Saturday, January 17, 2015


This is a continuation of my two previous posts.

The drive from Texas to Tennessee took longer than expected.

"I'll get there in two days," I bragged. "I'll only need to stay in a motel one night."

It in fact took me three and a half days, and I stayed in motels every night.

I opted to travel on I-40. It was the most simple route, even though it forced me to drive through all the big cities. I arrived in Oklahoma City during rush hour and the traffic scared the living jeeters out of me.

Got a motel room in Shawnee. This time my next door neighbors were two lesbians. They had a huge St. Bernard dog that ran into my room as I was bringing in the luggage. If my  cats weren't caged there would have been trouble.

All in all, things were going very smoothly and I was in a mellow frame of mind. Until I got to Arkansas.

I have no qualms about Arkansas. Lovely scenery. Nice people. But.....

.........rotten roads and highways. Haven't been repaired since Betsy Ross was sewing the flag. All right. I'll admit I'm being vicious.

In late afternoon the weather takes a turn for the worst. By nightfall it's pouring rain. I want to stop but there are no motels. No rest areas. No signs of life.
And no signs. Not one damn sign to let me know where the heck I am.

I don't like night driving. I have bad eyes. Night blindness. No exaggeration. I've had surgery on my eyes, but I won't go into that.

As if torrential rain and bad eyes aren't enough, major road construction begins. And detours. The highway narrows into one harrowing lane.

The deluge becomes Biblical. I don't need a vehicle. I need an ark. The rain is pounding so hard that my windshield wipers are useless.

No lights along the highway. Pitch blackness ensues. No white dividing line on the pavement. Nothing to guide me. There was a feeble smattering of reflectors along one side of the road, but suddenly they vanish.

Absolute blackness. Relentless rain. Nowhere to pull over or stop. I'm gripping the steering wheel with both hands, riding the breaks, crawling 10 MPH.
Literally driving completely blind.

You'll never make it, Jon, you're never going to make it.....

As I'm breathing these ominous words, my car is suddenly airborne. I'm flying through nothingness, like a NASCAR Peter Pan.
It's a crappy analogy, but what the hell...

It wasn't until I hit bottom that I realize I went over a cliff. Landed in a very thick swamp of mud. And water. And oozing Arkansas goo.

The impact was brutal but the mud saved my ass. And my car. And the cats - who were ruthlessly tossed in their cages. Cat food and used kitty litter is everywhere.

It takes all of my strength to push open the door against the resisting sea of mud.

Let me mention that I'm wearing a brand new pair of leather boots. Brand spanking new and beautiful. Only wore them for three days.

As soon as I squeeze out of the car, I sink up to my hips in mud. I'm immediately drenched with pouring rain.

There are times when reality is so harsh that it abandons us. Everything seems completely unreal. I'm drifting in the outer realms of the Twilight Zone.

How the hell am I gonna get outta here?
I have a cell phone, but who can I call or text? And what will I say? Hello, I just went over a cliff in Arkansas and don't know where I am.

I suddenly look up at the steep embankment and realize that the highway is at least 50 feet above me. Vehicles are zooming by, seemingly in the heavens.

I decide to abandon all sense of dignity. I start waving my arms and shouting. Can it get any worse than this? I've sunk to the lowest rung on the Ladder of Humanity.

My pathetic pleas were eventually seen and/or heard. An Arkansas patrol car is on the scene.

"Are you hurt?" he shouts down to me.

"Only my pride," I yell up at him.

And I'm thinking:
there is a God. He's punishing me for all my past sins.

"Better get back in the car, " the officer suggests. "You'll get wet."

Get wet? Is he joking?? I'm covered in mud. I look like the frickin' tar baby in Uncle Remus.

The tow truck finally arrives. The driver is like a reject from a casting call for Hee Haw.
His southern accent is so thick that I can't understand a word.

My car is soon chained to his truck and he's plying me with instructions as he performs the extraction.

"Torn th' weeel rait!"
Turn the wheel right.

"Ain seen nutin thes baid inna loong taim."
Ain't seen nothing this bad in a long time.

The crystal clarity of his pronunciation astounds me when he finally quotes the fee for the extraction.

"Three hundred dollars."

No accent at all. I understood every word perfectly.

Fortunately I had cash.
Being extracted from the depths of hell and the agony of humiliation was well worth any price.

This isn't the end of my adventures, folks. There's more to come.


  1. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard a worse travel story. It’s amazing to me that you eventually made it to Tennessee. I think you’d better plan to stay in one place from now on. Even getting from your new house to the nearest town and back sounds hazardous for you. Maybe you ought to arrange for delivery of things that you need to survive.

  2. Adventure and chaos follow me wherever I go. I would actually be shocked if my life had any semblance of normalcy.

  3. You couldn't make this up! Incredible. I'm waiting anxiously for the rest.

  4. With this driving history....maybe you should consider a once a month trip down the mountain and buy in bulk.....Stay off those mountain white reflectors....lots of cliffs without guard rails......think about it....
    Love this series....!! Your neighbor to the east!

