Vicki Shurly's Dispatch from the Road | Vicki Shurly Photo
Vicki Shurly's Dispatch from the Road; Alabama and the Tennessee River | Vicki Shurly Photo
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(Remember when our librarian was lost at sea at the beginning of the pandemic last year? Read all about it here. Well, she is traveling again! This time in their little “Cottage on Wheels,” as she calls it. Read on for Vicki Shurly’s dispatch from the road, where she and husband Bob are traveling in the south. She sent this to me several days ago, so at this writing, I believe they might be in Alabama. I love following along with their adventures on Facebook… -jb)

Bob and I certainly know how to schedule vacations. After our ‘Lost at Sea’ episode in the South Pacific as the pandemic hit the world last year, what could happen on a simple road trip to Northern Georgia and Alabama with our cottage on wheels? Ahh! To hike the foothills of southern Appalachia!

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After 14 months of a pandemic, fully vaccinated, we needed to get away. Then, just as we were packing to leave, a gasoline crisis erupted in the south. It is the stuff that suspense movies are made of, but all too real – cyber attacks and ransomware and cyber gangs and gasoline shortages crippling parts of the nation.

We tried, but cancelling our reservations was to no avail. What to do? Well, we survived weeks at sea on a ship with a damaged propeller and no port of call. How could anything go wrong with so many Walmarts, Waffle Houses and truck stops called Love’s along the way? Really, how can you go wrong with a truck stop called Love’s?

Against all friendly advice, we left the Old Mission Peninsula in our Jeep with our cottage on wheels rambling behind. Gas? Well surprise! That has truly been no problem. We are a bit farther west than the main areas affected, avoiding the urban centers with so many people vying for limited supplies.

A few stations have had paper signs taped on their pumps warning that only regular is available – no medium or premium grades. Fortunately, our Jeep is happy with regular. Just to be safe, we did make a pact not to let the tank go below half, agreeing that even one station where we could not get gas meant we would turn right around.

Actually, to be perfectly honest here, it was more wife insisting and husband going along with it in order to leave home. At 13 miles per gallon towing the cottage, that has meant a lot of stops. Yet we made it to Tennessee just north of Nashville, with Northern Georgia and Alabama only a few hours away.

Vicki Shurly's Dispatch from the Road; Their 'Cottage on Wheels' | Vicki Shurly Photo
Vicki Shurly’s Dispatch from the Road; Their ‘Cottage on Wheels’ | Vicki Shurly Photo

It almost feels pre-Covid normal. The campground offered a picnic dinner and a live (as a change from virtual) outdoor concert – country music, of course. This is, after all, Tennessee. Bring your own chairs, keep six feet apart on the lawn, sit back and enjoy.

Dinner? Comfort food – chicken fried steak, corn, real mashed potatoes smothered in milk gravy and a yeast roll.

The strangest thing that has happened so far on this trip? We have not been inside a restaurant since the beautiful Grand Pacific Hotel in Fiji 14 months ago. So where did we finally venture inside for the first time? Somewhere exquisite? Delectable? Five star? You would hope so! No, it was Wendy’s! Why? We aren’t sure, except that it felt kind of safe. Guess we have to work back into normal slowly. We will get there! We all will!

Vicki Shurly's Dispatch from the Road | Vicki Shurly Photo
Vicki Shurly’s Dispatch from the Road | Vicki Shurly Photo

Also Read (the final installment of their pandemic adventure last year)…

A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers like the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and magazines like Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So of course, I started my own newspaper. Because the Gazette is mainly reader-supported, I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks my way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the Old Mission Peninsula. Check out the donation page here. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

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