Traveling cross country via roads has little in common with doing the Great Loop.
Well, other than planning the route, planning fuel stops, planning anchorages/campsites, planning provision stops, dodging weather, maintaining equipment, going days without a shower, navigating unknown territory, and avoiding collisions. Other than that, no similarity.
Our average speed on land is about 10 times that of Endeavor. On the loop we puttered toward landmarks at 6 miles per hour, with oodles of time to set up photos or aim binoculars. On the road, it’s more like, to quote Pink Floyd, “I caught a fleeting glimpse, out of the corner of my eye”.
Winding through the Smoky Mountains eastbound on I-40 is lovely… for the co-pilot. The driver misses most of the scenery. Hundreds of semi-trucks clog the curvy highway, threatening to become intimate with our travel trailer at any moment. Pulling a 30 foot trailer between a semi truck and concrete median wall at 70 mph leaves little time to gawk at signs or scenery. A little nerve wracking but not awful.
We also shared the road with a line of trucks delivering double-wide mobile homes. These monsters take up 1.4 of the 2.0 lanes, so either they hang out over the right shoulder or we don’t pass. Mostly we don’t pass.
When we stop, the signs make it clear we’re not in Wisconsin any more. Signs next to our campsite trumpet the feeding of critters…
…and signs at a truck stop trumpet critters for feeding.
(GIF Credit – Nikki)
We spent a delightful 4 days visiting long-time friends Kyle, Leah, Caylie and Issac in Charlotte. We brought along Monopoly Deal, a fast moving, ruthless card game that Nikki and Nate introduced to us. This turned our visit into a series of marathon gaming sessions, with everyone becoming rabid capitalists searching for a win. Jim and Cheryl, Kyle’s parents, coincidently happened to be in town and joined in the shenanigans.
Now that we’re in warmer weather, our goal is a slow down and meander southward, driving less each day and sightseeing more.