Sunday 3rd October, Pleasant Shade, Tennessee, USA
What a great last day in the US!
That's right, my little jaunt in redneck wonderland
is over, and it's back to Madrid. I've one hell of a journey ahead of me too- a one hour drive to Nashville, an hour to wait for the Dirty Dog, four hours' bus ride to Memphis, arriving four hours before I have to check in for my flight. Then it's a nine hour flight to the Netherlands, five hours staring into an empty glass at the airport bar in Amsterdam, and another two and a half hours flight to Madrid, followed by two trains and a short walk before I'm finally 'home'. Glenn had commented that I seem very 'settled' in Madrid, and that many readers might be getting the feeling that my trip, my project, is over. Yes, Madrid is my home now and until when I'm not sure. No, my adventures are not over. In fact, with the success of my first book "Everywhere but Missouri, mate!" I am already considering a second edition, accompanied by a book tour, and I can promise you the adventure is only getting started!
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's talk about Tennessee...
After our rather mellow ride down the river yesterday, Glenn figured something with a little more pace was called for. So after a huge breakfast at Uncle Buck and Connie's place nextdoor, we headed out onto the lake with his friends Stacy and kristie. After a little bit of hanging around in the sun, enjoying the waves and the cold beers, we put on some speed, and Stacy jumped on the board. It looked like fun, but I didn't bring my swimming costume, and inspite of the others' assurance that I didn't need one, the thought of falling off the board at high speed, butt naked, didn't appeal.
Instead I stayed warm and dry on deck
, diligent in my job of emptying the cooler as fast as possible.
Against all predictions
, it had been a perfect day, warm and sunny. We'd must've been out on the water for four or five hours before the the sun suddenly dropped behind the hills and the daylight started fading. I don't think that would have stopped us, but at about the same time our supplies of beer, champagne and whiskey also simultaneously came to an end, and it was time to head for home. It was probably just as well. In fact, my camera batteries died an hour or so beforehand, and that was just as well too. Things started getting a bit loose after these photos were taken!
Back home a couple of hours later,
all that sunshine had started to give me a headache. Shirley scolded the pair of us for being silly, and I was almost ready for an early night. Part of me hoped that Glenn had forgotten his earlier promise to take me cave exploring that night. Apparently, there was a huge underground cave *is there any other sort*
on the neighbouring property, and in the morning I had expressed unreserved enthusiasm for exploring it. Now I was slightly less overwhelmed by the prospect. But Glenn hadn't forgotten, and before I knew it we were fitted out with powerful flashlights, lowering ourselves into a small hole in the ground. If my camera batteries hadn't been flat, the next hour or two could have yielded some great photos as Glenn and I, along with two of his neighbours, scrambled through narrow cracks in the cave, and slipped around on the slick bat-shit coated rocks. In a couple of spots, it was all we could do to slither on our bellies through a crevice that couldn't have been much more than a foot high. By the end of the night, I was entirely covered in batshit, and thoroughly exhilarated that my trip to the US had ended with such an adventure!
Thanks to all in Pleasant Shade for making an otherwise unremarkable little place one of the highlights of my round the world trip! I am currently working on a Pleasant Shade page in my Not So Savage Files. Stay tuned...