We awoke at 6:30 am CST in our Jackson, TN hotel - showered, packed and headed east on I-40 for our last leg. Turns out that this is the second interstate that Jeff has traveled from one end to the other (I-70, the other) and the first Teena has. When we picked it up in Barstow, CA there was a sign that read "Wilmington, NC 2700 miles."
The terrain only changed by elevation since the abundance of foliage started yesterday. It was good to be back in the Appalachians again. This time it reminded us of other mountains we've been around and we were able to compare and contrast from our experiences. We hope to make many trips into this range as they are the most serene we've been near.
One witty highlight was passing by a town that you could only find in the state of Tennessee. It would be fun to hear someone from this place tell folks elsewhere of their hometown.
"Where you from?"
"Mye? Wha' Ah'm from Bucksnort, Tena-say."
As we pulled into the storage center in Newton, NC Teena commented that she felt that we should be planting a flag in front of the office just as explorers do on unconquered mountain tops. I guess that comes from traveling over 2600 miles in "one trip." Just short of our final destination at Teena's mom's house in Lewisville, NC. Newton is the location where we plan to store our furniture and we will earn a part-time income by managing the storage facility which is changing from the traditional style of management to an automated kiosk management.
We no sooner picked up the key from the hidden location in the shrubbery, than we went in to explore the office which we have been granted permission to use at no charge for our own purposes for the time being. The timing was interesting. Just after we got into the office an elderly couple stopped by to try to use the automated system and were temporarily stumped. Imagine the two Stewart stooges trying to help them after having been there for only 5 minutes. Interesting scene to say the least but with a little phone assistance from Joel McMinn we were able to assist them and make some new acquaintances in the process. Jackie made herself at home in the office and flopped down on her tummy and proceeded to watch doggie tv out the big glass door office.
Teena wonders if maybe the storage facility clientele might not provide additional prospects for our coffee shop ministry as we helped one other person before we left. Jeff guided this newbie through the process like he'd been at it for months instead of mere minutes. The folks here are very friendly. The funny thing about the storage center is that it is walking distance from an antique store we visited while out here on vacation. Who would have thunk it? --Answer: God.
We checked out the units we'll use until we find a home, so we could get acquainted with the logistics of offloading. After checking online, we learned that our belongings beat us to NC. They are at a terminal in Fletcher, NC (near Ashville) and should be in Hickory on the 2nd. We hope to start unloading on the 3rd. Jeff's twin brother will be here to help. They should make haste as they plan to sit down together and watch the FedEx Orange Bowl as they both "Rockchalk Jayhawk" a KU victory.
It's amazing how natural all this quickly feels. We miss many of our dearest friends, but we are convinced this is what we are supposed to do. As we've said all along, "We are going to die trying." Thanks for your prayers. We value them.
Happy New Year!
Jeff and Teena