Freedom Beat Across America: In Search of America's Heartbeat

Day 21 — 3 states in one day

Be sure to join us at for the “Phil & Bill Show”, Tuesday, August 22 at 6pm pacific time, 9pm eastern.  We’re really excited that they asked the Four Broads to be on the show and talk about our journey.

Today we crossed three states in one day:  Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.  It’s the only time we’ve done that, unless you count New Mexico-Colorado-Oklahoma, but Dottie says we were only in Colorado for ten minutes and besides, it was a mistake, so it probably shouldn’t count.

Funny, the things you talk about while cruising along a streaming, endless stretch of road.  Hey, it breaks the monotony.   Dottie finally found Toadsuck, Arkansas, on the map.  She’d been swearing to us that it was real, that she wasn’t making it up.  Turns out we passed just south of it on our trip east, and now we won’t have time to go that far north again.  Oh, darn.  But she did find out where the name came from, which had been intriguing us for the whole trip.  Seems the bored river sailors who couldn’t move their boats because the river was too low, would sit in the bars and, in the words of the locals, “suck on their beers until they swelled up like toads”.  Sorry I missed it.

Another occupation was watching out for cities of the world.  We have passed through or near to:  Dublin, Paris, Rome, Delhi, several Cantons, a few Florences and more than one Athens.  There was also Italy, Texas and England, Arkansas.  Oh, and Parrish, Alabama.  No relation.

We were struck by how clean and neat the freeways were.   Dottie marveled that the grass along the roads always looked freshly mowed even in horrendous heat and humidity.  Alabama’s signs seemed a little indecisive, though.  One would state that the fine for throwing trash on the highway was $1,000.  A quarter mile down the road, the fine changed to $1,200.  Then a bit later it’s back to $1,000.  I warned every one to be careful where they threw out their trash – a few yards could cost an extra $200.  Just kidding, folks.  Anyway, as soon as we crossed into Mississippi, the fine was only $250.

For a while we played leapfrog with a pickup that had a mountain of stuff piled in the back, covered with a tarpaulin and strapped down with a few miles of rope, with a tiny pink bicycle lying on the very top.  Picture a little girl standing there after you’ve packed and strapped down everything you own, holding onto her bicycle and letting the tears flow.  So Dad climbs up on the top of the mountain and uses a few more half-hitch knots.

Don't be afraid to be Pink!

Also saw a pink fire truck.  I kid you not – we have pictures.  The seal on the door says,  “Pink Heals – Care Enough to Wear Pink”.  Nice guys.  I’d like to see that one again.

Everyone is anxious to get on down the road, but when I saw the mighty Mississippi, I just had to pull over.  Being the driver, I don’t always get a chance to take pictures along the way.  I completely missed the Miss on the eastbound trip, so I made everyone wait in 200% humidity while I snapped shots of a magnificent line of barges being pushed at a definite “summertime and the livin’ is easy” pace.

The Big Miss at Vicksburg

We are taking a completely different route going west from the way we went east.  And yet we are headed to Dallas.  I’m beginning to think Melissa is right:  “All roads lead to Dallas.”  And around and around Dallas, according to Skylar.  At least when I’m driving.

Our chief editor Wes Anderson is posting about veterans, and Melissa has her blogs at the Enterprise and Southwest Riverside News Network.  Dottie and I are just beating the road for home!


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