New Adventure with Marilyn Begins in Memphis and New Orleans

For Marilyn the summer of freedom and new experiences had her longing for more, a particularly cold winter season back at work hit her from the other angle, pushing her further towards the pull from the road.

I was happy to link back up with her, we'd been finding ways to cross paths anyways ever since she got back to Indiana after the summer. During this cold month of February I'd tucked away in a friend's house in Michigan while he was away, an isolated marathon writing session that I was now ready to snap out of.

I walked to the highway, always the gateway to what's next, the cold on my mind as merely a passing sentence I'd write about later. Two short rides to get me on the major southbound, a seemingly nervous guy to the next big junction, a family proud of their daughter in NYC who was handy with an oboe got me further still, then finally a Kenyan truck driver got me the rest of the way to Indy.

I waited there until Marilyn's friend picked me up and we drove on down to Bloomington. In the morning we'd turn right back around, packed down with some more stuff that Marilyn would be storing at her friend's house there. She was essentially getting rid of as many of her possessions as she could tolerate, then storing everything that didn't make sense to go in her backpack.

This trip would be somewhat open ended for her. "About a year", was her line, that's roundabout the amount of money she figured she had saved up and about as long until she wanted to figure out what was next in her life, it certainly didn't sound like it would be back to Indiana, not permanently anyway.

She'd gotten us tickets to the Lakers game which made the back and forthing more than worth it for me, afterwards it was back down to Bloomington for a couple days while she tied up loose ends and got ready for the road indefinite. Piles surrounded her backpack, what to bring, what to leave behind, what else to get and how to organize it all.

Finally the morning came, the day before March began, her friend dropped us off past the edge of town with wind whipping it's final chills our way. We got our first ride just a short ways down to Bloomfield where we waited again for the next ride to come along.

It was a cop, though, a woman had called us in apparently worried about us standing in the cold. This cop was friendly, we hopped in his car and he claimed to have a full tank of gas, so he proceeded to take us to and even a little ways past the county line.

From where he finally dropped us off on the freeway we got a ride from a friendly couple who took us down into Kentucky. Another couple got us further along after that, then we got a ride from a reptile teacher kinda guy, the sort that would go into classrooms and show kids all kinds of creatures.

After him came a somewhat nervous couple with an older man in the backseat, he seemed to have been the one who probably decided we should be picked up, he gave Marilyn fifty bucks when we finally parted ways.

Our last ride of the day came from a guy who lead on to being some kind of federal agent or some such. It was getting on dark and he offered to let us stay the night, his kids were at their mother's so he had the extra space.

We hung there for the night, he shared with us some pizza and moonshine. The shine was interesting, as it seemed he was involved in running it around, that coupled with what seemed like potential shady dealings with a guy who kept coming and going, something was afoot, but he was friendly and we were happy for the hospitality.

In the morning he drove us out to the main road, right in front of a school, we thanked him and got to thumbing the early morning traffic.

Indeed a short school bus pulled up to let us in, but actually had no affiliation with the school we were next to, or any school. The driver was an independent mover of sorts, driving all over the country picking things up and delivering them wherever they needed to go. At this moment he had a trailer hitched on back carrying a space aged looking golf cart. The bus itself, the seats removed, was instead filled with a jukebox and assorted boxes and gizmos and whatnot.

As luck would have it he was heading to Memphis, same as us, a pretty easy travel day with just the one long ride. My good friend Nick lived there, he came and picked us up, that day and couple following it were all about chowing down amazing food. BBQ, Gus's Chicken, Gibson's Donuts, homemade jambalaya. America.

We'd gotten a bus ticket to New Orleans, an easy decision since it was just a dollar a piece. We landed in the city closer to dark, objective one was finding some good food. We found jambalaya in the French Quarter to do the trick.

In the process of this a drunk guy named Tommy wearing an Angry Birds hat got to talking to us. Before long we were at his friends house finishing up our food and getting started on some beers. A small crew of us then mobbed out towards Frenchmen to find music or whatever else might be going on.

The city is always a party. For a while we were entertained just people watching on the street, drinking our beers and passing around the to-go jar of moonshine our Kentucky friend had given us. We then wound up in a bar where one of them had a connection, free drinks flew our way and the music rolled on.

Eventually Marilyn and I pulled ourselves away, making our way across town to her friend's place where we'd be staying. She had several friends there that lived in the same building. We hung with one of them for a while, Marilyn and him caught up on some old stories, then we headed to her friend's place next door. We had it to ourselves while we were in town, he usually had the place posted on AirBnB and would stay with his girlfriend, it was pretty swank actually.

Bloody mary's kicked off the next day of roaming, drinking, eating great food like muffuletta and even more barbecue. Another couple days of this whizzed by, tracking down all the best food we could and filling in the gaps with beers and trips to bars in laundry mats, bars with air hockey, sniffing this and drinking that, jumping to the next spot, rescuing abandoned canoes and generally having a good time.

After days of this it was back to Memphis the same way we'd came, the dollar Mega Bus on back up. We'd spend just another day up there relaxing and getting some more good chow into us.

All together it was a good way to blast out of Indiana to kick off the adventure together. Now we were feeling the ever present pull from the west. Boulder was our next big thought, to the road we go.

February 24, 2014 to March 8, 2014