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Tue, Jun. 13th, 2006, 01:58 pm
2006/06/05-07 - TN, MS & a little bit o' AL

Bill and I visit my uncle and grandmother in Lewisburg, TN. Uncle Barry takes us off-roading in his new Kawasaki Mule 3010. Imagine a bigfoot truck version of a golf cart. You really feel like the King of Town in a Kawasaki Mule. Why drive through the forest when you can taste it? Happy Arbor Day.

Barry tames the bush.




Bill packs the Mule.




Bill and Barry on the Mule.




TN bridge from the Mule.





Lake Barry.




Pollen fiesta. Happy Arbor Day.




View from Mount Barry.




Made spaghetti with my grandma Louise and helped her with her crossword. Went to Wal-Mart and replaced one of Louise's broken picture frames. Louise seemed content with spending our time together in her apartment watching Bill and I watch TV, so we buy Soul Caliber 3 and connect the PlayStation.

Louise is funny. Bill and I have located the source of the ADD.


Basil: My wife and I are both oldest children.
Louise: Where's she from?
Basil: Saranac Lake, New York.
Louise: Does she have any brothers and sisters?
Basil: No, she's the oldest child of herself.


Later, while Bill and I are playing Marvel Nemesis, fighting each other as Marvel comic book characters:


Louise: Why do they fight?
Basil: Well, they're mutated monsters. What else are they gonna do, bag your groceries?


Easy for me to pick on Grandma. She's smarter than I'll be at her age. I guarantee it.

Wednesday morning Bill and I go to Wal-Mart for provisions prior to driving the Natchez Trace Parkway from Fly, TN to Jackson, MS. No beef jerky like gun show beef jerky. We get on the Natchez Trace Parkway. Minimal signage. No houses. No buildings other than the back of an occasional barn. There's a two-lane road and grass and trees and you. Surreal.


Witten Dam.





After 13 days with me Bill seems convinced that my potty mouth has condemned me to divine punishment. He says, "30 minutes with you, six years in Purgatory." Tell 'em Basil sent ya and they'll give you a Frogurt.

I'm deliberately trying to break my DC warrior-driver conditioning to force myself to stop at scenic locations and exit the vehicle to look at scenery. The Tennessee River looks just like the tourism commercials. It's the Mississippi River's overachieving younger brother, after their parents got jobs and had enough money to teach the kids to read.


10,000 miles on the odometer.




Most of Natchez Trace looks like this.



We stop at Bear Creek Mound Cave Spring.


Bear Creek Mound Cave Spring.




Bear Creek Mound Cave Spring.




Bill's aware of all kinds of sensory detail - the sound of the water running through the rock, the acoustics under the sinkhole. I'm jealous. I'm trying to regain my sensory awareness after years of deliberate numbing. I hope Bill never has to choose numbness as a coping skill.


Pens are tasty, and teach good enunciation.




It's true! They teach it at broadcasting school.




Bill's mom calls. Someone stole their trailer, loaded with 200 metal pallets. She has the presence of mind to call operators of metal salvage companies, one of which spots the perps in the parking lot and calls the cops. Outstanding detective work.


Tennessee River.




Tennessee River.




We get to the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitors Center. I found their presentation of the history of Natchez Trace presented a wise balance between friendly and true. Here's the summary: The Chickasaw tribe had an advanced civilization and a thousand-year history. Then the Spanish showed up and erected a wooden cross and everything went to hell.


Uh-oh! Here comes Jesus!




Twenty bucks for a t-shirt. I came up with a better one.


Good driving audio thanks to cars finally coming with stereo input jacks as a standard feature so MP3 players work without hassle. Neighborhood Texture Jam's "Old South," Bill Hicks, Me First & The Gimme Gimmes, Lil' Jon.

I drop Bill home, find an airport hotel and pack. Too wired to sleep, so I stay up all night and vibrate until Aimee gets home.