Saturday, August 18, ’12
H-85 RAIN L H 85 L 63 H H 82/65 M H 82 L 60
L-69 C H 96 L 76
Bear update: The Bear says I Have Escaped Tennessee And Julius McCoy Party. TR says, “I hope he doesn’t have any relatives in the Ozarks.” Moose say, “You already got one in your house, Bear!” Lou says we will have a Putlitz Is From The Ozarks Party. We will serve Ozarkian Foods.
We woke up to clouds. Will they last? They lasted, and the temperature in Texarkana climbed to 85. It rained during dinner.
Tucson 90/73 T-STORMS Brooklyn 79/64 T-STORMS
We woke up at 7:30AM. We got dressed in the dark because it was pouring rain and thundering outside. We almost overslept, assuming it was much earlier in the morning. We went to breakfast in the lobby. Fortunately there was an overhang. We loaded first the Juniormobile, then the Bearmobile, under the overhang while it was still raining. By the time we left, it had stopped. We loaded up the car and checked out of room 125 at 10:53AM, late but earlier than we had feared because of the weather. The dog was ready to break down the motel door. I took a photo. The first pit stop was at exit 114 in Benton. We got gas at Valero and I went to the ATM. The highest amount you could pick was $60.00. It was the first ATM machine I’ve ever seen that spit out $10’s instead of $20’s. The 2nd pit stop was at exit 98A McDonalds in Malvern. We ate lunch there. The 3rd pit stop was at exit 73, the Arkadelphia McDonalds. This is the McDonalds that we didn’t eat at on the way up in June. We ate at the Western Sizzlin’ right next to it. Back then we rejected McDonalds because of the poor A/C. Today it wouldn’t matter as much. It’s not as hot with all the rain. The 4th pit stop was at the rest area at exit 54. The dog enjoyed the grass and trees. We saw what at first seemed to be a giant black lab. We guessed he was bred with a great dane. I have a picture and a movie. The dog was very placid, not at all like labs. The 5th pit stop was at exit 30 at Hope. We stopped at the McDonalds to have cones. We drove 30 more miles to cross the state line into Texas. We returned to the Petsmart that we stopped at in June. I remembered that to the left around the corner of the parking lot was a bathroom. It was a Chick Fil A. I took Putlitz for a ride. Kenny stayed with him at the bird cage while I shopped for a Bear Halloween costume, dog toys, dog biscuits, cat crunchies, PPP, and a clicker. We then drove back to the first La Quinta we saw. It was the Texas La Quinta on State Line Avenue. We checked in and canceled the one we had for the La Quinta on the other side of the street in Arkansas. We didn’t want to have to cross the Texas state line again tomorrow. We went to dinner at a nearby Burger King. I ordered a seersucker bedspread and two matching shams on They were cheaper than the ones on, and I needed a king’s size bedspread. I had it shipped back to Tucson.
Next Rest Area 130 Miles — Is This Arkansas? 8/18/12
The rest areas on both sides of the interstate were closed at exit 202 coming into Arkansas after we crossed the Mississippi. But the rest areas themselves weren’t under construction. The construction workers were merely using the westbound one as a convenient place to store logs and other materials. There was no logical reason they couldn’t have left it open with cones lining the entrance. Is this just cheap or do they have an odd sense of humor? Either way it’s irresponsible. They posted a sign: NEXT REST AREA 130 MILES!

Postcards MayBe Going Out Of Style, But Not Even One Of Arkansas? 8/18/12
There are people I still send postcards to, yes the kind you can pick up and put in the snail mail instead of the email. Two of these people are my parents who don’t have email. I’ve been noticing year after year that it’s harder and harder to get postcards and where you can still find them — places like national parks in the USA, for instance — it gets harder and harder to find new one available. But still on this long trip from Tucson to Brooklyn, Brooklyn to England and Germany and back to Brooklyn, and finally from Brooklyn back to Tucson, I’ve usually been able to find postcards to send every day — with one notable exception. That exception is Arkansas. We entered the state on the Mississippi River and are now driving towards Texarkana to exit it. I’ve yet to find one postcard for sale anywhere. I’ve had to make do with La Quinta promotional postcards from the La Quinta in Little Rock Otter Creek where we stayed last night. But the irony there — last night when I asked the front desk clerk for one even they ran out!
The QM2 is back in Hamburg for the last time this year. It again reminds me of the wee hours of the morning of July 15 when we came ashore in Hamburg ourselves. I’ll never forget the sound of the people lining the river banks cheering and screaming, waking us up at 4:00AM. I wonder if they are doing that now as I see it beginning to get light out.
We drove from Little Rock to Texarkana. We stopped at the McDonalds in Hope, Arkansas where former President Bill Clinton was born. We drove across the Texas border and went to Petsmart. We wheeled the cat around the store and bought the dog’s birthday gifts for August 22.
Dog/Cat Report:
Sabaka got a bath tonight. He enjoyed the stop at the rest area halfway between Arkadelphia and Hope. He met a large black lab. At least it seemed to be one at first. He seemed to be bred with a great dane. He was very placid, but he got Sabaka going.
The cat wanted to sleep this morning. Who wouldn’t when it was raining and thundering outside the motel window in Little Rock? It wasn’t the kind of day to do much of anything. He liked his visit to the Petsmart store in Texarkana, though. He got to sit in front of the bird cages and listen to the birds tweet. Will he get to do it again before El Paso?

Still no contract . . .
What next?

