Sep 24, 2008

TRIPPIN FOR OBAMA - TN, KY, IL, MO


On the Road to Colorado to spend the next weeks until election day working as a Tennessee Volunteer for Barack Obama and the Democratic candidates of Colorado

After packing my Astro Van converted to a camper with my bike on the back and a canoe on the roof, I pulled out of Knoxville at 6AM on Monday morning for a cross country trek from the Smokies to the Rockies

My Congressional District the 2nd is the bloodiest RED in a deep RED state so rather than deal with the futility I want to make a difference where Barack can win. Along with Mark Udall for Senate, Betsy Markey for Congress, and Jared Polis to replace new Senator Mark Udall in Colorado's 2nd District.
As a bonus we get to retire Marilyn Musgrave (one of Rolling Stone's 10 Worst).

This report comes from Camdenton, Missouri on Tuesday night some 700 miles into the trip.

The route I chose took me through Wartburg TN. then Deer Lodge, Glades, Jamestown, Alpine, and Celina. In Kentucky from Tompkinsville, Scottsville, Russellville, Franklin, Hopkinsville, Mayfield, and Wickliffe. Through Cairo, Illinois to Sikeston, Poplar Bluff, Elsinor, Winona, and Eminence Missouri.

On well inflated tires at 50 miles an hour I took the shortest route on 2 lane roads.
right down the main streets of many small towns
the kind with court house squares where you can see the cars and yards.

The most surprising thing thus far is the amazing lack of bumper stickers or yard signs for either Obama or McSame. The count so far is 2 McSame yard signs and 3 Obama signs with one for Ron Paul and ZERO - not one single bumper sticker for 700 miles.

Tennessee is RED so it's good to see so little McSame support and Kentucky is somewhere to the right of Jefferson Davis who's monument can be seen near Hopkinsville.

Jeff Davis Washington Monument copy even leans to the RIGHT

Two things really struck me as I crossed Kentucky. The lack of any evidence of a Presidential campaign and the sparsity of traffic.

MANY RIVERS TO CROSS

The two lane blacktop is a great escape from the cookie cutter sameness of the interstates. Each small town has some individuality. You see houses and fields up close at a speed that allows the mind to wander and wonder.
Fewer Wal-Marts and one size fits all mini-marts, fewer 18 wheelers and the occassional hay wagon with tractor or even a horse drawn Kentucky Amish.

The road took me over the French Broad and Holston in East Knoxville. Across the Clinch headed into Oak Ridge, Dale Hollow lake near Livingston,

Lake Barkley on the Cumberland River

and Kentucky Lake on the Tennessee River

Leaving Kentucky the highway crosses the Ohio River into Cairo Illinois the home state of the next President of the United States.
where a small ruined park occupies the triangle of land at the southern tip of the Land of Lincoln. A plack marks the spot where Lewis & Clark decided to "Proceed On"

The park is in horrible disrepair from total neglect

But here at lands end in Illinois surveying the confluence of the Ohio with the Mississippi I met my first Obama supporters fising for striped bass where the rivers meet

I left my four new friends on the banks of the river and crossed the Big River to the west into Missouri


Today I paddled 20 miles from Round Spring to Two Rivers on the Current River. 20 miles with no roads - just clear water, changing trees, and high bluffs. Not one soul was seen




Tomorrow I cross the plains of Kansas into Colorado and an adventure in campaigning renewed by the serenity of the scenic Current river.

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