Memphis Cruise Day 3

Route: Rock Island, TN to Memphis, TN

  • From Rock Island, TN, take US-70S west to McMinnville, TN
  • Take TN-55 south to US-64 at Fayetteville, TN
  • Take US-64 west to Memphis, TN

Yo Dudes and Dude-ettes,

If you ever travel to McMinnville, TN, lookout for Ben Lomand. This guy has his name plastered on a ton of the local businesses, including the local phone company. Last night, I used one of Ben’s pay phones to dial the AT&T operator and got a busy signal. I dialed zero, and the phone rang 12 times before a sleepy voice finally answered. Ben’s operator (wife?) connected me with AT&T, but now the phone’s buttons didn’t work. After additional hair-pulling, I was able to place a call. Needless to say, I did not visit any other of good ol’ Ben Lomand’s businesses.

A nice woman in a drug store let me send Wednesday’s message. This time, it only took one call for AOL to figure out what I was trying to do.

Technology Note: During this trip, I was using an older Newton 120, and didn’t have enough memory to make a real PPP internet connection. I was using Hardy Macia’s AOL client (it’s called Aloha and uses much less memory) to send my email. While Aloha was doing a good job, AOL’s 800 number kept disconnecting me. Arrrrgh!

Important: I drove through Lynchburg, TN today. If this town doesn’t sound familiar, look at the label on any bottle of Jack Daniels. They had tours, but no free samples. Alas, I drove on.

Now I’ll casually destroy a preconception from your childhood. That hero who “killed him a bear, when he was only three” is David Crockett, not Davey. Watch yourself, in Tennessee this is very important.

I picked up a sandwich in Waynesboro, TN. Out in the parking lot was a colorful tent with “Marlboro” painted all over it. The purpose of the the tent was to give free stuff to anybody with Marlboro Proof-of-Purchase seals. For a couple of packs, you could get a Marlboro key chain. For a few cartons, you could score a cool Marlboro duffle bag. Surrounding this tent was a gang of schoolkids. When I bought my sandwich, two young boys were in line in front of me, both purchasing Marlboro cigs in an effort to score some stuff. The next time someone argues that cig companies don’t market heavily for teenagers, just shoot them.

I arrived in Memphis just in time to catch the end of rush hour. Now I remember why I took all those two-lane highways bypassing the big cities. I was able to obtain a campsite in a state park just northwest of Memphis (Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park). I was also able to get to the local “General Store” just before they closed. “General” is a good word to describe this store. “Generally” speaking, they had very little to eat; Chef-boy-ar-dee, yum-yum.

About dinnertime (naturally), the raccoons came out. This park must be home to the Raccoon’s United Front Union, Local 327. While I lamented my dinner-in-a-can, the raccoon who was assigned to harrass my part of the campground was wondering what the devil I was complaining about. In an effort to eat my slim fixings in peace, I tried to chase the critter away. Being wise to this stupid-camper game, the coniving little beast led me in a precise circle around my campsite while maintaining a fairly constant distance from my dinner. Finally, my enthusiastic imitation of Jack Nicholson from “The Shining” got the raccoon to flee for good.

In any case, I’ll dash around Memphis tomorrow.


P.S. Shouldn’t there be a sign when you cross into a different time zone? I sure didn’t see one.

P.P.S. It’s dark. From the neighboring campsite, I just heard, “Hey, did that raccoon just take something of ours?” Swear to God.

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