Here is part 3 of my 16 day adventure, driving 8700+ miles solo cross country across the entire width of the US and back. Read Part 2 here: US Cross Country-1: A natural bridge and gaining confidence
Day 2:Sun 2003-Jun-22
Woke up early and grabbed some breakfast. Nashville is famous for its NASCAR track amongst many other things. It is also the capital city of Tennessee. But sight seeing here wasn't in my plan, so I just drove out of the city. This would be one recurring theme in my entire journey. A lot of great places that I chose to skip due to lack of time. One would probably need a full year to see all the places to do any sort of justice. But today was another day of long drive. So no stoppages. Destination Oklahoma City, which was almost 676 miles (1088 km) and 11 hours away. I continued on I-40, west bound.
|Bad snap: Top of The Pyramid Arena
|Bad snap: Top of the Hernando de Soto Bridge
After Memphis it was the crossing of the R.Mississippi. It was a milestone for me personally. As a kid I was introduced to the Mississippi and Missouri in 6th grade, the 2 greatest rivers in N. America. I always felt an awe when I heard those names. Some sort of mystique. And today here I was, crossing it. This river is the 4th longest river in the world and is 3902 miles (6275 km) long. The longest river, Nile, is only about 375 km longer than the Mississippi. The Mississippi irrigates almost 3 million sq km of land, which is the fifth highest in the world. The bridge built across it on the I40 is called the Hernando de Soto Bridge, it is almost 6km long and is awesome. I later heard that one should see the lighting on it at night. Supposed to be breath taking. But something I was not blessed to see. Another tragedy happened when I tried to snap it with my camera. You will find much better snaps in wikipedia. I just drove on across it and thus entered the state of Arkansas.
Arkansas is not a very big state. I passed the capital city Little Rock without stopping. I practiced taking snaps while driving. I couldn't afford more mess ups. I knew I had screwed up the previous snaps, taken in the point and shoot mode with my eyes on the road. I soon mastered the art of bringing the camera to my eye while driving and taking the snap. All this without taking eyes off the road. Then I got more adventurous. I managed to pull out my binoculars from the backpack in rear seat and brought it to my eyes. I almost hit the brakes on reflex. The 50x zoom made me think I'm going to hit the car in the front and its bumper was almost on mine. Enough shock treatment for the day. Luckily the gap between cars was quite far enough, so no damage done. The snap below was taken just before my binocular stunt. Now I focused on driving. Driving properly I mean. And then I noticed the flowers. They were all over the place, on each side of the road, the whole place was painted yellow. I had seen such snaps in National Geographic, but this was for real. I still smile at the thought.
|Flowers by the side of I-40
|Fort Smith - The court room
|The Trails of Tears
Oklahoma state was next. For whatever reasons, the condition of I-40 was horrible throughout the state of OK. I almost thought that the Native Americans who mainly settled in OK, were being given a raw deal to this day. But later I learned that a new road renovation project was on the cards. I drove through more farms on either side and also over the bridge built over Lake Eufaula. The lake was huge and I couldn't even see the other end. I drove on towards Oklahoma city, directly into the sunset. One of the many wonderful sunsets I would get to see driving westward.
|Tributes for the loved ones
|The Oklahoma City National Memorial
I hit bed once back at the motel. Tomorrow would be the longest drive of the trip, destination Arizona.
Read the next part, day 3 of the 16 day solo trip: US Cross Country-3: Reaching Arizona
The complete set of photos from day 2.
|Route Map - end of day 2
|Maple Shade, NJ
|Falls Church, VA
|NJ, DE, VA
|Oklahoma City, OK
|TN, AR, OK