Here are a few things I've learned so far on this road trip.
1. I spent time in the graveyard in Dyer, Tennessee where many of my predecessors are buried, and I took pictures, but they didn't have the same impact as when I did the same thing last spring in western Nebraska. The Tennessee side of my family is well documented by other people, so I'm just reporting in, so to speak. The Nebraska side had missing pieces that I found myself over a period of several years - my genealogical victory - and that cemetery event helped me lay to rest some issues I'd had with my mother.
2. You don't know how your hosts are going to be when you're Evergreening or couchsurfing. On night 1, in St. Louis, our hosts were much like us. On night 2, in Clinton, KY, they were quite different from us. On night 3, in Waverly, Tennessee, they were quite interesting. And tonight, night 4, they're just plain nice. Conversation is an unstated assumption with these lodging arrangements, so our private time is somewhat limited. We'll be keeping it in balance in future trip planning.
3. We're not really tourists at heart. Today we took back roads into Nashville and dropped off the second book at the Vet Center. Due to our change in lodging plans, we had about another four hours before we could arrive at our B&B. We decided not to go to the Country Music Hall of Fame, Opryland, or the full-size replica of the Parthenon. Instead, we had lunch, went to a 12-step meeting, and took back roads out of Nashville during the afternoon commute. We're satisfied with our experience in Nashville.
4. If I do the laundry every two days, it stays manageable. If I do the washing at night and the drying in the morning, no one is inconvenienced. I feel a bit guilty asking my hosts for laundry privileges, but not guilty enough not to ask!
5. My back injury bothers me when I drive, but not enough so far to keep me from road trips.
6. The native Southerners I have met are deeply gracious, but not inclined to wide-ranging conversations - they have a reserve I've been unable to get past so far. I'm thinking about whether to continue making the effort to have "meaningful" conversations, or whether to accept them as they are, with their graciousness and reserve. Probably the latter.
7. Armadillos on the side of the road mean you're really in the South.
8. My nearsightedness is gone since the cataract surgery, but I'll still need to get a prescription for the astigmatism so i can see road signs more clearly.
9. I would rather drive and have Art critique me on occasion, than have him drive - at least on road trips. So far we use the GPS for our primary guide, but Art has veto power over the voice on the dashboard.
10. There are unbelievably large numbers of stars at night in rural skies.