We left Minneapolis at 8am, which would’ve been pretty good timing had the drive to Nashville been 750 miles, a number I had in my head and didn’t bother to recheck. It’s actually 900 miles, but we discovered that a while later, which was for the best.
The drive was uneventful through most of the midwest. In Illinois, I was passing somebody doing 80 or so when I looked in the mirror to see a trooper riding my ass. I quickly moved into the right lane, looking shamed. He turned on his siren and sped by, giving me a dirty look. In all my years of speeding, that’s the closest I’ve come to a ticket on the interstate. Of course there was that time with the Minneapolis cop, but they’re easy. You just ask them out to coffee.
We survived the bleak nothingness of southern Illinois and stopped quickly in Metropolis so Stephanie could see Superman. We arrived just in time for some kind of bizarre religious Superman festival; the main street was blocked off and there were vendors selling state-fair food and cheap designer knockoff schlock. A couple hundred old people were crammed in a tent listening to gospel music. It gave us the willies, so we got the hell out of there and crossed the border into Kentucky.
In Paducah, we cruised the long strip of chain restaurants, looking for a place at which I could dine without serious after-effects. After a few tries, I discovered that TGI Friday’s had a gardenburger, and that was good enough for me. We shoved food in our mouths as fast as we could, trying not to choke while giggling over the employees’ goofy accents.
I took over driving in the dark, which I hate. I have trouble seeing, and after I braked for a port-a-potty on the side of the road, wondering if it was a state trooper, I knew it was going to be bad. Stephanie wouldn’t stop laughing at me. We arrived in Nashville around 11pm, sat in a monster traffic jam, then finally got through to our hotel in Murfreesboro, about 30 miles south of town. It was situated directly between downtown and the festival site. I’m smart like that.
As I stumbled out of the car, the front desk lady came to hold the door open and yelled, ‘REDHEAD!!!!’ I laughed. She told me about the time years ago when she dyed her hair red, and got so many marriage proposals she had to dye it back.
God, don’t I feel that pain.