Road Trip Log: I-40 and I-30 West

The beginning of a very, very long leg of the trip
The beginning of a very, very long leg of the trip

Tennessee is longer than you think it is. I’d make a corollary for Hofstadter’s law to say this:

Corollary for Hofstadter’s law: Tennessee takes longer to drive than you think it does, even when taking into account the Corollary for Hofstadter’s law.

To be fair, Tennessee was only a little more than half of the distance I needed to cover.

The distance I needed to cover
The distance I needed to cover between “tour stops”
AshevilleToMemphis
A reasonable amount to travel in one day?

There was rain and construction most the way on I-40 west. Fortunately fog and pink redbuds made the drive scenic even when I was halted to a stop.

Not a good sign when you see red tail lights and one lane of traffic.
Not a good sign when you see red tail lights and one lane of traffic.
Fog and redbuds, both lovely
Fog and redbuds, both lovely

Long after the sun had set and I continued on, not even close to being through Tennessee, Nashville appeared as ghostly lights through the rain. My legs were starting to get antsy and I was happy to stop driving, even in this ghost city.

Ghost Nashville
Ghost Nashville

Sidebar: I have a trick for finding the most interesting spots of any city: search for vegan restaurants nearby. You usually find two categories of vegan restaurants:

  1. Asian restaurants serving mostly vegetables and vegan beef and chicken (sometimes vegan eggs, too; My good friend T had some and didn’t think they were like eggs at all), and
  2. Very hip, ethical vegetarian/vegan places in very hip parts of town.

I’d only driven past Nashville in the past to head west (or east) to (or from) Dallas, TX. I wanted to dip into the city a little bit and get a feel for what it might be like. I tried the vegan restaurant trick by using Yelp near Nashville. I found a place called The Wild Cow. Seemed like a pleasant residential area around that restaurant. I feel like I hit the jackpot every time I see tattoos and blue hair. And not only that, the food and scene were both delectable.

A view from the counter at The Wild Cow in Nashville. Haha, "Hail Seitan".
A view from the counter at The Wild Cow in Nashville. Haha, “Hail Seitan”.
A vegan variant for the Wild Reuben at The Wild Cow. A vegan Reuben?! You betcha.
A vegan variant for the Wild Reuben at The Wild Cow. A vegan Reuben?! You betcha.

I stayed the night in Memphis after getting very, very tired of driving through the car wash that was weather over Tennessee.

Adverse weather conditions and darkness do not make for a pleasant drive.
Adverse weather conditions and darkness do not make for a pleasant drive.

Little Rock was a beacon of hope while driving the next day. I only had a little longer to go before finally making it to Texas. The sky was clearing up. I filled up on gas there and marked another merit badge in the dirt coat my car was wearing.

Sunny and shiny Little Rock, AR
Sunny and shiny Little Rock, AR
Ohio and Tennessee, COMPLETED!
Ohio and Tennessee, COMPLETED!

I traveled along I-30 long enough and sure enough eventually made it to Texas. I put on some Throwing Muses albums, looked out at the silver sky, and felt tingling elation. After two years away, I was back to see my old stomping grounds and friends and coworkers.

Suddenly everything was bigger.
Suddenly everything was bigger.
The last major stretch into Dallas. The surrounding area is called Rockwall. I could see Dallas's skyscrapers in the distance here, but I guess the camera didn't pick them up.
The last major stretch into Dallas. The surrounding area is called Rockwall. I could see Dallas’s skyscrapers in the distance here, but I guess the camera didn’t pick them up.

Up next: an entry on the fun in Dallas, TX and surrounding area.

My back hurts,
Art

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