Saturday, August 18, ’12
1)Valero gas Big Red Benton gas cash $30.00
2)McDonalds Malvern lunch Bear Cash $25.09
3)Petsmart: PPP, dog toys, dog bones, Bacon Strips, cat crunchies, clicker, Bear costume Bear Cash $80.26
4)McDonalds Hope cones Bear Cash $4.25
5)La Quinta Texarkana room 147 cash $71.19
6)Burger KIng Texarkana dinner Bear Cash $28.25
TOT: $244.85 seersucker king bedspread shipped UPS ground $115.62 2 seersucker shams shipped UPS ground $72.78

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Friday, August 17, ’12
H-88 T-STORMS L H 77 L 64 H H 75 L 61 M H79 L 57
L-66 C H 95 L 75
Bear update: The Bear says I Won The Food Fight At The Memphis Cracker Barrel Party. TR says, “I won the Peg Board Contest, too.” Moose say, “Here’s crumbs in your eyes, Bear!” Lou says we will have a We Will Carry Julius McCoy’s Confederate Flag In Triumph Party. We will serve Foods In A Triumphal Procession. Mary says, “Friday we’re gonna find out what damage the pirates did to the Western White House.”
We woke up to clouds. Will they last? No! It rained during the morning but dried up after lunch and got hot. By the time we checked into the La Quinta it was 88 and sunny.
Tucson 87/71 T-STORMS Brooklyn 88/70 T-STORMS
We woke up at 7:30AM. We got dressed and went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. We checked out of room 144 at 10:24AM. We did some fancy maneuvering to get into the right lane. We took exit 10B to go to Little Rock. Then we drove through downtown Memphis. We saw the pyramid. We crossed the Mississippi River. They don’t have the sign in the middle of the bridge that you’re entering Arkansas, the home of President Bill Clinton, anymore. The last time we crossed the bridge going west was 1998 when we were moving. They still had it up then. It was raining and kicking up water from the pavement reducing visibility. The Arkansas Visitor’s Center, where we’d planned to stop, was closed. We stopped instead at the first numbered exit on the Arkansas side of West Memphis, exit 275, for our first pit stop. Gary got gas at Shell. So did Kenny. I bought the USA Today. The dog barely managed to get out before it started to pour again. Our 2nd pit stop was at exit 260 TA/Burger King. Once again it started to rain. Our 3rd pit stop was at McDonalds at exit 241A Forrest City. There was a Bonanza next door, but we preferred the internet. Our 4th pit stop was at the McDonalds at exit 216 Brinkley. There was the same peach stand set up next door. This time we didn’t buy any more peaches. We just took a photo and left. Kenny said it was too soon for dipped cones. Everywhere we keep on seeing burned out fields were corn used to be. Gary says it’s the drought. I say they ought to irrigate the crops. Anything else is wasteful. Gary says I’m used to being out west where they have to irrigate everything. I say if they have rain good, otherwise set up the irrigation. We came to the road construction area around 202. This may be the subject of my travel blog for today. The rest areas on both sides of the highway were closed due to road construction. But the rest areas themselves weren’t under construction. The road workers were just using the westbound one as a place to put logs and other construction materials. They could easily have left it open with cones lining the entrance. This shows some sort of irresponsible attitude. Is this a stupid way to save money or do they have a poor sense of humor? They put up a sign that says, “Next rest area 130 miles.” Our 5th pit stop was at McDonalds Lonoke at exit 175 for dipped cones. We continued on to the last exit on i-40, exit 161 Loves to buy a flat of water. We got back on I-40 only to quickly get off on 440. That was the ring road around Little Rock. We crossed the Arkansas River on a bridge. Little Rock was the next five exits. The skyline was elusive but I think I got a photo. Then we got on I-30 W to Texarkana pretty much right away. At exit 128 we got off the road at Mabelville Road West Otter Creek. We checked into room 125 at the same La Quinta we stayed at on June 23. That was only 8 days after we’d left the house. We picked up the FEDEX package from Shapiro with the check for $650.00. It’s Friday, and that’s the only money for this week.

Two weeks ago we landed in New York. I had $9000.00 in Bear Cash. Now I’m starting the day with only $5669.71. And that’s before the ATM.

Amazon Advantage correction From the Author Under Editorial Reviews. September 15 should be postponed and correct name of series to Churchill’s Revenge

Can You Expect Red Roof Inn Memphis East To Pick Up The Garbage for $55.65? 8/17/12

We decided to stay cheap in East Memphis. We checked into room 144 and didn’t expect much for only $55.65 for 3 adults and 2 pets. There wasn’t any guest laundry. There wasn’t any CP breakfast in the lobby in the morning. And ridiculously enough they provided only a small purse pack of Kleenex instead of a standard box like most motels. They didn’t even have any sheer drapes but only one set of dark curtains to block out the sun. But even for that cheap price I expected basic sanitation. It’s bad enough that they provided only one trash can in the room to most motels two. But outside the room the garbage can at the end of the sidewalk was overflowing. When we checked in we asked them to pick it up. Two hours later it was still overflowing. I called and asked again. Finally half an hour later did they deign to pick it up and give their guests somewhere to throw their trash.
Today we drove from Memphis to Little Rock. We crossed the Mississippi and Arkansas Rivers and took the ring road around Little Rock. We left I-40 and got onto I-30S. This postcard makes the Mississippi look bigger. I snapped a photo. I’ll have to print copies.
Today we drove from Memphis to Little Rock. We crossed the Mississippi and Arkansas Rivers and took the ring road around Little Rock. We left I-40 and got onto I-30S. This is the second time I’ve been in Arkansas this year, and I can’t find another postcard oddly enough. Even the travel stops don’t have them.
Dog/Cat Report:
The dog got to the peach stand at Brinkley at exit 216. He went ape because he saw a field of grass next to the McDonalds. He ran into another dog. He was excited for an hour after that. He had chicken strips for dinner that we brought him from Applebees.
We gave the cat the rest of the chicken sandwich that Kenny gave to the dog at lunch time in Forrest City. The dog’s spare bottle of shampoo leaked on the cat’s toys and leash in the back of the pet suitcase. We need another LL Bean toiletry bag so bottles with liquids can sit upright.
List of to do items:
1)Amazon Advantage change listing for The Lusitania Plot
2)Buy LL Bean toiletry bag
3)Buy Orvis quilt
4)post on weebly
Still no contract . . .
What next?

