Thursday, April 19, 2012

Road trip reflections - day 4

We're couchsurfing tonight at a B&B in Gordonsville, Tennessee. We were to have been in Shelbyville - and I was to have spoken at a Lions Club meeting there tonight - but I got a call last night from the hostess who told me her husband had been admitted to a Nashville hospital with chest pains. I heard from him this morning - he was being released this afternoon - and told him we were going to change our plans because it was important for him to rest up. He said, "I hate to miss you." What a nice comment - pure Southern.

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.


Out on the prairie said...

I like how you passed the few items in Nashville one never really needs to see.

Arkansas Patti said...

Couch surfing really has to be an adventure. Interesting perspective on Southerners.
Glad your back is holding up and the eyesight is so much better. Kind of necessary for driving.
Smart to have your navigator check the GPS. It can be wrong sometimes.

DJan said...

Your trips are as interesting as you are! I am amazed at your ability to keep on meeting new people every day and not getting worn out. Even though I'm extroverted, as I grow older I find I need peace and quiet much more often. Good choice on the Nashville sights. I am sure enjoying this! :-)

Linda Reeder said...

I love learning what you learn! I know couch surfing is not for me because I am an introvert and I do not want to have to try to make conversation all of the time. I want my conversing to be brief and my down time to be my own. But I also to not like the big tourist places, preferring the small towns and back country roads.

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

I miss being able to see lots of stars, as when my family had a cabin on a small northern lake with no electricity. And I too am enjoying your travel posts.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

I hope her husband is okay, that's scary!

Glad your back hasn't been an issue, especially considering the driving you've had to do already & how much more there is to come. Sounds like you're enjoying yourselves and meeting lots of great people. I'm living vicariously through your "book tour" and can't wait to hear about your speaking engagement!

Sandi said...

You are braver than I to do this "couch surfing" method of traveling. I like to relax in the evenings, and not to have to chat with people if I don't want to! Probably wouldn't sit well with that sort of an arrangement.

But, even with that said, it would be an less expensive way to see the sights, and is a reasonable alternative for traveling.

Thanks for keeping us posted on what's happening!

Nebraska Outback said...

Great blogging Linda. I am really enjoying your accounts of your travels.

I am reading the book "Red House on the Niobrara" by a Brit writer who spent six month in "Sandoz" country.

I'm thinking you would enjoy his account. I downloaded it for Kindle. I blogged about it, but haven't given it a review yet.

Safe travels!


Davy Rasmussen said...

We are so glad the stars lined up for you to spend an evening with us in Butterfly Hollow. We too wish you could have stayed another evening more.....