Odds and Ends

Shreveport to Chattanooga was mostly freeway. I saw the white stripe flash past in a hypnotic rhythm mile after mile, and wrote stuff in my head. I’m still working on getting the chapter of The Fish written as I felt it within my skull, but it could turn out to be really cool. The rest of the stuff I thought up I can’t start writing until November 1, but my 30-day novel is starting to take shape in my head, and I’m pretty stoked about it. More and more I feel confident that when people ask me what I do I can say, “I’m a writer.” That’s true enough, anyway, even if it does imply that I get paid to write.

Meanwhile, I crossed the 15,000-mile mark outside of Birmingham, Alabama. Safety Dance was playing on the radio. During the day I had been searching for a decent radio station as I moved along from state to state. I heard Turn the Page twice—once as a cover and twice the original version. Here I am, on the road again…

Speaking of radio stations, the best one I know of on this continent is 91 1/2 in Chattanooga. It’s a college station. “We guarantee sixty minutes every hour!” They played some good, good stuff, and quite a variety. I was sorry to pass out of range as I passed through the Appalachians this morning.

Lots of other things happened, the kind of mindless details I do my best not to burden you with. Raccoons should learn to look both ways. I didn’t hit any, but I think I was the exception.

It’s getting harder and harder to keep my hair from blowing in my eyes as I drive. Perhaps a mullet is in order.

On the way over to Asheville today the storage thingie on my fancy camera filled up. I guess that means I really do have to do something about processing all those pictures you guys have been moaning about not seeing. I’ll see what I can do in the morning. I think I got some pretty nice ones today. Highway 64 in Western North Carolina has to go on the list as one of the best drives ever. Honestly, though, I’d recommend driving it on a weekday. Once the camera was maxed out, I wanted nothing more than to enjoy the sinuous asphalt as it wound through the late October headless horseman forest, sending leaves flying in my wake.

Alas, much of the time I crept along behind people doing well under the conservative speed limit. These drivers had no clue whatsoever that they should pull to the side, even when they saw other drivers doing the same thing. I relaxed and enjoyed the drive anyway, but the rare taste of real driving left me yearning for more.

Reading over the last episode I posted, I see a serious omission. The sleeipes caught up with me before I finished, I supposed. I was in the lounge at the hotel, which almost had wireless Internet. No matter, really, I could post when I got back to the room. The bartender was Shelly, who was back after a month and the regulars were all very happy to see her. Slender with long straight dark hair, she had a ready smile and a sense of humor. I sat at the bar where I was advised the signal was strongest with my laptop open and lamented the intermittent, weak signal. There were a couple of other friendly regulars and overall the quiet bar was most congenial. Eventually I was the only customer, and after I talked to Shelly for a while I headed back the room with one last beer. I was enjoying the chat, but I’m in love with enough bartenders already. I decided to get out while the getting was good.

Now I’m at Jesse’s house, and it’s nice. I’m in the nursery, so I better be ready to get the hell out of here if the baby arrives.

9 thoughts on “Odds and Ends

  1. Now it’s officially a coast-to-coast tour and blog. What comes next? Backtrack to AR or NM? Hop a plane to Prague? NaNoWriMo officially just a week off.

  2. I used to do the drive from Buffalo to Chicago every weekend for quite awhile. I miss that 8-10 hour drive with the tunes and the ashphalt. Just the driving for a long time has a way of clearing my head.

    NaNoWriMo only a week…that’s right. I’m a member now too. Now, let’s see if I can do this…

  3. Working on my NaNo project too — strangely enough, Monday Night Football proved to be useful research. I needed to know about Cincinnati, and Al Michaels was glad to share.

    On radio stations, something I learned while working at KUNM is that the public radio stations are at the lower end of the FM dial, so whenever you’re in a strange land and you want public radio, look down there. In Albuquerque, we have two public radio stations, KUNM (NPR) and KANW (Pacifica). They’re at 89.1 and 89.9, although I can’t remember which is which.

    On bartenders, you’d probably love Isabel at the Damsite, although you’d probably be safe from falling in love with her. She’s a lot like Grandma Seeger’s maid, Mary, but a few decades younger, only 60 or so.

  4. The toe is happier without shoes. There are a few dark spots at the base of my toes and much of my foot has a gray pallor. I can move the toe a little now.

    My plane ticket leaves from San Francisco on November 7 – I have to visit the DMV in CA to take care of the car. Today I’m going to see if the train can get both me and car to CA, leaving me free to write while riding the rail. Maybe I’m forgetting the lesson Jesse and I learned about american rail travel years ago, but it sounds like a cool adventure.

  5. But the meditation thing doesn’t work too well when I have passengers — Carol Anne keeps saying I drive better with her eyes open.

  6. At least Amtrak ought to be a bit faster than the Cumbres & Toltec.

    But the Miata would look so cool on a flatcar at the end of the C&TSRR as at winds through the mountains.

    Which reminds me that I need to make up a CD of train pictures for Carol Anne to upload for folks.

  7. Actually, what I usually tell Pat is that he drives better with his eyes open. The problem arises when I can’t keep my eyes open in order to nag him to keep his eyes open.

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