Friday, August 17, ’12 (Last time you were in Little Rock was June 23)
1)Cracker Barrel Memphis breakfast Bear Cash $31.16
2)Shell West Memphis cash gas $30.00
3)Shell USA Today cash $1.00
4)McDonalds Forrest City lunch Bear Cash $31.03
5)McDonalds Lonoke cones Bear Cash $5.29
6)Love’s Travel Stops flat of water Bear Cash $6.20
7)La Quinta Little Rock Otter Creek free night $0.00
8)Applebees Little Rock dinner $62.85
9)laundry $3.00
TOT: $170.53

Shell West Memphis gas Kenny $25.42

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Thursday, August 16, ’12
H-98 Memphis L H 74 L 64 H H 71 L 56 M H 75 L 58
L-71 C H 94 L 76
Bear update: The Bear says My Flags Have Shipped Party. TR says, “I will carry them in a Triumphal Procession down 22nd Street.” Moose say, “You stole them flags, Bear!” Lou says we will have a Stolen Flags Party. We will serve Stolen Foods.
We woke up to sun. Will it last? It lasted, and the temperature in Memphis climbed to 98. There were a few clouds. There is a possibility of T-STORMS. We’re back to the land of heat. It won’t be as cool as it was two days ago until October. But even then in Tucson you don’t have to concern yourself with fog.
Tucson 92/74 T-STORMS Brooklyn 85/71
We woke up at 7:30AM. We got dressed and drove the pets down to the Log Cabin Restaurant for breakfast. They charged a lot. We checked out of room 132 at 10:18AM. Our first pit stop was at the TN rest area right after the TN River after exit 130. The dog liked all the grass and the shady trees. The 2nd pit stop was to get gas at Shell at exit 126. We also used the ATM to get $100.00 in cash. The 3rd pit stop was exit 108 McDonalds. It was across the street from a Civil War cannon. The 4th pit stop was lunch at the Casey Jones Village, the main exit for Jackson. We stopped at McDonalds. We had a blow up about Shapiro and Farmer. I took a photo of a train as we left. the 5th pit stop was at the Brownsville McDonalds at exit 56. We got dipped cones and found out Shapiro was sending a check today so there will be money for the week. The 6th pit stop was at Pilot at exit 42. We drove 30 more miles in Memphis and stopped for the day at exit 12, E. Sycamore View. We’re staying this time at the Red Roof Inn in room 144. It’s right next to Cracker Barrel. We went to dinner at Cracker Barrel. The Bear had a food fight. We filmed it.
Tennessee Rest Areas Really Nice — Only On One Side Of The Road 8/16/12
The dog’s loving it. Every time he jumps out of the car into a patch of grass with lots of trees for shade he can thank the Tennessee Interstate Commission. But on the way East in June he didn’t get to stop at so many rest areas. We avoided second-class treatment having to navigate dangerous stairways up steep slopes. We stopped at TA’s or McDonald’s instead. Did they toss a coin to see which side of the highway was going to get preferential treatment? Did those going West luck out? I’ve never seen anything like it in any other state, and we’ve driven through quite a few during this trip.
We drove from Hurricane Mills to Memphis today. the mountains are behind us. The land has flattened out. The heat is back and so is the humidity. Gone are the concerns of two days ago about fog and rain. There could be a thunderstorm now. That’s about it.
We’re almost done with Tennessee. That’s the best thing in a long time. Tennessee was always one of my hate states. Now we have to take on Arkansas. Hopefully we can find that Western Sizzlin’.
Blog for tomorrow: Can You Expect Red Roof Inn Memphis East To Pick Up The Garbage for $55.65?
Dog/Cat Report:
Sabaka devoured his chicken takeout from Cracker Barrel. It wasn’t nearly as good as the fried chicken from The Log Cabin Restaurant, but he’ll take whatever he can get. We stopped at a rest area for him today after exit 130 right after the Tennessee River. He appreciated all the green grass and shady trees.
The cat wanted to go out after dinner. He leaped up into the stroller and waited. We took him out but he continued to sit.
We are having George Shapiro send a check for $650.00 to:
La Quinta Inn Little Rock Otter Creek
11701 Interstate 30
Little Rock, AR 72209-7037
We spent a lot of time this evening in our motel room working on the Cheops Books Marketplace Seller Account, which we’ve ignored totally up to now. It all comes from some lady trying to buy Jason and Medea and canceling the order because we couldn’t ship until September. What an odd thing to be doing in a motel room!
Still no contract . . .
What next?

Thursday, August 16, ’12 (Last time you were in Memphis was June 24)
1)Log Cabin Restaurant Hurricane Mills breakfast Bear Cash $47.02
2)Crossroads BP gas cash $25.00
3)Crossroads BP postcards Bear Cash $8.13
4)McDonalds Jackson lunch Bear Cash $25.59
5)McDonalds Brownsville cones Bear Cash $4.25
6)Red Roof Inn East Memphis room 144 cash $55.65
7)Cracker Barrel Memphis dinner Bear Cash $56.10
TOT: $221.74

