Friday, February 3, 2017
Winter 2016 Florida - Road Trip
I don't want to bore you with family matters, but I do want to mention my 2016 Winter Florida trip of Detours.
On the way south during the week before Christmas, we learned the Interstate in Tennessee was closed near Murfreesboro because of a truck accident on I-40. The wreck involved 2 semi trailers, one carrying hazardous materials. The truck carrying the haz-mat was on fire, and the problem was it was a full semi of pool chemicals including chlorine, which can create poisonous chlorine gas if water is applied to put out the fire and would greatly increase the evacuation area. The detour was over 2 hours which meant we would arrive too late that night in Florida for the working family members where we were staying. After taking the slow, back to back detour along beautiful back roads through the Tennessee country and small towns, we decided to stop early that night, get a good nights sleep and meet our son for lunch the next day. That all worked out OK.
After getting enough sleep on the southern drive, we decided to repeat this plan on the return trip, taking 2.5 days instead of the ragged 2 day trip. It did reduce our vacation time, but only by 2 half days instead of being 2 full days short. On the downside, it did cost us 2 more nights of hotels round-trip.
The next Detour was during the return trip where the traffic on I-70 just stopped about 60 miles east of Columbia, Missouri, where we had planned to stop for gas. After waiting behind semi trucks for about 20 minutes we learned of an accident ahead online, at first it should be cleared in an hour. After the emergency vehicles passed us in the safety lane, we pulled over and got off onto the exit about 50 yards down. We got gas, used the restrooms and bought food at a grocery store that we ate in the parking lot. Now we learned from our phones the accident would take 3 hours or more to clear.
Our GPS is old and has not been updated and on this trip it showed us crossing the Mississippi River on blue water as the I-70 bridge was too new for it to process. So I pulled out the good ole paper Rand McNally map book and located the roads we would need to follow to get around the accident and back onto I-70. The route I chose went south of the Interstate, where all the trucks and cars now getting off the Interstate were heading north. The route followed both the Louis and Clark and the Katy Trails, going along the Missouri River. It was dark, and these were real farm roads, rolling and twisting a lot, so the drive was not fast. The Katy Trail peeked out at crossings and we were really in the back country of Missouri. Then we came upon someone waving a flashlight, and we slowed down to find another wreck in front of us. This one involved 3 cars, off the road on both sides, one on its roof. The people involved seemed to be OK and had already called the police, so we left them and turned right at the next intersection, following a more modern state highway back to I-70. We drove through Kansas City with almost no traffic, (still stuck on the closed Interstate behind us) got a hotel on the west side of Kansas City and drove on home the next day.
We did stop for a couple hours before lunch in Lawrence Kansas, and toured an antique mall in a very busy downtown (the place we wanted to go was closed). It was a few days before Christmas, but almost all parking spaces were taken and the sidewalks and streets were busy and full of people. It was like being back in the 1960's small town America. We will return here some day, less than a days drive from Colorado.
During our trip we spent most of the time with family and close friends, and only had time to stop in one other cool place on the return trip. I'll tell you about where we stopped in Nashville next time.