The Odyssey starts!

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Day 1       
A long time in coming but we finally start on the cross country odyssey!
We are leaving from the sea coast town of Scituate MA. (I start with my rear tires in the Atlantic Ocean and when or if, I get to the Pacific I will put my front tires in that Ocean.)
Our first official destination will be HOT SPRINGS Arkansas. Basically you go west out of Boston turn left at NY and then turn Right at Tennessee
Scituate is a small seaport town, mostly pleasure craft nowadays.  Being on the ocean, in the summer the town is a zoo! But in Jan. It’s pretty quiet, even during a storm when all the people who love to watch “nature run amuck” come out to gawk at the awesome power of the ocean!  I am definitely one of those! I have seen waves crashing up to the lighthouse and the ocean running across the street

We leave Scituate, for California (maybe)

Scituate Massachusetts

Temp 37 degrees F.

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     No maybe... we made it!

Dana Point California

Temp 85 degrees F.

Match the Photo of the City to it’s name

Match the Photo of the Plant to it’s name

Scituate Light house

Day 2                                         

We head down the Mass-Pike to Rt 84 south, since this is my home turf it is pretty hard to see it with new eyes, especially since it is the same terrain, slightly hilly tree covered and a dusting of old snow. We are going to stay on 84 till it ends in Scranton PA where we pick up Rt 81.  By Hartford 100 miles from home I think the tranny is making more noise than I remember… (now you must understand the wrangler tranny has had 2 service bulletins because the tranny is so NOISY!!)

how I got the shaft!!!

When you come to Scranton just after Rt 84 ends and you get on Rt 81 on the other side of the valley to your left, most of the side of that hill is a junk yard the lonnnngest one I have ever seen, something over 1 mile long!

In Scranton we stayed at a Clarion hotel exit 184. I had joined “Half Price HotelCard”

And they got me the room for $59 instead of the $99 that I would have paid with AAA.  They had a free continental breakfast and fast internet access and a Jacuzzi all for $59.

By the time we got started 10:00 AM Saturday (see “how I got the shaft!!! ”) it was snowing! . Hey, wait a moment, I took the southerly Rt to avoid the snow, and it was colder here than in Boston! The drive down to VA looked like driving in New England, snow on a divided highway with hills and trees. The snow didn’t amount to much just a nuisance. What we could see of the scenery was more farms than New England has and the hills look like someone cut them all off at the same height. The first time I came down through Pennsylvania it was cloudy and I thought the clouds where low and covering the tops of the mountains, because the hills where all the same height.  The truth is they ARE all the same height.

By 3:00 PM we had gotten to Staunton VA.

Stayed at the Best Inn in Staunton VA, internet access was a “data port” (read that as phone line). The connection was so noisy it took 8 tries to make a connection and then while it lasted the connection was only at 2400. we went out to get dinner about 7:30 at night seeing as how Staunton is a college town I expected there to be a lot of inexpensive Eating and drinking establishments to be open on a Saturday night, boy was I wrong it took us about an hour to find a 50 style car hop. We passed up dinner at two other places that we found because they were too expensive. The food was mediocre but the atmosphere was really 50's. I rather enjoyed it. back to the hotel and tried the Internet again with the same results.

More Snow!!!

CT State line
NY State line
PA State line
MD State line

Hay.. I left MA to get away from the snow!

Day 3

Got up at 6:30, while packing up to leave WHAM! My editor slipped on some ice and went down hard! After the initial shock wore off she decided there was no permanent damage (thank god) but a very very sore butt.  She also had a sore neck from the whiplash from the fall. We decided that sitting in a car all day would not be a good thing to do so a layover for one day to recoup was in order.
Every 1 ½ hours we put a snow pack (I know we’re in Virginia) I wrapped a pile of snow with a towel, the snow does an excellent job of molding to the curves of the injured area.  To keep her from getting stiff, each hour we walked around.  By 11:00 AM we moved to a different motel on the other side of  I 81. To a hotel with internet access. (they had “broad band” but the storm had knocked that out! At least the phone access worked.) By dinner time she was feeling pretty good, so we headed out for dinner.  This time we ended up in a diner Shorty’s it was EXCELLENT the place was spotless and the food was great! To get there from 81 south take exit 225 and head west ½ mile, on right.  .

Day 4

The snow pack treatment did the job!!  By today we were ready to travel again! We make some phone calls and find a “Fleet Pride” in Roanoke VA. We stop in and they take a look at the drive shaft, and send us to an auto drive line shop (Fleet Pride is mostly truck orientated). 1 ½ hours and $150 later, most of the vibration and all the noise is gone! Just a bit down the road we enter Tennessee.  We saw a lot of kudzu it was brown. I don’t know if it was killed or if it does that in the winter (I had thought it stayed green all year, in fact the cold is what keeps it from coming up north) it looked like someone had put a large brown blanket draped over everything! From the tallest trees to telephone poles and wires for an area that is hundreds of feet across! It’s amazing it looks just like a big blanket!  With most of the day eaten up we travel a little further to Brownsville, TN where we call it a day.

