We woke up in our Jackson TN motel room, both of us itching and unable to sleep, the air damp. The chips that had been left out were soggy. I cracked the window for air. It was dark outside. What came in couldn’t have been under 70 degrees. I decided to make some breakfast on the stove but the matches would not light.
Yup, we were barely across the Mississippi River, but it was unmistakable: we were back in the East. And the South. The stickiness could not be denied. I wonder if anyone transitions successfully back to the East Coast after more than a couple months on the West.
Granted, our first full day back in Virginia was a crisp 70s day with incredible visibility.
But until the unsettled weather cleared, the way back was uncomfortable, despite the foliage. Allergies I had forgotten I had arose to life. In some places the rain was the first real rain of the summer and woke up all sorts of nasty moulds.
After Las Vegas, profiled in great detail in the last entry, we wild-camped at Lake Foss, a large reservoir 100 W of Oklahoma City where I had camped on my way out West in May 2003. On the grass under a black locust, it was the best night's sleep both of us had on the trip, and perhaps Morgan as well. We pierced the curtain of moisture around Oklehoma City, where the range ends and the trees really begin. In Seminole, 30 miles east of OK City, we popped into the Jasmine Moran Children's Museum 10 miles off the interstate which turned into an all-afternoon gig. We patronized a Super 8 Motel near Fort Smith, Arkansas. Continued across the state, which this time seemed redneck to an extreme. Meth zombies with long white beards is perhaps more apt. Tennessee was prety much indistinguishable from Virginia, the steep grades started west of Knoxville, then eased again. Tent-camped within the town limits of peaceful, good little Damascus, Virginia, on Thursday night, and arrived back at Smith Mountain Lake the next afternoon.