Saturday, October 18, 2008

Road trip to Texas: Day 2

We made it to Memphis, Tennessee, at about 7:30 this evening. We're now about 1,350 miles out of 1,780 on this first leg of our road trip. Tomorrow, we'll set out for Rockwall, Texas, where our oldest daughter, Sarah, her husband, Mark, and our 1-year old grandson, Timothy, live. Timothy is the star of a couple of YouTube videos I've posted:





I almost forgot that our son, Dan, is living with Mark and Sarah also. He's in grad school at the University of Texas at Arlington and should receive his master's degree in May.

By Mary's calculations, we're averaging right at 28 miles per gallon, which isn't too bad considering that this is what the car got when it was brand new in 1997. Gas prices in Tennessee are running around $2.70 a gallon.

We were in several "cruise control" races today. This is what happens when two cars have their cruise controls set at the same speed. Ours holds the speed very constant up and down hills, but some other cars will slow down slightly climbing hills and gain some speed coming down. This results in multiple lead changes through the hills of Virginia and Tennessee. The races invariably break up when one of the cars has to pit (exit into a comfort station).

In another interesting maneuver, some guy in a Ford Windstar was behind us and gaining on us very gradually. (Cruise control racing again.) Pretty soon, he was right on our tail and, without warning, darted into the passing lane without signaling and passed us just before the underpass. It occurred to me that this is a classic NASCAR move where the second place car is drafting the leader around turns three and four and, just before the finish line, moves high or low and noses out the lead car to take the checkered flag. I was beaten by a Darrell Waltrip wannabe driving a minivan. How embarrassing.

Speaking of NASCAR, it's definitely big down here. We passed two stock car toting rigs outside Nashville and, when I turned the hotel room TV on, the default station was the Speed Channel.

Tomorrow, we'll start the trip by crossing the Mississippi River into Arkansas and head for the famous town of Hope, Arkansas, home of one of America's greatest politicians, who is a pretty good musician as well. In fact, we saw his new show on Fox News tonight. He did a nice job. Of course, I'm talking about Mike Huckabee.

For now, I'm returning to the Sox game and SNL to watch Sarah Palin.

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