We got to Hot Springs AR

Day 6
Woke up in Brownsville TN (went to sleep there) at 6:30 on the road by 7:15
A very fogy day, fog like you see on the sea coast!  As you can see by the picture of Memphis the fog was quite thick.
The southern part of Virginia and all through Tennessee we saw lots of dead KUDZU like a brown blanket over an entire hollow. Through Tennessee and Arkansas we saw spring starting to show up, buds on the trees and new green grass in the fields. There is a higher percentage of the land is being cultivated outside of New England than in New England.
People say Kansas is flat … Well I got news for you!!  We crossed the Mississippi at 222 ft. above sea level (GPS) AFTER going west 35 MILES, WE WHERE STILL AT 222 ft. we then hit a bump and where at 235 ft for a another 28 miles we then dropped to 203 ft for 20 miles it wasn’t until we had gone 153 miles into Arkansas that we hit ANY kind of a hill!! And that was only 390 ft! finally just before Little Rock we found some hills.
Arkansas is FLAAAAAAAAAAAT!!!!
We flew through Little Rock on down to Hot Springs AR.
In general though, the road conditions in Arkansas were rather poor. Unfixed potholes, road debris…
We arrive in Hot Springs about 1:00 PM.  Walk down “Bath house row” take a tour of Fordyce Bath house. The natural spring waters are ~ 130 degrees and odorless and tasteless and gravity fed into the bath houses.  Of the original 15 or so bath houses we had a bath in the only working bath house Buckstaff. It was great, first lay in a LARGE Marble? Tub for 20 minutes.  The water starts at 110 degrees with an electric boat motor to make a whirlpool.  By the time I got out the temp was down to 104. Then sit in a butt tub (sitz bath) for 10 minutes, a steam room for 10 minutes (the steam room is a 3X3X6 ft room with a marble bench a wood pallet on the floor and Hot spring water flowing around the floor. Then you get wrapped up with Hot towels and laid down for 15 minutes followed by a needle shower with 80 degree water to cool off.  You are then sent to a “Cool down room” for 20 minutes to wait for your massage. A 20 minute massage and you are done in more ways than one! You leave feeling great like a wet noodle but feeling great.
Ate dinner at Stubby’s a BBQ shack with really good southern BBQ had been around for 50 years.
Back to the hotel (I am having a terrible time finding a hotel with high speed internet) not here either! I check out a new rattle I hear, when I apply the emergency brake it goes away, Yup, a rear brake caliper is loose and rattles.  While I am under I disconnect the front drive shaft from the front axle and tie it up.
The day is done, up to the hotel room to do my work while soft breezes waft in from the balcony overlooking Lake Hamilton. CABOOOOM A tremendous lightning storm strikes! For 1 hour we are treated to some spectacular lighting bolts some of witch are close enough to hear sizzle with the accompanying crashing thunder!


The day is done, up to the hotel room to do my work while soft breezes waft in from the balcony overlooking Lake Hamilton.

TX may want to move the no littering sign. it is right in front of the welcome sign!

Day 7

We left Hot Springs AR and saw our first (of many cacti) while still in AR. We found bamboo roadside on Rt 70! TX may wont to change the order of there signs at the state border 20 ft in front of the “Welcome to Texas” sign is a sign warning you not to litter! (if you had a guest coming to your house I would hope you would say “welcome glad you could come” before you said “DON’T LITTER”. The landscape got scrubbier and farmier as we neared Dallas-FT Worth.

“Holy cow” Boston drivers got nothing on Dallas drivers! They weave just as much here, except they drive much faster here. The highways are plentiful, wide and clean, but make no rhyme or reason to this Boston driver.  You can be on a service rd (a two lane rd that runs parallel to the highway) and must exit in order to stay on the service rd or you end up on a highway, then at the next ramp you must stay on the service rd and not exit to stay on the service rd!!! and if you end up on a highway it may be 10 miles before you find an exit that isn’t another highway.

We finally do get to our destination a Quality Suits at DFW(Dallas/Ft Worth airport) it’s great it’s a suite two rooms one is an office WITH HIGH SPEED INTERNET and only $70. well time to work by for now!


Yet to come!

 In Death Valley we Visit Titus Canyon

[Welcome page]

The Odyssey

[Video, Jeeping 101]

[GPS Track info.]


[Odyssey] [Day 8-14] [Day 15 -21] [Day 22 - 28] [Day 29 - 35] [Day 36 - 42] [Day 43 - 49]

[City Match Name] [Name the Folige]


[the shaft] [airing down] [Salsa] [Air Compressor] [Cooking Meatloaf] [Articles in Low-Range]

[City Answers] [Foliage Answers]


[Choke Cherry] [Holy Cross] [Death Valley] [Chili Challenge] [Caballo Mts] [Gila NF Trip] [Titus Canyon]

[Woodpecker Mine]  [Picket Post]  [Box Canyon]