Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Day 5

Location: West of Monroe, LA - headed towards Shreveport

Total miles traveled: 2000

I woke up this morning shortly before 6am, wanting to get an early start on the day. As you saw from the previous entry, I was hoping to explore a bit of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and then head south to Alabama. But when I woke rain was coming down hard and everything was soaked, including my campsite. After taking a while to roll up my sleeping bag and fit it in its pouch (Colleen was 100% correct in stating that would be the hardest thing to do on this trip), I packed up my wet tent and decided since it was so miserable I wouldn't head to the park; rather, I'd just get on the road.

It was maybe a 4 hour drive to Madison, AL where my aunt Paula (my mom's sister) and uncle Danny live. At a gas station a few hours away, it was easy to tell I was in the South - I couldn't understand anything that was said by the customers. I've been in the south before, but I don't remember the accents being that hard for me to understand.

It was a pleasant drive to Alabama...drove through Chattanooga and past the Tennessee River, and also drove through som gorges which provided some nice scenery.

I arrived at Paula's and she was in the driveway waiting for me. I was treated like a king there - she offered me food, use of the washing machine, a shower, and a nap. I stayed there longer than I originally anticipated I would, but I'm glad I did. I definitely needed the nap. I got to see my uncle and catch up with both of them for a while, as well. It's been over 8 years since I last saw them, so it was a great visit. And having all those amenities after sleeping in a tent the night before was a nice bonus, too.

Aunt Paula and Uncle Danny

While there, I checked Mapquest and it informed me the drive from Madison, AL to Bryan, TX (where Jon lives) would take roughly 13 hours. I figured I would get on the road, see how far I could get, and then get to Jon's at some point on the 6th.

I've already managed to drive through Mississippi, and I'm halfway through Louisiana if you haven't checked the map. It's definitely been a nice drive...I saw clear skies for the first time in a while coming into Louisiana (I could easily recognize the constellation Cygnus to the south from my window. BONUS: what animal does Cygnus represent?).

I'm now at a rest stop for the millionth time - too much water, I suppose. And since it's only 2am Central Time and I'm not tired, I'll continue on a little more and then stop to sleep.

Time to get back on the road...oh yes, talked to Colleen tonight - appears the trivia team I play on won tonight for the first time in a while...go figure, right? The first night I'm not there.



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