Road Trip Day 3 – Back Home

Most of these photos have nothing to do with much of the copy. Today was Interstate Day. Interstates, unlike the backroads we had been on earlier, are duller than dog doo. The first two shots were taken at the Kentucky Welcome Center on I-24. We didn’t bother to document Tennessee. It was so dull I stuck in an audio book.

Have you been watching the weather?

We were somewhere between Birmingham and Nowhere last night on Day Two of our Road Trip when Son Matt called to ask if I had been watching the weather. Since we had been hit with fewer than six raindrops on the whole trip, I said no. He suggested that I look because the Weather Channel was going nuts.

Yep. Big areas of reds and yellows right in our path. I told the GPS to look for lodging. Everything on the first two screens was behind us. Fortunately, when we got closer to Cullman, AL, things started looking up lodging-wise. Sky-wise was starting to look menacing.

Cullman Comfort Suites had it together

There was what appeared to be a new Comfort Suites at the exit, so we ducked in there just as the wind was starting to whip around and the temperature was dropping precipitously.

After a little bargaining, we came to an agreement on a room. While Joy Pannell was writing it up, I mentioned that I was traveling with my nearly-90-year-old mother and asked where we should go if the storm got bad.

I was impressed. She whipped out a sheet that contained information about where to seek shelter and a list of the local TV channels. In addition, she said that we should expect a call if there was a tornado warning in our area. Then, because of Mother, she gave us a room that was two doors down from the stairwell that would be the shelter area. That kind of disaster planning is something I had never gotten from any hotel in all my years of traveling. I heard Joy deliver the same message to the folks who checked in after us.

Don’t go to a Wendy’s / Texaco combo

Mother, wisely, didn’t want to go out in the cold, horizontal rain, so I volunteered to go across the street to a Wendy’s.  Here are some hints:

  • DON’T go to a combination Texaco / Wendy’s. I ate exactly one-half of what purported to be a chicken nugget. I think it must have been something from the Texaco side of the world.
  • DON’T roll down your window to place your order if you’re facing west and the rain is blowing east. I’d have been drier if I had gotten out of the car and run through the monsoon.

How did she do that lighting trick?

I mentioned that Mother likes to get up early. This morning, however, she cut me some slack. What I’d like to know is how she managed to arrange a crack in the window curtain that would shoot a six-inch sliver of blinding sunlight into my closed eyes while leaving the rest of the room in total darkness.

Trailer on Kentucky Lake

She was concerned that the winds that hit a factory in Hopkinsville might have damaged her trailer over on Kentucky Lake. Except for a few limbs down, everything looked OK. She did say that she was going to have to take some black paint to the sign Dad put up in the early 70s.

We had a lot of happy times there.

Lincoln and the Land of Lincoln

Mother had her picture taken with Abe Lincoln on Day One. Today, she shows how happy she is to be back in the LAND of Lincoln. We would have dropped down into Ft. Defiance at Cairo to shoot her at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, but the Ohio has been high and it looked muddy.

Brief Pause in Cairo

Cairo is where I shot Barry Goldwater campaigning for President and my first riot. I still go back to shoot what’s left of the downtown area. Every trip there are fewer buildings standing. She’s posing with the City of Cairo, Illinois, a caboose going nowhere.

Cape Girardeau, home at last

I felt a twinge of nostalgia when we passed where the old Mississippi River Bridge once stood. The new one is beginning to grow on me though. This was the final picture of our Road Trip.

It was fun. Mother was good company; the miles went by fast and we saw lots of neat things. I’m sure you’re getting tired of our series. Things will get back to normal tomorrow if I can get all my stuff unpacked.

I DID take one shot of myself.

Jane Neumeyer asked that I get an occasional photo of the two of us together. I don’t usually think of taking photos of myself – that’s why I hide BEHIND the camera. In editing the pictures, I DID find this one shot with me in it. Will this do, Jane?



12 Replies to “Road Trip Day 3 – Back Home”

  1. Your mother wore the right color for these shots, Ken! The color on those photos is beautiful, and the whole series shows clearly that you could, indeed, write about “dog dodo” and make it interesting!!
    Welcome home and thanks for sharing your road trip. Your mother is an absolute delight! It reminds me of how Letterman often included his mother in his program.

