Sunday, January 8, 2012
We are awake and on the road early this morning. We had to go to McDonalds for breakfast because the $180.00 per night Best Western does not offer a breakfast… I don’t recall ever staying at a Best Western and there not being a free breakfast. Shame on you Best Western Premier Mariemont.
It is a beautiful day for driving, in fact the whole trip home has been a pleasant drive. There have not been any winter storms to deal with.
Ohio likes to paint their barns and storage tanks.
Soon we were entering Michigan, the Canadian Border is not far now.
There is still ongoing construction at the I-75 exit to the Ambassador Bridge, this area has been under construction for the last 4 or 5 years. Don’t follow your GPS through this area or you will surely get lost, just follow the roadside signs that direct you to the bridge.
We had expected a long line of cars at Canada Customs, but there was hardly anyone there, we were through in under 20 minutes.
We arrived home at 6pm.
To see all of the photos that we took today, you can see them on our FLICKR site.
Saturday, January 7, 2012
We awake early and have a quick breakfast before hitting the road home. It is another foggy start to the day. We have another long day ahead of us. A 600 mile / 1000 km day. Our destination for tonight is Cincinnati Ohio.
Soon we are leaving Arkansas and entering Tennessee. We cross over the Hernando De Soto bridge and pass by the “Great American Pyramid” in Memphis Tennessee. This pyramid has a few other nick names. The “Memphians” call it the “Tomb of Doom” or the “Pyramid Arena”
A few hours further along, we see the familiar skyline of Nashville ahead of us. We easily recognize this skyline because of the iconic “Batman” building. This is the AT&T building in downtown Nashville TN.
The skies are clearing as we enter Kentucky.
We pass by a quilt barn and the National Corvette Museum as we race along I-65.
This RV caught our eye, there were lots of licence plates and bumper stickers plastered all over the back end.
The moon was rising in front of us and the sun was setting behind us as we drove the final miles to Cincinnati.
The Cincinatti skyline at dusk.
We arrived at the Best Western Mariemont shortly after 6pm. This Best Western is rated the number one hotel in Cincinnati on Trip Advisor. This is an old Tudor style hotel and we really enjoyed our stay here and when in the area, we will stay here again.
Usually we would stay at a hotel closer to the border or drive straight home, but a few days ago we got in touch with an online blogging friend of ours and agreed to get together for dinner. We have followed Denny Gibson’s blog these last several years because of his association with the Lincoln Highway and Route 66 and other scenic / historic roads that we have travelled. We read each others blogs and we have chased each other around the country on these back roads, but we never were in the same place at the same time. This was the perfect opportunity to finally meet because Denny lives in Cincinnati.
We met Denny in the restaurant on the main floor of the hotel, where we enjoyed a couple of beers and burgers and some great conversations about road trips past and planned. Thanks for your hospitality Denny, it was a great evening and very nice to finally meet you. I know our paths will cross and we look forward to seeing you again.
After dinner Denny recommended that we walk a short distance to a small ice cream shop. Graeter’s Ice Cream… the richest, creamiest ice cream that I have ever tasted. Even Karen would agree that it was very good and delicious, but for her nothing beats Baskin Robins Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream. We were still very full from dinner, so it was single scoops for each of us.
Here are some pictures of our room. The room even had a fireplace.
I spent a few minutes trying to figure out where the TV was and then I saw this little note.
With the push of a button, the portrait in the frame rolled up and there was our TV.
Tomorrow we will drive the final miles to home.
Friday, January 6, 2012
Today we are awake and up early, have a quick breakfast and we are on the road by 8am. We have 600 miles / 1000 km to drive today. It was a slow start though because of the fog.
Luckily the fog was lifting when we saw the cattle walking on the side of the road.
After the fog burned completely away, the skies were blue and it was a lovely day for driving.
We were ready for a break as we were driving through Corsicana Texas so we pulled over at the Collin Street Bakery. Although we didn’t purchase a fruit cake, for which they claim they are world famous, we did buy fudge and brownies while we were here. This bakery has been around since 1896.
