Getting There

Saturday, March 04, 2006 10:00 PM CST
Were do I begin...

Friday, March 3.
Before we left, CBs were installed in the two Anna Maria vans. We ate (Thank you Carol and all of you good people at Aramark for feeding us!), and then prayed. All of us piled into a twelve passenger van or the Anna Maria seven passenger van. The Alzepeda's left in their camper. We left Anna Maria at 7:00 PM Friday night. We drove down I-84 all the way to Pennsylvania, and then headed south on I-81. During this time, we needed to make a fuel fill-up and pit-stop in Scranton, PA. It was snowing, very cold and windy as we waited our turns outside! Harrisburg was the next big city, and we hit that at 3:30 Saturday morning. During most of the trip it was very windy, blowing the vans and campers along the rode.

Since we were driving at night, most of the rest areas were filled with tractor-trailers. We crossed the Maryland state line at 4:00 AM, and then West Virginia at 4:15 AM. Still on I-81, we crossed into Virginia at 5:00 AM. Breakfast was at a Cracker Barrel at 7:15 AM. It was still cold in Virginia, but the sun was out, and that gave us hope for warmer weather!

Driving along I-81, the camper had a storage box attached to the back trailer hitch. Extra straps were placed around it to help secure it to the camper.
One of those straps let loose, but no damage. The caravan stopped, and within 1 minute, a Virginia state trooper pulled over to see what was the matter. Everything was fine, so off we went!

I was amazed at the rolling hills and pastures throughout Virginia. The cows on the hillsides were lined up in a row!
Very strange, as I have never seen anything like that before. The land is not mush different than New England probably was when it was all farm lands mostly cleared for animals with very few trees. I imagine within a hundred years the trees will overtake that area along the highway as more of the open farm land is being used for housing, and the trees will be able to gain a foothold again.

We also noticed that it was getting warmer on each fuel/pit stop. At 1:45 PM on Saturday we crossed into Tennessee. During one stop, we just stood in the warm sun for about 5 minutes relishing the warmth!

At 6:00 PM we crossed into Georgia and stopped to get sandwiches for the final leg of Saturday's journey. Back in the vans, and we crossed into Alabama at 6:30 PM Central Standard Time. We gained an hour of time!!! Most people will spend it sleeping tonight, as most people only have been getting cat naps the last 24 hours. We made it to the Hampton Inn Birmingham-East/Ironside at 9:30 PM. We will spend the night, and then leave in the morning at 8:00 AM to head the Saint Charles Retreat Center. in Lake Charles, LA.

All of the kids are having a great time, although everyone is tired.

Talk with you tomorrow!!!!
-- Roger Bailey

Sunday, March 5.
Today began at about 8:00 AM CST. After a great rest at the Hampton Inn, with breakfast, we left at 9:30 AM. The weather was gorgeous, 65-70 degrees. We are wearing t-shirts and shorts!!!! Green grass, flowering cherry trees, windows rolled down, we are rolling!

On our first stop, we found Red Velvet Bingles! The look like red Twinkies. Some people said that they are really great deep fried. I don't know. Alicia won a quarter at a Pirate game, and it only cost her 75 cents!!!We are seeing daffodils on the side of the road, with green grass.

We crossed the Mississippi line at 12:30 PM, following I-59. The weather is in the 70's and gorgeous.
As we are driving along, we are seeing trees that were blown down by Hurricane Katrina. Lots of pine trees along the road, with the bayous. We saw a group of people on 4x4s in the bogs right along the highway.

Harry taught us a few car games. They really helped to pass the time.

At 3:15 PM, we finally crossed into Louisiana! We stopped for mass at Christ the King Church at Louisiana State University at 6:00PM. We ate in town, and then headed for the last leg to the retreat center. AS we got back onto I-10, the camper experienced engine problems. The police stopped to help get us off of the road, as it was very busy where the camper had problems. It appears that the camper hit some bad gasoline. It regained power, and the first TA truck stop, we pulled off and got some octane booster. With new gas, we continued onwards.

We found the Saint Charles Retreat Center at 11:45 PM. YIPPY!!! Harry and I found a quick mart open, bought a few items for the morning, and I am now finishing up this note for you.

Talk with you soon, and pictures should appear tomorrow night.

Good night!
-- Roger