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Names on the Road

We made the trek to Evansville and back home today to bring David home for Spring Break, a 600-mile round trip. We are getting the trip down pretty good, this time only taking 11.5 hours and that included two gas stops, one meal, picking up David at the college, and four potty stops at rest areas! Boy, am I sore, though. I cannot ride nearly as well for long periods of time as I could in my younger days. I remember a time, not all that long ago, when going non-stop from NY to AL was fun, only 18 hours! Not anymore!

I do like traveling, though. I always have. There is something about hitting the road with a long trip planned that is just very exciting and also relaxing at the same time. One of the things I enjoy most about traveling is seeing all the different place names and trying to figure out why they were given that particular name. Some are named for people, some are Indian names, some are named to remind immigrants of places in their homeland, and some seem to be descriptive names, but it is not always clear which is which. For instance the Elk River in Tennessee. Now I am pretty sure there are no elk in southern Tennessee and that there were no elk there two hundred years ago when the river was named. So did someone think they saw an elk? Or was that someone’s last name? Or did Elk just sound similar to what the Indians called that river and so the settlers called it Elk?

Then there is the Cumberland River that runs through Nashville. Why is it called Cumberland and just what is the origin of the word cumberland? I am going to have to look that one up because it has intrigued me all day long.

Clarksville (Tennessee) is an easy one. It was named for General George Rogers Clark, a frontier fighter and Revolutionary War hero. He was also the older brother of William Clark, of Lewis & Clark fame.

Now Paducah (Kentucky) is another one that I will have to look up. I imagine it is an Indian derivation, but I would love to know for sure.

Just a few of the thoughts that absorbed my mind today as we drove the many miles. And best of all, David is now home and we all get to enjoy his company for a week! And then next Sunday make the same trek all over again!

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