Day 7: Thursday, 1998-07-02:
My original schedule had me pegged for a fairly mild catch-up day on Wednesday (about 800 miles) and a stay in Memphis on Wednesday night. The freeways out of Atlanta and eventually to Jackson, Mississippi were fast and trouble-free, and when I arrived in Jackson around midnight, I realized that I was then only 200 miles or so behind schedule.
At least the rest of the trip would be easier on my tired brain. I would be heading mostly west (towards home, which is always easier), the time zones were reluctantly giving back the hours Iíd lost on the trip east, and the route was mostly on straight, flat, high-speed western freeways. I headed north on I-55 to Memphis, then west on I-40 through Little Rock, Arkansas (#40), and just before leaving Arkansas, went north on US 71 up to Joplin, Missouri (#41). I then headed southwest on I-44 in to Oklahoma (#42), then took a very short out-and-back loop on SR 26 up in to Kansas (#43), then continued on I-44 southwest through Tulsa, Oklahoma City.
It was right about here that a big message appeared in the display screen of the dashboard, informing me that the car needed servicing. I convinced myself that this was just a routine message that popped up because the odometer had passed 7,500 miles. Everything seemed to be running fine, and I pressed on. I figured there would be plenty of time for servicing after I got back to California and returned the car.
I continued in to Texas (#44), wasted 45 minutes in Amarillo trying to find a hotel room until I figured out that every room in town was filled due to the Baptistís convention. I continued to drive west and then napped for four hours on a deserted off ramp out in the desert west of town.
The tally for the day was 5 states and 1,167 miles.
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