Take the Long Way Home – Part 1

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Florida to Tennessee

One of the best parts of our move to Washington was the road trip we’d planned to get us there. I’d dreamed of doing a cross-country road trip ever since I was a kid, hitting all the roadside tourist traps, greasy spoons and national parks along the way. We timed our trip to take 8 days from the time we left Florida until we arrived in Washington on August 24th (we had an appointment with the builder for our new homeowners’ orientation scheduled for that afternoon, so that was our deadline).


I’ll spare you the dirty details of our 38-hour, no sleep, no shower, no food, packing marathon that started on the afternoon of August 16th and ended with us finally getting to my sister’s house (to shower, eat and sleep – FINALLY) just before midnight on the 17th. The next morning we hit the road bright and early with less than 5 hours of sleep under our belts and headed towards our first overnight location: Knoxville, Tennessee. My cousin, Jose, and his wife, Julie, live in downtown Knoxville and invited us to spend a night with them during our trip.

TomTom on the Florida Turnpike.


Northern Florida and Southern Georgia are exactly the same: hot, flat and boring.

Our first state line! (Including Florida and Washington, we visited and/or drove through a total of 14 states on this trip.)

Jerry Springer, y’all! What further endorsement do you need? (We have no idea what this sign was for but we spotted 3 more of them along the road in southern Georgia.)

This would be the time that I turned to Chris and said “don’t be Mexican here.” He responded with “que?” Dork.

Atlanta. We hit major traffic in this area due to an accident.

The memorial torch from the 1996 Olympics.

Northern Georgia was a much prettier drive than the southern part.

We made it to Tennessee!

We got to my cousin’s place around 7:30PM. They live in this really beautiful condo that has amazing views of downtown Knoxville and the nearby foothills of the Smokey Mountains, and it’s just a few blocks from the “trendy” area. After unloading our bags we walked over there and enjoyed a really nice dinner at Café 4, then headed over to one of the bars to sample a couple of the local brews. We walked back to the apartment after and sat around talking for a while. We finally headed to bed a little after midnight. The next morning Julie made us a great breakfast of pancakes, sausage and eggs and we got to enjoy some more family time while taking in the view from their floor-to-ceiling windows.

Mi primito! I love my cousin.


This was taken on their balcony just before we headed out. I really loved Knoxville and can’t wait to go back and visit again when we can spend more time there.

The view from their balcony.

Chris and I are both big fans of the TV show “Ghost Hunters” on the SyFy channel, so we were pretty excited to spot one of the TAPS vans from the show on highway!


We made a pit stop at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville just to take some pictures and pick up a couple of postcards.


As we were leaving the Grand Ole Opry Chris spotted this place just across the street. Cooter’s! If you were a fan of “The Dukes of Hazzard” as a kid (as we both were) then you have to remember Cooter. There was also a General Lee parked on the other side of the building but it was hard to get pictures from a moving vehicle.

That’s it for Part 1. More to come…

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