Lots and lots of Ford pickups and SUV's on those roads. Not very many Chevy and Dodge trucks. My daughter's four-year old Nissan was dwarfed by all the 150's and 250's that passed us. I really missed my Explorer as her little car was stuffed with all her gear and Eastman's gitfiddle. I am 250 lbs plus and was pretty well surrounded in the passenger seat. She wanted to do all the driving so there I sat with my ass about four inches off the ground - at least it felt that way.
Things got a lot greener as we passed Texarkana. Lots of state police doing busy work. It was nice to see trees again. Everything was pretty lush. And my ass was still four inches off the ground.
We pulled into a nice LaQuinta hotel in Memphis around 10:45 PM. And swam to the front door. It was in the low nineties and 250% humidity. Up at oh dark hundred and back on the road by 6:15 AM.
Tennessee is s beautiful state filled with flowers, trees and state police. We were in Kentucky a bit later and if it weren't for the big sign, you wouldn't know the difference. Even the bug spatters didn't change - though we did drive through a large mating bug binge fur ball or something that pretty much painted the car and made the windshield wipers weep.
We didn't see much of Louisville at all but stopped at a place for gas and the most disgusting Hostess chocolate mini-donuts I have ever sampled. I will eat almost anything that is dipped in chocolate but these truly fell below my miserable standards. It was more like a package of chocolate covered penance. Next stop for gas in Kentucky we found a Dunking Donuts place (thank you Lord!) and bought a Nashville coffee cup for my wife. One half of the rack was for TN souvenirs and the other half KY. They also were selling NY Giants mugs. Go figure.
Heading towards Cincinnati. CinnTown is a very good looking City; unfortunately we encountered the worst traffic of our trip - probably added an additional half hour but for a 1500 mile jaunt, that isn't too bad...
What can I say about Ohio? Once we left CinnTown we hit the corn belt. And idiots in fast little cars. And no troopers. It seemed to take forever to drive through Ohio, skirting Columbus and then Cleveland. Made a wrong lane change getting to I-71 outside Columbus and had to backtrack some. By now we were eleven hours outside of Memphis and starting to get a little edgy. Seven more hours to go. The joy was gone.
We stopped again just east of Cleveland and grabbed some subs and gasoline. Tried a cold bottled Starbucks mocha Frappucino there - good stuff, very tasty (chocolate). Kept me awake without the concomitant need to pee right away. My daughter had one also. We slammed down Philly Cheesesteak subs and back on the road.
Now we are on I-90; this takes us right to Syracuse. Just point the car and stay awake for six more hours. Lots and lots and lots of road construction. I wish I had invested some money in orange traffic barrels. Or Frappucino. Those stinking Pennsylvania orange barrels were like a blurred nightmare. Miles of them. Hating us. Mocking us. I think I was getting a little overcaffeinated.
We started the day in high spirits. By time we hit the NY border it was like "ARRRRGH Please God Make It Stop!"
My daughter likes Celtic rock bands or whatever they call themselves. We had been listening to quite a mixed bag of music all the way home until now. We went through Texas playing the Beach Boys and the Turtles. Arkansas was a mixed bag of oldies and bluegrass. Tennessee we were playing Johnny Cash. I bought a Stones oldies CD in OH at a truck stop.
Soldier Girl had an iPod and I had my Blackberry jacked into her car radio. In eastern PA she really needed to keep awake and the best way to do this was for her to play this God awful music. It was like a bunch of liquored up IRA terrorists had tripped over some drums, guitars and an accordion. What the hell... I think someone had a fiddle too.
I finally used my noise cancelling headphones and put on a Strauss opera. Just in time for the NY toll booths. By this time we had driven slightly over 1200 miles from Dallas without paying anybody anything other than for gas, food and lodging. And a coffee cup. No tolls.
Welcome to NY, pay me bitch, pay me now.
It was pitch dark and raining intermittently. We were both hallucinating and had to pee. Three more hours.
I don't remember much of the rest of the trip. Soldier Girl let me play "Ist Ein Traum, Kann Nicht Wirklich Sein" from Der Rosenkavalier and then tried to kill me. Some of you may think it was justifiable.
We got home at 12:45 AM. Mummsie and Boof were waiting up and there was a very joyous reunion in the doorway. It took them twenty minutes just to get out of the garage and into the kitchen.
One thousand, five hundred-thirty miles. Lord, thank you for the travel mercies. It was a great trip, a memory I will cherish always.