The road, my sister, and Memphis Tennessee
Tires make an interesting noise when rolling along the open road. You can’t really hear it at first, not between the music, the conversation, and the pure excitement of the trip. Each little rivet hits the macadam and creates it’s own noise. When this combines with all of the other little rivets and leading technology traction keeping devices there is a light humming sound attained. I pondered this with window open traveling along I-20 out of South Carolina. I heard each car pass, even with the wind in my ears, and slight background music blaring. Those tires each making their own call for attention.
There really isn’t much to do when on the road with a destination and timeline indicated. If I had only given myself time for a full week or week and a half maybe we could have done more. Maybe I wouldn’t have noticed those tires, or checked my in-car thermometer fifteen times to brag to everyone back home. I felt bad. I was texting a lot, not really sparking any sort of conversation with my sister who was quietly smoking a cigarette and enjoying the view on her end. It was better now though. At least she didn’t have her bags on top of her. We managed to smash that into the back without damaging anything. Instead a pizza box with a half eaten veggie pizza was on the floor along with six more tacos from taco bell. I did think about food borne illness but let the daring mindset, achieved on this trip, take over. We would be fine, and if not; oh well.
My mind flirted with interesting outcomes and possibilities that lay ahead, or that could have been. I smiled, then pondered another direction it could have gone with that young man. Then I smiled and pondered what great people I will meet in San Diego. Then I laughed at a text message I received that was overly flirty. Either way I was smiling. There were times too that I wondered what my sister was thinking about. Every once in a while she would crack a smile. I’m sure she was visiting happy memories, or maybe even just had the thought “wow, I’m really driving across the country with my brother!”
I will admit it; when I thought about the reality that I was in, it felt funny, odd, and fantastic. Before long we were approaching Atlanta Georgia. Watching the signs on the side of the road, and occasionally asking Mary, “how long on this road, and then what?” always led me to figuring out where we were. I finally saw a sign for Atlanta, but then there was a billboard for New Orleans. Hmm, my mind began turning, being as I didn’t pay very close attention in geography I had to ask Mary, “How far is New Orleans?”
“I was thinking the same thing!” She said, quickly regaining interest in the trip.
“Why hadn’t I even thought of it?” I asked aloud, yet more to myself.
“It’s another ten hours, or two hundred and seventy miles.” She looked over at me. I wanted to go, she wanted to go, but that damned time frame! I only had five days to get out to San Diego so that I could get to my interview that Monday.
“So essentially we’re adding another ten hours to get to San Diego.”
“Yeah,” she replied. I took a second with it. I played with the idea. I would love to go to New Orleans, stop out at the Emeril’s restaurants, go to bourbon street, party hardy for a night. Then I looked at the time. We would get there at about one o’clock in the morning, and have to start driving by eleven that same morning.I explained this all to Mary with my concluding thoughts.
“So ultimately it’d be stupid to do that. We wouldn’t even get to do anything.” Call it poor planning. “We’re going to need a hotel for tonight though, you want to check out a motel first? It needs to be cheap.”
Discouraged, but still happy to be going to Memphis (though she did bring up Nashville), she began to research. We went back and forth about the pricing for the night. I knew it had to be cheap especially since I had not anticipated Mary running out of money after day one. After a few minutes she began looking at reviews for the cheapest. She started laughing!
“Oh my god! Listen to this review!” She said in between laughing. “Okay, here goes from nikosfrijoles’I was only visiting for a night, but it was horrible! The noise was ridiculous, the thugs numerous, and can someone tell me why the maids use walmart carts?'”
It was all she could read without breaking out into laughter.
“I wanna stay there!” She held up the phone for me to see the review. “I just wanna see that shit!”
“Looks like we won’t be staying there.” I laughed with her.
“Ghetto! HAHA Walmart carts! That’s some crazy shit!”
Little did we know that when we arrived even the one we had settled on by Dreamland and the airport was a no-go. The whole place was ghetto. It was gross to drive through. We finally found a hotel that had a gated lot. It made sense with the amount of cops running after someone running past. Then a swarm of cops at a corner motel (probably the one we first researched). The Clariton was way more than I wanted to spend but it was a place to stay, had a security team roaming the grounds, camera’s, and a gated parking area. We checked in and I pulled my bike from the back of my car. I was not about to take the chances.
It was a nice trip all in all. By the time we hit Mississippi it was dark, so we didn’t really see too much of that countryside. We grabbed a few beers and passed out shortly to wake the next morning, make sure my car wasn’t set on fire in a riot, and begin our next journey.