Last we spoke, I drove through boring Kansas, staying overnight in a lonely Wichita motel room. From there it was on to southern Arkansas where my friend and his wife were living. It was my first chance to see a familiar face since leaving Portland a week ago and my first opportunity to visit a nifty Wal*Mart.
I drove vast distances the first week in order to attend a weekend wedding in Memphis. Prior to leaving my friend’s Arkansas house Saturday morning, their phone rang. My girlfriend called with some news. She was pregnant! I kid. She purchased a one way ticket to Chicago, where her mom resides. She would meet me in the Windy City in three weeks. Suddenly my mildly aimless road trip required a bit more planning to make it to Chicago in three weeks. My funds weren’t growing so perhaps it was good have an “end game”.
We drove a few hours from their Arkansas dwelling to Memphis for the lavish evening wedding. We saw Graceland, saw some not so picturesque parts of Memphis, touristy locales, and got drunk on the famous Beale street in the process. We drove back to Arkansas Sunday afternoon, recuperating in front of the tv that night.
After spending the weekend in Arkansas/Tennessee, it was time to head south Monday morning. I drove through humid Lafayette and pulled up shop at another KOA campground ten minutes west of town near Egan, Louisiana. I visited my namesake town for some fun photo opportunities. (pictures to come later)
Tuesday morning I rolled up my tent and drove east to New Orleans, parking my car in the French Quarter. I scouted out suitable restaurants and admired the city’s architecture. What a great place to sample the local food offerings, or so one might think. I found a Wendy’s, ducked inside, and ate some food. I slowly made my way back to my parked car, noticing people walking around with their alcoholic beverages. We have “open container” laws in my neck of the woods prohibiting the transportation of alcoholic beverages between establishments.
Paranoid about theft, I hightailed it back to my Honda destined for the next big city, Atlanta, Georgia. One of my brothers had relocated there from Seattle about a year or two before my road trip. Tuesday was memorable for two reasons: warm ocean water and hurricane damage. I’d never felt warm ocean water and never personally witnessed hurricane destruction. Both intrigued me immensely. In Biloxi, Mississippi where both paths merged near abandoned casinos and beaches, one could easily see the impact of Hurricane Georges in the region.
I arrived in Atlanta late Tuesday night. I spent three or so days in Atlanta from what I can remember. Great timing, my sister was also in town for a softball tournament. It was nice to see her and my older brother. I accompanied my sister to Six Flags one of the days. We don’t have amusement parks in Seattle due to our perpetual gray weather. My visions of Atlanta were different than the reality. I pictured a flat brown landscape, but Atlanta is hilly and was far greener than expected. I hit the touristy Stone Mountain and some covered bridge near it. My brother and I went out a few times as I was introduced to the swanky Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta and some dance clubs. The guys loved me!
Next up, Charlottesville, Virginia! My buddy, Cy, who happens to be celebrating a birthday today, October 17th, attended law school at the University of Virginia. I’ve known Cy since grade three. I spent a couple nights in Virginia and also visited some historical sights such as Yorktown, Thomas Jefferson’s house in Monticello, Richmond, and the Confederate Museum. Not only did I get to meet up with Cy, but my other childhood friend Mike was stationed in Newport News. The three of us have been close friends since grade school so it was a unique treat to spend the weekend together on the other side of the continent.
1. Portland –> Boise, Idaho
2. Boise –> Provo, Utah
3. Provo –> Denver, Colorado
4. Denver –> Wichita, Kansas
5. Wichita –> Monticello, Arkansas
6. Monticello –> Memphis, Tennessee
7. Memphis –> Lafayette, Louisiana
8. Layfayette –> to Atlanta, Georgia
9. Atlanta –> Charlottesville & Newport News, Virginia