States: Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois
Distance: 406 miles
Destination: Peoria, Illinois
We left the farm early and headed east to Iowa, which was surprisingly beautiful. Like Nebraska, it was filled with corn, but instead of being completely flat, there were rolling hills, many creeks, and scattered trees. We stopped in Adair County, Iowa to check out “Freedom Rock,” a large boulder painted as a memorial for American Veterans. The artist repaints the rock every Memorial Day with new brightly colored scenes. After walking around the rock a few times and signing the guest book, we ventured to the capital city of Des Moines where we stopped for lunch and an oil change. We then drove to the quaint little town of Galesburg, Illinois, where my friend Kevin (who I met and travelled with in London) currently lives and attends Knox College. We hung out for about two and a half hours, during which Kevin gave us a little tour of the town and we grabbed dinner at an adorable Crêperie. It was wonderful hanging out with Kevin again, since I haven’t seen him since December! After our visit, we drove to Peoria, Illinois, where we spent the night with an awesome girl named Heather. After just two days in the Midwest, I think I had already fallen in love with the region.
States: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee
Distance: 574 miles
Destination: Knoxville, Tennessee
We woke up really early and drove straight to Cincinnati, Ohio, passing through Indiana on our way. We stopped in Cincinnati to try some Skyline Chili, which was honestly a bit disappointing. We drove through Kentucky and on to Knoxville, Tennessee, where we spent the night with some friends, Kayla and Luther, who showed us around the city! They took us to the Knoxville Convention Center and then to a couple of traditional Southern establishments: Krystal and Waffle House, which were both delicious. After dinner, we went to the old part of town, which was adorable and quite eclectic. We went to a big brewery with live music where we played pool. Luther was my partner and I’m disappointed to tell you, we lost twice, once because he scratched on the break and once because I got the 8 ball in the wrong pocket! What a tragedy! Regardless, our night in Knoxville was the most fun night of the entire trip!
States: Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia
Distance: 427 miles
Destination: Savannah, Georgia
We woke up early and returned to the old part of Knoxville to get coffee at Old City Java, which reminded me a lot of Chapters in Newberg! We then drove to Asheville, North Carolina, which has been nicknamed “The Seattle of the East.” We took a short break at a charming little bookstore, which did in fact live up to our expectations of this faux-Seattle town. We then drove through the Great Smoky Mountains and into South Carolina. The mountains were beautiful and had evergreen trees mixed in with tropical trees and vines that flourish here because of the humidity. We listened to some more Harry Potter on CD and I took a nap before finally crossing the state line into Georgia!! We spent the night in Savannah at Steve’s Father’s house, where I will be staying until Friday morning when I make the final leg of my journey to Atlanta!
So wow, I just drove over three thousand miles, passed through fifteen states, and am now on the opposite side of the country. This trip was quite an adventure and I saw a lot of beautiful scenery. I had no idea how gorgeous our country is! I love the Midwest and I love the South! During my trip, I had a lot of time to think, to reflect on the past four years, and to prepare for the year to come. I read Leroy Barber’s “New Neighbor” and was comforted to hear the stories of many Mission Year members that have gone before me. I have met many people during my journey and almost all of them think I’m absolutely crazy for moving to South Atlanta for the year. Perhaps I am crazy! I’m nervous and I’m scared, but I’m also excited and ready to go, for I know this is where God wants me to be.
With love, from Savannah
P.S. I’m working on uploading photos right now and will post them very soon!