Back from Tennessee!

I haven’t actually vacationed in Tennessee since the summer after first grade. I’ve been through it once between then and now, when the youth group went to Georgia last summer. So it’s been a while.

I like it. There’s lots of rivers and lakes around and plenty of sights to look at. Some people may think Indiana has pretty country, and it does on occasion. I guess I’ve just lived there too long to notice. I do love driving down 229 during the afternoon in the Jeep (it handles great on curvy roads and is a ton of fun to drive) with music blaring. In fact, the first time I felt a “natural high” was when I was riding down 229 listening to Monaco. It reminded me how enjoyable simple things like that can be.

Anyway…I can imagine there’s plenty of fun roads to drive in Tennessee as well.

We stayed in a hotel in Sweetwater, up on a hill with a nice view. While we were waiting for Mom and Grandma to check us in, the rest of us noticed that not far away was a big indoor flea market. (In fact, it claimed to be the largest flea market in Tennessee, with 800 booths.) We went a couple times, and I finally got a Swiss army knife. For a dollar! I’m kind of afraid it’s going to fall apart because it cost so little, but you get what you pay for, I guess. They also were selling tongue rings for a dollar. That’s way cheaper than the shoot!* I don’t have my tongue pierced, but I bought the rings to replace the blue and green balls I had in my ears. I met a guy at a booth selling movies who clued me in on Quentin Tarantino’s Rolling Thunder films. Thanks to him, I bought a couple films and am on my way to super-geek status. The next day, all I bought was a pretty cool Reservoir Dogs t-shirt for 8 bucks. Kinda looks like a Napoleon Dynamite shirt, though, with the drawing and writing style. It’s a picture of all the guys walking, from that iconic opening credits scene to the film, with “Let’s get rambling…” underneath it.

So we had a pretty good time on our trip. The main goal was to visit Dad’s cousin Eddie and scope out a place to possibly build a house on his property. I’m on the fence about actually moving to Tennessee, but a new, bigger house would be nice. So we got to meet and re-meet (?) lots of family. The next day, we went to Cracker Barrel and ate breakfast with more family. I don’t think I’ve been around so much family since Uncle Fred’s visitation when I was a kid. (Actually, he’s Dad’s uncle, but we call him Uncle Fred too.) The only family we have nearby right now is Grandma, and we visit Russ, Bev, and Dianna, and Tom, Karen, and Hannah usually once a year. Oh, and Jess, who’s Bev’s brother’s daughter. I don’t know how we figured out that we were related, way back when she moved to Osgood in third grade!

Laura and I got to swim once, finally, on Sunday. We’d been waiting all weekend and finally got to! I made a retard out of myself while in the pool…I didn’t take my contacts out, and when Mom came out to talk to us, I hollered for her to get them. She couldn’t understand me at all ! I repeated myself probably four times, each time louder than the last, before she finally figured out what I was trying to say. Later that night, I heard some kids in the pool talking loudly, and it was loud. I cringe to think how loud I was. Good gravy. Oh well, I guess it wasn’t too bad, because there were hardly any cars in the parking lot at the time. There was a girl spying on us who was about eleven years old, peeking around the curtains. She had nothing better to do, I guess.

On the way home, the car started running rough. We drove it probably 250 miles before finally deciding to take it to a garage. Turns out the diodes on all six spark plugs were corroded pretty badly. The mechanic was going to shut down in ten minutes, but he ended up keeping the shop open an extra ten. They only changed the three front spark plugs, so we drove home with three bad ones still installed. (Oh, I didn’t mention that the morning we left, Dad had to change the two back rotors. Every time he touched the brakes, the back right would vibrate. So he decided to go ahead and change both.) He charged us way too much: 96 bucks! Guess he’s the type to take advantage of travelers while appearing to be a good Samaritan, staying open late and all.

All the car problems we’ve had to deal with, always owning used cars, has given me a slight knowledge of cars. More than the average girl, at least. I can tell you by listening if your power steering fluid is low, and I know what a limited-slip differential is and the pros and cons of having one. (Yeah, I watch Spike’s Powerblock on Sundays after we come home from church.) I probably couldn’t stand up to the average guy on car knowledge, but, heck, at least I know some things.

Well, it’s nice to be home regardless of how pretty Tennessee was. I’ve had way too much fast food and grease and all I want is a nice lean meal for once. Some fresh fruit, for goodness sake! I’m even tired of biscuits and gravy and breakfast sausage. I wouldn’t be surprised if I gained weight. Now all I want is low-fat food and salads!

I’ve kinda absorbed some of that southern accent while we were gone. I’ve always had a little bit, mainly visible in my personal lingo, but it’s gotten a bit stronger. I suspect it’ll go away soon, though.

* The “shoot” is what we Osgood people call the NMLRA (National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association) Spring National Shoot in June and National Championship Shoot in September, down at NMLRA headquarters in Friendship, Indiana. But what a lot of us go down there for are the flea markets. There’s a large one and a smaller one, and they’re both outdoors. You see all kinds of interesting people there and lots of odd things to buy. I swear I saw a yak scalp for sale last time! It’s something interesting to do during the boring days of summer in Indiana, where you have to drive 20 miles just to get to a movie theater with more than one screen. Check out Wikipedia if you want to know more about the NMLRA shoots.

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