An epic journey should yield epic tales, stories of heroism that will echo through the ages. Think Ulysses, or Beowulf, or Darwin on The Beagle.
Epic journeys and epic tales.
Using that as a scale, my recent adventures in multiple state crossings seem rather mundane. Which is fine, because that means I only have to come up with mundane tales and stories, which I am rather well-suited to produce. Mundane, banality, tripe: my specialties!
Tennessee is trying too hard.
Or so it seems to me, driving westbound on I-40 during our first day. More billboards than I recall seeing anywhere, all espousing the benefits of the Great Smokey Mountains. Or more specifically, the tourist attractions built to exploit the mountains.
Not that I am a stranger to mountain-y tourist attractions, I am from Colorado after all, but something about the way the attractions are intertwining mountains and hillbilly phrasing and traditions seems … grasping? Desperate? Maybe because I entered Tennessee via those very same mountains and are still being bombarded with reminders of their charms even long after I’ve left them.
“Don’t leave”, the signs say, in homey hillbilly patter, “come back. Spend money. You’ll love Pigeon Forge, why, just check out the homey hillbilly name!”
Maybe the signs would seem less avid if they were on the other side of the highway, facing people who were actually heading in the direction of the attractions they were hawking.
My Gamer Girl and I bought new phones right before we left, a two-for-one deal that allowed us to change carriers while also acquiring pretty nice phones. They have so much internal memory that I was able to download my entire music library into my phone; 40 GB, thousands of songs, and they all fit with room to spare.
Thanks to the magic of Bluetooth, I was treated with a random shuffle of everything I like musically, in unpredictable order and often consisting of seriously deep tracks that I rarely hear. Very nice.
My Gamer Girl was able to get all of her music too, but her audio environment was entirely different from mine as she had all the cats. All three. Each of which spent most of the day yowling. Sometimes they would settle down, but it only took one to get rambunctious to set them all off, yowling and mewling and otherwise filling Yvonne’s car with an undesirable and unpleasant cacophony.
My car held a concert; hers a cacophony. I offered to switch cars for awhile, let her get some peace and I’ll deal with the catcalls, but no, I am not observant enough to note if one of them was yowling for a real reason. What could possibly happen to them when they are all locked inside a 3’x4’x3′ soft-side kennel? It is beyond me.
So … nope, sorry, I am not allowed to drive the cat car. I’m just going to have to listen to my music and settle for that.
Our room that night is a tiny box in a discount extended stay hotel that is entirely surrounded by a highway interchange.
The place seems popular with blue-collar road warriors – construction crew and the like, all trapped in their own tiny boxes on a Saturday night. Many are in the parking lot, treating it as a social common area, smoking or drinking a cold one or just hanging out.
We are a little nervous already, our computers are bundled up in my car and there is some worry about someone breaking in. Having so many people unexpectedly wandering about is not calming.
But our fears our groundless. Even the cats are relatively cooperative. For cats.
🙂 😀 🙂