We have some friends who live in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. When the highway narrows down to two lanes we know it is time to turn down their road and then we drive for a couple of more miles on a narrow, curving road with no shoulder. Once we get to the dead end and come through the gate there is a barn and beyond that a herd of Black Angus grazes in a broad expanse of land, a miracle of flat meadow surrounded by forested hills rising steeply on all sides.
For the first time in miles the road in front of us is straight.
The scene is so beautiful that I always want to stop just to drink in the view, but maybe everyone doesn’t have that same feeling because there is a sign nailed to a fencepost with a 21 mile per hour speed limit. The sign has been there so long that the wood is now dark, the paint faded and moss grows around the edges.
When I started this travel blog a year ago, I made a commitment to myself that I would post an entry every week for a year. I just read the blog’s “Mission Statement” and “About Traveling Toni” and to my surprise I had more sense than to make public mention of that goal. But here we are a full year later with fifty-two postings that somehow managed to appear every Thursday evening over the course of that time.
It started with that road trip from Maine to Glacier National Park with stops in Nebraska, Wyoming, North Dakota, and Ohio. Then we chased around Tennessee for a while before we took a meander through a swatch of the South on our way to Orange, Texas, to visit a Western art museum. Once things warmed up in Maine, we spent the summer along the southern coast and ended up walking much of Portland…and of course the last several months of this travel was done under the strict constraints brought on by COVID-19.
With the fifty-two week goal met and travel still somewhat constrained, we are going to slow our pace a bit and post on a little more leisurely basis. Our bags are at the ready, but we are going to take time to get our Honda FIT an oil change and a tire rotation and do a bit of planning before we take off again.
For those of you who have been followers since week one (this means you Mom), we appreciate your interest, kind words and faithful support. I look at the big three-ring binder filled with all the red edits on the final drafts and am reminded of how grateful I am of my husband Don’s editing, driving and patience. This truly has been a gift for us to be able to relive our adventures and to have these treasured memories to share with each other as well as our family and friends.
We look forward to seeing where the road leads next, and we invite you to continue to travel with us albeit at the new reduced speed.