ROADTRIP CALI TO NORTH CAROLINA

The last week of our time spent in California was somewhat stressful. Don is the type that gets things done way ahead of time, I’m a procrastinator. I plan ahead but have a tendency to do way too much at the end, (I seem to work better under pressure). I completed everything on my to-do list though.

Mover Dudes (2 young men from Virginia), plus 3 men from San Jose packed us up Saturday and Sunday they loaded the truck, with only half of it full for a stop in Arizona to pick up another load. I packed my heavier Canon camera with a Tamron telephoto thinking I won’t need it since I recently bought a compact Panasonic. I took some photos of the packers and left it sitting on the counter, guess where the camera is, in one of the boxes on the moving truck headed to Virginia for storage. The second “Oh Shit,” was, forgetting to get our passports out of the safe for our Barcelona roundtrip cruise at the end of the month. Fortunately, the moving company said they will find the safe and have it available for us to retrieve them. That’s great, but now we have to travel to White Post, Virginia, close to Washington, DC to the storage yard, a little out of our way to Denver, NC.

Monday was Labor Day, so nothing was done that day. Tuesday we signed papers, with the buyer in the Title office at the same time. Very nice lady, moving closer to her kids from Union City. After the walk through with our realtors, I finished packing our 3 suitcases laying on the bedroom floor (a task not completed, before the arrival of the movers). I had to pack for the road trip in one suitcase, and the remaining clothes and shoes in the other two for our cruise, and when the weather gets colder since we won’t move into our home until mid-November. Various canvas duffel bags carried Sidney’s food etc., sundries, computers, AAA maps (I love to look at paper maps and not just go by Google maps), and books, ice chest, etc.

Wednesday the housecleaners cameand  Thursday morning the carpet cleaner. Since we had a few loose ends to tie up, we decided to leave Friday morning.

 

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Driving to Bakersfield then cutting across to Hwy 40 will take us all the way to NC. We overnighted in Barstow and arrived at Grand Canyon village late afternoon Saturday. Very crowded, (more than 5 million visitors annually), and with all the hotels in the village booked, we stayed in a Holiday Inn a short drive away from GC. Remained at GC, Mather Point, till the sunset, had dinner, then the next morning drove up to Desert View the East Entrance to where a talented architect Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter, designed the Watchtower as well as other buildings in the village. The Watchtower is the highest point on the South Rim. We certainly can see why the Grand Canyon is one of the seven wonders of the world.

 

Route 66 parallels Hwy 40 much of the way. Seligman is a tiny hole in the wall town that is an interesting stop. The Rusty Bolt and Delgadillo’s Snow Cap”Drive-in” are 2 of the main attractions. RB has mannequins that line the porch as well as the porch roof and quirky signs covering the walls. DSCD opened in 1953, is no longer a drive-in, and has a “garden” of old cars and gas pumps behind the outdoor eating area as well as a strangely painted “36” Chevy (with a Santa and Christmas tree in it).

 

Another stop on Route 66 in Winslow, Arizona, named after Gen. Edward Francis Winslow, a president of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad. It’s an important shipping and trading site, and the ONLY remaining Trans-Atlantic Airways airport in the nation. As I’m sure you all have heard the Eagles song “Take It Easy”, “standing on the corner of Winslow, Arizona, such a fine sight to see, it’s a girl my Lord in a flatbed Ford, slowing down to take a look at me, take it easy….”The town knew a good thing and re-created the scene along the original route of the 66. There is a life-size statue of a young man with his guitar, located in front of a life-size mural showing the “…girl in a flatbed Ford” in a window’s reflection. The town seems to close up 4pm, you can stand in the middle of the street to take a photo.

 

 

We pushed on to Albuquerque, NM that day, and arrived at the hotel at 11:30pm central time. The next morning, after talking with US Passport, and the moving company, we determined the “best” solution to our Passport problem is to drive on to Virginia to retrieve them from the safe.

We spent a good part of the day at Historic Old Town, wandering around the shops, lunch at a Mexican restaurant and 2 blocks from the town square were the American International Rattlesnake Museum. I’ve always had an interest in snakes, and couldn’t resist checking it out. Don and Sidney chose not to go in, and instead found a shady storefront where they could relax, far away from the museum. When I first got there, I heard a strange noise nearby. Turns out, in a large round aluminum pen, there were 3 tortoises, probably mom, dad, and offspring. Dad was making a peculiar almost honking noise and was busy mating with mom as junior just sauntered by. The gift shop and museum were quite interesting, and surprisingly, more women than men visit it and have worked there. It presents species from North, Central, and South America in recreated habitats.

 

 

Decided to spend a second night in Albuquerque at a Sheraton which has merged with Marriott. We own Marriott timeshares, so we had access to the Elite Member club for a yummy dinner and breakfast before hitting the road again. Our only stop today was at the Blue Hole in Santa Rosa, NM. It’s one of the most popular dive destinations in the US for SCUBA diving and training. It’s an artesian well that was once used as a fish hatchery, maximum depth 80 feet. It’s used by many, as a natural clear blue swimming hole that has a hidden system of underwater caves which were unexplored until 2013. The surface is only 80 feet in diameter but expands to a width of 130 feet at the bottom.

