8:22am EST I am on the road again. After sleeping in my car last night and returning from a wild experience on Beale Street downtown Memphis, I got back to the campground and everything was very quiet. It was right around midnight. I blew up my air mattress, laid out my blankets, and went down take a shower. Then I went right to sleep. I woke up this morning around 6 o’clock and realized I’m still on Eastern standard time at least my body is. So that’s actually a good thing because I need to get it up anyway. I was going to boil some water for my oatmeal and tea but damn if I’m gonna stay in Skeeter Haven any more time, I’m leaving here. I slept with the windows up because I know those bastards are just waiting to get in to bite me. And I wasn’t wrong, as soon as I opened up my door three of them were inside the car.
Right now I’m driving by where Martin Luther King delivered the Riverside speech. …an interesting and critical contrast between the letter from Birmingham Jail.
7:30 AM Central Right now I’m looking at the Mississippi River, the water looks very still. I have just pulled into a public parking area right next to the river. I just passed the National Civil Rights Museum and I’ve decided that this is where I’m going to have my breakfast, Just before I cross this river. I’m getting a little emotional right now just thinking about doing this. Thinking about John Hartford. Thinking about my grandparents and how much honestly I wish that they could be with me. I know they would’ve enjoyed Beale St just as much as I did, at least Paw Paw would have, my grandmother would not. That makes me chuckle. So here’s to hot water and oatmeal and some green tea..
9:25 AM Starbucks, near Beale Street. I am waiting on my car to be checked out for safe passage. The guys at the tire place are nice, one is from Henderson North Carolina. Right now I’m going to find some breakfast, I didn’t have time to boil water for oatmeal. I’m trying to get on the road!
Walking down Beale Street during the day early morning is completely different from last night. The only sound you hear is coming from the bars that are open is some lightweight blues music. I’m going out to the country baby don’t you want to go…
1046 EST Casey at WS Haynes downtown tire is kick ass. He said the back two tires were out of alignment and they all had more tire pressure than they needed so he balanced the tires, realigned the back and put the appropriate amount of psi in each tire. I hope to get better gas mileage and to not feel that crazy shake. I am now headed out of Memphis. I’m gonna drive by the Peabody and take a picture of it for Anne R. Then I am going to cross the Mississippi river! Oh and by the way, they didn’t even charge me for any of that. That’s amazing. Could be because I’m a woman driving across the country by her poor old lonesome….
11:51 AM EST well I am on my way I have stopped and Earle, Arkansas. Got some gas, ate some oatmeal got some hot water for my tea and figured out where I’m going to land tonight. Looks like it’s going to be Ute Lake State Park in Logan, New Mexico right outside of Tucumcari. I’m not gonna be able to drive all the way to Albuquerque tonight. Looking forward to this drive though looks like it’s gonna be fun 40 all the way. Maw Maw encouraged me this morning to take off on some side roads, but I’d like to do my exploring once I actually get out to the Southwest. I’ll also be able to do that once I figure out when I’m going to be weird. I meant where, not weird (siri sometimes is awesome.)
I put some sunscreen on my left side since that’s where the Sun’s going to be mostly and the clouds are very big and fluffy. There’s one that looks like a whale a tiny whale. I’m expected to arrive at Ute Lake State Park at 9:30 tonight. Maybe Tucumcari has some good food I can get for dinner.
Just check that out, I’m actually not going through Tucumcari tonight. The route is different, so I better get some dinner in Amarillo!!
I just remembered something awful happened last night, or comical depending on how you look at it. After I got out of the shower and went back to my campsite got in my car, and made my bed something smelled terrible. I didn’t recognize the smell, and then I sniffed my feet. They were so stinky. I don’t know, I think I may have stepped in something on my way out of the shower, but I had my shoes on so I don’t know. Anyway today at the gas station I was just utilizing, I washed my feet AND my shoes with antibacterial soap. They do smell a little bit better but I’m not going to be driving in those shoes all day anymore.
