Wednesday, October 5, 2005

The laptop is dead; long live the laptop

Lots to update today, since it has been a while. In case I lose you somewhere in the tenth paragraph, let me first make an important announcement: As Louise has already noted, my computer is dead, and has been since Friday night some time (after my last post). I am posting from her machine at the moment.

The reason I mention this is that I know I owe some folks emails and/or phone calls, but I can not access any of the email I received before Saturday (although I have limited web-based access to anything that came in after that, when Louise deigns to let me borrow her machine), nor can I get into my calendar or address book until I somehow resolve this. So I apologize if you are waiting to hear from me for some reason -- I'm not really trying to blow you off.

In particular, there are a couple of people in the midwest who had inquired about possibly getting together while we were in or near Du Quoin. As much as we really wanted to do that, our training schedule was quite packed, and, due to the hurricane aftermath in the south, we are expecting to be immediately deployed.

Which brings me to our current whereabouts. We have not actually received a deployment order, but we talked to our Red Cross chapter (in Elkhart, Indiana) and they have indicated that Baton Rouge Headquarters is our most likely target. Out of the three main disaster headquarters (Baton Rouge, LA; Montgomery, AL; and Houston, TX) we have indicated a preference for either Baton Rouge or Houston. Consequently, yesterday we headed due south from Du Quoin (after a brief stop at the Red Cross chapter in Herrin, IL to return all the training materials) via interstates 57 and 55 to Memphis, Tennessee.

In Memphis, one of the few major cities on our route, we stopped at the Allison Transmission dealer for some much-needed transmission fluid and then at CompUsa for a replacement hard drive and some drive-copying software to try to fix my laptop. Our next goal was a stopping point with a laundromat, since we were basically out of clean clothes.

Although by this time it was really time to stop for the day, the only reasonable choice with a coin laundry in Mempis was the Graceland RV Park (really) for $34, and we opted instead to continue 20 miles or so south on the great river road, US-61, to casino-land, otherwise known as Tunica County, Mississippi. Our guide books indicated that two of the half-dozen or so casinos there had nice RV parks with coin laundry and other ammenities, and we thought we might find a nice dinner option there as well.

To make a long story longer, we picked the Hollywood Casino which claimed to have 100+ spaces, pool, laundry, and the best steak house in the county. Unfortunately, we discovered upon arrival that the RV park was full, which amazed us for a Tuesday night in October. By this time, we were dog tired, it was well after dark, and we did not feel like trudging the dozen miles to the other casino option. Instead, we parked in the large-vehicle lot, had a really nice dinner in the steak house, and just spent the night there in the lot (map), as we so often do in casinos.

That still left us wanting for a laundry, so today we continued south on US-61 to Clarkedale, MS, where we inquired for one at the chamber of commerce. The two persons there had no map skills whatsoever -- 45 minutes and 25 miles later, we left town without ever finding a laundromat, an narrowly avoiding an 11'-something underpass, a corner too tight to negotiate, and several low trees.

We shook the dust of Clarkedale from our feet and ended up here, at a laundromat in Leland, MS (map). Leland is also the childhood home of Jim Henson, and, Louise's mom being a Kermit fanatic, we just had to stop at the little museum here, which referred us to the laundromat here.

The laundry is now done, and we will head out of here in search of a place to stay just as soon as Partition Magic finishes its current pass on my old hard drive.

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