Off of the Grid

Day Five

A Breath of Fresh Air – Crossing the Mississippi

We were making such poor time, my stress levels were at an all time high. In my eyes, Daniel couldn’t do anything right for a while and everything he tried to try and alleviate my stress just made me mad and more stressed. I finally just had to take a moment and breathe. We were both doing the best we could. Being stressed out would not make us go any faster. We would get to Virginia when we got there. Somewhere while driving, I rediscovered my zen and all was good. Here is my one and only picture of Arkansas. There ya go. 🙂



Since I didn’t find anything in Arkansas to capture my attention, I started thinking about the mighty Mississippi. My imagination replayed stories of pirates, gambling, parties, and music. Stories of the slaves working on the boats, and being smuggled away as part of the underground railroad. Tales from Mark Twain about learning how to navigate up and down the river. As we approached I got more and more excited about seeing the Mississippi and was excitedly telling Alexander all about it – trying to convey how totally cool we were about to cross this piece of living history. Finally – we were crossing the river! Woo-Hoo! I had to do a celebratory “Honk!” “Honk!” … okay – maybe I did a few more than two. 🙂

Mississippi River 2015

We found a nice riverside park. The second we let Xander out – he grabbed his digging toys and ran to the riverbank. He found a nice spot and was happily oblivious to the rest of the world.

Mississippi Xander and the pups
Xander & Mississippi








I wish we could have had more time there. We spent about an hour or so by the river. We watched the sun setting but left well before it got dark. We wanted to try and get past Nashville before stopping and that was a good 4 hours away. Bye-bye to the mighty Mississippi! I hope to someday see it again.

Daddy and Xander

Tennessee was not what I expected. I don’t know that I had any expectations of Tennessee now that I think about it but whatever that subconscious expectation was, it was not the over abundance of greenery that we found. Actually, it was a bit intimidating especially to someone coming from the desert. The greenery was beyond abundant. Tree’s fought for space. Birch, pine, oak, maple, dogwood – tree’s I don’t even know how to identify – ivy, all vied for space. I tried to imagine what it must be like to walk under that canopy. As I visualized making the attempt, I admit, I got a bit claustrophobic. And this is from someone who has camped in some pretty tight spaces! I started instead trying to appreciate the beauty of all that life bursting forth. I loved catching glimpses of canopied rivers twisting off into the distance. I was driving too fast to actually catch one on film but I sure loved seeing them.


The rest of the tale for the day is a stressed out one. I had made hotel reservations ahead of time somewhere before Nashville. We decided to go with a Best Western since they accommodate doggies and are a bit nicer than the La Quinta’s where we had been staying. I knew Nashville would be full but spoke to a nice rep to find a hotel off I-40 EAST of Nashville. We found something that would work and I made the reservation, giving my card number to hold the room. Since I made the reservation after 9pm, there would be no time to cancel. We had to make this hotel. As we drove through Nashville, I looked up the hotel to get directions since we were getting closer. Imagine my surprise when the exit number for the hotel was 177 and we were already at exit #213. “That can’t be right.” I think to myself. “I was very clear with the operator it needed to be a hotel east of Nashville.” We pull over and sure enough, we’d passed our hotel half an hour back. The nights drive had been horrible. We had both almost hit people who were driving without lights on their trailers. You would go to change lanes, look and not see any lights and start to move only to catch something out of the corner of your eye at the last minute. The was a semi driver who was seriously tired and was weaving all over the lanes. The whole highway was going well under the speed limit hoping to stay out of this guys way. I called 911 but no-one ever showed. There was another guy who was either stoned or just super tired. He would attach himself to people. Drive up and then tailgate. He wouldn’t notice if you got out of the lane ahead of him, he would just hit the gas to catch up with the red lights ahead of him and then keep stomping on the brakes. Creepy! Best Western was great. They found a way to get our money refunded and we found a hotel with-in an exit or two. Another long day of driving done. Here’s to another state down.



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