The Final Five

November 1, 2020 – A short night. It was noisy just outside the room until just after midnight. I would wake up enough to hear it but not enough to get up and do something about it. I woke up at 6 am, loaded the few things back into the car and we were on the road in less than 20 minutes, driving through St. Joseph and Kansas City in the dark. This little dog is the best road trip dog I have ever known. He doesn’t get car sick. He doesn’t get restless – although he seems to be getting more and more itchy the farther east we go – and he seems to enjoy the experience.

We stopped for a brief breakfast and fuel break in St. Louis. I think I was six or seven the last time I was in St. Louis. We went to visit the father of Wanda, the sweet woman who lived with us for a couple of years. I remember visiting the arch and riding the subway, but most of all I remember when Wanda’s father, Joe, my sister and I were the only ones awake early in the morning and he took Sheri and me out for breakfast, leaving the others to fend for themselves. It’s funny the memories that stick. Now I have another St. Louis breakfast memory.

After St. Louis our direction turned more sharply south. We dropped down into southern Illinois and then into Kentucky on the tail-end of the most recent hurricane Zeta and beginning of the next, Eta, which might explain the winds continuing to rock the car at regular intervals.

Our last fuel/leg stretch stop before reaching our final destination was in a pretty war memorial park near Paducah, Kentucky, complete with disc golf course. Now it was on to Waleska, Georgia!

This is the part of the disc golf course at Oak Grove Memorial Park. Oak Grove, Kentucky

A note about time. When packing up this morning I knew I was going to end up in the eastern time zone by the end of the day so I moved my watch and car clock which were still on Pacific time up three hours. I didn’t pay any mind to the different time displayed on my phone because I reckoned it would adjust itself as we got into each new time zone. After Kentucky came Tennessee – Nashville then Chattanooga – then we crossed into Georgia. The clock on my phone read an hour earlier than the other clocks, but I knew I was in the eastern time zone, so I figured I must have been more sleep deprived than I felt, until I realized this was the day we switched back to standard time. Driving through two time zones on a day the time changes can be disorienting to say the least.

Thus, a virtual hour earlier than planned, and with the autumn colors just starting to unfold, Gaston and I arrived at my father’s house in Waleska, Georgia complete with sea kayak, bicycle, produce from our farm, some slight road weariness, and many mental pictures of our four-day, 11-state diagonal trek from one corner of the country to the other.

Hiking Trails at Reinhardt College, Waleska, Georgia

Written by

kyleenaustin

I am passionate about outdoor exploration. In the recent years I have discovered how much more I can experience from a kayak. I am a professional musician and own a kayaking company. I have also had the honor of starting up three artisan dairies, growing food for people locally.

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