US Road Trip Travelog: 23rd February 2005

Leaving Chattanooga proves to be a bit more difficult than getting in, as I can't for the life of me find Highway 41 South. After numerous u-turns I eventually find it and am on my way. Another glorious sunny day and the landscape, though less impressive than yesterday, is still very pretty and the road cuts through mainly forests.

As I come into Cartersville, however, there's suddenly a huge great traffic jam. I can only assume that the Interstate has been closed due to an accident and all traffic has been diverted. After half an hour the Riviera is getting hot and bothered and so am I, so we retreat to a roadside mall so we can both cool off.

I've been thinking about a name for my car. Most cars (like ships) are female, though I can't imagine some of those huge pickups being anything but male. You wouldn't call your gigantic macho pickup 'Audrey', would you? The best I can come up with so far for the Riviera is 'Loretta', after Loretta Lynn. An older but respected performer who has a new lease of life later in her career. So the Van Lear Rose album = US Road Trip for the two Loretta's. Works for me.

When the traffic has thinned-out a bit we continue south. As Highway 41 gets closer to Atlanta the traffic gets heavier and, to be honest, it isn't much fun. I was thinking about visiting downtown Atlanta but I was really enjoying the empty roads yesterday and don't really need another city at the moment. I do need to find a motel fairly soon though, for one good reason.

Laundry. I don't know how many travel books I've read over the years, and I'm reading one at the moment, but the authors never seem to need any clothes washing. What do they do? Wear the same ones all the time? Buy new ones and throw the old ones away? Being not keen on either I find a Drury Hotel in Marietta just north of Atlanta. I'm beginning to like Drury Hotels as - though they're a bit more expensive than some others - the rooms are always big and clean, you get three free drinks and snacks 5:30 til 7 and, most importantly, their internet access always works. Internet access at other hotels has been at best patchy, meaning you have to go down to the lobby to get a signal, or at worst completely non-existent. The hotel in downtown Memphis, for instance, advertised wireless internet access but it never worked and I had to go to a cafe over the road to get a connection.

And the Drury Hotel has a laundry room, where I spend the next four hours (there were a lot of plastic bags full of washing in the trunk of the Riviera). A necessary evil, and today's task means that it'll be another fortnight before I need to do it again. Tomorrow I think I'll bypass Atlanta, avoid the Interstates after that, and head for the coast.

US Road Trip Travelog: 24th February 2005 >