Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Sputnik knows long before I do that a journey is imminent with that unearthly canine intuition we mere mortals can never comprehend. Days before our departure she’d leap into the truck’s open door and stubbornly refuse to exit. She must be coerced and cajoled with veiled threats of violence and promises of dog biscuits and cheddar cheese. Hooked up and loaded the Gypsy Pod and was ready for takeoff Saturday morning. The weather was moderate, unlike the poor conditions during last year’s southern migration.
Trailing the Pod on my tiny pickup and traveling at interstate speed is similar to towing an obstinate, tethered parachute like the one used to stop the space shuttle during landing. Doesn’t do well up hills or into a headwind. Maybe a truck cap would help streamline its overall aerodynamic properties, but right now ten mpg is as good as I can get.
The landscape in Kentucky was frosted with a fresh coat of benign snow, but the roads were fine, and we made our way to a cold little campground of I-65 just north of Nashville. They placed me in the back row with the rear of the camper about one-hundred feet from the interstate. I fell asleep to the sound of the nightime highway, which is among the loneliest sounds on earth, and also a favorite of mine.
The siren song of the highway is the sound of restless movement, commerce and flight. Bleary-eyed, high-ballin’ truckers with doctored logbooks trying to avoid the twenty second nap that will end their run, or worse. Desperate families, their meager possessions piled high in the back seat of ancient Chevys, hoping the next town will bring them employment. Undocumented migrants and drug runners crowded into mini-vans and non-descript Buicks flying under the radar and hoping their secrets go unjudged before they make their destination.
After a decent night’s sleep I batten down the hatches, pull up the landing gear and power up the on-ramp as I join the others on Amërïkä’s endless, infrastructural, asphalt bloodstream as I move ever Southward.