Road Trip - 28 Dec 2009

Driving Mom-in-Law to Lakeland, FL for her winter vacation. Left Dearborn at 5 am and headed south on I-75. It was snowing w/ approx. 1” already on the ground. The drive was fine, but wiper blades were not. Driving a 2004 Grand Marquis w/ 15,000 miles and original blades! Michigan was fine, but Ohio was worse. Blowing snow and wind chills in the teens made things interesting. Plus, it was still dark, so visibility was poor. Still, we had no problems.
We didn’t see any birds until we were nearly into Kentucky. First birds were European Starlings and a few Rock Pigeons, but finally saw our first Red-Tailed Hawk. Turkey Vultures made an appearance in s. Ohio, and while we drove through Kentucky I was able to pick up Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawk. As we entered Tennessee I saw what looked like a dead Great Horned Owl by the side of the road. And just ahead of that I saw a small Black Bear perched half-way up a tree just inside the woods to our right. Red-shouldered Hawk, Bald Eagle and American Kestrels rounded out any interesting sightings before we reached Chattanooga.
We got stuck in a traffic accident just outside of Chattanooga. Construction zone, no less. For 45 minutes there was no moving forward or backward. But traffic finally cleared and we stayed in Chattanooga for the night.
An early start Tuesday morning allowed us to get through Atlanta and through Georgia by noon. A stop in Gainesville, Fl to visit some of Esther’s friends still gave us time to reach Lakeland by 6pm.
House looked fine, but we sprung several water leaks in the bathroom when the water was turned back on. Unfortunately, the water was seeping from the walls next to shower, so I was worried that we’d have to punch holes in the walls to find the leaks. We decided to leave everything ‘till the morning and get some sleep. Eleven hundred miles plus.


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