We were in this town just long enough. We wanted to strike out before comfort made us permanent citizens.
Our experiment to work while traveling worked just well enough.
1) I forgot the Macbook charger.
2) A fucked up battery in the suitcase scale threw a second wrench into the works.
I'm glad our pre-trip efforts continue to earn an eye-opening yield, but I'm more gladder that our way will be paid whether we decide to work more or not at all. We're golden.
I discovered that my hiking pack plan is not as good as I thought. A shame, because one bag each sounded so smart. In practice, however, our packs are the size of the front seats. They are much less jam-to-the-side-able than in my imagination. Tape measures and trial runs are better tools of discovery, but I've been blessed with a brain that runs out in first gear. HIKING PAAACKS! WE'LL BE INVINCIBLE GENIUSES!!!
We have a dozen of those cheap re-useable shopping bags along with us. To carry books. I shifted my luggage to a few of those, and the load is so much more manageable I had no choice but to feel sheepish. Smaller bags open up much better stuffing opportunities when the car is in sleepmode. You can't jam a pack the size of bigfoot's torso down by the pedals - but two soft bags of clothes will fit right in. Better system. Much better.
After what felt like hours, we managed to extract ourselves 'n' stuff from Evan's family's beautiful home, and squeeze back into Supercar to crawl back down the road. We stopped at a library to print shipping labels, and a UPS drop point to unload two medium boxes of books. Then south.
Mountains became gentle, and soon Alabama was upon us.
The most exciting thing to happen on the road was an Iron Skillet. If you're not in the know, "Iron" is pronounced "Arn," much like the "Harne" in "Chrisharne." It's a truck stop restaurant. You get a coffee, and it comes with a little refill carafe. They didn't read your mind - they do that for everyone. Then what you do is walk up to the food pile. They have little iron plates with skillet handles, and you make a vertical mess of chicken, pork, potatoes and gravy. You add the cornbread as a fluffy sort of ballast for the trip back to your seat.
If I didn't have a blog, I'd keep my mouth well shut about the Iron Skillet. It feels like a shameful pleasure, but I love the place. I love that there's a reserved area for truck drivers. Us car people are quarantined to the perimeter, and there is a special paddock for the big guys. They sit twenty feet closer to the pile and jaw about matters of the highway. For my part, I gaze out at a Shell station or similar. The sun sets, and it's not so beautiful as it is just plain different. My heart fills with reverence and satisfaction. For dessert there's pudding, and also mousse which is actually just another pudding. I could go on...
The Tuskegee National Forest is where we were headed. The government owns some trees almost exactly halfway between where we woke up and where we'd like to be. I found a chart of GPS coordinates for free camping sites there.
Finding a camping spot at night sucks. The main reason for this is that humans can't see in the fucking dark. A personal sub-reason is that I get more irritable after dark whenever I'm pressed to actually let my dull senses communicate with my brain. The electrical synapses slow down. Sensory inputs weave curiously about like a scuba diver in potato soup. Questions get capitalized. WHERE? and WHAT?? and especially the ever-present WHY???
The temperature dropped to 25 degrees. We pulled onto some dirt doubletrack. Soon, I had to weave around soft spots to keep from bottoming out. I wanted to avoid the potentially murderous hillbillies in pickups, of which there were several, and eventually I just found some grass to drive onto. Everything out; everything in. We switched Supercar to sleepmode, and at the end of musical chairs, the only guy left out was Kristin's hiking pack. I tossed it on the roof while we slept.