam.)

I had one embarrassing geographic moment when, having made a reservation at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, Alabama, I realized to my horror and chagrin that we were passing well north of that Fair City, through Birmingham instead, and I had to canx the reservation the following day. I will put that error down to a minor senior moment rather than to any serious navigational challenges. At least I discovered it myself, and wasn’t told, “Hey, Dummie, we’re not going anywhere near Montgomery!” by My Lovely Bride. The really sad part of the error was that we would miss a great dinner at a Thai restaurant favored by Suzanne’s brother Brent and HLB Cheryl. Sigh…

On Wednesday, we arrived at our destination just after 1800, when the local campground office closed. We had disconnected the Toad (our Honda CR-V automobile that we tow behind The Coach) when we fueled, and were proceeding separately down narrow two lane country roads. After becoming separated, MLB got lost, and called me on the cell phone and chided me for telling her to ignore the GPS and follow my obviously inadequate directions… it was not a good afternoon, and to make matters even worse, we had just crossed into Eastern Time, losing an hour, it was past our normal dinnertime, we were both hungry, and I needed a glass of wine somethin’ fierce. I arrived at our campground (to remain unidentified to protect my personal safety) 15 mins before MLB, where I had to deal with Grumpelstiltskin, the lady in the office, who would have much preferred to be home boiling neighbor children in a cauldron. (The reviews of this campground almost unanimously noted her disagreeable temperament.) When I described to MLB our less than favorable interaction, she showed almost no sympathy, merely stating that “Well, she seemed very sweet and nice on the phone to me…”  Like, Ty, if you weren’t such a dunce, she would have been delightfully pleasant to you and probably would have baked you a cake. (Yeah, maybe one laced with strychnine or ground glass… some days you should just stay in bed…)

Speaking of food, one of the signs we saw on the road was at a Hardee’s restaurant. “Fried bologna and Velveeta cheese biscuit” (includes a fluffy fried egg)… can you guess the fat and cholesterol content? (1,858 cals and 65 g fat). The mind reels… sort of like deep fried Twinkies…

On Thursday, we got settled in Chattanooga and did some sightseeing, including a hike in Chickamauga National Battlefield Park, just across the state line in northern Georgia.. This is one of several “Civil War” battlefields that I’ve wanted to visit for many years. (Historical note: quotes are used in the previous sentence because where I grew up, it was called “The War of Northern Aggression”, since it wasn’t very civil at all, particularly if you were in the path of that rotten Sherman’s march to the sea. Because I am married to a Pennsylvanian, AKA “A Yankee”, I have to be somewhat circumspect in my writing. In fact, I was a bit worried that she might pull the lanyard on this field piece while I was taking the picture…)

The battle of Chickamauga was fought in 1863, and was a Confederate victory, although the Union army escaped, withdrawing to the heights of Chattanooga where they dug in for good. This photo shows the Texas monument. Each state has one or more monuments to the 125,000 men (and probably more than a few women disguised as men – that wasn’t so uncommon back then) who fought here – 4,000 soldiers died and 24,000 were wounded in two days of fighting. Chickamauga was the second bloodiest battle in the war, after Gettysburg. By the way, the battle was named after Chickamauga Creek, which in Cherokee means the “river of death”.

The leaves are starting to turn here, and I was a bit taken aback to see brightly colored leaves on this pine tree, until I realized that they were attached to a clinging vine.

After our hike, we stopped at a Georgia winery. We chatted with a delightful Chickamauga resident named Bradley, who presented us with one of the bottles of local wine that he had just purchased. Thanks, Bradley, for your gracious hospitality and recommendations for sightseeing and restaurants!

Today we moved up to Chattanooga, where we would be showing the Messages of Hope documentary. We were met by Penny Werth, our coordinator at Unity of Chattanooga, who took us to lunch at a local deli. We continue to be impressed by the gracious hospitality of everyone here in Tennessee and Georgia!


  • angeldust
    Posted October 5, 2014 at 2:22 am

    What a wonderful tour we took with you, and, as usual, great blog! Thanks for sharing the scenic landscape, wonderful food, and beautiful people you met. You're rounding the bend now, soon to be back in real familiar territory. Wonderful memories and new pictures for the scrapbook. Don't think you ever complained about the driving, but wow, lots of territory covered! Well done Captain and Commander. Enjoy the accolades. With Love, Gloria

  • Ty and Suzanne Giesemann
    Posted October 6, 2014 at 11:42 am

    Gloria, Thanks for your kind remarks. It was a great summer, but we're really looking forward to getting home to our friends in The Villages. Suzanne sure touched a lot of lives out there, and our last stop in Chattanooga capped off the summer perfectly. See you in a couple of days! Love, Ty


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