Down The Road with Dave Volk - 2017 (2)

December 14, 2017

DOWN THE ROAD: 2017 - Part 2

During the trip down Becky is using an App called WAZE. Incredible system. Gives directions better than Google Maps, tells you when there is so much as a dead raccoon on the road as well as stalled vehicles. Best of all it tells you when there is Highway Patrol ahead.HP 250 I never exceed the speed limit much but probably go fast enough to be a target for some HP short on his quota.  

The trip is beautiful, in excellent weather and I wave at the National Quilting Museum as we pass Paducah, KY, salute as we race by Ft. Campbell, KY where my Vietnam Division the 101st Airborne is headquartered and Becky and I break into song when we pass Clarksville. We don’t know many of the words so “Last Train to Clarksville” doesn’t last long.

All of that comes to a nasty end when, at nightfall, WAZE tells us there is traffic jam ahead outside of Atlanta. The only luck we have is that Becky is driving as she has the patience and night vision to handle this mess. If I had been driving alone I would have gotten to the edge of the road, turned off and locked my car, and gone in search of a Holiday Inn Express. 

SAVANNAH

VolkBlog2-5Savannah Georgia was founded by James Oglethorpe in 1728. He was a Member of  the British Parliament and social reformer. He hoped to resettle Britain’s poor; many who languished in debtor prisons and wanted to give them a new start in the New World. The British government liked the idea of having a settlement in Georgia to act as a buffer between their holdings in South Carolina and the greedy Spaniards down in Florida.

He not only banned slavery in this new colony but also banned lawyers. Later when cotton replaced rice as the main crop in Georgia, slaves were introduced.    Also, Savannah sure as hell doesn’t have a ban on lawyers as almost every other TV ad is from some attorney who wants to help you with your car accident, dog bite, etc. Most of them have tough sounding descriptions like “The Intimidator”, 

“The Terminator”. After awhile it sounds like you are hiring a Mafia hit team rather than a law firm.

Becky 01 250  VolkBlog2-4

Savannah, which is smaller than Sioux Falls, is a beautiful city and is dotted with 22 beautiful parks throughout the city. Forrest Gump was seen sitting on a park bench in one them.   Unlike a lot of southern cities, Savannah came through the Civil War largely unscathed. After seeing what Sherman did to Atlanta, the city fathers met him as he approached and gave him the keys to city.  So, many of their beautiful mansions and buildings were not destroyed.

Interestingly,  there seems to be very little Civil War history in Savannah. VolkBlog2-3 Perhaps because they surrendered the city without a fight they don’t want to stress the war much. In retrospect, at that point of the war, they made the right decision, especially given what Uncle Billy Sherman would do to Columbia, SC and other cities as he headed north.

We stay in a beautiful renovated hotel right on the Savannah River.  It is called the Cotton Sail and is part of a complex of buildings, which were once part of the cotton industry.

VolkBlog2-1One morning we are startled by what sounds like a foghorn on steroids and look out our small balcony on the river. Here is a massive container ship moving up the river.  Over the course of the next day and a half we see many more. Savannah is the 3rd largest port for container shipping on the east coast.   I lived on and by the Missouri River for 25 years and never saw anything like this. As is always the case in these southern cities, the hospitality and food is outstanding.

VolkBlog2-2After two days in this delightful city we are once again headed south and will be among our fellow Casa Del Marians as that beautiful sun drops into the Gulf of Mexico. 

We have an interesting trip home planned the first of March and will perhaps send a blog at that time. Until then hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Years.    

 

 

 

 


 

 

December 7, 2017

DOWN THE ROAD: 2017 - Part 1

Get the first snow of year and even though it is only a quarter of an inch it's a nasty harbinger of things to come. So with that as a warning I have begun to make plans to clear out and head south to Florida. As I have done for the past 7 years, I will send short missives during my travels. (Damn, 7 years!!!! Can that be right?) 

The day before leaving I wake up with a huge zit on my face. What is up with that......zits on wrinkles!! Just not right. You should have zits or wrinkles but not both. Becky says its because I am young at heart, which I think is her sweet way of saying I am a bit immature. 

Anyway, at 0 dark 30 in the morning Becky, me and my zit are on the road headed south down Interstate 29. We make good time and watch the sun rise over the Loess Hills south of Sioux City. 

We have an ambitious schedule for this first day and will go through 6 states before we get to a little town in Illinois east of St. Louis. Before Becky became my very able co-pilot I would never have made it this far. 

We go south to Kansas City then hang a left on Interstate 70, across Missouri. I have traveled this road many times before so not much is new. As we pass Fulton, however, I do always think about Winston Churchill's Iron Curtain speech, which was delivered in this small Midwest town a year after WWII ended. "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent." 

Perhaps it is my love of history or the aging process that makes me long for the 'Good Old Days', but I do wish we had the type of leadership that saw us through those difficult days of WWII. I find this whole tweeting culture of today immature and infantile as well as the mean spirit of today's politics. When England stood alone against the Nazi's during their darkest days here is what they got from their leader: "We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender." Guess I just wish our leaders would appeal to our 'Better Angels' rather than appealing to our fears and prejudices. First and last political comment in the Blog. Think I am getting nostalgic and just a little grumpy. 

Churchill 250

CHURCHILL WITH TRUMAN AT FULTON, MISSOURI, 1946 

As I travel I think of some of my old friends that I used to stop and visit on this trip and who are no longer with us. I truly have been blessed with wonderful friends all over this country. I have always liked poem:
Think where mans glory most begins and ends,
and say my glory was I had such friends.
- William Butler Yeats 

Fountain 250
Views from Savannah
RiverBoat 250

Certainly true for me. 

We will be in Nashville tomorrow and will have lunch with my dear friend Patsy, who was married to Harlan Matthews, who was State Treasurer and US Senator from Tennessee, and who we lost 3 years ago. 

We will have to miss my usual stop in Atlanta to see Army buddy Skip and wife Margaret. Margaret is again locked in a battle with cancer, a battle she will whip once and for all. One tough lady that M.

 We will end up in Savannah, Georgia and will spend a couple of days there. Wonderful little city on the Savannah River. 

 

I will write one more blog about Savannah and our final leg of the journey to Casa Del Mar on the Gulf of Mexico. 

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.


  

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If you'd like to read Dave's "Down the Road" blogs from previous years click on the links below:

Down the Road - 2013

Down the Road - 2014

Down the Road - 2015

Down the Road - 2016