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08 April 2006 - Saturday

     Up at 6:00 am departed the campground by 7:00 am.  Delighted that we finally were able to get on with the new day without having to lose several hours to an early distraction we drove back to Interstate 459 where we filled up with gas.  Breakfast was at a Waffle House where we sat at the counter and were entertained by the cook who couldn’t get his grill set the way he wanted, and our waitress who being a somewhat large woman had to bob and weave a bit as she worked in the cramped space allocated.  Although we listened to their ongoing conversations we couldn’t understand much of what was discussed because of the deep-south Alabama accents. We could detect the cook’s displeasure with his grill, which was probably the reason why our greasy eggs were runny, and the meal was half eaten before the bacon and sausage arrived.  Oh well, the grilled potatoes and coffee were good though.  Following breakfast we thought it would be a good idea to troll for an Internet hot spot we could use to check our email.  We drove around until we found one at a McDonald’s where $2.95 purchased two hours of Internet time.  We then read and responded to our email all while seated within the comfort of the van.  This event combined with our breakfast eventually accounted for another daily diversion that would not really get us on the
Interstate until just before 9:00 am.

     It wasn’t long before we had left Alabama behind.  Somewhere in Eastern Mississippi we discovered that we had been in the Central time zone since we left Tennessee the day before.  Therefore we reset all clocks and watches back an hour.  By 1:00 pm we had crossed the Mississippi

River at Vicksburg and into the state of Louisiana. 

Just west of Monroe we exited the interstate to eat some lunch.  We found a place next to a small county church to park off the road and made sandwiches with the last of our turkey and cheese.  Just as we were starting to eat we heard a lawn mower and along came a fellow cutting grass.  He was wearing a tee shirt with the Confederate battle flag on it.  He kind of eyed the van up and down as he went along cutting grass so Fred got out and waved to him and he waved back.  He never stopped the mower to talk to ask us what why we were parked there.  After we finished eating Tom opened his window and shouted a thank-you to a teenager who was sitting on the steps of the church

and as we departed we waved again the man on the mower who again waved back.  We felt good about the good will with which both parties presented at this encounter.

     When we were about 80 miles east of Shreveport we called our Cousin Savannah Jordan as we had planned on stopping to visit her on our way west.  She figured that we were only about 160 miles from her home in Frankston, Texas so she invited us to drive in directly and stay the night at her place.  Further down the road we pulled into a rest stop and just as we were leaving a man tapped on Fred’s passenger side door and asked us for money to purchase some gasoline.  Apparently he was traveling west to the Dallas area and had lost his wallet at a stop back in Monroe.  We looked him over and saw his new truck and believed his story so Fred lent him $20.00. He took Fred’s address and promised to repay the loan when he reached home.  For the next few miles we both reflected on how we would have reacted if the same thing had happened to us, and we both agreed that it would be very difficult but necessary to also beg for some money from skeptical strangers.

      Today was by far our longest day of driving in both time and miles.  We had started the day near Birmingham, Alabama, and ended it in Texas after driving the width of both Mississippi and Louisiana a distance of nearly 600 miles. Upon entering east Texas we decided to exit Interstate 20 at Kilgore then drive over to Tyler on Route 31.  Going through Kilgore we quickly lost our way and as Fred was driving he headed on into the country where we took a series of back roads to Savannah’s home near Frankston.

    When we arrived Savannah introduced us to her husband Mike, son Kevin and daughter-in-law Cindy.  After spending some time getting

Tom with Savannah & Mike Jordan

acquainted and looking at the van Kevin and Cindy departed.  Soon after the four of us sat down to a delicious dinner of baked chicken, mashed potatoes, salad, and rolls.  We topped it all off with some peach pie for dessert.  We certainly appreciated out first home-cooked meal since leaving home.  After dinner we discussed our common genealogy with Savannah until about 10:00 pm whereupon two very weary travelers headed for the van and a good nights sleep.

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