Road trip! Lemme get my boots!

As I drive through your pearly gates, I realize that I just can’t stay.

I don’t often travel south of Mason-Dixon, not because I’m a Northerner (which I am), and not because I’m gay (which I am), but because I’ve really never been drawn there. Like any Ohioan, I’ve driven through Kentucky and Tennessee a couple times, enough to consider them Ohio’s little sister. The trees and stones are similar to Ohio and Cuyahoga. That made a drive from Nashville to Memphis rather comforting even though it was in the rain and I was sick.

All those mountains, they kept you locked inside and hide the truth from my slighted eyes.

It’s really pretty, driving down the I-40 to Memphis. The trees and rocks are familiar enough that even a Dayquil addled mind can smile and go ‘purty’ for a few miles. Now, I don’t drive anymore. I forfeited my license when I was about 19 and while I’ve actually driven a few times since then in desperate circumstances, I’d much rather sit shotgun and put my feet on the dash. Hey, it’s a rental car. Cope. Ipstenit loves driving. She hates the fact that we can’t have a car (the price of owning a car in a city is for another rant), and because of that, we’ve started renting cars when on vacation. She drives, I plan routes. I’m a very good navigator, provided I have a map that’s better than the crap-ass Avis one. By the way, don’t rent from Avis. Their cars are okay, but Hertz is better.

I came to you with a half open heart, dreams upon my back, illusions of a brand new start in Nashville.

Ipstenit dislikes listening to the radio while driving (it distracts her) so instead we make crappy jokes about other drivers, reconstruct ‘crime scenes’ based on the skid marks on the road, and sing. Of course we sing Indigo Girls songs (it’s in the lesbian contract, page six, paragraph G ‘all lesbians must sing Indigo Girls songs while on a road trip’). We sang Show Tunes, I called up various relations and told them that we were alive and doing well. It was pouring rain. The drive from Nashville to the town in Mississippi was really easy. I-40 to Memphis, I-220 around Memphis, I-55 to Mississippi. I mean, an idiot could have mastered it, and Tennessee and Mississippi are two states that have the very nice ‘numbered’ exit system, so my directions were ‘take exit 215b’ and it was that easy.

Can’t I carry the load? Is it my fault I can’t reap what I sow? Nashville.

There was a couple turns of confusion, mostly in figuring out which lane to be in and so on. But we figured it out. The main source of angst was the drive back to the airport. It took us 6.5 hours in the rain (with many stops for me to be sick) to get to Ipstenit’s family. No biggie. The problem was that we had no baseline for how long it’d take to get back! The flight out was at 3, so we thought we should leave at 5 and no problems. Except Ipstenit and I got a little worried. Would it be enough time, factoring in an hour of lost? Who knows.

Did you give me half a chance with your Southern style and your hidden dance?

In the end we decided to decamp at 3pm the day before our flight, drive to Nashville, find a hotel and have a nice night alone. The only error in the whole plan was the ‘find a hotel’ since it turns out Nashville doesn’t want you to be able to find that nice Holiday Inn Express. Exit 15b, then exit 12. Only it wasn’t there. Forty minutes of dicking around, and we gave up. We turned the car in a day early, went to see if we could snag an earlier flight (did you know the Nashville airport shuts down at 9pm? Me neither!), found we couldn’t, so we went back to the shuttle shack and called up Holiday Inn Express. For $80 we got a California King sized bed (fit for three people!), hot showers, a room where we could flop around in as much or as little as we wanted, a TV, a pool, and BIG towels.

Away and you dance away and you dance away…

The next morning, we got a wake up call, a paper and breakfast all included in the bill. The bill was slipped under our door as we’d slept, so all we had to do was drop off the keys, catch the shuttle to the airport, walk in, check in, and then wait for our flight. We were entertained by a traveling choir who were trying to get to NYC despite the twenty inches of snow. We flew back and arrived home. Alive.


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