Skip and Julia's loftTed and I signed our paperwork, shook hands with Baxter and the guys, and drove off in our fully loaded vehicles to spend the night in comfort and luxury at Skip and Julia's gorgeous house.

Julia fed us and tucked us in and we slept like the dead.

5/20/09 This morning, Julia fed us baked pancakes dressed with the spiced apples her mother puts up every year, gave us a hug, and sent us on our way.

We drove to Christianburg (south of Roanoke), to give ourselves the luxury of a short day, and here we are, ensconced in a hotel, very tired, and planning to go to bed early. Tomorrow would be a full day.

5/21/09 - It wasn't been so full a day as I thought it would be. We recovered well overnight from our last exhausting days in Heathsville and today wasn't ordealic at all. We're in a Holiday Inn in Jackson, TN. The odor of the indoor swimming pool stenchifies the entire place and you can smell it even in the room, but we'll be out of here in the morning, so who cares?

Leaving Virginia behindWe crossed the Tennessee state line at 9:36 this morning, traveling south along I-81--the same road we took back from New Mexico last December. Returning to Virginia from the west is something I just don't like to do and I was disappointed that I had to last year. It occurred to me this morning that I don't ever have to again.

We couldn't have asked for a better time to leave Virginia. It was cool and dry for the movers, clear and dry for driving. We got out just ahead of hurricane season, with a storm in the Atlantic off Florida right this very minute. We're out before the next terrorist attack on Washington, DC. We got away before the unstable flank of the Cumbre Vieja volcano slumps into the Atlantic ocean and sends a mega tsunami to devastate the the eastern U.S. and before global warming swamps the waterfront property around the Chesapeake Bay. We got out before the deer flies become unbearable, in advance of the Memorial Day jet skiers, and before summer's humidity sets in. We got out while my garden there is still beautiful and leaves me thinking maybe I know something about gardening after all. We're out before my mother has another crisis that causes me to drop everything and rush to bail her out. Best of all, we got out three days in advance of a house showing and not only is the property manager handling our post-move-out clean up, but also we won't be there to sneak out before the lookers arrive so everybody can pretend nobody lives in the house. The best house showings are the ones that happen when I don't have anything to do with them.