It all started when I decided to take Dr. Bachman's offer of a job in his shelter/clinic near San Francisco. The Contra Costa animal shelter has two separate clinics in it, one public and one for the shelter animals, so there's lots to do there! But everything I own was in Virginia. I decided not to move everything all at once, which would mean having to tow my car behind a moving van. Instead, having gotten quite used to living out of a suitcase for the past year, I filled my car with the basic necessities I might need for a few months and took off. I didn't even have a place in San Fran to live yet, but knew I could rent a room-- people are always renting out. I can fly back later and get the rest when I decide where to settle down.
It was late by the time I reached Knoxville; there was nothing I wanted to see there anyway, having visited it a while back while volunteering for a RAVS (rural area veterinary service) weekend. I found a hotel off the highway and, still bleary with road daze, found my room and collapsed. But I was excited about the days to come.
This was about as far west as I had ever driven. I've always wanted to drive across America; I've even had vivid dreams about leaving and just heading west as far as I could go. It was finally going to become reality. I must admit I was a bit concerned that it would turn out to be a huge disappointment, especially after having just returned from a round-the-world tour. But I needn't have worried.
The next day I made Nashville by noon, and found the downtown historic center, the first place I always look for, having gotten into the habit in the old cities of Europe. I had been told that there wasn't much there. It seemed like a nice enough town, and might have been interesting seeing the main street in the evening when the bars and restaurants were in full swing, but I was more interested in Memphis which was still a half-day's drive away, so after a quick drive around town I opted not to stop for lunch, but instead push on.