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Wednesday, August 15, ’12
H-87 Hurricane Mills L H 74 L 61 H H 72 L 59 M H 79 L 63
L-64 C H 94 L 75
Bear update: The Bear says We Had A Mud Wrestling Contest Party. TR says, “I defeated the Black Cur.” Moose say, “Sounds like you, Bear!” Lou says We Will Have A Look Into The Mirror Bear Party. We will serve Foods That You See In the Mirror.
We woke up to sun. Will it last? A few clouds disappeared. The sun came out full, and the temperature in Hurricane Mills climbed to 87.
Tucson 98/76 T-STORMS Brooklyn 83/70
We woke up at 7:30AM. We got dressed and went to McDonalds for breakfast. We packed up the car as the clouds broke up (at least no more rain!) and checked out of room 123 at 10:33AM. Our first pit stop was right after exit 268. It was a rest area, the one we stopped at coming but on the other side. This time we didn’t have the steps. It had an Al Gore Sr marker about the interstates. It had a travel info bureau, too. The dog liked the grass. The 2nd pit stop was at an Exxon/Taco Bell/Kentucky Fried Chicken small travel stop at exit 256. We got gas, water, and $80.00 cash at the ATM. We have to remember to do that every day. The 3rd pit stop was at exit 238 for lunch. Kenny insisted that we go to Chick fil A instead of McDonalds. At least they had internet. I transferred my money and posted on Facebook. I downloaded more email. They kept on asking you if you wanted a refill, but their lemonade isn’t in the same class as McDonald’s. The landscape is flattening out as we go west. Gary says we’re past the Alleghenies, even the foothills. It seemed like we were coming downhill a lot to get to Cookeville and we came down even more to get to Nashville.69. We ran into four lanes on each side of the road as we approached Nashville. Our 4th pit stop was at exit 216 McDonalds right next to the La Quinta Nashville Airport where we once had reservations and canceled them on the way up in June. It was the last possible services before we got on the 440 Parkway. The 5th pit stop was at exit 188 McDonalds at Kingston Springs for lemonade and dipped cones. The 6th pit stop was at Loves/McDonalds at exit 163, Dickson. We finally arrived at the BW Hurricane Mills, a real interstate rest stop with a gas station, a restaurant, and a motel with a pool. We didn’t pull off the highway until 3:23PM. We checked into room 132 and soon went to dinner down the hill at the Log Cabin Restaurant. We called my parents for the first time in three days. My mother wanted to know why I was crazy enough to go back to Tucson when it was so hot. That’s a leading question. I told her I’d promised myself I wouldn’t be there in the summer for years now. And now I’d done it. She thought all Gary’s clients were there. We took out fried chicken for the dog and brought it back to the room. We took the dog and cat for a walk near the pool.
It’s been a long ways down from the North Atlantic. But it’s getting dark out sooner at night. It’s dark by 8:00PM now instead of 10:00PM. It’s also the middle of August and not June.
Guess what? Today’s two months exactly since we left the house in Tucson.
I spent the evening looking back through all my travel blogs from this summer on Facebook. I was also looking back through my journal entries to determine when we discovered strawberry lemonade. We think it was the day we arrived in Midland.
From now on I don’t think we need to worry about showers, cool weather, and low-lying fog on the mountains or roadways. We have to watch out for late afternoon thunderstorms and above all just plain old heat. We know all about that. We should get USA Today every day to look at the weather page.
Travel Mystery: Why Are All TN Services And Rest Areas On The Right-Hand Side Of The Road On I-40 Going West?
In June when we came east we noticed that all the stops, rest areas, fast food restaurants, etc in Tennessee were on the opposite side of the highway. Of course we resented the inconvenience, complained about it a lot, but philosophized that on the way back we’d like it. Well, we’re now taking advantage of the “right direction on I-40” as far as the Tennessee interstate system is concerned as we make our way back to Tucson. But to us it’s a big mystery. Why was it set up this way to begin with? Does anybody know?
Today we drove from Cookeville to Hurricane Mills, TN. We drove down out of the mountains. The land seems to be flattening out, but we still have a few hills left before we reach Memphis and the Mississippi River.
Dog/Cat Report:
Sabaka got fried chicken from the Log Cabin Restaurant for dinner. He gobbled it down then went for a walk around the pool at the BW Hurricane Mills.
Putlitz insisted on sharing the dog’s dinner. I also gave him fried chicken for dinner. He also gobbled it up. Putlitz was sticking his head in the ice bin tonight. He knows it’s getting warmer.
Still no contract . . .
What next?

Wednesday, August 15, ’12 (June 25 was the last time you were in Hurricane Mills)
1)McDonalds Cookeville breakfast Bear Cash $20.86
2)Exxon Gordonsville flat of water Bear Cash $6.57
3)Exxon Gordonsville gas cash $15.00
4)Chick Fil A Lebanon lunch Bear Cash $30.52
5)McDonalds Kingston Springs lemonade and cones $11.79
6) Bear’s triumphal procession flags Bear Cash $10.26
7)BW Hurricane Mills room 132 cash in addition to free night $25.00
8)Log Cabin Restaurant Hurricane Mills dinner $61.73
9)laundry $6.00
TOT: $187.73

Exxon gas Kenny $20.64

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Tuesday, August 14, ’12
H-82 Cookeville RAIN L H 74 L 63 H H 72 L 54 M H 75 L 56
L-63 C H 96 L 75
Bear update: The Bear says Julius McCoy Wants My Sword Party. TR says, “He is in cohoots with the Pirate on Wallen Ridge Drive.” Moose say, “You’d better hide that sword, Bear!” Lou says we will have a Sword Fight Party. We will serve Foods That You Cut With A Sword.
We woke up to clouds. Will they last? They lasted most of the day. But then the clouds broke up enough to give us some sun. The temperature in Cookeville climbed to 82.
Tucson 103/79 Brooklyn 81/73 Gila Bend 115/90
We woke up at 7:30AM. We got dressed and went to CP in the lobby. We were here before. They have an annoying TV. We had cereal, rolls, and yogurt. They even had sausages for the dog. But it was raining. It delayed us loading the car. We were worried about fog. It looked like low-hanging clouds. We waited until it brightened up a little to leave. We checked out of room 126 at 10:38AM. Our first pit stop was at the McDonalds at exit 398, Strawberry Plains. In June we almost stayed at the La Quinta here. The second pit stop was at the Marathon at exit 373. We got gas and went to the ATM to get $80.00. The third pit stop was the McDonalds at Harriman at exit 347. This was a lunch stop just as it was in June. We called the Tucson zoning guy, the Tucson fire department, and the owner of 8735 E Wallen Ridge Drive. They say the roach guy is leaving within the month. We checked into the highway report about the weather to see if there was any fog on the road ahead. We crossed into Central Time when we entered Cumberland County 7 miles after lunch at exit 340. This was the first time change since the ship when we entered Eastern Time the night before we docked in Brooklyn. We gained one hour. Now it’s 12;30 instead of 1:30PM. The clouds started to break up. The sun seems to be trying to break through. The fourth pit stop was at exit 322 at a McDonalds next to the now defunct Bean Pot Restaurant that sold Ty Beanie toys. We got dipped cones. The fifth pit stop was at Hardees in Monterey at exit 300. We were calling attorneys when we pulled off the road at exit 287, Cookeville, and checked into room 123 at the Best Western Thunderbird Motel. We had an extra hour to do things in the room before dinner. Gary started the laundry. We went to dinner at Fazoli’s for the first time since June. We picked up the dog’s dinner at Chick Fil A. He gobbled it up. So did the cat. Would you believe Dan, the Schwans guy, called? By now I would think he would have given up.
Perkins Restaurant in Dandridge Tried To Seat Us With Strangers 8/14/12
Last night we stopped at the Perkins Restaurant in Dandridge, Tennessee on I-40, and were promptly seated at a long table with a party of people we didn’t know. Deja vu. The Britannia Dining Room on deck 3 second seating on the voyage back from Hamburg to New York when they introduced us to our table mates on my husband’s birthday . . . But no, this was the USA, and we were back to a road trip. We said we wanted to be seated at another table by ourselves. It wasn’t as if they were crowded, which adds to the oddity of the situation. We were finally seated in the next room and given menus. But I still wonder about it. I’ve never seen anything like it before on land except on Amtrak. But then I remember that back in June we had another problem with this very same restaurant when they didn’t have many of their menu items in stock. Who knows? Maybe the people in Dandridge are eccentric or all too friendly, but I hope Cunard isn’t giving tips to other restaurants around the world. It makes me think better of the German custom of seating yourself when you enter a dining room.
We drove from Dandridge to Cookeville, bypassing Knoxville. We’re still in the mountains, but we should be out of them by tomorrow after we get around Nashville. It rained but the fog stayed above the road level.
Dog/Cat Report:
Sabaka has a new routine. After the first pit stop of the day he wants a treat. He’s very aware that we stocked up on new treats. He probably can smell them. He ate Chick Fil A for dinner for the first time since June. He gobbled it up.
Someone at the Quality Inn confronted us on the sidewalk outside our room this morning and said, “You’re the ones with the doggie and kitty?” I kept walking on and didn’t answer. We never announce that we have a cat when arriving at a motel. But then the cat displays himself in the window non-stop. The cat had some of the dog’s Chick Fil A. He also sleep under the blanket last night. He hates A/C.
This was the cheapest day of the road trip in the USA so far either in June or in August. It beats the other two days, July 1 with $198.47 and June 26 with $198.54 by $3.00. And June 26 was the last time we checked into this motel.
At dinner we started to call pool services in Tucson. Supposedly somebody’s coming to our house on Friday to give us an estimate for cleaning up the pool. Kenny signed up for tennis lessons starting September 4. Despite the thank you note from Cunard that arrived by email today, the focus is starting to shift to being back in Tucson. We’re calling attorneys in the car each day. And Gary’s actually doing work.
Still no contract . . .
What next?

