It’s Tuesday, May 22. I drive for me, recently a good long way. Grenada, Mississippi to Benton, Kentucky; 307 miles all told. Almost now have 70,000 miles on this two-seater, 54,500 put on by me when I bought it from Joe. This Mazda Miata Special Edition is a 2001, Number 2655 of 3,000 SEs made that year. British Racing Green with with a tan top and inside trim. Wood Nardi steering wheel and shift knob, chrome entry door panel and wheels and an SE medallion on the side. Here’s a photo of the car and the key fob (Roger, I bought the sailor’s knot fob at the ship museum we visited in Savannah. Do you remember?).
I bought it out of his North Olmsted Honda dealership after it came in on a trade for a pre-owned Corvette. There were two previous owners who drove this then-ten-year-old for an average of 1,500 miles per year. I bought it in 2011 and started out with it in the fall to Lake Placid. I got to the Smoky Mountains National Park and the entire Blue Ridge Parkway in 2012 and started blogging thereafter. As an aside, I had the pleasure of driving for a week a Porsche Boxster, the complimentary use of which was extended to Matt and Lyndy for six months in a charitable auction. Thanks for that , Matt and Lyndy. I drove that Boxster, not as aggressively than Matt doing donuts, starting at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and half the Blue Ridge Parkway to I-77. From that point on, I knew I needed a two-seater convertible and it was Joe that found this prize for me. The dealership Sales Manager wanted it and so did the General Manager (Ron?). Their wives put the kibosh on that and it became available to sell to the general public. Joe jumped on it for me and in 24 hours, it was mine.
Thanks again, Joe! I’ll never sell it. I hope after I’m gone, it’ll be in my family for years. I’ll be looking down from heaven and I, along with St. Christopher will be laughing out loud and singing along with Cash, Nelson and Kristofferson to the music and lyrics of The Highwayman. Talking about being in heaven, not sure about Willie Nelson. If he makes it there, he’ll have done it the hard way. I’m hoping he’ll say a perfect Act of Contrition just before he gives up the ghost, which should be soon. He’s old, this guy. Advisory to Willie Nelson. Someone tell him. Willie, it’s not to late. You’ve got soul, my man; your music says it and I want to see you up there with me, you singing and me fiddling, with Jesus looking on and smiling. Willie . . . Repent!
Oh my. I digress. But some more.
Then, in August, 2113 I got to the National Parks in the west for our first big trip, documented in: peeweesbigadventure.wordpress.com, the first post of that trip in August, 2013 just after Dan and Megan’s wedding. Please see: the first post at the address above for August 9, 2013. You’ll have to click on August, 2013 and scroll down to August 9 to see it. One thing. I first named the blog Peewees Big Adventure. Got tired of explaining to folks that I wan not ‘bad boy Peewee’ so changed the name to Pete’s Big Adventure. Same blog/different address, same Pete Ruts. My five-week trip to Alaska is on that latter blog site.
I was looking for a photo of the above wedding but it’s not on this computer. DID find an archive photo from our 25th wedding anniversary trip to Maui. I caught this 390 lb., 10.5 foot-long blue marlin. Never heard that story? Tell me you have not and I’ll tell it.
Okay enough background. Digression alert. Back to the drive from Grenada to Benton, 310 miles. At the moment while posting this, I’m into the Golden State / Houston game. GS came out very strong but now at almost 9PM CDT, they’re tied. Go Houston! And at 10:15PM, Houston prevails. 2 and 2 Houston/Golden State.
Well, I’ll tell you it’s a good thing I got off on impassioned rants, because there’s not much to see. Prayers help to calm me and get me to a spiritual level. I take that back about not much to see.
Before departing, I was sure that I-55 would get me through Memphis, Tennessee and the into Kentucky but never imagined that I’d be driving through a bit of Arkansas, Missouri, and then back into Tennessee and finally into Kentucky. Surprisingly I-55 goes through it all, back and forth through state borders. I had no idea. Larry at Solon AAA kept me on the straight and narrow, and got me into Kentucky the best way. Thank you, Larry. And BTW Larry, the AAA Tour Books and regional and state maps were indispensable. Each one was useful and saved me time and frustration. AAA’s Larry and St. Christopher, my patrons.
