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Day 20 of our excellent adventure


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Posted 08 November 2014 - 09:03 AM

Today we reached Tennessee through Memphis, which brings warm feelings on numerous levels.

 

Getting to Tennessee means returning to the state where I was born. It also means just one more state to pass through before we get back to Georgia. And it means we've stayed in the last hotel on this trip, as we'll be bunking tonight with friends in Mt. Juliet, TN, and tomorrow night with a cousin in Tullahoma, TN, which is my home town. We've been in a hotel room 18 of the last 20 nights... not looking forward to the Visa bill later this month...

 

Getting this far east always means we're returning to the land of trees!

 

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The overall scarcity of trees in the west (except for parts of Oregon) is the aspect I find most disconcerting, having grown up in TN and lived in GA all my life. There's just something about trees than comforts me as opposed to the wide open spaces of the west.

 

Still no good fall color, except for a small section along the interstate in Arkansas about 100 miles from the TN line. It was so small that I couldn't even get the camera out of the door pocket before we had passed it by. This is the sort of fall color we've been seeing on this trip and it's pretty dull.

 

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Had a little excitement about halfway across Arkansas. A late model Chevy Tahoe, driven by a young-looking guy with either his mother or grandmother in the front passenger seat and traveling way too fast, was obviously not paying as much attention as he should have been. When the Tahoe came upon Geoff following me in the chase car and realized he was going only 45 MPH or so, he veered into the fast lane too quickly, causing the Tahoe to do a neat 360-degree spin in the middle of the interstate before tagging the center divider with a rear corner. Geoff saw it all in his rear view mirror. Wonder what mom or grandma had to say to him after that little maneuver...

 

Getting through the last few dozen miles of Arkansas was a real chore. First of all the big truck traffic level was off the charts. There were times when semis where as much as 90% of the traffic on the interstate and we don't see that high a percentage in the Atlanta area, where trucks are a big part of the traffic flow, too.

Also, Arkansas is totally rebuilding a long stretch on I-40 headed into Memphis. It's not just being repaved, but rather removed all the way down to the dirt and reconstructed completely. This meant that eastbound traffic was routed over to the westbound side in a single narrow lane between those ubiquitous concrete barriers for about ten miles or so. Traffic backed up behind the Model A, as usual, and there was no place for me to pull over to let it by. The good news is that the speed limit was lowered to 45 MPH on the single lane portion and the Model A can do that!

 

We're going to ditch the interstate today and take US-64 east from Memphis and then jump on to the Natchez Trace Parkway which will take us into Nashville. The Trace does not allow trucks at all, I believe, and that will be very refreshing. The Trace is largely the migration route buffalo and other herds used to reach mineral deposits in middle TN, but it was also used the the Indians and later by Mississippi River boatmen to return home from delivering their goods to New Orleans. Maybe we'll see some good fall color along this route.

 

Last two fill-ups gave fuel consumption as 15.8 and 17.4 MPG. Paid a very pleasant $2.64.9 for regular gas in Arkansas at the last fill-up.

 

Here's a pre-dawn shot of the Model A outside our hotel room, at about 6:10 AM local time. 

 

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It's hard to read, but notice the yellow sign right above the white truck's roof? It says "Waffle House" and for the first time this trip we're headed there for breakfast, having had our fill of barely-edible complimentary hotel breakfasts. You can bet the farm it won't be the last Waffle House the Model A ever visits... LOL!


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Gregory Wells

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