 

 

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Blue Hole

No scenic stops along the way to Memphis. Passed through Amarillo, TX then on to Oklahoma City. In 1972, brother David was playing for the SF Giants AA team. Sister-in-law Sue, nephew John and I drove from Concord, to Casa Grande, AZ where we met up with the team in spring training. The players all caravanned to Amarillo for the season. I rode with one of the players and traded off driving. They moved into a new apartment complex still under construction. I spent a few days with them before flying back home. Remember a strong windstorm while I was there, lots of sand blowing around.

Memphis was hot and humid. Parked next to a newly dedicated park for MLKing Jr., a half a block from Beale Street, and just 4 blocks from Lorraine Motel where he was assassinated. Beale Street has many clubs where Louis Armstrong, Muddy Waters, and B.B. King introduced the world to the Memphis Blues. Although the city was declared “Home of the Blues” in 1977, once vibrant Beale had by then lost much of its appeal, with most of its music halls, saloons, pawnshops, and stores shuttered. After a 1980’s makeover, it remains a Memphis focal point.

 

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I have been to the mountaintop!

 

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Beale Street

 

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Walked a couple blocks to the Memphis Rock ’n’ Soul Museum. Spent a couple hours wandering through listening to the audio and reading interesting captions to displays which included B.B.Kings Lucille guitar to costumes worn by Johnny Cash to Elvis. Issac Hayes designed a diamond and emerald encrusted watch in the shape of a piano. It traces rock from its rural Mississippi roots through rockabilly, rhythm and blues, and soul. Rock ’n’ Roll revolution began here when Elvis recorded his first song at Sun Studio.

Mid-afternoon, not too many people on the streets, Friday and Saturdays are their busy times. We had BBQ pork, slaw and beans at B.B. Kings Blues Club on the corner of Beale and Second. Unfortunately, we took a wrong turn and missed seeing Lorraine Motel that now houses The National Civil Rights Museum.

Spent the night near Graceland. The following day I spent 4 1/2 hours wandering the 14 acres through his home, grounds, racquetball building, plus exhibits about Elvis’ life at Graceland, ending in the Meditation Garden Elvis had constructed and is now buried with family members. As I was getting ready to take a picture of one of the statues, a small butterfly landed on my hand and just sat there, I finally had to coax him off my hand. My daughter said it was like Elvis was welcoming me. Across the street, the 40-acre entertainment complex features exhibits about Elvis; music and movie career including gold and platinum records, memorabilia and wardrobe. The Presley Motors Automobile Museum highlights his renowned collection of vehicles, including the 1955 Pink Cadillac for mom Gladys, even though she didn’t have a drivers license. At the North end of the complex, they have two private airplanes: the Hound Dog II, a Lockheed JetStar, and the Lisa Marie, a customized jet plane.

 

Don and Sidney enjoyed quiet time and staying cool in the hotel. When I returned, we packed up the car and headed toward Nashville/Knoxville. Decided on making no more stops to sightsee since we live “close” to many other sights and can see them at a later time. Passed through Nashville hoping to get as far east as we could until we had to pull over for the night. Since we’re experiencing evacuees heading west from the coast, hotels are not readily available. We ended up spending the night in a small town named Carthage, TN about 5 miles off Hwy 40. The only thing available was a fleabag motel owned by the skinniest, unfriendly man from India with the biggest ears I’ve ever seen. I saw the son in the morning, and he was the spitting image of his dad, poor kid. We slept good for the most part but decided not to take a shower since Don found a wrapped Kotex pad on the shower ledge. It appeared the room had been cleaned otherwise, but I checked for bed bugs. (When William and his friend drove to NC back in May, they stayed in a motel that had bed bugs, and woke up in the middle of the night itching like crazy). Some “shady” looking characters staying there, and the next morning snapped a shot of this guy. An insurance adjuster from Colorado was checking in the night before when I was at the desk, heading for NC. Turns out the following morning, while Don was gassing up the car, a local told him that Al Gore owned a ranch nearby.

 

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As we were heading East that afternoon, we saw a lot of emergency vehicles, including inflatable boats, heading to SC/NC.

We’ve been on the road for 8 days now and decided to head straight to Mooresville, and hunker down with the kids till next week sometime and let the storm complete its course before heading to Virginia to retrieve our passports. We veered off to Asheville, NC, still following Hwy 40 which will bring us into where the kids live. As we crossed the border into NC, we’re experiencing lots of clouds, some wind, no rain.

