(Oops — I accidentally posted a fragment of this from a rest area in Kentucky earlier today — a slip of the thumb.)
On the journey between New Orleans and Bloomington, I’ve always preferred the easterly route, through Nashville, as opposed to the westerly route, through Memphis.
Driving through the Nash is a bitch, but the route is hillier and thus more scenic than the flatter westerly route.
On recent trips back and forth, I couldn’t take the easterly route, because the I-10 “twin spans” were destroyed by Katrina. That changed a few days ago, when one of the spans was re-opened for two-way traffic. I was amazed at how fast this was accomplished.
So today I took the easterly route back to Bloomington. I left before dawn. That means I was driving through New Orleans East in the dark.
And what a vast darkness it was.
I knew that I was driving past mile after mile of residences and shopping districts and car dealerships. Yet everything was pitch black.
Once I got across the lake, I passed through the thickest damn fog I’ve ever seen.
As the hours and miles peeled away, I found myself driving into autumn, more red and gold leaves. And then the rain.
At 830 miles, the easterly route is 30 miles shorter than the westerly, but it took me 13 hours and 15 minutes — a quarter hour longer than my westerly drive down thirteen days ago.
Wow, has it really been thirteen days? I was in New Orleans for almost two weeks…
I’m back in Bloomington now. It’s good to lay eyes on Xy once more. Also our friend and fellow New Orleanian James Conrad is here for a visit. He wants to see some fall foliage, which is a bit of a novelty if you’re from a subtropical clime such as New Orleans.
And we’re all trying to figure out what’s next.