An Old Geezer Rambles About His Travels|
I just got back from a 2,514 mile vacation. I toured primarily Tennessee, Kentucky, and southern Indiana historical sites relating to Abraham Lincoln. I shot nearly 1,000 photos from my digital camera and almost 2 hours of video. This may sound like a lot of photos but most of them were for panoramas of the historical sites. To do one panorama it takes either 96 or 120 photos, depending on circumstances, to effectively produce a 360 degree panorama. I shot panoramas of the Andrew Johnson homestead, Andrew Johnson Memorial and grave site. the Lincoln Birthplace memorial, the Thomas Lincoln farm in Hodgenville, Kentucky, the boyhood home of Lincoln at Knob Creek, Kentucky, plus video of the interior of Andrew Johnson's home and 4 different caves in southern Indiana. (OK, the caves have nothing to do with Lincoln. Thanks to subscriber Roger Pollard for the heads up about the Marengo Cave.) Over the next several weeks I will be editing the images to produce the panoramas and videos and place the results on HistoryBuff.com. Through this newsletter I will keep you updated on the progress.
On this trip I encountered a curious situation. While at the visitor center for the Andrew Johnson Homestead in Greeneville, Tennessee, I noticed what appeared to be a married couple, each on a separate motorcycle, and likely in their seventies. The wife walked into the visitor center and asked the park ranger if she had a brochure for the homestead that she could have. The park ranger handed her a brochure then asked the woman if she would like to tour the homestead. The woman replied no because she and her husband had made a bet with someone that they could visit fifty historical sites in at least 25 states in 30 days. Thus, they didnt have the time to take the tour. The brochure was their proof that they had actually been there. The couple then left on their motorcycles off to who knows where? More power to the couple to take such a venture, but not bother to actually see any of the sites while they were there? To me, it would be the same thing if someone were driving down the Los Angeles freeway, took the Anaheim exit, then drove into the Disneyland parking lot, turned around and went back to claim they had been to Disneyland. Strange, very strange.
This was my first true vacation in 26 years. The last one was in the summer of 1980. At the hospital where I worked at the time, I had 6 weeks paid vacation coming and took them all at once. Luckily, the last paycheck before going on vacation also included the entire vacation pay. Thus, I had the money to travel. (This was before direct deposits, ATM/MAC or debit cards.) I spent the entire 6 weeks touring out west with four kids ranging in age from 9 to 15 years old. I set several personal records on the trip.
1) I left for vacation at midnight directly after getting off work on a Friday. (I worked the afternoon shift then.) We arrived in Salt Lake City Sunday morning - 34 hours to go 1,600 miles and I was the only driver! Also, this was when the speed limit was only 55 MPH. (Even now I prefer to make a long haul to start and end the vacation. Then in between shorter hops of only a couple hundred miles each.)
2) Upon arriving in Salt Lake City, we checked into a motel and I slept for nearly 12 hours. Monday morning we headed for the Uinta mountains outside of Salt Lake City to camp. Even though it was the end of June, due to the high elevation, it was only 14 degrees and there was some snow on the ground. We decided that we wouldnt stay and camp there in a tent due to the cold weather. We left the mountains at about 9 PM and I drove all night and we arrived in Las Vegas 12 hours later. The temperature there was 114 degrees. Thus in 12 hours we experienced a temperature change of 100 degrees! We all came down sick with colds as a result.
3) On this same vacation, on my return trip it took me just 50 hours to drive from Los Angeles to Lansing, Michigan, a distance of 2,300 miles - Again I was the only driver.*
* I am unable to make those kind of long drives now. Back then I had more pep and resistance - and less sense.