Tuesday, August 14, ’12 June 26 was last time you were in Cookeville
1)Marathon Farragut gas cash $25.00
2)McDonalds Harriman lunch Bear Cash $24.33
3)McDonalds Crossville dipped cones Bear Cash $3.92
4)BW Thunderbird Motel Cookeville room 123 cash $99.49
5)Fazoli’s Cookeville dinner Bear Cash $37.25
6)Chick Fil A dog’s chicken Bear Cash $3.13
7)laundry $2.00
TOT: $195.12

tennis lessons Kenny $47.00

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Monday, August 13, ’12 (June 27)
H-83 Dandridge L H 69 L 61 RAIN H H 70 L 53 M H 73 L 53
L-65 C H 98 L 77
Bear update: The Bear says I Have Sent Pygmalion To Scout Out The Whereabouts Of Julius McCoy Party. TR says, “We have gotten hick signals coming from the mountains.” Moose say, “”You’re pretty hick yourself, Bear!” Lou says we will have a Fatty And Julius McCoy Are In Cohoots Party. We will serve Hick German Foods.
We woke up to sun. Will it last? It lasted, and the temperature in the Dandridge climbed to 83.
We woke up at 7:00AM. We got dressed and went to CP in the lobby. We had to walk down a slope. It was either that or steep stairs. I hate these buildings up on hills! We packed up the car and checked out of room 119 at 10:14AM. As we went down the hill to the highway I saw a sign that said come back soon. Sure! Our first pit stop was at a rest area for the dog halfway between exit 60 and exit 50. Our second pit stop was at Chilhowie at exit 35. This was a McDonalds where we stopped in June. Then it was under construction. At least now the construction was finished. Our 3rd pit stop where we ate lunch was at exit 5 in Bristol, Virginia. We ate lunch at this McDonalds on June 28, but this time there was no internet. We crossed into Tennessee. In this area of I-81 in Tennessee most of the restaurants are off the road. Our 4th pit stop was at exit 36 at the Davy Crockett Travel Center. It was a TA, also called a Greeneville Travel Center. There was a Davy Crockett Restaurant. We bought a flat of water, generic Tennessee postcards, and Q-tips. The next pit stop was a new one. It was exit 23 at Bull’s Gap at a McDonalds to get dipped cones. All the while today I’ve been calling lawyers and handing the phone to Gary. We haven’t gotten any new cases since the ones that appeared on the last morning on the ship, but at least we’re being industrious. We checked into the Quality Inn Dandridge at 3:02PM into room 126. The dog seemed to remember the place. We went to dinner at the Perkins Restaurant. After dinner we made reservations.
Tucson 107/81 Brooklyn 87/71
Bob Evans Restaurant In Wytheville — How We Paid $51.16 For A Dried Out Omelette 8/13/12
Before I took this extended summer trip to the East Coast I’d never heard of Bob Evans, but now I wish for that same blissful ignorance. I’m always glad to try something new particularly in the way of a family restaurant, yet my first meal was a $9.99 3 course steak dinner special that wasn’t very tender. I thought maybe steak wasn’t their specialty. The second time I visited the restaurant I tried a chef’s salad. The turkey was tasteless, the ham almost nonexistent. Even the hard-boiled egg had seen better days. I thought maybe that was just deli food. That was in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Winchester, Virginia respectively. But last night in Wytheville my husband and I ordered an omelette for dinner while my son ordered spaghetti. I thought they should be able to prepare that. It arrived all dried out on the outside. When I went to pay for it, the cashier was shocked when I didn’t leave a tip. I was shocked that he asked for one.
We drove from Wytheville, Virginia to Dandridge, TN. We crossed the border right after lunch. We left I-81 and are now on I-40. We’ll be there for several days.

Dog/Cat Report:
The dog took advantage of all the pit stops to avail himself of the facilities. He got out and found a patch of grass. We even stopped at a Virginia rest area for him. Rest areas are usually crowded and up on hills, but the dog likes them. When we got to Dandridge the dog seemed to remember the Quality Inn.
Putlitz no longer has loose bowels. I bet it was the crunchies. Yesterday when we went to Petco I bought a new bag. I threw away the old ones. Some were open even before we left Tucson on June 15. It’s time to get rid of them anyway. And when he started to eat the dog kibble, we knew we had to get rid of everything that’s been around for awhile. To be extra bad Putlitz started to raid the garbage can in our motel room in Dandridge
Still no contract . . .
What next?

