Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's Nice to be Home!

Finally--I made it! I left Hendertucky for the last time at 2:30 on Sunday afternoon, and rolled into Mamasan's place deep in the woods outside of Nashville at 3:45 on Tuesday afternoon. That's a lot of driving.

And it's a hard drive when you're making it by yourself, too. No Eddie B or Amy with me to help pass the time--just me singing along with my iPod for 1800 miles.

Ok, so you already know about Sunday--I stopped in Winslow for the night. But I was kicking myself all day on Monday for not pressing on to Gallup, NM. I guess it didn't make much difference at the end--I'm here now. Anyhow, Monday was just a ridiculously long day behind the wheel. I drove for 14-and-a-half hours, finally pulling into Henryetta, Oklahoma (home of Troy Aikmann!) around 10:30 local time.

I'm telling you, eastern Arizona, most of New Mexico, and pretty much all of the Texas panhandle are just boring as hell. Nothing at all to look at. On my way thru Albuquerque on Monday morning, I gave my gal 'Sin' a call and waved to her office as I drove by on the freeway. And I realized I was getting closer to home when I got into Texas and saw a hillbilly-style rebel flag hanging in front of a gas station.

My people!

But that's not all--I had another only-in-Texas moment a little while later. I saw a dude pushing a 10-speed bike down the side of the road, wearing cowboy boots and a huge black ten-gallon Stetson hat, and he had a hunting rifle strapped across the handlebars of the bike.

Texas. F*ck yeah!

I was hoping to make it to Fort Smith Arkansas on Monday, but Henryetta was as far as I got. I ended up staying at a Norman Bates-style Super 8 on the side of the freeway (sketchy doesn't even begin to describe it), and I was too tired to bother with the computer, so I took a hot shower and went straight to bed. Hell, I don't know if they even had wi-fi there, much less the internet in general. The place was a complete time warp.

Anyhow, I got up early on Tuesday and hauled ass the rest of the way. I crossed the Mississippi River into Memphis at exactly 12:00 noon, and I even got choked up a little as I did, thinking to myself, Oh hell yeah, I'm finally home! It was another three and a half hours of driving beyond there to get to Mamasan's, and man, it felt like I'd never get here.

Of course, as I passed by the spot at the Tennessee River where the Ghetto Sled blew apart (for the first time) five years ago, I offered my own silent single-finger salute...

As far as the truck goes, it ran like an absolute champ. Once I quit babying it and got the RPMs up, it easily cruised at 70-75 the entire way. Of course, dragging over a ton of shiat behind me earned me 13 miles per gallon from the ol' girl. That's ok, Dodge trucks have never had a reputation of being gas sippers. I usually get about 13 mpg around town, so towing a heavy-ass trailer all the way across country for the same amount of juice works for me.

Once I found my way to Mamasan's new place, I grabbed my road-trip bags and headed inside for a nice cold drink and some relaxation. I showered and washed all the funk off of me, and tossed all my dirty clothes in the wash.

We had a nice home-made meal for dinner and I made a bunch of phone calls letting folks know that I'd arrived safely. After dinner, we just visited some more and played cards for a bit, while I told stories from the road. I'm off to bed shortly, where I know I'm going to collapse like I've been on a 48-hour bender.

In the morning, I've got a guy coming over to help me unload most of the stuff in the trailer into the storage shed (ironically, it's the same guy who helped me pack the other trailer that killed the Ghetto Sled five years ago!) Once that chore is done, I'm dropping off the trailer and then it's back down the hill to Nashville proper, and dinner with Amy & Scottie. I'll spend the night there, then head south for the weekend.

I'm not sure when I'll be able to update again, maybe tomorrow, maybe not until next week, but until then, let me say thanks to everyone who sent positive vibes my way over the past two days--I really appreciate all the kind wishes and good thoughts. It was a helluva drive, and I'm damn glad it's over.

A new chapter starts tomorrow.


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