“Progressive improvement beats delayed perfection” (Mark Twain)
At times on our leisurely road trips, our days require a “dead serious” commitment to time/ distance within the confines of the long distances we travel. Beginning on day sixty eight of our present adventure, we now faced three, challenging days of driving along over 1700 miles total along the Interstate 40 corridor. You might note some symbolism in the following pictures as we transitioned from the adobe desert environs of Santa Fe, New Mexico to our next destination in the blue/green shade of the Smoky Mountains in western North Carolina.
Unforeseen travel challenges now arose as we soon became fully aware of threatening stormy weather forming across the Great Plains/Mississippi Delta. Routine rest stop visits would now require vigilant attention to tornado informational postings. Observing the rapid buildup of low, black clouds and high wind conditions as we continued into Central Oklahoma, we now realized that such extreme weather conditions in fact lay ahead directly along our projected route. As local weather reports raised further ominous warnings of extended squalls/tornado conditions, our intended two day visit to Oklahoma City would be cut short abruptly with a driving decision to outrace the slow moving front in “storm chasing” fashion.
With threatening weather rapidly forming to our west, such concerns would continue to alarm us as we crossed the flood swollen rivers of the Mississippi River, for a one night stay in nearby Tunica, Mississippi. Battening down in our motel room for a night of pounding rain in gale-like conditions, we soon regretfully banished any thoughts of remaining there the next day to sightsee in this historically interesting yet rain saturated, lowland region.
Our storm weary minds on this leg of our road trip would finally find relief in the picturesque environs of Knoxville Tennessee. Past weather scares in the past would not be negatively dwelled upon to impede the “joy of living now here.
A minor league baseball game in Oklahoma City provided a relaxed diversion of our minds from the fiery storms lying ahead.
Along the lowland delta shorelines , we witnessed a surreal scene of outlying land areas immersed underwater by overflow of Mississippi river floods.
A simple diner in Tunica, Mississippi provided a familiar throwback to carefree times of teenage, soda pop culture in the 1960s.
At the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, we observed a prominent focal point of the campus: Neyland Stadium. Built in 1921 for a seating capacity exceeding 100,000 spectators, this historic arena rekindled memories of marquee, college football bowl games played there.
Surprisingly, the gates remained open into the heart of the stadium. Walking up a steep, pedestrian way to the upper deck section, we obtained excellent views of the football field and surrounding Knoxville downtown.
Downtown Knoxville hosted the World’s Fair in 1982. Our walking tour of World’s Fair Park revealed a continuing commitment by the city to preserve the historic setting of this iconic event.
The magnolias were in spring bloom as we sauntered near antebellum mansions along the Tennessee River.
Our morning at the Museum Of East Tennessee History captivated our attention with an innovative attempt to present authentic artifact displays of cultural/historic trends in this region’s past.
Downtown Knoxville in late morning was bustling with human activity. At an unforeseen evacuation drill as we exited from the museum onto Gay Street, a long motorcycle procession caught our attention. Spotting also then a small park near the museum, crowds gathered in pro- Palestinian protest.