A lot to see in Tucson Arizona but I did not see it. Day 22.

A lot to see in Tucson Arizona but I did not see it

Day 22 – April 22, 2003 – Tuesday

There is a lot to see in Tucson but I did not see it.  My apologies to Tucson.

Tucson Arizona: Jose was one of the people we met at Simoniz Car Wash. Round America 50-State Trip 2003. Day 22. 2003-04-22.

Tucson Arizona: Vehicle care such as oil changes are vital on a 50-state road trip. Jiffy Lube is great. Round America 50-State Trip 2003. Day 22. 2003-04-22.Today was car day and me day.  I took care of the car first – wash, shampoo, wax, and windshield repair.  Then an oil change.  A lot to see in Tucson but I did not see it.  I could not see!

I met wonderful people at each stop and ended up telling Round America stories.

There was lots of laughter, so I think people enjoyed themselves.  Many of the folks I met suggested places to go and things to see.  A lot to see in Tucson but I did not see it.

At the Simoniz Car Wash, Anthony, Arturo, and Reuben got the car cleanup started, and Jose did the detailing.  Jacques repaired a chip in the windshield.  Inside, I met Debbie the cashier; Yolanda (originally from Paxico, Kansas) and her boys Cole, Drake, and Blaze; Joyce; and others.

Tucson Arizona: 
Round America 50-State Trip 2003. Day 22. 2003-04-22.
Tucson Arizona: 
Round America 50-State Trip 2003. Day 22. 2003-04-22.
Tucson Arizona: 
Round America 50-State Trip 2003. Day 22. 2003-04-22.

Tucson Arizona: 

At Jiffy Lube, an especially friendly group of happy workers included Leo, Francisco, Javier, Joe, and Granpappy Jack.

Tucson Arizona: 

Tucson Arizona: Pearle Vision Center provided medical,care for removal of a dirt clod from the eyelid. Round America 50-State Trip 2003. Day 22. 2003-04-22.

Once the car was squared away, it was time for me.  First stop was the Pearle Vision Center.  There was a lot to see but I did not see it.

Tucson Arizona: Dr. Steve Miller diagnosed me with “dirt clods in the eyelids.”  He was kind enough to remove them and provide medication.  No wonder my eye kept hurting so badly.  The cornea was not scratched, but the upper part of my eyeball was badly scratched, and there was dirt or sand embedded inside the upper and lower eyelid causing the irritation to continue.  I could feel some relief right away, but it will take several days to heal.

Liana and Kathleen were great fun at Pearle.  Kathleen said I made her day telling them the stories of Fast Freddy and the Floating Neutrinos.  I told her that she made mine by feeling that way and telling me.

Tucson Arizona: Bill Windsor found Just for Feet store one of the Places We Go for more comfortable shoes. Round America 50-State Trip 2003. Day 22. 2003-04-22.

Next stop was Just for Feet.  The trip began with a brand new, bright white pair of Nikes.  Seriously, they quickly looked to be a year old and had become a really ugly combination of colors.  Judging by the shoes and my left eye, I stopped to realize that there is a lot of wear and tear going on.

Tucson Arizona: 
Round America 50-State Trip 2003. Day 22. 2003-04-22.

I’d taken 2,033 photographs, so that means glasses on and off at least 2,000 times and the car door opened at least half that many.  I’d put 6,417 miles on the car so far, and I’d gone in and out of 19 motels in just three weeks.

Tucson Arizona: New sand-colored shoes were purchased at Just for Feet. Round America 50-State Trip 2003. Day 22. 2003-04-22.

Back to the shoes, I wanted a dirt color pair in hopes they will look better over the long haul.  I also needed something as comfortable as humanly possible.  I tried on really cool-looking shoes by Timberland, New Balance, and others, but they either rode up on my heel or felt like I was going to topple over due to an oddly shaped sole.

I finally settled on the ugliest, but these babies were comfortable.  I became the proud owner of Rockport Walking Shoes Model MWT13 (made in China).  Sand is the official color – perfect!

Tucson Arizona: 
Round America 50-State Trip 2003. Day 22. 2003-04-22.
Tucson Arizona: 
Round America 50-State Trip 2003. Day 22. 2003-04-22.







At Just for Feet, Jeff helped me, but then Jason, Eric, Ricky, and Frankie joined in.  Analisa took my money.  Brian wouldn’t let me take his photo, but he was the answer when I asked the guys where to find the most unique sight in Tucson.  Brian can put his hand flat on the floor without bending over.  Amazing but true; I saw him do it.

Tucson Arizona: Weinerschnitzel is a great place for a hot dog. Great-looking fast food restaurant. Round America 50-State Trip 2003. Day 22. 2003-04-22.
Weinerschnitzel is a great place for a hot dog in Tucson Arizona. Great-looking fast food restaurant. Round America 50-State Trip 2003. Day 22. 2003-04-22.

