After two visits in the past three years an immediate return to Florida may seem incongruous to many but the boys were both eager to visit the newly opened (June 7, 1990) Universal Studios in Orlando. Stopping for the night on any vacation journey was always fun for Gavin and Adam because they were finally able to get out of the van and stay out. They were only there for a short time but it was going to be a good time as pizza, jumping on the beds and watching TV assured it was their vacation too! They probably had to do some homework but for a few wonderful moments they were free – at least until the next day’s drive.
We awoke to rain and fog, left the motel and headed out of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee where we quite literally turned right instead of left and were officially on our way to Colorado. Severe weather altered our plans in the blink of an eye. Talk about playing the cards we had been dealt; we had no reservations, no route planned and we honestly had no idea where we were going so no matter what kind of spin you put on it, this was a first for us and it was exciting.
Through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park the road follows a river where we stopped for a picnic lunch as we headed toward the park exit. After enjoying the lunch I sat back and watched as the boys threw stones into the fast moving water thinking that there were not a lot of obstructions like rocks and trees which slowly developed into an idea that I thought Gavin and Adam would like. We took one of their empty juice bottles, rinsed it out, peeled the label off, shook out any excess water and dried out the inside of the bottle as best we could. Gavin and Adam then wrote a note on an empty page from my journal to send down the river in the bottle asking the finder to please send a postcard to their home address which they included in the note.
What a great little adventure for them as they hoped the bottle would somehow journey down the river in Tennessee to the ocean and across. In spite of the grandiose, hopeful dreams of a child, as it turned out it did not get quite that far. Gavin and Adam received a post card a couple of months later from a man who saw the bottle while fishing in the river and noticed the note. Although their bottle had only travelled a few miles downstream the boys were thrilled to receive the card proving their experiment had worked and giving them and me renewed hope in the goodness of people. We went out immediately and bought a postcard of the Holland Marsh in nearby Bradford with a picture of open flat farm fields stretching as far as the eye could see, a complete contrast to the fisherman’s card of the Tennessee mountains, thereby completing the circle of life of the message in the bottle.
for more information go to www.thatroadtripbook.com