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10/03/13: Day 1: On the road again
I spent the last week or so installing a surveillance system. Well, about half of it. But it is enough to send me an email if something moves in the house, to let me see a live view from my phone or laptop, and to record some of the goings-on in and around the house.
Snapshot from our new security system. It is early, so some cameras are still in night-vision mode.
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Meanwhile a small group of extremists have shut down the U.S. government, so National Parks and other federal facilities are closed until further notice.
Fortunately, our goals for the first few days are just to dance in Atlanta, and to get Karen to her gig in Hendersonville, NC on Saturday. We essentially go around the Smokies (closed), but we may come back to them later.

The initial plan is to drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is open, but all the parks along it are closed. As are all the sites in D.C. near its northern end. So our actual trip route may depend on when congressional babies cease their tantrum about a law they passed four years ago, a law based almost entirely on the input from members of their own party, and a law that even staunch opponents to it by name are in favor of almost every part of it, when asked about the provisions under other names.

SO we finally get on the road a bit after 2, popping directly into Illinois for 3 hours, driving down past houses farms and fields, cross a bit of Kentucky, and land in Clarksville, Tennessee at dusk.

Read the captions:
So we finally get on the road at 2:10, with the odometer reading 225,638. Original clutch and transmission, slightly overdue for a timing belt, and eating about a quart of oil per kilomile. But we like our old car!
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I like to snap a shot as we depart the home town
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Our first stop at 3:43 is at the Rend Lake rest area, not too far from where I worked when I started out as a robotics engineer.
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At the Rend Lake rest area on I-57 we saw this retro entertainment device. It was hard for us supposed grown ups to climb up onto because it was both tall and had pretty sharp edges. Then there is the 55 pound weight difference. But it was fun to try.
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I usually take a selfie in the "Objects are closer..." mirror on a trip. This is my first time with prescription glasses and clip-ons.
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Spotted the sky bound man of steel, and were just going to cruise by ...
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... but we stopped in the fort Massac Rest Area on I-24 near Metropolis to find that Superman had lost his head.
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Fortunately, Karen knows how to give great (ow), how to provide a cool head when circumstances require.
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They have all these campaigns about not texting while driving. I never was tempted. My vice is snapping shots from the driver's seat. But as construction had narrowed the road to a single lane, I figured that it was safe to shoot this superstructure.
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After three hours we finally leave the state of Illinois and cross the Ohio into a part of Kentucky that I'd never seen.
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The lateral light shines across I-69 sending our faint shadow sailing along the mellow rural landscape.
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We crossed a narrow bight of Kentucky and crept along at about 10mph in a construction area for a few miles to finally cross the border and arrive in Clarksville, TN as it gets too dark to take more pictures.
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We had planned to watch the sunset from a picnic table at a rest area, but the construction traffic delay brought down the gloom. So we nicked our pick of comestibles at the "Q". Yeah, Quality Inns are trying out a single letter branding strategy. Q-comfort mattresses on their Q-beds, with Q Value amenities Q listed on the Q notepads. Not Qidding!
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