Since today is a day of rest and a break from the norm, I broke the rule about fast food chain restaurants.  I enjoyed two delicious hot dogs at Weinerschnitzel.  It was nostalgic for me.  We haven’t lived in a place that had a Weinerschnitzel since college.  At Texas Tech in Lubbock in 1971, it was called Der Weinerschnitzel.  Nasty Johnny, Arne Ray, Cottar, Franklin Shanklin, Bozzie Jane, and I and all the other students called it “the Der.”  We’d go, especially late at night, for a Der Dog and Chili Cheese Fries.  I think the chain blew it by dropping the Der from their name, but the dogs were great.

Tucson Arizona: 
Round America 50-State Trip 2003. Day 22. 2003-04-22.

At “The Der,” I met a really nice couple, Mario and Stephanie, and their dog Rocky.  Mario said my little car is his dream car, so after scarfing down the dogs, I went outside where he was seated and gave him the key.  He wouldn’t drive it at first, but he finally did.


Tucson Arizona: 
Round America 50-State Trip 2003. Day 22. 2003-04-22.

Mario invited Barbara and me over for home-cooked Mexican food the next time we are in town.  I’ve got their number, and we will most definitely take them up on the kind invitation.  It took a lot of shots to get a decent one of Rocky.  The only thing harder than photographing animals is flags…the darned things just won’t hold still.  It may take me five or six shots to get a decent flag photo.

Tucson Arizona: 
Round America 50-State Trip 2003. Day 22. 2003-04-22.

This marked the beginning of Week 4.  34,453 on the odometer.  It had been quite a ride so far.  I looked forward to healing so I could get back at it, but the decision was made to extend the stay in Tucson by a day so my left eye could rest…and so I could get caught up on the writing and website work.



As a result, I spent the rest of the day in the room.  I organized the huge piles of brochures and things to be shipped back to Atlanta, and I processed photos, wrote, and slept.  I perfected sister Marty’s technique for processing batches of photos with PhotoShop.  It works great and is saving at least an hour a night.  Thanks, Murt the Gurt!

As I reflected on the first three weeks, I was really happy.  The trip had gone very well.  Not without the occasional unexpected event — Officer Passarelli, eye injury, and gas panic on the bad end … with Harry and the Natives, tee pee village, Floating Neutrinos, Fast Freddy, and many others on the good end.  We’d been able to see most of the sights we wanted to see; only a few disappointments in that regard.

I’d really missed Boz the last week, and I was anxious for her to return to the trip in two days in San Diego.

We kept adding book title ideas.  Check out the list, and email and let us know the title you feel would be best.

All systems were working well, though there had been too many too long days.  I planned to sit down again with the itinerary and see if there were more days that need to be split in two.

I had not read a newspaper or watched the news (other than brief war reports) for 22 days.  Not hearing all the bad news was good.

There was a lot to see in Tucson but I did not see it.

I was surprised that only seven antacids had been consumned, ad five of those were on one day when Bozzie and I both got sick after drinking a Coke of all things.  Contrary to popular expectations, we were not gaining any weight.  I was not eating nearly as much as when I am home; I often felt like only one meal a day.

Eight states so far, though the trip would soon be 20% behind us.  I’d lost track of how many people we’d met so far and how many times “the car” had been lost.  That would take some work to calculate, but it’s probably well over 200 people – at least 10 a day on average and probably lost 30 times.  8 states.  2 countries.  576 towns.  I’ve bought 320 gallons of gas so far.  6,417 miles.  2,033 photographs.  1,500 U-turns.  1 flat tire (bought for someone else).  1 speeding ticket.  A million laughs.

I’d have to look back at each day to answer this best, but the most fun for me so far was Day 18 – seeing Big Bend, meeting the Floating Neutrinos, getting my beads, viewing 50 spectacular sunsets, eating a bowl of chili in Terlingua, and losing the sight in my left eye.  Savannah on Day 2 was a close second.  My favorite stories so far are Freddy’s Fast Lube & Snow Cone Stand and the trip to the river on Day 16 and the Floating Neutrinos on Day 18.  Barbara and I will update our initial round of nominations for Best and Worst as we leisurely see San Diego and Los Angeles.

There was a lot to see in Tucson but I did not see it

Thanks again to those of you following the trip as Online Travelers.  Please email.

As I wrote this, I tried to play back the tape from the last two days, and the brand new Radio Shack Micro-45 Recorder was not working.  Looks like I had to add Number of Tape Recorders to the Trip Scorecard.  I’ll have to get a new one – number 4.

The lesson for the day is that you can have more fun just doing what you gotta do every day in real life if you just take a minute or two to talk to folks.

