Sunday, August 15, 2010

Day 3. I Throw Down the Gauntlet.

This morning I got off to a later start than I had wanted, because last night, like right now, I was up late blogging.  But it was fine, really.  By tonight, I had covered enough ground to feel good about the day's drive.

The morning sun was pretty dramatic, streaming through the clouds, as we pulled out of Podunk, Oklahoma and made our way East, towards Oklahoma City.

We passed a couple more cool agricultural structures, and then that was the end of those.  But there would be neato large structures of a different kind, later on.

The scenery gave way to a more lush, rolling landscape.

We passed Earlsboro, which I'm sure must be a really amazing place to live:

And then things were pretty uneventful for a while.  We passed through Oklahoma City and made our way towards Arkansas.  Somewhere in Eastern Oklahoma, we stopped for gas and a break.

I let the dogs out first, as usual, and they did their business and ran around on the grassy area behind the gas station.  Then I got them back in, gassed up the car, parked it in the shade, rolled the windows down a couple inches, and went inside to pay and freshen up.

Apparently, while I was gone, Todd got some ideas of his own about how things were going to be, moving forward.  When I came back to the car, he had put himself in the driver's seat, with a big smartass grin on his face.  Paul had his ears back in the "I had nothing to do with it!" position.

Come on, Todd, come on, get out of my seat, buddy, let's go.

Notice Paul is totally out of the picture?  He's staying out of it!

I was trying to get Todd into the front passenger seat.  He really wasn't doing it.  Pulling gently on the collar, nice voice asking him, gently encouraging him, nothing worked.

So I opened the driver's door and pushed.  He got the picture.  Notice the change in Paul?

Hopefully that's the end of his mutinous thoughts.

I really can't blame him.  I'm sure they're both wondering what is going on.  Why are we doing this?  Are we ever going home?  When do we get to sleep in our own beds and run around in our yard again?

We moved on.

Arkansas was lush and green, but kind of a yawner.  We passed one distant factory/grain elevator thing that made me want to divert and go investigate, but I resisted the urge.  There will be a lot more of that on the drive home.

One of the rest areas was particularly nicely landscaped, and they had those cool BBQ grilles with the adjustable-height mechanism that I like, so I photographed it.  Maybe I'll make my own version of it for the house I'm about to go help build.

I like how the handle is an extension of two of the rods of the grilling surface.  Seems a little dangerous though.

We passed another town with a great name, but they got the spelling a little wrong.

As we left Little Rock, the next major milestone was crossing the Mississippi.  I got more and more excited as we approached.  I went to college in St. Louis, and I have a real fondness for old river towns, and the warehouses and steel bridges that dot their shorelines, and for this river in particular.

I used to spend hours sketching and photographing along the river in St. Louis.  I wrote a report on and build a partial model of the Eads Bridge, the first bridge to span the Mississippi.  Its design allows it to carry 2 railroad lines, so trains can pass each other, and a regular vehicular roadway above those.  It still stands and carries traffic in and out of St. Louis. The problems they had to overcome in the construction of that bridge still rival anything you would see on one of those "Engineering Marvels" cable TV shows today.

You can tell when you're approaching a major river, because you can identify the wide, flat floodplain that parallels it.  My anticipation grew as we got closer, and the ground dropped away.  Off to the right, I saw a viaduct marching along towards the river, parallel to the highway.  Again, I really wanted to go find it, and trudge out into the field and photograph it.  It was at least 3x as long as the amount you can see in this pic.

The viaduct turned into a steel bridge:

Sorry about the crooked photo -  I think we were climbing at that point.

And then suddenly there it was, ahead of us...

...and we were through the bridge and in Tennessee before I knew it.

And now we are in our motel in the middle of nowhere, but somewhere West of Nashville.  Actually, we're only a few miles down the road from Loretta Lynn's ranch, according to the signs.

Hmmm...that sounds tempting...


If I can drive all day with 2 dogs, and take care of them, and take care of myself, and take lots of pictures, and check into a motel in the middle of nowhere, and then blog about it before collapsing on the bed (but not before a beer or two, or equivalent) then I see no reason that I can't keep it going and blog every single day of this trip.

There.  I said it.  I've been wanting to challenge myself like this with the blog since I read this blog post over at, where he challenged himself to blog a substantive article daily for a month.

So, Gentle Reader, you can expect daily updates on my adventures for the duration.

Who knows, maybe the mutiny will be successful and you will get updates from Paul and Todd!


  1. Love your trip reports and am glad to hear they'll be continuing!

  2. Hey Earl! Waving back at you (a day late) from OKC!

    Rob Abiera

  3. Hmmm . . . the blog challenge seems like an interesting idea. Maybe I should try it sometime.

  4. Too bad you missed Kansas. It is SO much more interesting than Oklahoma!

  5. OKC - that reminds me of the airport there. It's one of the loveliest I've ever seen, inside and out. Really worth a look. Really enjoying this travel blog. I have friends in East TN, so I'm anxious to read the conclusion.