Now that Bubba is titled, tired, tagged and insured, we are ready to hit the road for the first day of our cross-country trek. I’m not going to lie; I am nervous. There are a lot of unknowns; gas mileage, potential breakdowns, the fact that I have only driven (perhaps) twice a year for the last twenty years and the heat. I hope to live part-time in Nashville soon; but, that time will NOT be June, July or August. At least my summer in the South has taught me that much.
The South is a land of epic weather; hurricanes, tornados, floods, droughts, rain, and a triple-digit heat index all in the time it takes to finish a Margarita. It’s not enough for Southerners to bravely endure the heat, they also possess this odd ‘heat pride’; saying things like, ‘This one’s gonna be a scorcher’ to ‘Man, it’s hot as all get-out‘, or ‘It’s as hot as the hinges on the gates of Hades’--(which I had to ask for clarification on, and then wrote it down on my cocktail napkin to remember it). As I melt into the sidewalk, they fan themselves in an unaffected manner, and then explain to me, ‘It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.’ Which is neither helpful nor logical––Either way, it’s miserable.
I got up in Nashville this morning, July 9th and caught a LYFT to pick up Bubba. Bubba’s previous family was there to see him off–and I am so glad they are taking this journey with me. (Love you guys and am so happy to have met you in Nashville: Debby, Connie, Bob, and Mark)
One challenge that I was made aware of, is the gas gauge is broken; so, I don’t know how much gas is–or isn’t in the tank. I have to be very aware, as I don’t want to run out of gas on the interstate. It also reminds me to check in about AAA or Roadside Assistance with Geico, who is my insurer.
The I40 is a straight 212 miles, Nashville to Memphis. Nashville is currently one of the fastest-growing cities in the USA. The city has been buoyed in recent years by its “It City” status with young professionals and big-name businesses flocking to the region. There is a certain cache to Nashville, that attracts more visitors and transplants each day; with an average of 100 new people a day, crowding her limits. What this means to my immediate situation is, that there is a LOT of construction going on in the city and on the freeway; which is where we start our trek–and it was a little slow going.
Once we navigated Nashville construction, the road was wide open and free of traffic. Bubba has an AMAZING sound system–(thank you Bob!); we struck upon a great country station and we were cruising.
I am a slow and cautious driver anyway; but, I plan to baby this little bus across the country; for over 3000 miles. My speedometer happily hovered around 45-50; occasionally soaring slightly higher. At Holladay, Tennessee–(approximately 88 miles outside of Nashville); I stopped for gas. It seemed like a good guess. It was here, that I had the sinking feeling that Bubba is a guzzler, not a sipper. $85.00 later, he was full–but, that is not a cheap date and I have a LOT of miles to go. Converting him to natural gas, just moved up the priority list.
Good friends are the elixir of life and my Memphis friends are the most amazing lot of folks; I am blessed to have them. When I arrived, I hopped out of Bubba and went to the garden hose where I did my own rendition of Flashdance in their yard.
My head felt–(and still does)–like it is full of concrete; I can’t hear a thing. It’s kind of peaceful. I took a cold shower and we headed out for tacos. When we came back, we hung out, chatted and I drank a six-pack of their beer; but, that was to be expected. They joked a lot about me running out of gas and money and getting stranded in Bakersfield; suggesting that I might work in a Starbucks there until I got home. For those who may not know, Bakersfield is a pretty horrible place, about an hour and a half away from L.A., boring AF, where meth is as easily found as a soda in a vending machine, you can get shot and stabbed, probably in the same night at a Taco Bell and it boasts the highest rate of teen pregnancy and STD’s in the country. It was a mean joke from people I previously thought were my friends.
Eventually, I went to bed and watched some HBO–good GOD John Oliver; I have missed you!
Looking forward to seeing what tomorrow holds…