Travel

US Road Trip 2017, Day 17.

The final day of the road trip can be summed up in one word … exasperating. Yup, that’s the word. 

I started out on the eastern edge of Tennessee, and headed west. After already having put on a good 4,000 miles during this little trip, I really didn’t want to be driving anymore. Yet I pressed on under an envelope of stars. 

Needless to say, if you’ve never driven east to west across Tennessee, it took FOREVER! I seriously didn’t think I was ever going to see the sign for Memphis. It was like the Hotel California of states. 

Cruise control on and coffee in hand, I finally prevailed. I crossed the mighty Mississippi River and entered Arkansas. I was happy. For about 20 minutes. 

First, I finally finished the new Daniel Silva book, House of Spies. I’m a huge Gabriel Alon fan. It was unabridged on cd, and it was excellent. I now had to go back to digging for music on the radio.

The road went to hell about 40 minutes into the state. Oh well, bad road is bad road. I continued on unbothered. 

Then, second, about 30 miles east of Little Rock, the whole interstate came to a screeching halt. There had been an accident and the interstate was closed. Stuck in the left lane, no exit even remotely close, and surrounded by tractor trailers, I was going nowhere. The scrum moved a car length  at a time for 2 1/2 hours. When we finally got up to the point where we could pass the accident, it turned out the a tractor trailer load of booze had overturned and slid down the median. You could smell alcohol, even with you windows up. It was a Greek Tragedy. 

The ramp for the bypass around Little Rock was under construction, so I had to drive through the city at rush hour. Great, more lost time. The state of Arkansas ended with an 11 mile construction cone slalom run. The signs said they were rebuilding. From what I saw, it was doubtful. 

I pulled up in Texarkana and assessed. 4 1/2 hours more misery and I could be back in Salado. No stopping now, I continued on. Interstate 30 to Dallas turned into a heavy rain mixed with road construction. Finally getting to Dallas, the ramp for the bypass expressway (635) was closed. I had to overshoot, and come back at it from the other direction, so I could use the other south Bound ramp. I-35 south was a start-stop of road construction. The interstate was completely closed at Temple, Texas for construction. All traffic got diverted onto the frontage road. It was great fun. I pulled into the yard at 12:30am. A 19 1/2 hours of driving day. For a moment, I considered just sleeping in the truck. 

All in all, a round trip circuit road trip across 19 states (most of them crossed twice), with 7 major stops along the way. Total money spent, $ 3,276.67. Total money won, $ 642.00.

Cost: averaged out to $ 192.74 per day. Not too bad. Most of it was hotels and gas. 

I think that, that is that, for a couple days. I have to go back and check in with the real world. 

Get out there! Enjoy!


Enjoying the view in Arkansas.


There’s something you don’t see everyday. 

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US Road Trip 2017, Day 16.

With a super-casual application of my Campus School math, I have lingered too long on the trail, and it is time to go home. So, today it was back on the road. 

Fourteen hours of driving took me from Northern New York to the eastern edge of Tennessee. All in all, the drive was good. There was a lot of road construction in Virginia and New York, but the remainder wasn’t that bad. The weather was nice and the sky was blue. 

I’ve managed to make it about halfway back to Texas. Tomorrow, if things go okay I’ll get the rest of the way home. Otherwise, I’m beat.

Good night. 


The mountains of Virginia, just before the rain hit. 

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US Road Trip 2017, Day 15. 

The last day in Potsdam started on a good note. I slid out to the house and grabbed dad to go golfing. There was a little discussion before we were off, but we were off. A nice trip out to Raymondville through the big town of Madrid, and to the Raquette River Country Club. 

In a word it was …. wet! The whole course is in high ground and it was still completely saturated. It made finding balls a challenge. Nevertheless, it was a good time. Dad had a blast and we only lost a small number of balls. The score, now that was a different story.

After golf, it was back to the house to hang out with mom and dad for a while. Mom had a doctors appointment, so I jumped ship and did a little running around town. A had to stop and take pictures of my friend Jeff’s old house, so he could see what the college kids have done to it since he moved. It was in pretty good shape.

Back out yo mom and dad’s for a little while. Mom appreciates the time, even if it turned into a nap on the couch. I said bye to the parents and headed back jnto the village to meet more friends. The meeting of friends never stops in this place. 

Walking across the street to the Elk’s Lodge, I learned that I won the sign in. Good news! Bought a round for the bar. Started playing a little tear tickets with my friend Jim. Split another big winner. Yup. 

I ran back to the Motel and talked to my Buddy’s EJ and Stephanie for a bit. Headed back to the room to catch some sleep, I got a text from my friend Mary. I won a raffle ticket at the Elk’s too. Yup, one of those days.

It’s been a good day. Good night.


Looking down the first fareway. Raquette River Golf Course and Country Clud.


The Roxy movie theater. The first movie I saw here was The Towering Inferno. 


Thank you! Just figured out how to pay for the gas in the drive home.

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US Road Trip 2017, Day 14.

Sunday in Smalltown USA was pretty quiet. I also woke up a little hungover, so it was extra quiet. 

Took a trip out to mom and dad’s that lasted most of the day. Had a nice talk with Pops will mom was coming home from church. I spent most of the day with them. 

On the way back into town, I stopped at Sergi’s Itialian Restaurant for dinner. I wanted to get my east coast pizza fix. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, best pizza outside Italy. 

From the pizza place back to the Elk’s Lodge to sign in and get a coke. One coke led to 3 Jameson on the rocks and a bunch of idle gossip. Good times, always good times. 

Good night all! 


The Raquette River, running through the village of Potsdam.


The Raquette River, below the dams. 


