Day 1

Day 1

Saturday, December 20, 2014

We loaded the car and were on the road by 640 a.m. – but we made poor time despite our early start. A steady rain was freezing on the roads so we crept slowly through the early morning darkness, passing accident after accident on SR 46. By the time we got to Columbus the sky had lightened from impenetrable black to dismal grey. We picked up a spare 6mm washer and lock nut for BOB at Menard’s and turned Nova southward. Google GPS sent us down SR 11, it turned out because out a Megabus had overturned just north of Seymour and the interstate was blocked by cranes trying to right it. Once we were south of Henryville the roads cleared off and we were able to pick up speed.

Sex trafficking poster in the rest area at the Tennessee border.

Sex trafficking poster in the rest area at the Tennessee border (click to enlarge).

Kentucky was the only place where the sun was shining that day. Unfortunately, I slept from Louisville (where gas was $1.99 a gallon!) to the Tennessee border, so I missed the alleged sunshine. Tom didn’t warn me we’d crossed the state line when I got out at the rest area. Had I known we’d left Kentucky I wouldn’t have worn my Kentucky sweatshirt quite so proudly. The restroom stall featured a well-done flyer about sex trafficking that I stared at while I woke up. Flyers in bathroom stalls about sex trafficking were a consistent sight during this trip.

Tom had stopped at that rest area because his phone had crashed. He wasn’t able to resuscitate it while I was in the restroom, so I drove first to a McDonald’s for free WiFi (which was broken) and then to an AT&T store in Knoxville while he fiddled with it. Upon arrival, the AT&T tech declared Tom’s phone irreparably broken. Since it was under warranty, Google agreed to send him a replacement – but they couldn’t guarantee a delivery date, so we wouldn’t be able to reliably pick it up from a campground along our route. Since we were counting on Tom’s phone for our trip camera, our emergency GPS, Google Music for our drive, and storage for dumping data off my Garmin,we felt the loss keenly. Although Tom was tempted to buy a replacement Nexus 6 on the spot (and return it after our trip) he abstained. We went to the Target across the parking lot to look at cameras and pick up an atlas made of paper and continued on our way.

Tom's new sleeping bag.

Tom’s new sleeping bag: a Mountain Hardwear Lamina 45.

In the end, we decided to buy a camera. Of course the specific camera we wanted was out of stock at the Asheville Best Buy, which meant we had to stop in Spartanburg. By time we acquired our new camera it was getting late and three hours of rainy interstate still stretched ahead of us. We took turns driving and sleeping and finally made it to the Yemasee KOA, where we had a reservation. The tent sites were close to the office and easy to find; the bathrooms were clean. Yemassee was the site of our first wildlife encounter (an inquisitive cat who examined our car and tent). It was also Tom’s first night using his new sleeping bag, which amounted to nothing less than a life-altering journey of satisfaction and discovery. This was no ordinary sleep sack. Its extra LONG and extra WIDE dimensions meant it was the first sleeping bag that Tom has ever fit into comfortably. WOW!!!!

I, meanwhile, quietly slipped into my equally new, but slightly less celebrated, sleeping bag (a Women’s Lamina 35) and let the sounds of light rain lull me to sleep.