Icy Roads

Day 2 – Bloomington, IL to Huntsville, AL

This was a long driving day at least for us.  About 9 1/2 hours including the obligatory stops. We left Camp Wal-Mart early after a lap or two around the store. It was maybe 7 degrees. I still had the long undies on but just a flannel shirt instead of a sweater.  Driving was good until southern IL where the effects of the storms over the weekend became evident.  Remember we left late, good thing.  Lots of snow on the sides of the road, the shoulders were rarely cleared.  By Paducah, KY we were down to one lane and the other lanes was covered in a solid, heavy layer of ice.  No passing here.  Then there was the construction.  Lots of slow downs. Never saw a construction worker or piece of equipment operating.  The huge bridges over the Ohio, Cumberland and the Tennessee Rivers are all down to a single lane each way.  Probably ready to fall into the river.

So we went slow at times and carefully at all times. The coach weighs 34,000 lbs and the Jeep another 3,400 lbs.  We move carefully.  We sit up high so it is easy to see what is coming.  Our mirrors are great so visibility is good.  We try to help each other out looking for oncoming traffic in the on ramps and when we are changing lanes.  We are a team!

Into Tennessee and the roads got worse.  Lots of times it was less than one lane and everything else was ice.  Heading into Nashville the trees were covered in ice, whole trees and big limbs were down everywhere.  Water had oozed out through layers in the cut rock faces along the highway and frozen into shaped that looked like candle wax. There was a dense fog layer just above us and visibility was OK but very frosty looking. The north bound lanes had a stop and go back up for more than 10 miles.  There were several broken down semis and even a Greyhound bus. Many cars in the ditches. We saw two major semi wrecks. On the last big downhill into Nashville the roads started to clear up, the fog was lifting, the tree ice was going away and there was no more snow on the ground. On we went. 

We were going to stop at another Wal-Mart south of Nashville but we did the math and figured we could get to the Space and Rocket Center near Huntsville, AL before dark. We made it with minutes to spare.  I have never seen traffic like that heading west from Huntsville.  There was one exit at Madison where the traffic was backed up, two lanes wide, for at least four miles.  We found the exit for the Rocket Center and headed into their RV Camp.  Pretty old but serviceable.  It was about 60 degrees so we flushed all of the winter antifreeze out of the coach water system, added water with a fairly high bleach concentration, flushed all of the lines out with that.and then added another 40 gallons of water. I washed all of the mirrors and the windshield.  Lots of road grime.  All of that was done shortly after dark.  Supper, some chores, some reading, some email and we were off to bed by 9:30.  It is warm, cozy, very comfy and quiet in the back bedroom.  After a day of driving there is residual engine heat as well.  We sleep very well.

My next post will have some pictures from the Rocket Center.  There are some great exhibits there including a Saturn 5 rocket of the type used to send men to the moon.  It had some of the most sophisticated computer systems available at the time.  Maxed out it had less than 5 megabytes of RAM.  The display stated that it would take a stack of memory and processors from the Saturn 5 more than 2 miles high to equal a typical home PC of today.Today’s smart phones have more than 100,000 times the computing power that those giant rockets had.  And those seemingly primitive computers controlled all aspects of the rocket’s flight after lift off. Pretty amazing.  More later …

Roger and Susan

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