12:33 PM EST Florida license plate!
2:17 PM EST seriously? Today’s been full of miracles, or utilization of cute white girl status. I say that with a lot of seriousness. About 100 miles back I was an hour away from Little Rock Arkansas when I came across the entire westbound traffic stopped at a standstill. As I was approaching this quagmire, I saw a highway patrolman speedily reversing backwards on the utility Lane of the highway. As I came to the dead standstill in the far right lane of the 2 Lane interstate section, I made a decision that changed my entire trip I am sure for the better. I decided to follow the highway patrolman’s suit and back up. We had all just passed a closed rest area. When I had reversed all the way down to where the highway patrolman was, just in front of the closed rest stop exit, I stopped the car just in front of his vehicle. When he got out to asked me what I was doing, I told him that I had to pee so bad and if there was anyway that I can get off the interstate right now that I would be forever grateful. At first he didn’t want to let me turn around, you could see it in his eyes. So after one second of awkwardness, he said well you can pull into this closed rest stop drive and drive all the way around and underneath the highway, end up on the other side where you can get back on 40 east and heading to Biscoe (Arkansas)and subsequently Highway 70. When I looked at the map, it was 3 miles of red dead standstill on 40 westbound. I think I’m going to chalk that up to resourcefulness and white privilege. I remember reading an article about and buy a woman of color hiking the Appalachian trail. I wonder what would’ve been her experience in that? I wonder if some dude decided to try that trick, would he be able to convince a young to middle-aged highway patrolman that he should be let off the highway to pee (and avoid three hours of waiting)? Something to ponder…
So I called my grandmother immediately and told her the good news. She was excited that I was getting on highway 70, its the same highway 70 that runs right behind her house. While I was on Highway 70 I decided to try to send Maw Maw a picture of my route from Memphis to Amarillo and then to Ute lake state park. After about 15 minutes of explanation of what to do on the iPhone, she finally saw the picture! I must say explaining how to use an iPhone to somebody over another phone and that somebody has never used any Apple products at all much less a computer… It’s difficult. But we made it through!
So after I drove on highway 70 for quite some time, I decided not to take 70 through Little Rock, Arkansas. That sounds like a bad idea. So I’m back on 40 stop to get mayonnaise and bananas, and by the way Dukes does not make an easy spread mayonnaise bottle, at least they didn’t sell it at this particular Kroger. But the positive is that it’s all positive, this trip has been mostly wonderful so far. Even the hangups and the fear that I might have a broken car, has all lead to a solid adventure so far. Soon I will be having a tomato sandwich when I get to Fort Collins, Arkansas.
2:39 PM EST I’m about to run into some serious rain. I’m in Conway, Arkansas. I looked at the radar and there will be a storm crossing the interstate where I am going. It’s already starting to look desert-ish out here, but, like Dr. Harvard Ayers says, doesn’t really hit you until after you drive through Amarillo.
2:46 PM I just thought of a really great NASCAR bumper sticker, “I’m not tailgating, I’m drafting.” (I’m sure someone else already thought of that)
2:59 PM EST New Mexico tags. It’s still raining not as bad as I thought it was going to be. From the looks of the radar I thought that was going to be a lot worse.
5:30 PM EST I just passed a vehicle with North Carolina plates and I have seen a new update of Idaho. I also saw a New Mexican plate, maybe I already said that. Just got off the phone with my dear friend Becky, we had a great conversation and she was very excited for me going on this trip. I’m pretty excited too, it’s a long time fulfillment of a dream that I had a long time ago. I’m so honored and lucky to have friends in all these places around the country that I can go visit on this trip. One thing I really like about the road is all the birds that fly on the thermals that come up off the road, it’s beautiful. I love watching them soar. I’ve seen hawks and and and owl, Geese, crows, sparrows and buzzards. Right now I’m about 100 miles from Oklahoma City.
