Live Trip Map Day 1: December 24, 2008
A Fifty Degree Swing
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I left work about 2:00 on Tuesday and pulled into Christmas shopping gridlock on the street where I live. I made it home, finished loading the car, and headed back into the traffic. It took about twenty minutes to drive the half mile to the expressway. Traffic was heavy but moving as I headed south and across the river. The temperature hovered around 32 degrees and the falling rain produced what you see in the first picture. Yep, that's ice on the mirror and in the corner of the windshield. The radio told me that accidents were "too numerous to count" behind me. I saw cars off the road and progress was slowed but I had no real problems. I spent about an hour covering a ten mile stretch past Lexington in which the northbound lanes were closed in at least two places. The entire expressway full of traffic was routed up ramps and somehow northward. Getting to Cincinnati was even harder than getting away from it. But I was moving in the right direction and so was the temperature. As the rain faded away, I was able to return to normal speeds and drove on to the east edge of Chattanooga before stopping for the night.

I was on the road at 6:30 and halfway through Georgia before making a breakfast stop near Macon. A big peach I had passed on the expressway was visible from the Country Cupboard parking lot but I drove up the road a bit to get a clearer shot. I had to hold the camera over my head to keep the bottom of the letters from being blocked by the guardrail and it took me several tries to get the peach and the sign in the frame without a car blocking something. If your relatives were driving south on I-75 today, there's a pretty good chance I have a picture of them.

I knew that the road I'll be taking through the Florida keys in a couple of days is the subject of an article in the current issue of American Road Magazine but I didn't realize that I'd be passing a landmark featured in another article. Robert Klara's article on peanut monuments says this one near Ashburn, Georgia, is the country' tallest.

This is the Alafia River where my great-grandparents spent Christmas Eve of 1920. The first picture is from the park on the north bank where Chris & I stopped in 2001. The second is from another little park, on the other side of US-41, that is also on the north bank. There was no bridge here in 1920 and no ferry is mentioned in Granny's notes for the day so my guess is that they spent the night on the south side of the river. The locked gate of the closed marina in the third picture is as close as I got to the river's south bank.

Instead of spending Christmas eve "listening to fishermen tell sea tales", I spent it listening to carnival workers talk about the midway. Mary, the Showtown employee with the most seniority, sat next to me and shared some of the bar's, the town's, and her own history. I didn't get a picture of Mary. That's Kathy in the picture. I made three attempts to get a picture of her shoes and still clipped off the toes. The Showtown was closing at 8:00 for an employee party so I tested a couple of Gibsonton's other bars. They're OK but the Showtown is the place to be. It's where I'll be for Christmas morning breakfast.

This is my home for the night and I've included the picture mostly to show that, with 80 degree weather and a few palm trees, even a Day's Inn looks inviting.

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