Late last fall, our son and daughter-in-law announced they were expecting their first child and would be moving across country to Baltimore, MD around the same time for a new job. Could we come help, they asked? Of course, said the happy parents. Fast forward seven months, and we’re getting ready for our journey.
We left Albuquerque via I-40. Traffic was light most of the day, but 18-wheelers abounded. Familiar sites faded closer to Texas. New Mexico, for all its brown landscape, is beautiful against the bright blue sky. The landscape in New Mexico was flat with little topography. Texas remained flat and mostly colorless as we motored on. Along the way we were greeted by a giant cross, a crooked water tank, miles of wind turbines and half-buried old cars. Before we could blink, the “Welcome to Oklahoma” sign popped up. We had to shout the state name (a family tradition) as we crossed the border. We saw more colors and more vehicles. I detest passing trucks when moving 80 miles per hour! We entered “ARKANSAS!” Green and muggy. We stopped for the night in Conway, a sweet little town among rolling hills and kind people. Not much thought to coronavirus, however. Most Arkansans neglected to wear masks, and many ignored social distancing. We stood out in our masks.
We rose early and enjoyed the quiet, dew-covered countryside as we walked the dog and prepared to leave. We hit I-40 again – mostly flat and straight roads and dodging 18-wheelers. Before we knew it, we shouted “TENNESSEE!” The landscape was greener, but the road remained flat and straight as a pencil. We noticed water around us, possibly responsible for the high humidity. We passed through Nashville, where there seemed to be a building boom evident by big cranes on sky rise buildings. Next was Knoxville and the University of Tennessee. The sky remained a brilliant blue until we crossed into “VIRGINIA!” We arrived at our dog-friendly hotel in Wytheville, surrounded by green hills and farmhouses.
Fog as thick as pea soup! The drive was a bit slow as we moved out of the fog. The number of cars and trucks nearly doubled, yet Virginia was by far the prettiest state with horse farms and white picket fences. ‘Maps’ took us onto a one-lane country road where the view was magnificent. We crossed the beautiful Shenandoah River into West Virginia and again quickly back into Virginia. Within 10 minutes we were in the beautiful state of Maryland. Towns were closely spaced, and farmlands quickly disappeared as we approached Baltimore, our final destination. We could see sailboats in the distance as we entered a tunnel under the Baltimore harbor. Our GPS took us through downtown Baltimore with 200-year-old townhouses lining the streets. Edging along the water, our journey’s end appeared. We were greeted by our two-day-old grandson, Dominic Simon Shul, and the world seemed right again.