Monday, August 13, ’12
1)McDonalds Bristol lunch Bear Cash $25.81
2)Roadrunner gas cash $35.00
3)Davy Crockett Travel Center: water, Q-tips, postcards Bear Cash $27.16
4)McDonalds Bull’s Gap dip cones Bear Cash $4.25
5)Quality Inn Dandridge room 126 cash $90.19
6)Perkins Restaurant dinner Bear Cash $51.37
7)laundry $3.00
TOT: $265.75

Roadrunner gas Kenny $28.97
Pilot ice cream Kenny $7.85

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Sunday, August 12, ’12
H-78 Wytheville L H 78 L 58 H H 70 L 52 M H 71 L 51
L-57 C H 98 L 77
Bear update: The Bear says The Pirate On Wallen Ridge Drive Has Sent His Insects After Us Party. TR says, “But we have Paw Power.” Moose say, “You ain’t a cat, Bear!” Lou says we will have a Send Our Cat After The Pirate Party. We will serve Halloween Foods.
We woke up to sun. Will it last? It lasted, and the temperature in Wytheville climbed to 78.
Tucson 107/80 Brooklyn 85/70 Gila Bend 117/91 Phoenix had another habob.
We woke up at 7:30AM. We got dressed and went to breakfast in the lobby. There wasn’t much there — not even any orange juice that was possible to drink. It was one of the skimpiest CP’s I’ve seen on this trip, but what would you expect of a HOJO’s? We packed up the car and checked out of room 107 at 10:10AM. Our first pit stop was at exit 168 at Arcadia, close to Buchanan, to get gas at a Shell Station. Our second pit stop was at exit 158, a doggie stop. We stopped at a rest area. It was small and crowded like all these Virginia/North Carolina rest areas. I remember that from years ago. Our third pit stop was the McDonalds at exit 146, Hollins University. We ate lunch there. They were playing objectionable TV programs. They were crowded enough to be annoying. Our fourth pit stop was at another McDonalds at Christiansburg at exit 118C. It was also crowded. Our fifth pit stop was at still another McDonalds at exit 98 near the Stonehenge Bed and Breakfast. We acted silly and got three dipped cones. At least it wasn’t very expensive. The sixth and final pit stop was a biggie. We stopped at the Petco at exit 70 that I saw coming on the trip in June. It was at Burke’s Shopping Center. We took Putlitz in. A crowd of admiring ladies gathered around him. We bought PPP, new crunchies, a dog toy, Bacon Strips, and more cat litter. We also went to a bank ATM drive thru and stopped at Sheetz. We drove back to exit 73. We didn’t see the Best Western so we checked into the Red Roof Inn next to a Bob Evans Restaurant. We got room 119. I notice on my desktop calendar that we were staying at a Red Roof Inn last Sunday night next to a Bob Evans in Harrisburg. We went to the Bob Evans Restaurant for dinner because we could see it and couldn’t see much else. We called my parents as we ate and looked down at I-81. Kenny looked up phone numbers for Gary’s list.
HOJO’s Outside Lexington, Virginia Wants You To Provide Your Own Maid Service
For $102.07 I had the rare privilege last night of making my own beds at this HOJO’s Motel just outside Lexington, Virginia at the head of the Shenandoah Valley. The maid dumped the sheets and pillowcases at my door, saying, “Sorry!” as she raced away. The check-in time was 3:00PM. We were there on the dot. The front desk clerk said they were “inspecting the room”. It would be a few minutes. Minutes stretched into an hour. Our dog, Sabaka, was antsy. We had to put him in the room. We unloaded all our luggage through the sliding glass door to the parking lot. When we were about to go foraging for sheets, they arrived.
The front desk tried to impress us with their wind turbines on the roof and their solar panels. They had Civil War and Colonial decorations in the lobby near the breakfast room. They even had an antiquated miniature golf course in the back of the property. But not only wasn’t there a restaurant in miles, not only weren’t the electrical outlets grounded in case of a thunderstorm, but I could look forward to perhaps vacuuming my own motel room, too, if I were ever zany enough to stop here again.
Stopping at the McDonalds at exit 98 near the Stonehenge Bed and Breakfast reminded me of the Stonehenge yet to come on the trip. Near Monahans/Odessa/Midland there was something called that we could see on the way back. I made a note of it coming. Also there’s the Monahans Sandhills State Park. It’s no White Sands, but if we spend an extra day there it might be interesting.
We drove from Lexington to Wytheville, VA. We’re now in the Highlands of Virginia almost on the Tennessee border. Our motel is up on a hill looking down at I-81 whizzing by down in the valley. This is the land of the Hatfields and McCoys, particularly Julius McCoy.
Dog/Cat Report:
Sabaka acted wild this morning in the HOJO’s motel room. There were other dogs outside. He just couldn’t wait to get into the car. He’s done this sort of thing on previous trips. So Gary started to take him. The dog pulled, Gary tripped, and Gary fell to the floor in the motel room. Later on we had to placate him by taking him to a rest area just for him, a doggie stop, so he could find some grass.
Putlitz decided to help himself to the dog’s kibble. We put out a plate from the kennel. The cat doesn’t want the dog to get something he doesn’t. So he was trying it. We had to get rid of the kibble. We might be able to keep the cat food from the dog by putting it up on counters, but there’s now way to keep dog food from the cat.
Still no contract . . .
What next?

Pilot gas Kenny $23.99
Walmart supplies Kenny $12.63

Sunday, August 12, ’12: $6489.41
1)Arcadia Shell Buchanan gas cash $30.00
2)McDonalds Roanoke lunch Bear Cash $28.26
3)McDonalds Dublin dipped cones Bear Cash $4.22
4)Petco: PPP, cat crunchies, dog toy, cat litter, Bacon Strips Bear Cash $60.03
5)Red Roof Inn Wytheville room 119 cash $62.94
6)Bob Evans dinner Bear Cash $51.16
TOT: $236.61

