Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Morrow, Georgia to Memphis, Tennessee 

Dear Reader,

Yesterday's trip from Morrow, GA to Memphis TN was, for the most part smooth and easy.

 For about 425 miles in 6 hours we had the GPS lady route us off the major freeways and headed through Alabama, a little bit of Mississippi and then into Tennessee over Route 72.

When you travel with a canine, you end up meeting everyone else on the road that travels with a canine.  As we were leaving the hotel this morning, we met an older couple, snowbirds, on the way back to Indiana from Florida.  they had a van, the entire back half of which was dedicated to their huge, black Newfoundland dog, Pearl.

Captain Maverick said hello, and we were on the road.

Newfy "Pearl"

Pearl, a living pillow of a dog

Spring just starting to make itself known and some of the scenery was just spectacular.   I kept saying to Navigator Stacey, "Get a picture of that beautiful field with yellow flowers!  Oh, and a picture of that awesome bridge!"  Of course, in the relatively hermetically sealed Tour Truckster, I was completely missing the meaning of all that beautiful "yellow" just bursting all around us.  What it meant was about to blow up in my face - like, literally.

Alabama, spring is in the air - literally!

Quick note: Alabama drivers?  Not bad.  Not bad at all.  A bit of a speedy lot, but on the whole okay.

Alabama drivers - not bad!

Light traffic - thank you God!

Clear ahead

Getting close to the hotel, I saw the most disturbing thing.  A giant, sworling cloud of yellow stuff, which can only be described as Mustard gas, erupting from a pine tree.  I mean a cloud of the stuff, a whole vast aerial acre of the junk.  Remember that pretty spring yellow color in the fields along I-72?

Well, I step out of the Truckster and instantly, and I mean like nano-second instantly, I get smacked in the face with a powdery plume of the yellow gak and my eyes swell shut like I'd just eaten an entire triple cheese, pepperoni pizza topped with a box of rock salt.  And I'm a vegetarian.   I scramble for my iphone, because clearly that fat little North Korean dictator has managed to launch a missile with a mustard gas warhead all the way to Memphis TN, and somehow the boys at NORAD missed it!

Captain Maverick's favortie!

Tennessee has the best Rest Stops!

I drop the phone because now I'm having trouble breathing.  This is getting bad, I think to myself, and start tearing my backpack apart feeling (because I sure as hell can't see anything right now!) for my Epi-Pen.  Just as I'm about to jack it into my thigh, I realize it isn't mustard gas - it's pollen.  Whole freaking oceans of pollen.  The Truckster is green.  Now it was yellow:

Mustard Gas

The Tour Truckster gone yellow

Pollenated running boards

You see, I have allergies.  And I'm in Tennessee.  At the beginning of spring.  And mother nature is just unloading, in all her fecund majesty, her plantspermia all over my delicate little hay-fevered self.

Panic.  "Stacey?!  Zyrtec!  STAT!"

So we go to a nearby Target and I grab a bottle of Zyrtec and swallow it.  Grab a bottle of super hi-octane "Allergy eye drops" and squirt the whole thing into my eyes.

Beat.  Beat. Ahhhhhhh.... Thank you Lord.

Quick sidebar: one thing you'll notice in Memphis is a lot of camouflage.  Camouflage trucks.  Camouflage table clothes.  Camouflage strollers.  Just about anything you'd think to want to hide-in-plain sight can be found in Memphis.  It's a southern thing.  I live in Florida, and that's fairly southern, but, like, sunny-southern.  Memphis is southern-southern.  And the thing you'll see most in a tidy camouflage package is cargo-shorts.  Now since I happen own a pair of these, I'll let it die right here.  The jokes are just too easy.  And if you don't have to work to make a good joke, well, then it's just not worth it.

Because we got an early start (which is really the only way to start when you're covering 400 plus miles a day) we got into Memphis about 3:30 PM CT.  We got to the hotel and completely unloaded the Tour Truckster.  I knew the load of posters and t-shirts was going to be huge, so we needed every available square inch of interior space.

the GPS Lady

An hour later we were at my friend, Jim Walker's, house loading posters and t-shirts into the Truckster. I had badly (okay, cataclysmically!) under estimated the stuff.  There were about 1,000 t-shirts and 800 posters!   The t-shirts were in big cardboard boxes.  The posters flat-packed, but they weighed, all together, I swear like 200 pounds!  How can paper weigh that much?!  Clearly the trees from which they were produced were all laughing their collective pulpy butts off - "Payback!"

Drury Inn's are ALL Pet Friendly, Captain Maverick' approved!

Somehow, we got all the stuff in the Truckster.  Bu then there wasn't a freaking square centimeter of space left.  How the hell were we gonna get all "our stuff" back in?!  This is a bad bad turn of circumstances.  Now, as panic kills, I didn't panic, but I sure as hell fretted.  Like, a lot.

So we get back to the hotel and unload everything from the Truckster into the room.

1,000 t-shirts.  800 posters.  How are we going to get all that and all our gear into a Honda Pilot?

460 miles end of day 2 beer at Sharkeys in Memphis

We had no idea.

Check back tomorrow for Day 3.



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