Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Tonight finds us in a Hampton Inn in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, having driven 392 miles since leaving Bossier City, Louisiana. We pulled out of the Horseshoe garage a little after 10 this morning, and found our way to Interstate 20 East, the first time since leaving Florida that we have been traveling east. The day was sunny, temperatures were in the high 60s, and the road was clear and level….for a bit.

After being on the road for less than 30 minutes, suddenly we came over a rise and found Interstate 20 stopped dead. We knew we were in a construction area because there were signs advising that the left lane was closed ahead, but stopped dead? We sat there for 5 minutes, and then 10, when Susie finally discovered on her iPhone that there was an accident before the next exit. After we were there for 15 minutes, several people in front of us turned, or backed up to the exit. We looked at the map and it looked like there might be a side road we could detour on to, so after having sat absolutely still for 18 minutes, we backed up a bit, made a hard right turn, and took the exit we were next to. At least we were moving!

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We were driving south rather than east, but at least we were moving…oh, and we were driving the GPS nuts! “Make a U Turn in 1000 feet, Make a U Turn in .2 miles”…that was her routine for about the first 10 minutes of the detour. Finally she got with the program, and started directing us in the direction we intended to go! Everything looked good till Susie looking at Google Maps on her iPhone declared, “I think I-20 East is closed where we will intersect with it.” Oh well. As we got to our intersection with I-20, and saw the Louisiana State Police cars, and the line of traffic coming off I-20, we knew that Susie was correct. All we could do was fall in behind a double FedEx truck, and follow the crowd.

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Eventually we got on US 80, which appeared to be the original route, before I-20 was built, and we were going 55 MPH, so it wasn’t bad. As we passed by farms and rural houses, the line of traffic seemed to be the main entertainment for the residents. Well, at least somebody was enjoying our detour! Turned out that the next time US 80 intersected with Interstate 20, I-20 was open, and our double detour (first an accident, then construction) was over, but it had cost us over an hour in our travels.

We’d hoped to be further along before we stopped for gas and lunch, but hadn’t counted on the detours, so we rolled with the punches, stopped and fed the car and ourselves!

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After lunch, it was clear sailing, as we moved quickly through the rest of Louisiana, on a nice clear road under a sunny sky. Soon we reached the end of Louisiana and entered Mississippi for the second time in a week.

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We decided to stop at the Mississippi Welcome Center for a bathroom break, and to switch drivers, and as soon as we crossed the Mississippi River again, we exited into the Welcome Center. Here are some pictures from the Welcome Center, which was right on the Mississippi River….

Then it was time to get back on Interstate-20, and head into “Sweet Home” Alabama, and our stop for the night in Tuscaloosa.

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Tonight was probably the latest we’ve been on the road this trip, and we were fortunate to be driving east, with the sun at our backs, and not in our eyes. By the time we pulled into the Hampton Inn, it was close to 6:30 and fully dark. We took opportunity of a Ruby Tuesday that was just across the drive from our hotel, walked over, had a quick dinner, and now we’re back in the room, watching TV, blogging, and enjoying tonight’s vodka!

Another day brought to us thanks to the Eisenhower Interstate System, a road system that was imagined in the1950s with the desire to link the 48 states via a road system!

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See you tomorrow!

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