Touchdown in North Carolina
New Home Day
It's the conclusion of our trip cross country from Sacramento, California to Henderson, North Carolina. I am traveling with four of my five adopted children in a Dodge Passenger Van with our dog and cat. My bio daughter is traveling with us in her own car with two of her friends, a dog and a bird.
Tonight, we stay in Cookeville, Tennessee. I would have liked to drive further this day and less miles on the day we arrive at our new home but there are just not any suitable facilities exactly where I need them to be. I had learned that Cookeville has the best accommodations available at reasonable prices. This was a great tip. This is the best motel of our entire trip. Our room is enormous; there are three queen size beds, a pool large enough to swim in, and a whirlpool in our bathroom. My children swim until they are tired and hungry. I soak in the Jacuzzi tub with a glass of merlot.
Our last day on the road finds us rested and ready. Our new home is our destination today. It is cloudy and drizzly. We will drive through the Great Smoky Mountains and our starting point is about twenty five miles from the North Carolina State line. The Great Smoky Mountains are beautiful; as I drive, I think that it is good that we will be less than a days drive to such a beautiful national park. Soon, we cross the state line and we are in North Carolina. We are all whooping, hollering and cheering. The dog gets caught up in the excitement and barks and wags her tail. I designate someone to call my daughter who is driving her car to let her know we are in North Carolina. They have not yet left the motel. My passengers are very pleased that we will be at the new house first. I have the reputation of a slow driver.
It takes another two hours of driving to get through the mountains. North Carolina is lush, green, and grassy with endless trees of many varieties. I have heard North Carolina described as a huge dense forest with communities and houses carved into it. We drive through Ashville, North Carolina; the home of the Biltmore Estate and then High Point which is famous for its furniture. Next, we pass Winston-Salem and then Hillsborough where we leave I 40 and go north on I 85. We almost miss the exit.. We are less than one hour from our new home after driving twenty eight hundred miles over eight days. I 85 takes us past Durham and then we cross beautiful Falls Lake. I am amazed at the verdant beauty of the interstate. There is a dark green strip of color in the center, two stripes of shiny dark gray on either side, and high walls of feathery green on the edges. An image muted by the steamy mist that follows the summer rains of the south. The interstate would not be so profound were it not for my previous life of summers with no rain or even clouds in the sky. The interstate should be dusty and taupe colored with many freeway signs unscreened by trees. Suddenly, we are at exit 181 and the exit to our new home is 213. I appoint a child to put the leash on the dog and hold on to her when we get out of the car until we get into the house.
At exit 211, I remind people to wait until I turn off the car before anyone gets out. Exit 213 comes into view and we exit. I can barely see the signal light. The traffic lights, if they exist, are low and hang by wires strung between poles. I am accustomed to huge cantilevered poles with lights suspended from the high ends of the poles. I will have to look carefully for these lights or I will get into trouble. We turn right and are only three blocks from the street into our subdivision. Another right turn and we pass moderate size, sturdy brick homes. We turn left onto our street. Our street has larger more estate type homes. Our home is on the left, down a hill. It's very inviting with a large front porch; we go slowly down the driveway, it is still rainy and wet. There are cute little bunnies munching on something on the lawn. My girls shriek with delight. I yell at everyone to be careful not to let the cat out and I stop the car.
Our new home is huge, more than twice as large as our little "snout" house in California. My sister and brother in law who live about 30 miles south have opened the doors and are waiting for us. I tell my children its OK to go ahead and explore our new home. The exclamations I hear are things like: "Sweet!" or "this is the bomb! and "awesome!" My favorite is: "Where are you? I can't find you". We will be camping here for about five days, until our moving van arrives. I have, in my van, a large box which contains an air mattress, a set of sheets and a blanket for each person. It feels good to be home.