On the Road: Looking at America Through a Layer of Filth, Grime and Bug Guts

Home of Bill Clinton
AR and then a little bit of OK

Arkansas passed by at about 68 miles per hour. We only stopped twice in the "Natural" State. One stop was for gas and a soda, then about an hour later we stopped at a rest area. This rest area had a strange prison quality about it. The fixtures in the bathroom were all made of unpolished stainless steel. This is a cool look for toilets, sinks and urinals, but pretty much renders a mirror useless. My reflection in this "mirror" was just a heavy blur of color, obscured by scratched in graffiti. I couldn't tell if my hair was combed or if I got that piece of spinach off of my teeth, but I could tell that Frankie loved Johnny, the Razorbacks were number one and gay sex was only a phone call away. I suggested to the nice rest area attendant that a mime in each bathroom mimicking the patrons would serve a better purpose than those sheets of tin they were using as mirrors. He nodded his head and told me I had a piece of spinach stuck in my teeth. I picked the leaf out and thanked him for his help.

Stainless Steel Mirrors Urinal

At about 8 o'clock in the PM, we stopped for dinner in Sallisaw, Oklahoma. We saddled two bar stools at a diner called the Fig Tree and ordered some food from the breakfast menu. I wanted a cup or two of coffee, because I was going to need it if I was to make the rest of the journey that night. I had a stack of pancakes with my cup of Joe and enjoyed the floor show there at the Fig Tree. The entertainment for the night was the conversation between the two waitresses on duty. The exchange grew ugly after my waitress expressed a frank description of the other's house. It all started with, "You've got the ugliest house." Thinking quickly on her feet the other waitress witted back, "Stick it in your ear." I gave Wendell a nudge with my elbow and I finished my coffee. It was time to leave before things got nasty and some one insulted the cinder blocks that supported the other's vintage '78 Firebird Trans-Am. I didn't want to be forced to chose a side. Of course, I would have stood by my waitress and took her side of the fight. There is an instant bond of loyalty between the traveler and anyone who pours the traveler coffee. That's just one of those unwritten rules of the road. Well, it use to be unwritten.

Dr. ChoiceBefore we left Sallisaw, we went into a Marvin's grocery store. A friend of mine had given me a little mission. On the trip across the country, I was suppose to collect generic brand soda's that had been awarded a doctorate degree. Most people are familiar with Dr. Pepper, known around the world for his discovery of a cure for the ordinary soda and leading the effort to putting an end to world thirst. But little is ever said about the other "Dr." sodas that work their pull tabs to the bone in hospitals, free clinics, and golf courses around the globe. In North Carolina I had known about the great and wonderful Dr. Wells, Dr. Perky, Dr. Smooth, and Dr. 'Riffic, EdD, but every town needs their own doctor and Sallisaw is no exception. It was there I found, Dr. Choice. I bought a six pack and found a small section of the car not filled with crap and filled it with the cans.

Around midnight we passed Oklahoma City and about an hour later we stopped for the night in Calumet. We found the Cherokee Motor Lodge, decided the place looked safe enough, paid the 30 bucks for a room, and planted ourselves there for the night.

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