Mile Marker 4909

Welcome to Petal's Big Red Mobile Cabaret Dance Club Trail Mix Buffet Laundry Drying Room. I'm back on "my" side of the Mississippi, slowly making my way home. We've covered Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, and now Arkansas. Tomorrow: Oklahoma. Things sort of feel like they're moving fast now. 

But as is always the case when I travel and stay open to it, I have had simply marvelous exchanges with strangers. I recall the women in Missouri who admired my boots and the filthy construction workers in Indiana who wanted to talk about quick fast road bikes. There was the guy who ambled over while I waited for a tour of the Patsy Cline house, the one with massive Elvis-style aviator sunglasses and a perfectly coiffed pompadour, who explained that while Johnny Cash was infallible, his "new" stuff (citing the 1969 San Quentin concert) was beneath his early gospel stuff, which he then proceeded to sing to me. And the cleaner at the Tennessee highway rest stop who saw me playing banjo and came over to share his experiences as a banjo-playing Gene Simmons impersonator. And the old couple who called each other "honey bunch" and held hands at the table next to me in Virginia while recommending a salad with marshmallows on it.

Then there was my chat with "Travis" and "Baby" in a Jiffy Lube waiting room.  Travis: that your big ol' truck? Baby: You driven' all over the country by yourself? A little itty bitty girl like you? You got a gun? Travis: Aw Baby, spiritual folks don't need no gun. [Note: badass Lithuanian girls are not typically called "itty bitty" so I got thrown a bit there.]

its a big beautiful country filled with glorious, hilarious, friendly, wonderful people. I wonder who I'll meet tomorrow.