Sunday, May 6, 2012

Kingsport to Memphis

Sunday  May 6, 2012

We left Kingsport at 8:30 after running through our check list. The cicadas were singing loudly and the temperature was 56.  We started what we knew was going to be a long day of driving through territory we were more than familiar with from many a trip before….but it was a necessary part of the journey getting us to the beginning of the Butterfield Trail.  We began a David Baldacci book – True Blue- which we knew would last longer than this one day! 
We have a new system for our audio books – Ben has saved a number of books on Jane’s old I-phone and they play through the radio…pretty good system – no need to change the CD’s.  And the storage area for the CD’s is now available for something else. Traveling in our Sprinter is great but space is at a premium.

We stopped at rest areas every two hours to walk and stopped for lunch somewhere west of Nashville at a Wendy’s.   Hard to beat their Baja Salad ! Ben tried their new chili- cheese-fries which he says were excellent. We found the motel where we had reserved a room and finally pulled off the road at 3:30 Central but 4:30 Eastern time. Eight hours on the road particularly when there were few breaks is a long driving day for us – we probably will not have many more that long. 

A search on virtual tourist found the Asian Palace – 2.5 miles from us – one of the best Chinese restaurants in Memphis according to the reviews. It was good and the clientele was more than 75% oriental…pretty good sign. We had Tangerine Beef and Mandarin Chicken. We have more than enough left for another night’s dinner.  A plus to having the frig in the Spinter means we can save the leftovers!  The temperature late this afternoon was in the mid 90’s.

Tomorrow we begin our travels west on the Overland Mail Trail also known as the Butterfield Trail.  In 1857 the U S Postal Service was looking for a route to carry the mail to San Francisco.  Previously mail had been getting to San Francisco by boat around Cape Horne or some by rail across Panama (there was no Panama Canal at that time).  Postmaster General Aaron Venable Brown, formerly Governor of TN, thought the route should begin in Memphis; others thought it should begin in St. Louis. A compromise was reached and there were two beginnings one in Memphis and a second in St. Louis – they met in Ft. Smith Arkansas where they would head west by a southern route along the 35th Parallel. This route was preferred to avoid the bad weather in winter and the mountains. The winning bid to operate the route was by John Butterfield who had already made his fortune in mail and passenger transportation in the east. As the railroads began to take over the transportation in the east; Mr. Butterfield was intrigued by the challenge of the western US. The contract called for the mail to be delivered within 600 hours – 25 days – from Memphis to San Francisco.  

Most of the actual trail is gone and only a few of the “stations” are left now - over 150 years later. However a number of books are written about adventures along the trail and many  stops along the Butterfield Trail. We will follow it generally but not mile by mile through Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and finally California.  We will stop along the way at locations that interest us so we will be interspersing a variety of sites and locations as we travel along the Butterfield Trail. 

For me history is most enjoyed when I see locations and imagine how the people lived in days gone by. I am reading 900 Miles on The Butterfield Trail by A.C. Greene as we travel. Ben finished it weeks ago.

Enough history for tonight!  The main challenge of this motel is learning to operate Direct TV ! 

Did not take any photos at all today… total miles driven 477.

No comments:

Post a Comment