Monday, January 19, 2015
SLIGHTLY OFF COURSE
This is the final installment in my series of posts about moving from Texas to Tennessee.
WARNING: it's not half as exciting as my previous post but it's just as long.
My adventures in Arkansas didn't end when I went over the cliff. There was more to come. Nothing quite as exciting in comparison to the cliff incident - but worthy of rehashing, nevertheless.
I'm sorry to disappoint those of you who were hoping I'd go over another cliff. Don't try to deny it. I know you're out there.
When I and my car were finally extracted from that Arkansas swamp, my problems were not completely over. The rain was still torrential. It was still pitch dark. And I still didn't know were the hell I was.
The patrol car left quickly, as did the tow truck - without even waving bye-bye. Me and my car were covered in mud. My three cats were catatonic (no pun intended). I wasn't really physically hurt, but my ego was shattered and my confidence had dwindled to the size of a pimple on a flea's ass (I just made that one up).
The road was still under construction and a single lane. With no lights and no signs. I still couldn't see a darn thing.
All I kept thinking was
What if I give a repeat performance? What if I go over another cliff?
The possibility was unnervingly probable.
I drove in the company of extreme apprehension - - until I finally saw lights and an exit. The exit took me to Russellville, where I stopped at the first motel I saw. Best Western Inn, in case you really need to know.
Hopelessly disheveled and completely covered in mud, I looked like I had just been unearthed from an archaeological excavation. I attempted to explain my plight to the night clerk, who was only mildly amused.
You're dragging out the story and wasting precious time, Jon.
Yea, but I'm always damn interesting. Admit it.
I started out the next morning with wet boots and shaken cats, but I had clean clothes and an optimistic attitude. Things looked better without the rain.
Little Rock was a blur of frenzied traffic. At this point my only concern was getting to Memphis.
The sign reads Memphis Merge Left
I merge left.
After leaving Little Rock I begin to relax. There is very little traffic. The scenery is lovely. I'm occasionally wondering why the traffic is so sparse on I-40, but it doesn't really concern me.
I'm occasionally wondering why this highway doesn't exactly seem like I-40, but it doesn't concern me.
I get concerned when I see the sign HWY 67 North, St. Louis .
I'm supposed to be heading east. Memphis.
I couldn't possibly have been driving in the wrong direction for the past hour, could I?
I'm not that stupid.
I was that stupid.
I wind up in a little town called Newport. I fill the car with gas, eat at McDonalds, then study the roadmap. Carefully.
I backtrack on HWY 67 but opt not to go all the way back to I-40. Instead I take HWY 64 to Memphis. A very pleasant rural route.
I won't bother to alarm everyone by telling about the VERY close call I had while trying to pass a slow-moving vehicle and almost hitting another car head-on. I'm not that reckless.
Memphis welcomed me with rush hour traffic. I got a glimpse of the mighty Mississippi River (it wasn't my first time). The torrential Arkansas rain followed me through Tennessee and forced me to get a motel in Fairview for the night.
My main goal was to get to Tennessee alive and I did. I'm grateful for that.