Back while I was talking to Becky, I had to stop for coffee. I was getting very tired. Not the kind of tired makes you sleepy, but the tired to make she want to get up and run really really fast. Maybe that’s not tired, more appropriately it would be called restlessness.
5:40 PM EST just passed the Cherokee nation license plate. Also back at the campground earlier this morning I saw two vehicles that were from Quebec.
5:50 PM EST the clouds out here absolutely crazy beautiful, gigantic, very close to the ground, and even some of the cell towers I’ve seen have been up in them. They look like gods, I don’t know how else to describe it, they remind me of when the mountains are fighting with each other in Bilbo’s journey in The Hobbit. When they’re all traveling in the mountains and they’re on the steep cliffs and the thunder and lightning are happening. The mountains and thunder themselves are throwing rocks at each other that’s with these clouds look like except some of them are grey and some of them are gray-ish blue. Breathtaking for sure.
Just passed a Muskogee nation license tag.
Alaska! Subaru Impreza, kind a newer than mine. I thought I would not see in Alaska plates, that’s what I get for thinking!
Why do people say scratch their head when they’re thinking about something, trying to figure something out or something is confusing? I just naturally scratched my head after I thought about the fact that most of the trucks that I’ve seen have been from Maine and Idaho.
5:15 PM central time, I just left the Muskogee a.k.a. Creek nation. I saw this gas station that had flashing prices for diesel and regular fuel. For regular was $7.77. For diesel it was $8.88. Imagine seeing those numbers and thinking “that’s got to be wrong!” Maybe it wasn’t. When I went to Alaska, 1 gallon of gas was $13. I never understood why that was other than the white man trying to make it hard on Native Americans, perpetuation of that bullshit. I still don’t understand that, although logically it makes sense if you think about the Magna Carta, patriarchy, and other oppressive paradigms that go in that same sentence.
Exited the Seminole nation of Oklahoma and entered Potowan (sp?)
I just looked to my left right behind the Valero gas station is a Biscuit Hill. Not a hill made biscuits but a business called Biscuit Hill. Reminded me of Biscuitville which is not to be mistaken for Biscuit Hill. Biscuit. Biscuit build. What would somebody look like if they had biscuit build? I think it something like a muffin top, cute and pudgy around the edges.
“That girl had a real cute biscuit build!”
Leaving the Sac and Fox nation…
Entering Kickapoos nation
Just saw an exit with the word Tecumseh on it. Now I’ve got to listen to some Tecumseh valley.. here I come Nancy Griffith
281 miles to Amarillo, that’s crazy. How did 40 West know where I was going? 😉
5:45 PM central time just saw a license tag for Miami Nation Oklahoma
Caddo nation “Chitty” license plate. I like that nickname.
6:10pm CT My ass hurts.
Entering Cheyenne Seminole nation
6:35pm CT So I just almost hit the sparrow that was driving directly toward my windshield. I actually exclaimed out loud.
6;45pm CT just drove through my first downpour. Didn’t last long, not as long and wide as the sky that can be seen in all directions.
Suddenly a horizon of wind turbines!
730 central time this episode of Radio Lab has me yelling out loud!! Ahhhhh! If we had more jurors who were representative of the community that we all live in we could have a more JUST Justice system!
I have just done something that I don’t normally do which is turnaround on the interstate to see what kind of dead animal is on the side of the road I just found out it was a deer. I thought it was some kind a cat. I wonder how many miles out of my way I’m gonna have to go to get off the interstate and get back on. Oh wait here comes an exit now, That’s lucky duck status.
815 central time – just filled up 1399 miles. It’s 914 Eastern time. So I didn’t realize that Amarillo is such a big deal, I thought that I would drive on through have a tomato sandwich tonight for dinner. My plan is, don’t pay for breakfast and lunch, make and eat it on the road or wherever I happen to be, and then for dinner find cool places to eat. I found a cool place in Amarillo. And the funny thing is I found over 15 restaurants that are open until 11 or 12 o’clock at night that still serve dinner. Amarillo, I thought, George strait made it really famous. And if he didn’t and it was already famous, then I had no idea. I’ve never been to Amarillo, how was I supposed to know?