  2. I’m not smart enough to even own a protractor much less know how to use one correctly (besides, once you have had your fingers on a Spirograph, what’s the point of just one angle of degree?) but I am guessing by then length of the shadow, it was around 5pm when you took the photo. That being said, you look like you have been on a diet…

    1. You never was much of a protractor guy. More of an antitractor curmudgeon.

      The time stamp on the shadow photo was 15:45:50, which translates to 3:45 p.m. in Micky Mouse Time. That’s close.

  3. No Mr. Steinhoff, that will not do as a photo of the two of you together. However, you did post some great family ones off-site. Your mother is a National Treasure!

  4. Ken,
    Sorry you thought Tennessee was so dull. It is really a beautiful state and has alot going on. By the way next time you get caught around Cullman, Alabama, you need to call Linda Morris (my sister). She lives there and they could help you out. Maybe they would even fix some of that good home cooking. They love to do. Pictures were good and I enjoyed the trip.

    1. Martha,

      I owe the Great State of Tennessee a clarification, if not an abject apology.

      Tennessee is NOT dull. Driving through it on the Interstate is dull. Sure, there are some pretty scenes along the way, but no way to pull off to shoot them.

      Interstates are fine for making time, but I like going through all the small towns, even if you do have to stop at every traffic light.

  5. Ken,
    I really look forward to your photos and writings about Cape (brings back lots of great memories!) as well as non-Cape stuff (always entertaining!)…you have a real talent. I have to agree with Martha above however about Tennessee. I know you didn’t mean anything but gotta stand up for my adopted state! After growing up in Cape, going to school in Kansas, living in California for more than 20 years, and traveling all over, I rank Tennessee right up there as one of the most beautiful and interesting places I’ve been…full of history, natural beauty, diverse people (from rural “characters” to the “ultra hip” music people in Nashville), crazy festivals, etc. If you really think Tennessee is dull, you must be taking the wrong roads. 🙂

    Keep up the great work!

    1. Stuart,

      I’ll fall on the sword one more time to retract the comment I made about TN being dull.

      In penance, I’ve always wanted to drive Hwy 41 through the Monteagle Pass.

      That’s got to be one pretty road. If I have time on the way back, I’ll shoot some TN pix to redeem myself.

  6. I have to agree with you about I-24 through Tennessee being dull. We look for back roads to take us to Brentwood from around Murfreesboro. The way we get through Kentucky is looking at the rolling hills and thinking about Daniel Boone and Indians trekking there. Your pictures make me nostalgic about driving back to Cape, which we hope we’ll do again in October. We have gone from Brentwood all the way to North Georgia on back roads and it is BEAUTIFUL.

  7. ANYTHING BUT DULL!!! You are BOTH MISSING AN AWESOME MANSION THAT HAS BEEN TURNED INTO A WELCOME CENTER ON THE WAY INTO PADUCAH ON I-24 CALLED “WHITEHAVEN.” IT WAS BUILT IN 1860s and is a classical revival of a Victorian Home which now serves as the official Welcome Center at I-24 at Exit 7 in Paducah. BE SURE TO STOP AND SEE IT ON YOUR WAY HOME! There are free tours every 1/2 hour from 1-4 pm daily. The 2nd floor boasts memorabilia of Alben Barkley, VP under Truman. The lobby is open 24 hours.
    I saw this mansion before it was remodeled via a broken window. It was trashed on the inside and I was told that a motorcycle gang was using it for awhile and had torn off the bannisters for firewood. It still had beautifully adorned cherubs and ivy-leafed plastered ceilings and marbled fireplaces. When I got home after that trip, I tried to find out the history and if the house could be saved. My son’s principal told me that his grandmother was raised close by and she used to go over to the house and the owners would let her play upstairs after their child had died. Some of the neighbors had rescued some of the mirrors and furnishings to be returned after the remodeling. Governor Brown and his wife, Phyllis, a former Miss America, were responsible for the remodeling and turning it into a welcome center. Thank Goodness they did. It is so fabulous. I went back a week before the completion and the contractor gave me a grand tour including the 3rd floor ballroom which was also a playroom for the children. It still had hand-painted murals on the walls. That’s where they put the furnace and a/c units for the house, so they do not show the upper floor, but I feel so privileged to have seen it. It is so worth the drive over to see that grand old house.

    1. We’ve both been there. To be honest, though, by the time I’m at that point in the trip, I’m in pedal to the metal mode and just want to get home.

      I’ve used it as a comfort station, but have never done more than a cursory walk-through.

      On the way into the building, I have more pressing needs and on the way back, all I can think of is that I’m almost to Cape.

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