Friday, September 05, 2008


Originally uploaded by rod lewis
August 16, 2008
To Almost Chattanooga, Tennessee
590 miles (8,577)

No sleeping in today. No No No. I set my alarm for 5:30 and yeehawed when I woke. Then yeehawed again when I awoke a second time 90 minutes later. Yeehaw.
Still early enough though to get a good start I thought. So I packed up, and headed on east to Hannibal, MO, birthplace and forever in the moment, of Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain.

Actually, Hannibal is a cool little town in which every single building, street, business, or idea, is named after Mark Twain. I remembered mentioning the quote about San Francisco’s weather that is attributed to Mark Twain, though he never said it. Apparently, Hannibal isn’t the only place who capitalizes on Clemens’ wit and fame.
I headed south from Hannibal to St. Louis. There, I experiences the usual “rod is not a city boy” assurance. There was a lot of road construction going on, so there were signs directing me to roads and exits that were closed, signs that had fallen over, and signs that were just plain wrong. Without any “tour turns” I made it downtown to the Gateway Arch, but I am sure it took me an hour longer than it should have. I had traveled over 20 miles in town traffic, rather than found my way through the intricate freeway maze that could have taken me there in minutes. Not to be beaten, I kept to my plan to have a walk on the riverfront, and beneath the arch, which I did.

From the Arch, I had no problem finding my way across the river and into Illinois, but by now, it was certainly getting late. I spent the rest of the day trying to imagine an accomplishable destination goal that would still allow me to arrive home at a reasonable hour tomorrow. My original goal had been Chattanooga, so I decided to stick to it.
Tonight, after I passed through Nashville, avoided the temptation to just call it a day and stay there, the moon rose bright and beautiful, and suddenly I decided to ride under the moon for the next 8 hours, and arrive at home before Allison made it home from work.
That would still take me to Chattanooga, so I set out, energized for an all-night trip that would accumulate well over 900 miles for the day.
Yeah right.
Though my body felt fine, my thermostat gave out about half way to Chattanooga. This, I didn’t realize until I saw a campground sign along the I-state, and I realized it was time to stop and warm up.
Here I sit then, all cold and tired, shy of Chattanooga, but well beyond Nashville. Tomorrow I’ll be home for sure.
For sure.