July 24. It's my fourth day on the road and I'm up early. It's my intention to make it half way across Tennessee, so I'm out the door at 4:45. Pictures were lacking this day, apologies.
This sign confuses me. Is the lack of tolerance referring to the speed laws, the strict enforcement, or is this a protest sign that is saying that there is no tolerance for speed laws being strictly enforced? Or am I just reading into this too much?
Oklahoma City is the last place I'll hear about on the Route 66 song. It's time for a change of tune, and this time, I'm Walking in Memphis.
I'm walking with my feet ten feet off of Beale.
And as long as I'm at it, I'm listening to "Oh Mississippi" by Lissie.
Memphis Barbecue is legendary. For a reason. Yum.
And I'm back on the road at (time).
This is the last phot I take at 6:00pm, I think I was just outside of Nashville.
Right around now is when I start making a series of questionable decisions. It's getting late, and I keep thinking "I'll pull over at the next town." And the next one. And the next one. And those towns start getting farther and farther away from each other.
Knoxville promises live music and excellent beer, and in my somewhat tired state, I ignore that siren song too.
And that's when the thunderstorm hits and I can no longer see the signs for towns. It's a serious thunderstorm with heavy drops and wipers on full steam and pitch black everything. I'm driving at about 30 mph going up the hills and missing an awful lot of beauty. Thought the constant thunder and lightning has it's own appeal.
It's around midnight (I think... it might be later) and I'm seriously looking for a place to sleep when I reach a bridge outside of Kingsport, near the Virginia border. There's a bridge over a river, and I'm driving like an out-of-state-person in a heavy vehicle with wide tires in a rain storm. Slow and Conservative. The truck that decides to pass me at hydroplane speed does so with the requisite aggressive wheel jerk to demonstrate his displeasure that he had to go through the effort of turning his wheel.
The car breaks loose, and does a full 360 in front of me while heading for the right side rail. My foot is off the gas pedal and moving the to break pedal. He somehow recovers and does a 360 in the opposite direction heading for the left side rail. His unsecured contents in the bed of the truck have launched themselves into the road and are bouncing around me. I'm still slowing down, foot not on the brake yet - I'm hoping I don't have to risk breaking traction. Again, he misses the guard rail and is not fishtail recovering toward the side of the road. I'm pulling to the far right in case he decides to do something even more stupid. I pass at about 10 miles an hour and he finally stops as my eyes are now wide open.
Well, I'm awake now. The adrenaline kicks in about five minutes later and I shake it off as best I can, but now I don't think I'm getting any sleep. So I keep driving until it wears off.
And it does eventually, but what I see is some color and brightness on the horizon. I've driven through the night without realizing it.
Damn. Now my body is really tired and demands sleep. Roanoke is 10 miles away, so I pull over once I reach town and look for any vacancy. It's orientation weekend at the University, there are no hotels available except the worst pile of a hotel. Ever. I walk in and ask for a room for half a day, they say they have a room in back. I take it.
I ignore the filth, the dirty rug, the sink that looks like the one I had in my college dorm, the sheets that smell like they were cleaned with Febreeze. I'm exhausted and I chalk this night up to my own hubris. Good night.
1,115 miles. It's a personal record for the day (at least, in an enclosed car.) I left at 5:00 am and arrived at the hotel around 7:00. 25 hours of driving with one time zone crossing. That's about one-third of the country in one day.
I'll take it, and I'll wake up in about six hours.
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