____Day 1: The Company has two conditions when carrying passengers: one is that they sign an insurance waiver, relieving the company of the responsibility of any mishap. The second is that they are named on the customs declaration when entering the US in the truck. I have two conditions: one is that the passenger's presence does not hinder the progress of the trip and the other is that they allow their body to be ravished, as and when required. At the end of the first day, we are at Albert Lea, Mn.
____Hi, I get to hijack this blog for a paragraph or two, you can call me "Cougar" and I’m amazed that I’ve lived in North America all my life and it takes an Englishman who has seen more of it than me to let me experience it. Life on the road for this newbie, there was a vehicle that looked like a San Francisco trolley and the US Forces finest from the ND air show. I missed taking those pictures (got to be fast) especially the three air force jets flying over the truck stops. Tally for the day, SF trolley car, Minnesota afternoon delight, US air force jets and two US states.
|Nashville, Tennessee, Music City, USA.|
____Onward through Iowa where I see some eerie looking windmills against the grey drizzly sky backdrop of skyline which prompted a discussion about them with Mercury and a note to self to do a little web searching on windmill power as there were lots of these in Iowa. One thing I did learn is that some rest areas have free Wi-Fi. One of my favourite quotes is by Mark Twain and it was Hannibal Missouri boyhood town that I got to see. At the end of it a fire truck was a putting out the last of the fire on his trucks trailer. A few miles down the road the cops were in hot race to the scene leaving their donuts behind or so Mercury stated. Tally for the day, Windmills, Hannibal, Mississippi River, Missouri afternoon delight, St Louis arch and three more states where I’ve never been before.
____“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, Sail away from the safe harbour, Catch the trade winds in your sails, Explore. Dream, Discover" – Mark Twain.
|Choo Choo Truck Wash : that'll be Chattanooga then?|
____Out of Illinois and into Kentucky, where I look around and wonder: where are all the horses? Unfortunately for the horse sight-seeing it's a short drive through Kentucky with no Tornado in sight either. Tennessee is a beautiful place with lots of rolling hills and the only place where a truck has to stop and check their brakes for a steep downhill grade. Everywhere I see signs for Ruby Falls or Rock city, but soon learn that it is one place I can mark to come back to, a city in the sky and a water fall in a cave. Out of Tennessee into Georgia and then back into Tennessee; I feel like I’m on a merry-go-round, but it’s short lived and we are finally in Georgia. Tally for the day, Ohio River, Tennessee River, Nashville, Chattanooga Choo Choo, no afternoon delight; giving him a break and three more states.
|Gateway Arch : that'll be St Louis then?|
____Up at the crack of dawn as they unload the truck, we are heading a little further south in Georgia where the highways reminds me of Mars Sands a golf course out in Libau, Manitoba with its tree lined fairway. I keep looking for the fox that steals the balls but all I see is the endless beauty of boulevard of dreams I like to call it, marred here and there by a path taken by one of nature’s wild storms, remnants of past tornados that have ripped down the majestic trees that line Interstate 75.
Reloaded and out of Georgia, I am so special to have Mercury who is so considerate that he planned and made good time to let me spend the night in Nashville. As we leave the truck I notice birds flying over head, thousands of them reminding me of the movie The Birds. Mercury figures Monday night in downtown Nashville would be quiet, boy, was he wrong? All along Broadway there were establishments open trying to lure unsuspecting tourists in. We had a light dinner at one rib place on the second floor that was open to the air reminding me of one of the many places in the tropics. It was right across from Bridgestone Arena where we could watch all the antics of people walking by and two motorcycle cops. On the way back from the truck, I stop to pat a horse and Mercury is slipped a sex card, can’t leave him alone a minute.
|Just a 2 km walk from the truckstop to the heart of Music City and Rippy's Fine Restaurant.|
____It’s an early start to the day to make up for the gift Mercury gave me yesterday of Nashville, and uneventful as we retrace our way back home. One side detour, another gift from my generous driver is going straight through St Louis so I can get a better look and picture of the famous St Louis Gateway Arch. It amazes me also the twists, turns and tiers of the concrete bridges on I64. Through Tennessee I get to see my first actually live wildlife, two deer grazing by the side of the highway. A long day finally stopping where there is internet connection.
|I've always wondered who bought all that souvenir stuff they have at truckstops.|
____Pushing back on early, through the last of the states, listening to music, it’s the first time during the trip I head into the back for a snooze. Waking up just in time for lunch in Fargo, then Mercury allows me one quick stop before the border for some nice Orange Patron; so I have something to fill all 9 shot glasses I picked up along the way, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia. I actually got three in Nashville, which included a Jack Daniels Jigger along with another shot glass with Nashville and some instruments on it. Last of all; I thank my guide, advisor, confident and bunk mate for taking me to places I’ve never been before, a very pleasurable trip indeed.
|Georgia: Destination State: Again.|