My brother and his family are visiting from Israel and staying in Spring Hill, TN near Nashville. It’s about a four-hour drive from Atlanta so we piled all the toys my grandson Max (7 years old) wants to give to his Seattle cousin, Lou (2 years old) onto the passenger seat of my car. This limited my space up front a bit but it was just too hard to open the rooftop carrier and load all 40 pounds of wooden Thomas the Train engines and tracks. I now have Thomas and his train friends traveling as passengers in the front seat with the seatbelt engaged to keep the alarm from “dinging” due to their weight.
I’ve always enjoyed the drive from Atlanta to Nashville. Wendy’s has a terrific chicken and mango salad that I enjoyed at a rest stop overlooking a lake along the way. It’s a beautiful drive with the elevation changing from flatlands to low mountains. There’s a downhill section of highway where I like to measure how far I can “coast” without using the gas pedal. I’m easily amused.
I spent a couple of hours visiting my brother and his family before heading to Montgomery Bell State Park for my first overnight SUV camping experience. I enjoyed the beauty of the drive as well as the fun of driving through lushly green winding roads from Spring Hill to Burns, Tennessee. The park is 4,000 acres of forests, trails, campgrounds, lakes, a golf course, villas, an inn and restaurant. I paid $13 for my campsite, set everything up and hopped back in the car to locate the restaurant. The food was just OK, the staff inexperienced but friendly and the view was terrific. You know what? Who cares. I was hungry, tired, the flatbread pizza was edible and with a glass Cabernet, I enjoyed just being there.
My first night sleeping in the SUV was great. All my plans came to fruition. My window shades worked, my little rechargeable fan kept me so cool that I had to pull up my blanket and my 4-inch memory foam mattress was super comfortable. I slept like a rock until 4 am and then just had to wait until it started to get light because I won’t roam around a campground alone in the dark. First light I lit my propane stove to boil some water for coffee in my French press, made up my bed and got everything organized for the day.
Montgomery Bell is such a beautiful state park but I was disappointed that the bath/shower rooms have been neglected and need updating badly. Nevertheless, I had a nice hot shower, got my makeup and hair done and dressed for the day without melting in the humid shower room. I relaxed with a cup of coffee while I planned my route for the day. I wanted to get a little west of St. Louis before stopping for the night. I’m trying to limit my driving to about 300-350 miles/day so that I have time to enjoy wherever I stay and take my time visiting any locations along the way.
I was very proud and pleased that my SUV bedroom was comfortable and private and everything worked as planned.
Day 2 was a success. I loved being with my family and enjoyed a comfortable night camping but tomorrow begins the real adventure into parts unknown. Well, OK, I took a road trip to Missouri Star Quilt Company in Hamilton, MO last with my daughter so I’m not counting Missouri as a complete unknown but I expect there will be an adventure of some sort tomorrow.