  5. I agree with your first commenter ... this account takes the cake as The Worst road trip in the history of Ever.
    Reminds me of Churchill's recommendation about 'going through Hell.'!

    After reading of that unsetting incident in Amarillo, I was going to urge you to buy a six-shooter, or at least a taser.
    Then again, no. You might have been tempted to use it in Arkansas.
    Please tell us the new boots survived?

    1. The boots survived and I'm still wearing them but they look like the far side of hell.

  6. OMB! if I didn't know you (and I don't), I would say y'all are making this up as you go along.

  7. Anne Marie, my life has been filled with more adventures than anyone could possibly believe. Very often it even astounds me. I swear to God I don't make this stuff up. I could easily write several books.

  8. Time to put some technology to work. RAIN-X. Window treatment and wipers. New glasses with an anti-glare treatment and yellow lenses for night driving. I've banged around some of the hills and rollers of Kentucky and Tennessee. No place for night blindness. Fifty feet is a drop in the bucket compared to where you are now. Black ice, snow and night blindness are an evil combination, so prepare yourself and your vehicle.

  9. You had better be careful Jon, with those hills (mountains) in Tennessee you might not make it if you fly over the hill. Could your trip get any worst?

  10. Surviving the extraction with your boots and kitties in tact is indeed a miracle. Can hardly wait to hear what happens next.

  11. Good heavens, Jon! What a terrifying close call. Glad you didn't settle in Arkansas --with those bad, unlit, unmarked roads the state should require air bags on the BOTTOMS of cars as well as the dash,

  12. the only thing
    I know about
    Arkansas is that
    Shepherd's Chapel church
    is in Gravette

  13. I should have gone there to pray......

  14. Wish I had a video of would be a hit on UTube..

  15. What a trip! Reminds me a little of an incident I had on my way to work in a different city about 15 years ago. I was driving on a 2 lane country highway. Always in a hurry, I tried to pass the slow poke in front of me. I had looked down the road and thought I saw it clear to pass. It was just dawn and not quite light enough to see clearly, but assumed anybody driving at that time would have headlights on. As I was abreast of the car I was passing, at about 65 mph, I thought I saw a car coming at me head on without lights. I abandon the passing and slammed my foot on the brakes. As soon as I was behind and clear of the car I was trying to pass, I yanked the wheel to the right to get behind it. Something happened and I lost complete control. I saw the edge of the road coming toward me, and a lot of shaking and not sure what else. I woke up in the rearmost seat of my mini-van, Rachmaninoff 3 still playing on the stereo as if nothing had happened - the engine still running. That calmed me down. But I was in the middle of a soy bean field facing the other way. As I crawled up to the drivers seat, shakily made my way out of the drivers door, some one was running up to see if I was alright. He apparently witnessed my van rolling over several times, winding up on its wheels upright. They took me to the nearest hospital for observation, and towed my car to a garage. They released me a few hours later with some pain pills, warning me to see my own Dr. The car was then towed back home and totaled by the insurance company. All this occurred in flat country. In Arkansas I would have been dead. You are a lucky SOB that you and the car and the cats are intact. Lessons learned. BTW - to this day I still don't wear a seat belt. I think if I was fastened to the seat, I would have been more damaged.

    1. Wow, your story is much more harrowing than mine! It's truly amazing that you weren't seriously injured. The soy bean field must have acted as Mother Nature's air bag. It's rather humorous that the Rachmaninoff was still playing. Thanks for sharing your tale of woe.

  16. Good Lord. What a story. As a girl from the Ozarks, I can attest to the bad roads and hillbilly accents, but going off a cliff??? Wow. So, so glad to know you finally did get to where you were going.


    1. Believe it or not, I lived in the Ozarks for several years. Took me awhile to get used to it after being in Hollywood, but the rural atmosphere eventually intrigued me. I liked it - - all except for the tornados.

  17. Oh my Jon! Just catching up on your blog now. First, you are one helluva a writer. I'm telling you, you could earn a living at writing books, magazine articles, newspaper columns. You are an excellent writer. Now about your experience (which I am catching midway because I haven't read your previous blog posts (yet) about your road trip to your new home in Tennessee). Thank God (and I am not religious) that you weren't hurt! And Jon, you shouldn't be traveling alone but I don't know what to suggest. I just wish you weren't traveling alone. For most of my life I've been traveling alone and I'm telling you, traveling with a friends sure beats traveling alone if for nothing else than for the two brains to figure out situations and helping to see the absurdity of the situations we get ourselves in. I hope you find someone soon so share your "adventures" and to videotape them! As a previous commenter said a video of you going airborne into the mud pit of Arkansas posted to You Tube would have went viral. I'm off now to read the rest of your travels. You're good Jon, very good. So glad you safe and sound now.

    1. Hey, Ron, flattery will get you everywhere. It means a lot to know how much you appreciate my writing.

  18. Oh my gosh and to think I almost missed this one. Didn't know you had started your blog back up. Thanks to your side bar I got to read this. Is your vehicle okay?


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