I expect to arrive at the restaurant right around 10 o’clock. Let’s see what this restaurant called OHMS has to offer, i’m looking forward to the smoked pork chop. A girl after my grandmother’s heart. She loves porkchops.
8:25 PM central
So I was looking at the menu for this restaurant that I’m going to and it’s pretty expensive. Came across my mind was the question that I haven’t answered in this way ever. Question was who am I? Thinking that I can just traipse into expensive restaurants and afford to eat there. I’m worried that I don’t have enough money to be going into expensive restaurants and eating expensive food. I’m concerned that I shouldn’t go into those restaurants and spend lots of money when I could just be frugal I need a tomato sandwich. And the answer that I came up with is this: I’ve been a server most of my adult life. As server and a bartender, most of my serving and bartending experience has been in places that are mostly patronized by the upper middle class. Therefore I know what the food tastes like, I know what the drinks are composed of, I know what good service looks like and feels like from an insider’s perspective. I know what delicious bone marrow taste like because I’ve worked in a restaurant that served it. That type of food isnt necessarily geared toward someone like me who can barely afford to pay my student loans AND rent. It’s geared toward people who have more money than I do. But the fact that I know and appreciate that type of food and drink and culture makes me wonder about who I am. Makes me wonder why I enjoy this delicious food and have access to it. Why isn’t everyone afforded the same access to the kind of food I’ve been serving most of my life. I started out working in Angelos which is a mom-and-pop joint that used to be in Graham North Carolina. That wasn’t necessarily an upscale joint. You came up to the counter you ordered your calzone we gave you a number and a Styrofoam cup and you got your own drink went to your table, and waited on us to bring your food out. But even that is unaffordable to a lot of people. Some people have to feed their families only that which they can afford, which sometimes look like McDonald’s and sometimes looks like skipping dinner. I remember being hungry as a very very young child. Getting hungry now makes my body ache in a nervous sort of way. I couldn’t imagine fasting for moral purposes. Maybe I could do it, I don’t know. I’m just shaking my head and thinking about all of this. The whole service industry is fucked up. The idea that one serves another seems ludicrous to me. We should all be working TOGETHER serving each other but without the stratification of class and privilege. I know that sounds like a bunch of socialist idealist bleeding heart bullshit to some people, but I truly feel that way. It would be so nice if we were all living in community with each other and sharing creative ideas about food and drink and farming and cures to diseases and a better way to practice Democracy. Maybe Democracy is not the best thing, but it seems like there’s got to be some line between Democracy and socialism. Totalitarianism, fascism, stratification of class and race and gender all seem to have a basic tenants of inequality. And if we are all inherently equal then is human nature in question? I know I’m getting all theoretical and shit based on going to dinner tonight but I think about this stuff all the time. This is why I want to be a judge, this is why I want to run for office, this is why I believe in a participatory democracy. And if the only two ways that we get to participate in our participatory democracy is voting and serving on a jury, then that’s complete bullshit. We ought to be all in when it comes to how we are governed and how we live our lives, how we eat our food, and where we eat and the type of food we eat. I guess I’m really passionate about solving inequality and food justice. And that entails farm worker justice and immigrant justice. And then on a deeper and much more personal level I believe in personal space justice, the person shouldn’t be allowed to take advantage of you and get away with it. I’m thinking specifically about sex offenders that I know and have been victim to. The man that my mother is married to (and still LIVES WITH) is a convicted sex offender her and is not in jail. In my opinion he should be under the jail. Or at least digging a ditch. I don’t believe in the death penalty. I don’t know how I got to here from where I was but I’m going to go to this dinner tonight and I’m just going to be glad that I’m eating. I’m crying right now because I am glad that I get to eat. I’m grateful that I get to go on this trip and I’m sad for all those will not get the opportunity (even though they may have the desire). Stream of consciousness voice to text…
8:54 PM central time I am in Texas. I made it to Texas awhile back, not sure if I said anything about it though. The sky, again is absolutely gorgeous. I remember the first time I came out here I probably took 1700 photos of just the sky (exaggeration). This time I’m just looking at it I have taken a few pictures though. I expect to get to the restaurant around 10 o’clock if I’m lucky. I don’t want to be out here on the highway after nightfall. But I am going to have to leave Amarillo and drive to the state park after I’m done eating, which will be after dark. Little while ago my guardian angel pin came apart and my guardian angel fell on top of me. Smacked me right on the arm. But now she’s in a place where I could see her all the time.
