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April 27, 2009


After pulling into truck stops for the last two nights, I couldn't resist the signs for Cumberland Mountains State Park, near Crossville, Tennessee.

Not that the truck stops weren't thrilling... The low, deep rumble of hundreds of idling big rigs is mesmerizing. Row after row, they're lined up with up just a couple of feet between them. It's like peeking back stage and seeing the guts of the operation to supply America's insatiable thirst. And what a sub-culture long haul drivers have!. You'll have to spend a night among them some day. Very interesting contrasts. Both nights Darby and I tucked away in a quiet corner of the lot and slept soundly till sunrise.

But that was New York and West Virginia. This is Tennessee. The most beautiful state we've yet passed. Big, healthy forests unvisited by big, unhealthy (but very kind) people. Perhaps the active ones spent their Sunday somewhere other than the Interstate. Go figure...

Anyhow - so I see the sign for Cumberland, and decide that Darby and I are due for a hike in the woods together. We explore the trails, slowly at first, side-steppng the poison oak (I'm almost over the last bout I got on my legs in California a month ago) until a stream with good flow beckons for a splash. The water's refreshingly crisp, welcome after a day blasted from above by nearly cloudless sun and below by the heat radiating from the endless freeway. After a thorough spring cleaning, we double back and pick up the pace. Now rapidly to get back to the truck before dark Alas, as I have a tendency to do, we hiked the last bit in the dark. And no, leaving my headlamp in the car wasn't brilliant, and neither was the trail after the sun set. Whatever, we took turns leading and found our way. We both have the nose for this kind of thing.

Exhilerated by nature, we're signing off in the dead quiet of our Tennessee night.

April 25, 2009

Trailer Hitch

I'm standing in line at a gas station Dunkin' Donuts and a guy points out that the auto transport isn't installed on the truck's hitch ball! It's just sitting on it loosely. I must have a horse shoe up my butt, because I drove for 24 hours like that and it didn't come off... Lesson: don't install a hitch in the dark...

On the road again

Packed up a 17' Uhaul, towing my car behind, I head out from Montreal with Darby on our way back to California. I love long drives, and I have at least 7 days of it ahead of me - the same drive I did 13 years ago...