I was really getting about as nervous as a long-tail cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
When I happened to walk outside for the umpteenth time around 8:30, the caravan pulled into my driveway. Boy! Was I glad to see them! Unfortunately, our Captain had a reaction to some medicine he was taking for an infection, and he couldn’t make the trip.
There were two SUVs that arrived with four men in one and three in another. Josh, Ernie, Jonah and Michael were in one vehicle, and I was to join Joe, Randy and Wayne in the other vehicle. We all exchanged cell phone numbers, and after a brief conference, decided on the fastest way to get out of Little Rock.
I loaded up, and we hit the road.
My bunch was in Joe’s SUV. He had driven from Lufkin, Texas that day and picked up the other two SUV passengers in Hope, Arkansas. Josh and his bunch in the other SUV met Joe at Hope and followed him to my house.
I climbed into a rear captain’s chair and directed the cavalcade out of town.
We got on I-40 and headed for Memphis. It was clear sailing once we left Little Rock, and I dozed off. It was really unusual for me not to get car sick, because I always got car sick if I sat in a backseat. This time, the gods of travel granted me a pass for this trip.
The night wore on, and I eventually got in the third-row bench seat behind me and went to sleep. When I awoke, we were in Jackson, Tennessee. It was my turn to fill up with gas (and replenish my Diet Dr. Pepper).
Randy took his turn behind the wheel, and I dozed again until we got to Knoxville.
About a few miles from Bristol, Tennessee, we stopped for a respite, and then I began driving.
The sun was just beginning to come up, and I really enjoyed leaving I-40 and getting onto I-81 heading into the Shenandoah Valley. It is one of the most beautiful parts of the country, and I revel in its mountains and its history. It just feels different to me when I enter Virginia. I can fell the history oozing out of the soil.
In Virginia, when you head north in the Shenandoah, you are going “down the valley,” and when heading south, you are going “up the valley.” So, Down the Valley we went!