There’s nothing like a long road trip for allowing time to think. Many, if not most, of the thoughts are silly or nonsensical. However, some seem worth sharing.
Pre-trip thought: God, I love Google Maps.
9:30 pm – 1 am CST
The trip from Memphis, Tennessee to Genesee county Michigan is 800 miles. The first portion runs east on I-40 from Memphis to Nashville. This leg of the trip is a little over 200 miles. It seems longer. I came to the conclusion that it feels longer, because it is running east instead of north. It doesn’t feel like the trip back to Michigan begins until you get to Nashville. No wonder it seems so long.
Another thought that came to me through this stretch is that Tennessee is a beautiful state with more than its share of bigots and small-minded people. The Tennessee Republican Party gives the Texas Republican Party a close race for the most offensive state political party in the country.
Put the statements above together with the feelings about this part of the trip being no more than a prelude to the actual trip and you can understand why I felt no regrets as I crossed the border into Kentucky a little north of Nashville.
Scene in the Smokey Mts. Nat’l Park
I need to add a disclaimer to the comments I’ve made about Tennessee. There are a lot of good people there, also. I left some good friends behind when I headed north. There are good people everywhere, just as there are bad people everywhere. And keep in mind, it is a very beautiful state.
Kentucky is another beautiful state. I thought to myself that it too has its share of bigots and small-minded people. This thought made me realize that the same could be said about anywhere. Do you know someplace that doesn’t fit that description? I don’t.
Driving at night is so much easier than dealing with daytime traffic. At least, as long as it isn’t raining. Put the cruise on 75 and watch the miles roll up on the trip meter.
One thing sure to snap your mind back to driving is seeing a deer standing on the edge of the freeway. I blasted by a doe that was no more than 20 feet from I-65 at 2:30 in the morning. Just imagine what it would have been like if she had decided to try crossing the road at that moment. That was a real wakeup call.
Downtown Louisville looks interesting even at this time of night (or morning). I’d like to come back and spend a few days here sometime.
3:45 am – 5 am
The 90 mile trip from Louisville to Florence, KY, which is just south of Cincinnati, OH is through a sparsely populated part of Kentucky. The trees crowd close to the road and there’s little to break the monotony. It’s beautiful during the day, but kind of boring at night. The one thing I was thankful of during this stretch is that I didn’t see any deer. Well, that and the fact that there are almost never any police through this stretch. I blasted through in record time for me.
5 am (6 am EST)
Ah, finally a chance to stop and sleep for a few hours. Once again, reality throws a curveball when I’m expecting a fastball. No rooms at the inn. The power in this area had been out for several hours. None of the motels were accepting guests for at least an hour. Back on the road headed north.
Oh, goody. A Micky D’s. Even fast food tastes good after 8 hours without eating. Bacon/Egg biscuits with cheese for me and a sausage biscuit for the dog. We ate on the move.
6 am – 6 45 am EST
A word of advice, avoid driving through Cincinnati during morning rush hour. What a miserable experience.
7:30 am – 8 am
Finally, a rest area – time for a short nap. No such luck. I hit the road after tossing and turning for 30 minutes. At least, the dog got a chance to get a little exercise.
Dayton is a pretty small city, but it isn’t much more fun during rush hour.
Another rest area. Another attempt at sleep.
It’s amazing how much better less than 2 hours of sleep can make you feel.
11 am – 12:15 pm
There’s little love lost between Michigan and Ohio. That probably influenced my thoughts through this stretch. I couldn’t help thinking that all I wanted to do was put Ohio behind me. It doesn’t help that their speed limit is 65 mph and their police have a habit of targeting out-of-state vehicles. Ohio drivers don’t engender much love either. Where else do drivers switch to the fast lane when they are driving 5-10 miles under the speed limit? The worst thing about driving in Ohio, for me, is that I exhaust my vocabulary of swear words.
The Michigan border! Yeah, finally something to like in Ohio – the sign that says, “You are now leaving Ohio.”
Most of this trip has been through Red states and counties. There were a few small, isolated pockets of Blue here and there, but by and large, it was bright Red. Now that I’m back in Michigan, I am passing through one of the bluest cities in the country – Ann Arbor, home of the University of Michigan. Even the sports slogan for the school fits – Go, Blue!
Never before have I been so glad to see one particular driveway. On second thought, there was that one time when a girl invited me back to her place after the bar closed…
Home, sweet home – how good it seems after the last 21 months of stress and strain. The one thought that kept coming back to me throughout the drive was that when I had left Michigan for Mississippi I had thought I was heading towards the promised land. Instead of milk and honey, I found the bitter taste of ashes. When I left Mississippi for Michigan, I left the love of my life in a grave in Ponotoc, MS. Our dreams were now no more than dust on the wind. Perhaps, my birthplace can give me some solace.