I cross the Mississippi again at the Missouri/Kentucky border and get onto a short drive named for Vice President Al Gore. You remember him, he invented the internet. And made global warming a household word.
The cumulus clouds are well-defined and they are enormous as well as very high. Mountains in the sky. I’m taking photos all the way.
Just the border into Arkansas and near Jericho, there’s agriculture and lots of it . All under water. Is this rice being recently planted here? Rice plants love being in water and I can’t imagine what other crop this might be.
Indeed. Here’s what Wikipedia says.
Rice cultivation in Arkansas
Long grain American rice variety, USDA Agricultural Research Service Photo Library.[Large scale rice production in the state of Arkansas became a significant industry in the late 19th/early 20th century with its wide scale propagation within the state by entrepreneur W.H. Fuller around 1896. Arkansas has historically been the largest rice producer in the entire United States, and accounted for nearly 45% of U.S. rice production in 2001, as well as just less than half of the total number of acres of rice harvested nationwide. Much of Arkansas’ rice is grown in the east-central portion of the state, where it requires nearly three times more the amount of irrigation water than the average eleven inches the region receives during the growing season. In the areas of lowest precipitation, or where weedy red rice is a significant problem, farmers follow a three year, three phase “old rotation” of rice-soybean-soybean. However, most Arkansas rice producers follow a two year, two phase crop rotation of rice following soybeans.
Clouds again. It’s the very flat-as-a-pancake boring acreage, there’s some HUGE clouds, nicely formed that are with me all the way. I talk a lot of pix of these and I’ll now analyze and award which can best convey the beauty, enormity and the power to amaze. Most all are framed by the highway corridors of high pines on both sides of the roadway. How utterly charming these views are. Pure white as the sun shines upon them, light gray in the parts that the sun sparkles and then darker toward the bottom. These must be 25 to 30,000 feet high. It takes me a long time to get under the biggest (yes, biggest is a word) and to enjoy a cooling, but not dangerous shower. It’s 83F.
Finally after a looong time AIS, I arrive at Benton, call Louise and head across the street to my favorite fast food. I was thinking a triple-beef sandwich but I see the Gyros on the menu. Two for $6. With tax $6.36 but with my military veteran card, the 10$ discount gets the net down to $5.72. One goes in the refer for tomorrow, the other goes down the hatch. Washed down with three cups of yogurt for dessert.
After dinner, the laundry I washed this morning needs to be dried. I’m not going to feed more quarter in the dryer (don’t have enough anyway), so here’s how to do it, just like how I do it at home and the way my grandparents did it while I listened as a young boy. morning. Well almost; they used a clothesline in the basement while I hang it all over the room, scattered about on lamps and doors and in the closet hanging properly.
Outside to get stuff out of the trunk, I’m charmed by the plantings. So I grab my camera and take a few photos, just to remember the moment.
I watch Houston best Golden State and now it’s time for this cowboy to dream. I play Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson singing at the jail with John Wayne and Walter Brennan looking on. Rio Bravo. 1959. A classic. Here’s the link to the video and the lyrics. Sing along!
Please note. If the link below doesn’t work, just Google ‘Dean Martin singing My Rifle, My Pony, And Me’.
“My Rifle, My Pony And Me”
The sun is sinking in the west
The cattle go down to the stream
The redwing settles in her nest
It’s time for a cowboy to dream
Purple light in the canyons
That’s where I long to be
With my three good companions
Just my rifle, pony and me
Gonna hang my sombrero
On the limb of a tree
Coming home sweetheart darling
Just my rifle, pony and me
Just my rifle, my pony and me
Whippoorwill in the willow
Sings a sweet melody
Riding to Amarillo
Just my rifle, pony and me
No more cows (no more cows) to be roping (to be roping)
No more strays (no more strays) will I see
Round the bend (round the bend) she’ll be waiting (she’ll be waiting)
For my rifle, pony and me
For my rifle, my pony and me