A 14-Minute Nap

South Carolina rest area 11-11-2014I rolled out of Athens, Ohio, in late middle afternoon on Monday and made it through the mountains in West Virginia in the dark. I ran out of steam around Jonesville, NC, and decided to call it a night after having a big piece of country ham and some scrambled eggs at the Waffle House next to the motel.

After a breakfast of waffles and bacon at the – surprise, surprise – Waffle House, I pedaled on south. I stopped for a 9-minute nap in North Carolina at a rest area that was loaded with big pine cones. Mother would have gone crazy picking them up.

Late in the afternoon, I pulled into the shade at rest area in South Carolina for a 14-minute nap. When the alarm went off, the first thing I saw were these plants, some kind of grass, I suppose.

Great place to eat

South Carolina rest area 11-11-2014My low fuel light came on near the Darien, Georgia, exit, so I took that as a sign I should get gas and stop for the night. On the way to my cheap motel, I spotted a restaurant that advertised a seafood buffet. I’m a little hinky about seafood buffets, but the front desk clerk said the food at The Seafood Cabin was good.

I was going to write about them tonight, but I’m going to wait until I get back home to a real computer monitor and keyboard. Short version: good food, super nice people, and brand-new – only open since Saturday.

You can click on the photos to make them larger. If they don’t look right, it’s because it’s hard to judge subtle colors and tones on a laptop screen.

Cairo’s Nap Auto Store

Old Napa Auto sign 08-10-2014Having to watch Brother David do yard work Sunday tuckered me out something awful. Then, on Monday, I had to do a quick up ‘n’ back to St. Louis, leaving me seriously nap deprived.

That’s when I remembered this store I spotted on the north end of Cairo on the way to Cape.

I should have stopped in to get a gross of those Nap Autos the sign promised. The only reason I didn’t was that I wasn’t sure how long they’d stay good. I’ll pull in to check their expiration date on my next pass through the town.

I wonder if they come in different sizes? Are they sprayed to kill nightmares? Does the nap start automatically as soon as you open the package? There are just so many questions ….

Cape to Athens

Storm clouds 08-19-2014I was supposed to head out for Athens, Ohio, on the afternoon of August 19 and make a leisurely two-day drive out of it, with some sightseeing along the way.

Right before I started breaking down the computer equipment for loading, the weather alert radio went off with a severe thunderstorm warning with reports of baseball-sized hail west of us. I didn’t want to take a chance on getting holes punched in my windows before heading off cross-country, so I holed up under the overhang at the nearby funeral home. I was joined by two other cars shortly after.

We got some gusty winds, heavy rain and about five minutes of pea and marble-sized hail, but it blew through quickly. A few limbs snapped off a walnut tree on the side of the house, but that was about it. Based on scanner traffic, Jackson must have gotten more of the storm than we did.

Saying goodbye

2014-08-21 Mary steinhoff _9883Mother and I usually take a group selfie when I head out, but since I’m going back to Cape in about a week, we decided to go with a wave.

I think she’s been watching too much TV news out of St. Louis. That looks less like a wave than a “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” pose.

Traffic was OK

2014-08-21 Truck_9896With only a couple of exceptions, traffic was light and moving smoothly. Some clouds popped up a few times, but I had more bug splatters than rain splatters on the windshield.

Worked in a few naps

2014-08-21 Sunset_9928Listening to a good audio book about World War II kept me awake, but I did stop at some rest areas for seven and nine-minute naps. This is what I saw when I woke up from one of them.

I was in good company: there were six or eight 18-wheelers in the parking lot with their diesel engines grumbling away. It was either that or their pilots were really snoring.

Rolled into Athens with 532 miles under my belt at about 1:18 a.m. (I lost an hour due to the time zone change.) Wife Lila complained that 1:18 isn’t an “about” time.

I tried to explain that the exact time would be 1:18:42. I just rounded it to 1:18.

I don’t think it’s going to be safe for me to go home.

Horsing Around in Florida

Horse trailer at Canoe Creek rest area 04-30-2104I finally got on the road back to Cape. I was later than planned, but earlier than I had actually figured I’d be wheels-up. The last thing I did before pulling out of the driveway was to grab a cloth and polish my glasses. That’s when I noticed one of the nose pieces was missing.

Sunday’s not a good time to try to find someplace to fix that, and the glasses didn’t feel too weird, so I decided to find a fix on Monday.

Needed a nap

About 200 miles up the road, I felt a little drowsy, so I swerved into the Canoe Creek rest area on the Florida Turnpike for a 22-minute nap. I actually woke up a couple of minutes early, maybe because of a bright reflection shining into my eyes.

The light was reflecting off a highly-chromed trailer with a window in its side. After staring at it a couple of minutes, something inside stared back at me. I decided it was time to quit horsing around and got back on the road.

Found a cheap, clean room

I made it to Lake City, where I stopped at the Comfort Suites motel I usually stay at. I asked how much for a room, and the clerk said, $98.”

“I’ve stayed here before for $69 and $79. Surely you can do better than that for a regular customer who has recommended you to his friends.”

“I’m sorry, that’s as low as I’m authorized to go,” she said.

I voted with my feet.

A quick Internet search turned up a 2-star motel within eyesight. I wasn’t crazy about the two-star part, but the reviews of the America’s Best Value Inn were favorable. Even the complaints were nit-picking (“it’s a long walk to the ice dispenser”).

The clerk was a nice guy who had been working there for three years. “I installed the carpet in the rooms, and when I was done, the job dried up and nobody was building anything, so I applied for this job.” He assured me that it was clean.

The room is small, but clean. Hey, I’m not holding a dance party. I just want to sleep in it.

Oh, yes. The price was NOT $98. The price was not $79. The price was not $69. The price was $45.95. You can’t beat that with a stick. Another good thing: it had some of the fastest wireless Internet connectivity of anyplace I’ve stayed.