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Saturday, August 11, ’12
H-82 Lexington L H 78 L 59 H H 69 L 52 M H 66 L 50
L-60 C H 98 L 77
Bear update: The Bear says We Were Almost Fogged Out By The Pirates Party. TR says, “We had to leave the state.” Moose say, “You’re always stateless, Bear!” Lou says we will have a Flee The States Party. We will serve Pennsylvania Dutch Foods.
We woke up to sun. Will it last? It lasted, and the temperature in Lexington climbed to 82. At least it didn’t rain. There was no fog anywhere.
Tucson 106/79 Brooklyn 82/73 T-STORMS
We woke up at 7;30AM. We got dressed and went to breakfast at the Perkins Restaurant, which delayed getting out of there. We checked out of room 123 at 10:45AM. Our first pit stop was at Stephens City to get gas. at Exxon. We were down to a quarter of a tank. Gary didn’t get gas yesterday. We also got $200.00 at the ATM. The second pit stop was at exit 283 Woodstock at an Exxon. The third pit stop was at the McDonalds at New Market. We ate lunch there even though their lemonade machine was broken. As we came into the parking lot we saw the New Market Battlefield. I snapped a photo. The fourth pit stop was almost at the Ramada in Harrisonburg, but we remembered there was no McDonalds nearby. We stopped instead at the rest area right after exit 235. The dog liked all the grass. I took a movie. We drove past exit 221, the exit for Richmond and said boo to NLRG who never returned Gary’s phone calls. Otherwise we would have been going there. The fifth pit stop was at 213A. It was a Pilot Travel Center, the first we’ve seen since June. I remember buying postcards there before. This time we bought Magnum Classic ice cream bars. The dog found more grass and shade under trees. Finally we pulled off the road for the day at exit 195, right before Lexington. Gary says this is “the head of the Valley”. We sighted the HOJO’s on top of the hill. It reminds me of Dandridge, TN in that respect. You’ve got a view, but I don’t like it. It has odd historic decorations in the lobby near the breakfast room of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, their horses, an Indian, and a colonial. The beds weren’t made. I had a run in with the front desk. We had the make the beds ourselves. All I see in the way of restaurants is an Aunt Sarah’s Pancake House at the bottom of the hill. Supposedly the rest are a couple of miles away to the left. We went to dinner at Ruby Tuesday’s, four miles down the interstate. We took out ribs and rice for the dog. Kenny went grocery shopping.
It’s The Dumb Roads, Stupid! 8/11/12
We drove east from Tucson on a long car trip. The biggest frustration we ran into was one we would never have predicted — the roads. In Pennsylvania they had an archaic highway system — the PA Turnpike with toll plaza that dictated when you could get off the road. Then all over the South Hills of Pittsburgh they were digging up the roads to put in new gas lines. It caused such a diversion of traffic you wouldn’t believe it. We got lost multiple times. At the end we just wanted to escape. Ditto South Jersey. They had the most confused road system imaginable. You’d see a business on the opposite side of the street. But you couldn’t reach it by driving across the street. You had to drive two streets down and one street over and come back instead. Again we just wanted to get out of the crazy place.
It’s the open road for us.
Dog/Cat Report:
Sabaka sizes up rest areas as we are approaching them. I think he’s looking for grass. If he sees something that pleases him, such as the rest area just after exit 235, we hear from him. He makes lots of noise and acts excited. Otherwise, he’s silent. Then he tries to roll in the grass. It’s hard to get him away from it.
When we stopped at the rest area with all the grass after exit 235 even Putlitz wanted to get out. We had to tell him it wasn’t a “cathof”. He expects to get out just like the dog. Later I gave him a piece of pork from the dog’s ribs at Ruby Tuesday’s.
Today was a day without McDonalds strawberry lemonade!
I Can Hear Those Hamburg Residents Screaming 8/11/12
I checked the QM2 website at 10:20PM on Saturday, August 11. That would be 4:20AM in Hamburg, Sunday, August 12. That’s the time the crazies start screaming as the ship enters the harbor. I begin to make out harbor lights and the ship decked out like a Christmas tree. Why does Hamburg behave like that? If you haven’t experienced it yourself you’d never believe how unbelievable it is to be woken from a sound sleep by the ship blowing its whistle, lights flashing, and Hamburg citizens sounding like a crowd shouting for the home team at that hour of the morning. This happened to us in the wee hours of July 15, the last time QM2 entered Hamburg.
Still no contract . . .
What next?

Gary’s $1400.00 in Earnings:

Wells Fargo Mortgage Fidelity Checking $751.11
Tucson Water Fidelity Checking $83.08
Tucson Electric Fidelity Checking $68.45
Geico Fidelity Checking $51.32 New Balance women’s walking shoes Prime Fidelity Checking $90.62
RMS Queen Mary: The World’s Favorite Liner Fidelity Checking $81.33
Bills TOT: $1125.91

Saturday, August 11, ’12
1)Perkins Restaurant Winchester breakfast Fidelity Checking $38.39
2)Handy Mart Stephens City gas cash $40.00
3)McDonalds New Market lunch Fidelity Checking $18.76
4)McDonalds New Market lunch Fidelity Checking $2.20
5)Pilot Staunton Magnum bars Fidelity Checking $10.12
6)HOJO’s Lexington room 107 cash $102.07
7)Ruby Tuesdays Lexington dinner Fidelity Checking $74.58
8)laundry $3.00
TOT: $289.14

Pilot gas Kenny $23.99
Walmart supplies Kenny $12.63

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Friday, August 10, ’12
H-84 Winchester T-STORMS L H 79 L 55 H H 66 L 50 M H 72 L 53
L-63 C H 98 L 77
Bear update: The Bear says There Was A Black Cat In The Allegheny Mountain Tunnel Party. TR says, “Fatty raised him on Walipurgis Night.” Moose say, “You ought to read Faust, Bear!” Lou says we will have a Walipurgis Party. We will serve Witchly Foods.
We woke up to clouds. Will they last? No! It was raining in Bedford when we got up. It rained during breakfast. We had to step around puddles when we were loading the cars. We drove through fog on Town Hill south of Breezewood. It remained cloudy at lunch and finally got sunny about the time we entered Virginia. Then it got humid and warmer, too. The temperature in Winchester climbed to 84.
Tucson 106/78 Brooklyn 81/75 T-STORMS
We woke up at 7:30AM. We got dressed and went to the small Bedford McDonalds for breakfast in the rain. We loaded the car and checked out of room 115 at 10:06AM. We took a ticket and got back onto the PA Turnpike for the very last time on this trip. We drove about 19 miles to the Sheetz in Breezewood to make our first pit stop. The sun showed its face once We got back on the road and headed south out of Pennsylvania. We drove through fog on Town Hill south of Breezewood. It remained cloudy as we drove through Berkeley Springs. We stopped for lunch at the Berkeley Springs McDonalds. I think it was the first time we ever drove through town without stopping at the Country Inn. We left West Virginia and stopped at the Virginia Farmer’s Market. We stopped there years ago. I remember taking a photo of Kenny there where you measure how tall he is. We bought ice cream and peaches. We checked into room 123 at the Best Western Lee Jackson Motor Inn in Winchester. Gary got his oil changed at Jiffy Lube. We went to Bob Evans for dinner and called my parents. We told them that we received the UPS overnight package with the swim suits and the Petco bag. They want us to call on Sunday. Tomorrow they’re going to Tommy’s wedding. We made reservations at the HOJO’s tomorrow and started fiddling with the cat’s hard-sided carrying case.