The BEST pizza! 

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US Road Trip 2017, Day 13.

It’s interesting to leave a place you know well and then come back to it. At first everything is the same. Everything looks just like you left it. But then, as you look a little harder, you notice that things have changed.  Such is the case with my home town. 

I used this little village as the primary setting for my third novel. There are places where the characters in the story walk you around town. The description of the village is accurate on the surface, or it used to be. The streets are all the same, but other things have changed. 

One of the old car dealers is gone, building and all. What used to be a restaurant is now a bar. Some stores close and other stores open. It makes you a bit nostalgic for older days as you notice the changes.

Some things have not changed. Market Street is still Market Street, and Main is still Main. The traffic seems to go in the same direction as it did before, and all the big stone churches are still right where I left them. 

Something else that hasn’t changed is the memory of people. Case in point, I haven’t been into Foxy Roxy’s Diner for breakfast in quite some time. I walk in and Marcy just says “Toast or no toast?” I say no toast, and breakfast comes out just the way I always order it. Small towns are good! 

After a trip out to mom and dad’s to say hi to them and catch up with my brother Jeff, it was off on a road trip.  I’ve been wanting to drive through the Adirondacks since I got back up here, and it’s a bright and sunny day. 

I made my way up to Saranac Lake, and stopped for fuel. I attached the GoPro to the dash mount and headed out. The drive through Raybrook and into Lake Placid was excellent. Lake Placid, as expected, was overflowing with both traffic and people. The trip along route 73 from Lake Placid to Keene Valley was spectacular. The ADK was a sea of green, broken only by boulder strune ribbons of cascading blue. Every trailhead and parking pull off was at maximum capacity. Hikers were everywhere!

I stopped at The Mountaineer, in Keene Valley, to pick up a new ADK sticker for my truck. The Mountaineer is a great outfitter store, with a very nice staff. I don’t know if they have an online presence, but if you’re in the area I say check them out!

Following drive time was the infamous Hot Dog Party. My good friend Shona’s Tenth Anual Hot Dog Party was an absolute success! There was a big crowd and the dog selection was good. The vodka cake didn’t survive, and we drank the place out of mojitos. An outstanding time! It’s rumored that next year it will be referred to as WeinerFest on Walnut. I can’t wait! 

Considering the taxi, driven by my good friend Rick, dropped me off at 3:00am, this is the end of this tale. 


Route 73, south of Lake Placid, New York.


The ever-lovely Mrs. Truax and myself at the Hot Dog Party photo station.


The village at night. All quiet. 

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US Road Trip 2017, Day 12. 

Sadly, today started with some work. I had to get the computer out and answer some work emails. It didn’t take long, but it emotionally pulled me from vacation mode for a few minutes. 

My excuse for work complete, I headed out to mom and dad’s to see what they were up to. Mom had to go volunteer at a Red Cross blood clinic and dad was mowing the yard.  I had a good conversation with them for as long as it lasted. 

I met one of my best childhood friends for lunch. It had been quite a while since I had seen Bob, so catching up was great. After I stopped to do some banking, and catch up with some more people. 

I drove around the village looking for an ADK sticker for my truck. After I stopped at the first place, every place I stopped tried to send me back to the first place. A little small town goose chase. 

Next, it was back to the Elk’s Lodge to help out with the stuff I volunteered for last night. Oh well, I always get roped into something while I’m home. It turned out to be fun. Everyone was joking around and making fun of each other. 

Not feeling the gumption to go out or to go eat, I decided on going to the movies. The movie theater in town, The Roxy Theater, shows a half a dozen different movies. I remember when it had one giant screen and showed one movie. That …… was a long time ago. 

The movie choice was Valarian. It was very good! Coming out of the theater, the sun was down. The Air was cooler and all around is quiet. There is some miscellaneous traffic, some people out walking the streets, and some people out at the outside bars, otherwise it’s quiet. I’m setting on the front porch of the Lodge watching the cars. 

Goodnight. 


The Lodge. 


Looking up the street. It’s always busy in this place. 

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US Road Trip 2017, Day 11.

Woke to rain this morning. The north country has been getting rained on all summer, so I guess this is okay. My truck needed a bath anyway.

The day started with utilitarian activities, aka laundry. It’s a necessity of travel longer than a weekend getaway. Well, at least the way I pack it is. Which I guess leads to a question, how heavy do you pack? Do you run with the minimum or are you the three roller bags and a carry-on kind of packer? 

Personnally, I prefer minimalism. Anything under say, one week to maybe ten days, I will pack for the whole thing. Anything longer than that, I pack for a week and plan on doing laundry somewhere. US hotels, little French towns, German Guesthouses, downtown London, I’ve done laundry lots of places. I find there is usually a laundry around. Sometimes you have to track it down on a side street, but it’s usually there. 

I have found that I spend a lot of time on the move. Wether it be trains, Metros, planes, or on foot. There was a bicycle once, in Ireland, but we won’t get into that now. I tend to prefer lighter backpacks to clothing options. That’s just me, and it works for the way I do things. On a trip like this one, where I’m driving most everywhere, I really doesn’t matter if I overpack. I tend to pack the same amount anyway, because it’s habit. Do you stay the same, or do you switch up your packing when you travel?

After the laundry, it was out to see mom and dad. The parents appreciate some face time now and again. I spent the afternoon catching up with them. They were very happy. 

After mom and dad I was headed bank into town. I made my mandatory stop at the local Elk’s Lodge to sign in and say hello. As expected, everyone was happy to see me. With it being meeting night, the stop was longer than usual. 

All in all, a good day. 


The dryer is going round and round. 


Waiting on traffic in the big city. 

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