As we were driving through Sulphur Springs Texas, we saw a “Western Wear” store. Our upcoming summer plans are taking us to Calgary among other destinations and I had been considering buying a cowboy hat in Texas if I could find a store. This was an opportunity to purchase our cowboy hats, so we pulled in off the highway and shopped in the Circle E Western Store.
The store clerk measured us and then we tried on dozens of hats, trying to figure out which style looked best. We came out an hour later with 2 cowboy hats. We will be in style for our visit to Calgary in July 2012.
Back on the road again, we passed through the town of Texarkana which is on the State Border between Texas and Arkansas.
We cross the border into Arkansas.
At 6pm we arrive at the Best Western Premier in Little Rock Arkansas. We are taking advantage of the Best Western Reward Points that we have accumulated and we cashed in some of them for a free stay this evening.
The hotel was very nice, but I can’t say as much about the onsite restaurant. We should have driven to the nearby Olive Garden, but after driving for 10 hours, I was tired and thought we could just stay put and eat in the hotel restaurant. It was a bad decision. There was literally nothing on the menu that Karen or I could pronounce, let alone even know what we were ordering. The prices were astronomical, but I did see something with pasta on the menu. We both like pasta, so even though it wasn’t on the menu, I asked our waiter if we could just have some plain spaghetti and meat sauce. I am sure that I insulted him and his fancy restaurant by asking for such simple fare, but he agreed that he could come up with some sort of pasta and sauce dish for us. He walked away, I am sure very insulted that we had no interest in anything on his fancy menu. $50.00 later we went to our room. I am sure it is very nice restaurant and you would really enjoy the meal and the ambience if you are into that fancy schmancy dining experience, but that is not our style.
It was early to bed this evening, we want to be up and on the road by 7am in the morning.
To see all of our photos from today, you can click on this link to our FLICKR site.
Thursday, January 5, 2012
We drove over the Causeway to the mainland.
But after about 10 miles on our way, I remembered that I did not leave the key to the Airstream and that it was still on my key ring, so we got turned around and drove back to the KOA.
Now that the key is handed in, we can resume our drive.
We drove through the town of San Benito Texas. According to the water tower this is the hometown of Freddy Fender.
Similar to the drive South, as we were heading North, we saw many birds of prey sitting on the hydro poles.
Near Sarita Texas, our drive slowed to a crawl because the Border Patrol Check Point was open and all drivers were being stopped and questioned. Since we weren’t smuggling anyone or anything, we were soon on our way again.
We are heading North on US-77, here are some of the interesting sights we saw along the way.
We exited US-77 and headed East on Texas 358 towards Corpus Christi Texas. We are going to the North end of Padre Island to visit the Padre Island National Seashore for a couple of hours.
This is the John F Kennedy Memorial Causeway that takes us from the mainland across to the Island.
This is the entrance sign to the Padre Island National Seashore.
We paid our entrance fee and entered the park.
There isn’t really much to see or do here, at least not at this time of the year. We stopped at the visitor center and got our National Parks Passport Book stamped and bought some postcards. They did have a hat pin for my collection and we also bought a couple of t-shirts.
We walked along the beach.
The only birds we saw were these seagulls.
I was expecting there to be a birding center here similar to the one on South Padre Island, but there is no such thing. The land and sand dunes are set aside and protected by the National Park Service, because these beaches are the nesting grounds of the Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles but the turtles are only here in May when they come ashore to lay their eggs. So if you want to see and learn about birds you can bypass this and go straight to the Birding and Nature Center on SPI.
After our visit to the National Seashore, we drove North on US-181 past the Aircraft Carrier USS Lexington. The Carrier is on permanent display here in Corpus Christi. The next time we are in this area we will spend some time in Corpus Christi and visit the USS Lexington.
We checked into the Best Western in Gonzales Texas. We ordered pizza for dinner and got to bed early because we have a 600 mile / 1000 km day ahead of us tomorrow.
To see all of our photos from today you can click on the link to our FLICKR site.