(Nov. 26, 2017) I left Niceville, Florida, yesterday and made it to just north of Nashville. Today was Nashville to my brother’s family outside Dayton.
Of course today is Sunday, the last day of the Thanksgiving holiday. I got on the road at 10:00 and, with only a bathroom break or two and maybe a stop for a small lunch, expected to be here about 3:30 – 4:00 p.m.
Did I mention today was the last day of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend?
There was enough traffic to make one yearn for the days of travel in a horse and buggy because your arrival time would be so much quicker!
Leaving Tennessee was fine, but once in Kentucky some serious road construction slowed things down. I can’t complain about that; after all roads have to be maintained.
But then I came to a long…a miles-long…stretch on I-65 North where we did about 15 miles per hour.
I love to listen to Big Finish Production’s Doctor Who audio plays. These dramas star all the actors from the classic Doctor Who era (and they’re starting to do audio plays with the casts from the revived series). The production quality is very high; all the original sound effects and music are there, the direction is superb, the stories are thrilling and very well crafted…the only thing missing is the picture. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy more adventures with the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Doctors (all the living actors who played the classic era Doctors have reprised their roles). The BBC even brought the Big Finish audio plays into the “official” cannon by having Paul McGann, who plays the Eighth Doctor, mention his audio companions during a mini-TV episode he starred in during the show’s 50th anniversary back in 2013. Each program is at least two hours long and done in serial format just like the old show.
I listened to the entire Big Finish Production version of Shada before I got clear of the traffic jam.
I’ve visited Tennessee a few times, but I never have set foot (or rolled tire) in Kentucky. I passed the Corvette Museum, Diamond Caverns, and the birthplace of one of my two chief heroes, Abraham Lincoln.
I ignored them all.
It was a wrench to just drive by, but I have family obligations, and family must come first. However, it might have been better to stop at one or two and kill time because I thought the end-of-holiday traffic in Kentucky was bad. Once I reached Cincinnati I realized I had not seen anything yet!
From entering Cincinnati (now on I-75 North) to finally being about 30 minutes outside of Dayton I moved at…you guessed it: 15 – 20 mph. I expected heavy traffic entering Cincinnati as city dwellers returned from the holiday, but it just never…ever…stopped!
I got to a point where I was running on far less than a quarter tank of gas and far more than full bladder capacity, so I finally had to force my way out of traffic and find a gas station. I was in one of the rougher parts of Cincinnati, but got off I-75 North when my GPS (named “Judith”) finally indicated a service station. It was the first exit in miles that Judith had shown one, so I reckoned I’d better take it.
I navigated roads that looked like they were out of a Robocop movie at some points and a New York film noir event at others. I ended up across the street from the gas station waiting 20 minutes for a train to pass at the crossing. Sarah Jane, my car, had plenty of gas to make it to the station, but I was getting seriously worried if my bladder would reach the point of rupture before the train cleared the crossing!
Finally got to the station. It was in an interesting neighborhood. I’ve seen several like this is in New York City—nicely kept houses alternating with dilapidated edifices that are clearly being held up by nothing more than habit. Lovely new cars parked next to jalopies. I filled up, then went in to use the head.
There was an Indian lady (old world India) working the counter, and as I approached to ask where the men’s room was I stopped when her eyes met mine as she addressed a man I first thought a customer.
She was telling a man in a blue coat and old knit cap she was going to call 911 on him. At first I thought they knew each other because she was relatively lighthearted and he was laughing about her calling the police on him. But, as the conversation went on, I realized she was serious. He had been doing something in that store that spooked the living hell out of her.
He finally left and I approached, got the key to the men’s room, and asked her if she was ok.
“He was standing in that corner and I saw him kind of hiding behind the shelves,” She said, pointing to a corner where the drink coolers come together. “He was there for a while and I didn’t know what he was doing. It made me scared.”
“I understand,” I responded. “You have to be careful. At least he left. You seen him here before?”
She hadn’t, at least not that she remembered.
I took care of personal business, gave her the key back and headed out as she rang up some other customers. Sarah Jane and I navigated a few more inner city roads (stretches of lovely smooth pavement interspersed with stretches of pot hole hell) before getting back on I-75 North.
And then, ten minutes after that exit, suddenly traffic opened up and I hit (gasp!) 65 mph and came across exit after exit with enough gas stations to qualify for their own time zones!
Isn’t that always the way?
I’m safe outside of Dayton with my brother’s family and will be here at least a week. This is the Last Outpost, you might say. I need to nail down some final preparations here, as well as take care of some VA business as I get my retirement benefits worked out (more on that later).
But after a week here…then I launch in to the Great Unknown. And that’s when things will get really interesting!