Day Sixty – Wednesday, October 19, 2016

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We awoke this morning in an almost brand new Hampton Inn, in Forrest City, Arkansas, and before we hit the road, we searched for a self service car wash. When we were at the Horseshoe Casino in Bossier City the day before, there was some yucky mess that was dripping off the portico when we drove up, and now it’s dried, and made the side of the car a mess. We headed back towards Interstate 40, and then went beyond, and took a 10 minute tour of Forrest City, and it was very sad. We passed boarded up restaurants and businesses, houses that looked like they were about to fall down, schools that were closed, and block after block of neglected property. It’s almost like the whole town had died, with the exception of the 2 blocks either side of the Interstate. Oh, and we found two car washes…both of them abandoned. Very sad to see the state of the town!

We continued our eastern trek on I-40, and as we pulled onto the road, the GPS said that our destination should be reached about 3:50 PM. Perfect we thought. We’ve been on Interstate 40 before, you may remember that somewhat earlier in our trip in Arizona it was what we kept getting off of to track down the original Route 66, but this section was crowded with a lot of trucks, and they were driving very fast! In short order we were at the Mississippi River and entering Tennessee, and the city of Memphis. Susie and I agreed that at another time, we will be back and explore this city and Nashville, but to do it now would be a waste, as our heads are already home, and whatever part of my head that’s not home, is clogged with a cold!

Very soon after entering Memphis, the GPS mumbled something about “significant traffic ahead” and suddenly routed us off of I-40, and we followed. She took us on a lovely tour of Memphis and we got to see St. Jude’s Hospital and beautiful, tree lined streets full of Craftsman Style homes. Eventually we got back on I-40 and we realized that we’d just passed construction, which would have provided the significant traffic. The GPS now said our expected ETA was at 4:08 PM.

About 5 minutes later, I was looking for a place to switch drivers, but we were still in an urban area, so no rest stops. I got off at an exit, only to realize that the on ramp on the other side of the road was closed, and the only way to go east was to get on west, get off at the exit we’d just passed, turn around, and resume our eastern path. Luckily, the exit was only 2 miles back, but it still made me mad that I got off there! Oh, and now the GPS says we will get to our destination at 4:27 PM.

After our driver switch, the GPS again tried to take us off I-40, but this time said nothing about traffic. As we ground to a halt with construction, we learned again to trust Miss GPS! ETA now was 4:40 PM.

For the rest of our driver switches we used the state of Tennessee’s very nice rest stop facilities. Unlike the state of Arkansas, where most seemed to be closed, Tennessee’s are open and lovely. Heck, they even name them after Country Music Stars!!

A little after 3 PM, we hit Nashville, and although I assumed we were still out of “rush hour” there was construction, and a lot of traffic, and by the time we got to the other side of the city, and suburban traffic dropped off, we’d lost some time. The GPS now said our ETA was 4:53 PM.

Then the bottom fell out! After speeding along at 70 MPH, suddenly all 4 lanes of Interstate 40 stopped, and I mean stopped dead! For the next 45 minutes to an hour, if we traveled a half a mile, I’d be surprised! We were trapped in traffic that sometimes crawled, but most time just sat still. Surrounded by trucks of all kinds, Susie even made friends with some goats that were stuck next to us…it didn’t seem to bother them as much as it did us! Susie found some info on a traffic app that said we were stuck behind a multi car accident that happened a little after 1 PM. Of course, when the traffic finally started moving again, we passed the spot and there was no evidence of anything but some torn up grass and a few fence posts! Damn!

Of course, as we were sitting there, the ETA on the GPS kept going, and by the time we started moving again, it said our ETA was 6:08 PM! On top of that, once the mass of traffic was released, people were driving like crazy folks, so staying out of trouble was a major concern! Let’s just say, that soon after we checked into the Comfort Suites in Cookeville, Tennessee, we were down the road at a Cheddars Restaurant, and ordered a couple of “stress relievers”!

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Oh well, we have to understand that for the first time in months, we are back in populated areas and things like this happen. We can’t even put this in our list of accidents we’ve seen along the way, because we didn’t see anything! I feel like Sgt. Shultz on Hogan’s Heroes! “I Know Nothing!”

See you tomorrow.

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