Arrived in time to pick up BBQ dinner for the family and snuggle with the grandkids. The following day it rained most of the day, but not too heavy, no flooding in our area, but there was some, in Charlotte, about a 30-minute drive south. A local said the flooding was mainly in the area that usually floods during heavy storms. And he’s experienced more wind and rain during summer storms than they did with Florence. Apparently, the news channels embellish a lot. Texted with my sister-in-law Sue who lives close to the beach in NC, at the SC Stateline, south of Wilmington. The only damage they had was an easily reparable section of fence. We drove over to Denver to check out the progress on our new home in Trilogy. Found out the following day we’ll take possession of it on November 8, 5 weeks ahead of schedule.

 

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Thursday morning, we drove 7 hours to White Post, VA (which is known as the state for lovers). We were so excited to retrieve our passports from our safe that they pulled from our storage, and had waiting in their office.

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Spent the night in Staunton, VA, the hometown of Woodrow Wilson. Darling college town with a lot of history, we’ll definitely have to come back and spend a few days exploring. Driving north to VA, despite the truck traffic, gives you a “peaceful” feeling. Green trees and rolling hills line the roads with farms scattered throughout.

Humidity will take some getting used to, but that is what A/C is for, and it’s seasonal. Mosquitos are major pests, so you have to keep vigilant with repellant or these coil bands you wear to keep them away. Unfortunately something “attacked” me 2 days before our trip and my legs are covered with dime sized bites that itch like crazy. Thanks to allergy pills that make you drowsy, and some anti itch cream, it’s tolerable.

Off to Barcelona on Sept. 30 where we’ll spend a total of 8 days before and after our cruise on the Royal Caribbean to France, Italy and Greece, returning October 23 to NC. We move into our home on November 10, and start the next phase of our lives. Can’t wait! Going to miss all of you we left behind, but, we will have 2 guest bedrooms waiting for any visitor heading to the East Coast, just choose the best times of the year to avoid hurricane season, and humidity, you won’t believe how beautiful it is.

Our new address effective November 8 will be, 4822 Looking Glass Trail, Denver, NC 28037. Cell phone numbers remain the same Jodie 925-366-6547, Don 925-231-5038.

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Memphis, Tennennesse

The American Civil Rights struggle led to a tremendous universal change for American Africans. These struggles secured the rights in voting, education, housing, services, and employment.

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These struggles did not come about without sacrifice and struggle. Dr. King rose up from Alabama leading this march in equal rights; his leadership was tragically ended with his life. The effort continues today, with significant improvement in understanding that can be seen all around us.

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Not only Dr. King’s endless struggle for equal rights leveled the playing field, but music from the late 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, the birth of Blues also played a big part in bringing blacks and whites together. Music of all types seems to be universal and neutralizing angered emotions. Wiping out color, conflicting traditions, conflicting personalities, and political differences.

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Starting with black and whites were share farmers together, both working the fields side by side. United in the effort for earning a good income for the support of each their families. Yes, there were many discrepancies. Each family supported the other in correcting those discrepancies.

 

Sharecroppers worked six days a week, evenings and weekends were spent listening, playing, and singing blues together. Music created movement, rhythm for the body and emotions bridging the separation gap of color. This bridge was not constructed without some struggle. Some groups refused to accept any differences. But these difficulties were not reserved for just one group, but to American Natives, Asians, African Americans, Irish Americans, Hispanics, the list of race and religion are still seen by these minority groups as different. Though the difference has gone from hatred to different.

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Observing both of these movements, one can see many races participating together; civil rights produced a serious attitude, while jazz, blues, blues rock produced a happy clan expression.

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As gospel Blues, blues and soul started to take over the land, so did segregation, intermarriage, all groups fighting for equal rights. Music was ongoing through Dr. King’s efforts, and his efforts were supported by all the various groups that were rewarded by the marches.

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Visiting Memphis, and in particular visiting the Rock & Soul Museum, which was researched and compiled by the Smithsonian Institute. The Smithsonian demonstrates how this form of music played a part in reducing the gap between African Americans and Whites. With the thought of all that was achieved through artists, like BB King, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Muddy Waters, Louis Armstrong, Bob Dylan, the list is endless.

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The playing field has been leveled, but the struggles for all groups still meet some minor resistance.

We all should play some Johnny Cash, Bonnie Raitt, Kipp Anderson, Etta Baker, all of them to remember that the past has created the bridge of civil rights.

Hurricane update for Denver and Mooresville, NC. These two towns are both 5 hours from the coast of NC and 3O minutes north of Charlotte.

County emergency reports of both areas last night.

Mooresville states: up to 15 inches of rain, winds (but no determination of how strong) have 72 hours of food and water.

Denver states: we are holding to make any determination of how bad the storm will affect the county, but have at least 72 hours of food, water, and prescribed medication on hand. 5 to 10 inches of rain, no flood warnings.

As of 8:38 PM Both areas upgrade winds to 25 mph, with gusts of 50 mph. Power outages should be expected along with trees falling.

We are pressing forward to retrieve our passports in White Post, VA and then 6-hour drive to Mooresville, NC.