When I awoke from my long sleep, I spoke with my airbnb host for about an hour or so.
She had breakfast cereal and oatmeal options laid out for me on her butcher block island in the kitchen. I made some delicious coffee and had it with almond milk.
After our talk, I showered and headed for the downtown area. My host gave me directions on how not to get lost.
I parked and walked around the downtown square (centered around the local courthouse). I also found the local library, and the place where my host told me to have lunch.
First stop, the Bus Stop.
It was an old Greyhound bus station converted into a cafe. The place was amazing! I had a delicious brisket sandwich and raved and raved to the chef/owner Eric Moore about it.
Everything tasted unbelievably fresh. The homemade mustard on it was phenomenal.
I had not expected to eat so well; frankly, I wanted more!
When I took shots of the place, I could not help but think of a similar bus station sitting empty -- in Clarksdale, Mississippi -- waiting for someone to renovate and transform it into something meaningful.
Both places look strikingly similar.
What I really liked about the place above (besides the food of course!) was that Chef Moore honored the history of Greyhound by placing old advertisements from the bus company inside the cafe.
Following my delicious brisket, and my brief discussion with Chef Moore, I headed over to the library.
It happened to be one building over from the restaurant.
I walked over to a pristine, state of the art library where I was allowed four hours to blog, and where I was able to plan my next few stops.
Although downtown Dyersburg (the square itself) could use a bit more life, I was impressed at the quality of the places which were open to the public.
When I returned to my airbnb, I found myself tired, so I took an hour-long nap.
Awaking refreshed, I stopped by the local spirits establishment to pick up some wine. My host was grilling New York Strips for dinner, and I did not want to disappoint her with empty hands.
I picked up a Washington State syrah, and we had that with our meal.
Her husband, and another temporary housemate (chemical engineer intern) joined us.
We had long-winded discussions on the artist-logician dichotomy, education, love, traveling, and getting older.
Let's just say that we started somewhere around 7 p.m., but did not say goodnight until around 11 p.m. I could have probably stayed up a few more hours (thanks to that nap), but we called it a night due to work schedules.
I fell fast asleep in my soft-sheets (the most luxurious ones I have slept in since my trip began).
July 21, 2016
I awoke too early.
Not sure why, but I was ready to depart Tennessee just after 6 a.m.
By the time I finished showering and packing, I was on the road closer to 7:15 a.m. Luckily, hugs and kisses were exchanged with my hosts the previous evening.
Today's ride was a bit unusual in that I came to a dead stop on 155 west.
(It's the route you take if you want to skip Kentucky and go directly to Missouri from the Tennessee line.)
Apparently, a tractor-trailer burned up and caused a major road delay.
Me and every other person on that road near 8:00 a.m. were able to see that disastrous situation. (I hoped that the trucker was okay, but no one was left at the scene except for law enforcement and fire crews.)
It was not a pretty sight.
When I crossed the Mississippi River into Missouri, the road had strange vertical grooves on it which were a bit unsettling. Those grooves remained until I reached the Interstate-55/61 exit.
After taking that exit, I was surrounded by fast cars and tractor trailers. I wanted to get off of that road; however, I had to stay because that's how the Great River Road is in Missouri -- parts of it merge with the interstate.
When I saw the exit to 61 (on its own), I felt relieved.
Finally, a stretch all to myself at a more relaxing pace (55 mph)!
The southern part of Missouri was picturesque, but not unlike parts of Mississippi: rural, fertile, and flat.
It was not until I reached closer to Benton that the terrain began to change.
Bluffs and winding roads emerged.
I even saw some exposed granite formations.
In another small town, I had to rejoin Interstate 55 again when I saw signs for Cape Girardeau (less than a few miles away).
I reached my next stop by 10:30 a.m.
I drove around to the downtown area, and I found a coffee shop on Main Street. Apparently, Socials Cafe is known for its cupcakes (going back for some of those later).
I can already tell that this city will have a lot more going on within it.
Cape Girardeau hugs the Mississippi River and is home to Southeast Missouri State University (nearly 12,000 students).
No doubt, I will have many more visuals to offer.
Time to find my airbnb host.
Time to explore!
Until we meet again, my friend!