Tucson Arizona: Flag man of car parts on sightseeing trip. Round America 50-State Trip 2003. Not much sightseeing on a medical day. Day 22. 2003-04-22.
Flag man of car parts on sightseeing trip to Tucson Arizona – Round America 50-State Trip 2003. Not much sightseeing on a medical day. Day 22. 2003-04-22.

Lost in Atlanta – Day 1

Lost in Atlanta

Day 1 – April 1, 2003 – Tuesday

The time: 9:15 am.

The date: April 1, 2003.

The place: Atlanta, Georgia.

Our trip Round America begins.

After years of thinking about this trip and several months of intense planning and research, we charged out of our home at 9:15 a.m. filled with excitement and anticipation. 28,036 on the odometer – will be over 56,000 after we visit all 50 states.  “Baby You Can Drive My Car” by The Beatles was cued up on the CD player and provided great dancin’ music as we hit the road.  We were pumped!

We ran right straight into Atlanta’s biggest de-ttraction: nasty bumper-to-bumper traffic.  Thirty minutes later, we managed to escape, top off the gas tank, grab a couple of Cokes, and put the car in high gear headed east to Athens, Georgia.  Enthusiasm filled the air.

I almost immediately learned the hard way that our 29-cent clip-in-the-window-sill cup holders should not be asked to hold nearly full open cans of Coca-Cola.  Our second stop was in a church parking lot a few blocks from our home to clean up all the Coke.  But nothing could dampen our enthusiasm, so we cranked her into high gear once again, and we were off – vowing that we would let nothing bring us down – this was to be a happy, fun, experience-of-a-lifetime!

We then became hopelessly Lost in Atlanta trying to find the little two-lane road I had chosen off a map.  An hour into the trip, we came upon the golden dome of the Georgia State Capitol Building.  It glistened beautifully in the late morning sun.  One problem: the Georgia State Capitol Building is in downtown Atlanta – due south from our home and NOWHERE near Athens, Georgia.  Lost in Atlanta.  All we could do was laugh!  A fitting start to the trip.  I could have probably driven straight to the world’s largest ball of twine in Cawker City, Kansas (where I’d not yet been), but I couldn’t even find my way out of the town we live in!  Sometimes we can’t see the trees for the forest.  I had the big picture, but I couldn’t put together one of the most important little pieces.  Lost in AtlantaWith the help of a cell phone and our daughter, Brittany, we managed to get headed in the right direction, and we ultimately made it to Athens – just two hours later than planned.

Behind schedule, we didn’t stop to see any sights in Athens.  Not the way we had planned to begin the trip.  Lost in Atlanta.

From Athens, we took the Antebellum Trail – a highway that goes through an area of Georgia with beautiful antebellum homes.  We fell in love with Madison, Georgia.  Madison is described as the “#1 Small Town in America.”  Gorgeous streets with stately homes, a wonderful town square, great shops, nice people, and just a warm feeling.

We took a lot of photos, and we had an excellent lunch at The Madison Gift Mart and Cafe. Our waitress, Ginger, was delightful, and we thoroughly enjoyed hearing about life in her very small town.  Ginger reported in her DEEP southern accent that everyone in Madison was really excited about the new skating rink (roller, no doubt).  Unfortunately, the place will only hold 250 people, and it’s almost impossible to get in because the young kids have made it their hangout.  She bemoaned the fact that WalMart is about the only place in town to shop.  But she loves living in Madison and commented about how special it is that since the town has only one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school; her children will attend all 12 years of school with the same friends. (That’s an interesting concept for someone like me who had lived in 15 cities and 31 homes in 54 years). Clearly Ginger and the folks in Madison do have a kinder and gentler life than we know in the big cities where we have lived.

We also met Savannah and April at the cafe, and we took their photo.  The Blackberry Cobbler was recommended by the nice lady at the Madison Chamber of Commerce, and it was excellent – just like Grandma used to make!  Even better was the Gentleman Jim’s Tea – 1/2 sweet tea and 1/2 lemonade.  Try it; it’s really good.  We planned to eat in Juliette at the Fried Green Tomatoes Cafe, but it was closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, so we will visit it at another time.

We managed to get lost two additional times today.  It appears that one of the great challenges of driving around the country on two-lane roads will be FINDING the darned roads.  Highway 8 to Dacula (that’s Dracula without the R) just isn’t marked clearly.  We may need that fanccy new GPS system that Uncle Ward told us to take.

We took a number of photos along the way.  We saw some expressions of patriotism, but nowhere near what we all saw after 9/11.  Dacula and Madison showed the greatest patriotism.

We rolled into Savannah a little after 8.  Amanda got us checked in at The River Street Inn, and she recommended a place for pie.  We met John and Linda Michelin from Montreal in the parking lot; they saw the sign on the car and wanted to know about the trip.  Delightful people.  They invited us to stay at their home in Canada.