I just got a call from Paw Paw, he was calling me back. I told him I was in Texas and he started to sing, “there’s a yellow rose in Texas my true love for to see! Her eyes are bright is diamonds and they sparkle like the sea…”
Song title: “the road is old” song content: buffalo roots of migration to human car roots means of travel
9:11 PM central time
I was talking to Becky earlier and I just started to think about it again I was saying how I’m actually afraid and trepidatious about this trip. Also excited and at peace with it too. I have no idea what’s going to happen.I have a general idea about where I plan on going, but all the… Peter called and rest of that sentence is …rest of the trip I cannot plan.
10:41 PM central time leaving Amarillo Texas. I’ve been singing about Amarillo all day long because it was my dinner destination. But Amarillo gave me the creeps. Rather it was these two dudes it gave me the creeps. When the restaurant that I had found was closed, I was left to finding a restaurant that was open at 10 o’clock serving food. No easy task it seems. The burger joint was closed, but there was still a guy singing country music to a bunch of people in cowboy hats. There were two people shuffling around on the floor, maybe they were dancing. So I left there and went to the bright neon light that said Acapulco Mexicana! In searching for a restaurant, I saw a big slab of meat and a man working on a flat top Grill outside, it look enticing. The tacos were absolutely delicious. I had pork that was grilled and sautéed with onions and peppers and then they had a whole bar of accompanying taco toppings all for six dollars, I got three tacos. I found myself a seat, and before I had my first bite, this guy came over and started talking to me. At first he talked about how delicious tacos were, then he went into how he and his buddy and just arrived in Amarillo on the bus. And that they had intended on riding away on the bus but decided to skip it and stay overnight. He said they were going to be staying at the red roof Inn. His friend looked extremely fucked up. He was sitting hunched over sideways and kept losing the hat that was sitting on top of his head. He looked up at me one time and said “I’m from Kentucky but originally I’m from London.” Honestly I doubt of the story, maybe that’s terrible of me. But drunk people tell all kinds of tales, they said drunk people don’t lie but they sure as hell make shit up in order to impress women. The younger guy decided to sit down at my table and talk to me. Where I proceeded to avoid making eye contact and went about enjoying my tacos as best I could. About halfway through my first taco I knew that I was gonna have to get out of the situation. I’m overly friendly and I don’t know how to really ignore people, because I think it’s rude. But these guys I definitely wanting to ignore. So I got on the telephone called Peter so that I could not awkwardly ignore these guys. I just had a bad feeling about the whole thing. So my plan worked. I started talking on the phone, the young guy finally walked away and the sloucher drunk guy quit talking to me. I think they got the gist. There was a woman walking down the street really slowly who looked like she could possibly be homeless, and the whole vibe got more creepy really fast. Lots of people standing around outside on the corner and I feel like I just needed to go. So as I was eating my last taco, I picked up my plate while still talking to Peter on the phone and walked straight to my car. I still have an hour and a half left on my journey until I make it to the state park in New Mexico. It smells like poop out here and there’s a ton of lightning to my right (North) and I’m hoping I don’t run into that when I go to the state park. We’ll see what happens! I feel glad to be out of Amarillo. I never thought I’d say that.
11:45pm Central – Holy shit really? Maps just tried to take me down a dirt road and I can barely see anything it’s so dark. I hope I make it to the park tonight.