Rockies 2007

Day 09

June 22

  I sleep like a dead man and am a little later than usual getting up. It's a little over 1000 miles to the Holler, so I figure I'll just to take the day and see how it goes. I've done those kind of days many times so it's not out of the question for me to be at the house by tonight. I decide I'll get on into Amarillo and see what I can find for breakfast, figuring there should be plenty of options. It will also give me a chance to see how much gear I need to wear since I'm officially out of the mountains. As I get into Amarillo, I see the IHOP sign and that's all I need. A quick stop at a nearby Shell station to feed the SweetTreat, and then over to IHOP to feed me. Generally IHOPs are what I call a safe place for eats - the quality is usually pretty consistent and the food pretty good. This turns out to be one of the better ones that I have stopped at - the food's good and so is the service. Soon I'm on the road again, grinding out the miles that I know far too well on I40. As it makes it's way across Texas, there are some pretty lonely stretches for as far as the eye can see.  
  Before long, I see a very familiar landmark - the largest cross in the United States. I can't help but notice how the utility poles stand as a silent echo to the larger cross as they march in silent cadence toward the horizon.  

The day and the miles go by only broken by the needful gas stops. In Sayre, OK it's a nameless Shell station. In Choctaw, OK it's the Anderson's Travel Center. Soon I'm into Arkansas and one state closer to home. I make a stop at a Van Buren Shell station just past Fort Smith. I figure this should get me past Little Rock and halfway to Memphis. At the junction of highway 11 and I40, I pull into a Shell station in Hazen, AR. I am paying a heavy price from the heat, but I know I should have only one more gas stop before I reach my beloved Holler. When I cross the bridge at Memphis, I am one happy camper. I know from here I can make it all the way to the house.


Fifty miles on the other side of Memphis, I make my final gas stop at an Exxon in Stanton, TN. If my calculations are correct, I ought to be home in about 2 1/2 hours. I take a bit of a long break this time, knowing the Holler is within my grasp. Then I mount up for the last dash and head back to the slab. With cruise set at just 5 over, I don't even have to watch out for state troopers. It's smooth sailing all the way home as the mile markers click up toward 200. Then with a quick run from I40 down US 70 to my house and I'm in my garage. When I check my mileage, I see it's been a long 1,060 miles for the day, over 5400 miles for the trip. My mental mileage tells me that I have traveled farther than that and seen sights that I will remember forever. But it will be good to get to sleep in my own bed tonight.