We had a nice dinner at The Shrimp Factory (recommended by Karen, our dental hygienist in Atlanta).  vOur waiter, Michael, took great care of us and even showed us how to get to Forrest Gump’s bus bench tomorrow.  We topped off dinner with the pie recommended by Amanda from the hotel — White Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie.  Barbara said it was the best pie she had ever eaten in her life!  It was tasty.  But we had about 175 pieces of pie to go.  LOL.

We took a stroll down the lovely waterfront area before calling it a night.  Savannah is truly a uniquely beautiful American city, and we look forward to tomorrow.

The biggest lesson we learned today, or most important observation, is that there is a kinder and gentler life in the smaller towns in America.  Small towns seem somewhat insulated from the negative aspects of life in big cities.

Lost in Atlanta  LOL.

The Daily Journal of Round America:

Each day, we collect our thoughts on a web page just like this.  We drop in some of the photos from the day.  Our goal with the Daily Journal is to write about the towns we visit, the sights we see, the people we meet, and the pie we eat.  We write about where we are, where we’ve been, and where we are going, but we also make observations about what we’ve seen and done as well as about life in general.

You can follow our travels from the Daily Journal section of this website.  Other pages of interest include the running report of “vital statistics” on the Trip Scorecard, our nominations for the Best & Worst of the trip, as well as a rating of the pie we eat.  If you’d like to see information for a specific state or town, click here, and then click on the state of interest, and the full itinerary is shown.

Random Comments:

Some folks think we are nuts to take off driving around the country for several months.  In honor of those people, we chose April Fool’s Day to begin our adventure.  Maybe we are crazy, but we are very excited to see so many wonderful sights in this great country that most of us never see.  There aren’t a lot of people who could or would take off and drive around the country for four months, so we’ve created and will build this website to provide a virtual tour for those of you who wish you could do something like this… or those of you who are just curious.

Photo Gallery:

These are all the worthwhile photos from Day 1.  When you click on a thumbnail photo of interest, it will open the photo in a larger size.  When you hover your cursor over a thumbnail, it displays a caption that identifies the photo.

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More Information on the Sights Visited Today:
Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta — Apalachee School House — Madison, Georgia — How to get Lost in Atlanta.

Atlanta to Savannah GA Hwy Day 1 — April 1
Atlanta GA
Atlanta to Tucker GA 8
Tucker to Lawrenceville GA 8
Lawrenceville to Dacula GA 8
Dacula to Auburn GA 29
Auburn to Carl GA 29
Carl to Russell GA 29
Russell to Stratham GA
Stratham to Bogart GA
Bogart to Athens GA University of Georgia; Stonehenge replica; world’s only double-barreled cannon; Tree That Owns Itself
Athens to Watkinsville GA 441 Georgia’s Antebellum Trail Scenic Route
Watkinsville to Bishop GA 441 Georgia’s Antebellum Trail Scenic Route
Bishop to Farmington GA 441 Georgia’s Antebellum Trail Scenic Route
Farmington to Apalachee GA 441 Georgia’s Antebellum Trail Scenic Route
Apalachee to Madison GA 441 Georgia’s Antebellum Trail Scenic Route
Madison to Eatonton GA 441 Georgia’s Antebellum Trail Scenic Route
Eatonton to Warfield GA 441 Georgia’s Antebellum Trail Scenic Route
Warfield to Milledgeville GA 441 Georgia’s Antebellum Trail Scenic Route
Milledgeville to Haddock GA 22 Georgia’s Antebellum Trail Scenic Route
Haddock to Gray GA 22 Georgia’s Antebellum Trail Scenic Route
Gray to Clinton GA 129 Georgia’s Antebellum Trail Scenic Route
Clnton to Juliette GA 18 & 87 Fried Green Tomatoes Café
Juliette to Clinton GA 18 & 87
Clinton to Macon GA 129 Georgia Music Hall of Fame
Macon to Dry Branch GA 80
Dry Branch to Fitzpatrick GA 80
Fitzpatrick to Jeffersonville GA 80
Jeffersonville to Danville GA 80
Danville to Allentown GA 80
Allentown to Montrose GA 80
Montrose to Dudley GA 80
Dudley to Dublin GA 80
Dublin to East Dublin GA 80
East Dublin to Scott GA 80
Scott to Adrian GA 80
Adrian to Swainsboro GA 80
Swainsboro to Twin City GA 80
Twin City to Portal GA 80
Portal to Statesboro GA 80 Georgia Southern University
Statesboro to Brooklet GA 80
Brooklet to Stilson GA 80
Stilson to Blichton GA 80
Blichton to Eden GA 80
Eden to Bloomingdale GA 80
Bloomingdale to Pooler GA 80
Pooler to Garden City GA 80
Garden City to Savannah GA 80 World Globe Storage Tank