December 23, 2009: Crazy Exhausted Driving Day

We are still on the road.  We started today (at midnight, eastern time) in the mountains of western Virginia on Route 81.  Our route is roughly the NY Palisades to the Garden State Parkway to Interstate 78 to Interstate 81 which will take us all of the way to Knoxville, Tennessee.  After today I will have driven every inch of i81 which is a very long north south run from the Canadian border to the deep south with a very long curve along the mountains.

For several hours this morning we had no email or Twitter communications with the outside world because of the Blackberry outage.  BB came back online around three thirty and we started Twittering again.

We entered Tennessee from Virginia at roughly four thirty this morning.  We can’t believe how cold it is here.  We stopped to refuel right over the border and it was thirty one degrees!  There is snow everywhere as well.  We talked to the lady working at the gas station and she said that thousands of people here in Tennessee and north in Virginia were without power and had been for days and might not have power restored until after Christmas.

We were unable to find a bathroom in Tennessee due to the power outage so we went to Perkins which is open all night as Liesl needed to be changed and we could all do with some time out of the car.  Definitely time for a good stretch now that we are twelve hours into the trip.  So we stopped for breakfast.  We were the only people at Perkins when we arrived but when we left the place was full of the contract electrical crews in from out of town helping to get power restored in the area.

Dominica took over for her first turn driving while in Tennessee.  She drove us down to and through Knoxville.  Knoxville is the first real city on this trip that I have never seen previously.  We are now farther on i81 than I have ever been before.

We crossed into Georgia just minutes before ten in the morning.  We are making good time, overall, but are incredibly far behind our original schedule and are nowhere close to Texas at this point.

Once we were in to Alabama the sun was out and the temperatures shot up.  The temperature difference between the Upland South and the Deep South was really noticeable today.  It was gorgeous down in Alabama and we enjoyed great driving conditions.  Sixty six degrees in Fort Payne when we came through.

I drove us through Alabama and Dominica took over and drove us all of the way through Mississippi with Mississippi being the only state that Dominica drove in its entirety during the entire trip.  We stopped in Meridian, Mississippi to eat at Waffle House there.  That was our last real stop on the trip.

In southern Mississippi, just before crossing into Louisiana, we ran into our first rain of the entire trip.  Not a lot of rain, but enough that our car top carrier is getting tested.

We crossed into Louisiana at a quarter till six in the evening.  The temperature was into the seventies while in Louisiana.  This is very encouraging.

At eight this evening we stopped for our final fuel stop just before crossing into Texas.  Then it was on to our final stretch.  We are so exhausted.  I can’t believe that we are still moving.

We arrived in Bayou Vista, Texas at Joe and Britt’s house on the salt marsh overlooking Tiki Island at half past midnight.  Thirty two straight hours from Peekskill to Bayou Vista.  We were seriously tired.  It had been raining most of the way from southern Mississippi but no serious rain during our drive.  We made out great as far as the weather was concerned.

It was straight to bed for us.  We were pretty much asleep before even getting in to the house.  Joe was waiting up for us but we only did the absolute minimum to get in and to get in to bed.  We are exhausted as we can be.  We’ve been up working hard for forty one hours now and we need to be functioning so that we can celebrate Christmas Eve with the family tomorrow.

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