We Stopped At McDonalds Instead Of The Country Inn At Berkeley Springs 8/10/12

For years we drove from Charlottesville to Pittsburgh stopping at the Country Inn at Berkeley Springs for lunch. The stately inn complete with neo-classic architecture used to be the bright spot of the trip. We even stayed there overnight once at Christmas. But the old Inn at the springs which George Washington used to frequent now has slow service, an expensive menu, a teeny tiny dining room, waitresses that won’t even take your card to pay the bill in any decent amount of time. The gift shop is closed. We tried it in June when we drove to Pittsburgh from Tucson as part of a much longer trip — the first time since the 1990’s. But now we prefer a Big Mac and a strawberry lemonade.
I paid a bunch of bills today with the money Gary got in from Farmer and Shapiro. But now the shoes I wore in Europe are wearing out. Money wise nothing makes sense.
Still no contract . . .
What next?

Friday, August 10, ’12
1)McDonalds Bedford breakfast Fidelity Checking $22.29
2)PA Turnpike toll cash $2.05
3)PA Turnpike toll cash $2.05
4)McDonalds Berkeley Springs lunch Fidelity Checking $23.87
5)Virginia Farmers Market on 522 peaches, ice cream, postcards, bag Fidelity Checking $20.49
6)Best Western Lee Jackson Winchester room 123 cash $79.73
7)Jiffy Lube Bearmobile oil change + Fidelity Checking $83.15
8)Bob Evans Restaurant Winchester dinner Fidelity Checking $47.85
TOT: $281.48

Wells Fargo Mortgage Fidelity Checking $751.11
Tucson Water Fidelity Checking $83.08
Tucson Electric Fidelity Checking $68.45
Geico Fidelity Checking $51.32
Bills TOT: $953.96

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Thursday, August 9, ’12 56 Days Of Trip’12
H-88 Bedford T-STORMS L H 77 L 57 H H 65 L 51 M H 73 L 57 RAIN
L-67 C H 98 L 79
Bear update: The Bear says We Have Escaped To New Stanton Party. TR says, “We have escaped the Pittsburgh Pirates.” Moose say, “The Broncos wouldn’t have nothin’ to do with you, Bear!” Lou says we will have a Pittsburgh Pirates Party. We will serve Pittsburgh Foods.
We woke up to sun. Will it last?
Tucson 106/78 Brooklyn 87/75
We woke up at 7:30AM. We got dressed and went to breakfast at McDonalds. We packed up the car and checked out of room 308 at 9:58AM. Our first pit stop was at the Somerset South Travel Plaza. Then we went through the Allegheny Tunnel again, the very last tunnel of the trip. That’s amazing considering the 4-mile long tunnel in the Thuringian Forest area of Germany. We got off the turnpike at exit 146 at Bedford and had lunch at McDonalds. We bought a flat of water and klondikes. We checked into the Bedford Inn during an early afternoon thunderstorm. This is the third time on this trip we’ve stayed here. This is the only hotel in the entire trip that we’ve stayed at either three times or for three nights, except QM2, of course. This time we’re in room 115. We took the dog and cat for a walk around the property. Gary’s doing work for Farmer and Shapiro. He’s also calling clients on the phone, but he’s not getting very far. I don’t know how this is going to work as far as earning a living. We walked the pets a second time during the afternoon. The inner courtyard reminds me of the Holiday Inn at Deming. There’s lots of grass, foliage, a pool, and a restaurant with outdoor seating. We went to dinner at Ed’s Steakhouse the same as a few days ago. I bought more postcards. We did laundry and figured out tomorrow’s itinerary.
I really have only $7068.42 left for the rest of the vacation this month. The other money, $5666.09, is invested in the dividend fund which is up right now. If I divide 7068.42 by $300.00 I get 23.56. Coming in June it took us 21 days to get this far. I think we should go straight back at almost the same pace. Maybe we can add a couple of days here and there — or we’ll run out of money. Last year in September it cost $7000.00 to spend 20 days on vacation in New Mexico.
Gary finally contacted the lawyer. They said to look at the website: NJ Surrogates Court.
Fatty showed up again with his Thuringian Elephant raised in the zoo at the Elephant Hotel in Weimar. He also showed us his black cat, raised from hell on Walipurgis Night.
The Bedford Inn Clara’s Place Reminds Me Of The Holiday Inn at Deming: Old But Green 8/9/12
After staying at The Bedford Inn on the Pennsylvania Turnpike three times on the current trip across the country and to Europe, I’ve decided that it reminds me of another older property with maintenance problems that we tend to stay at a lot —- the Holiday Inn in Deming, New Mexico on I-10. Both properties are having trouble keeping their brand affiliation. The Bedford Inn was a Best Western. The billboard is still up on the turnpike advertising that it is only a few more miles. The Holiday Inn at Deming personnel confided in me that Holiday Inn is criticizing their room service. But both properties offering green swards for pets in the central courtyard. The Holiday Inn even provides doggie bags. Both enjoy large pools. Both operate restaurants of the non-chain variety that are popular with locals. The Bedford Inn may have a musty-smelling main building, but it’s a good place to park your pooch on the turnpike.
Gary called the electric company yesterday at Friday’s and found out that the current electric bill is $68.45, a record low. We deposited $2000.00 from the Met Life account in Bear Treasury. Yesterday we deposited Gary’s two checks in Fidelity Checking.
cancellation number#1596037420 La Quinta VA Beach
Still no contract . . .
What next?

Day Toyota oil change Kenny $47.03
Express Pay New Stanton gas Kenny $31.26

Thursday, August 9, ’12 $13,298.44
1)McDonalds New Stanton breakfast Fidelity Checking $19.02
2)McDonalds New Stanton breakfast for dog cash $1.06
3)McDonalds Bedford lunch Fidelity Checking $23.88
4)RG’s Food Mart ice cream and water Fidelity Checking $10.36
5)Bedford Inn room 115A cash $108.19
6)Ed’s Steakhouse dinner Fidelity Checking $79.45
7)McDonalds dessert Fidelity Checking $4.98
8)laundry $3.00
TOT: $249.94

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