Thursday, November 13, 2008

Déjà vu all over again

We are at the Wal-Mart in Murfreesboro, Tennessee (map).

We had a lovely stay Tuesday night at the free park service campground (map), adjacent to the Meriwether Lewis grave site, along the Natchez Trace Parkway. We'd stayed at this campground before, and we ended up just a couple of spaces away from where we parked last time. We've switched internet satellites since then, and on this visit, we were not able to get online -- we had managed to squeak a shot through the trees earlier. Also, the campground was nearly full, as had been the other two free Park Service campgrounds on the Parkway, whereas it was mostly empty on our first visit, which we now must attribute almost entirely to Hurrican Katrina, rather than the lateness of the season.

Yesterday we completed our drive up the Parkway in the rain, which somewhat diminished the spectacular fall foliage we'd been enjoying these last few days. It was, nevertheless, still beautiful, and we are really glad we chose to repeat this trip just now -- we likely hit the absolute best week for color.

We bailed off the Parkway a bit short of the end, to divert here, about 30 miles east on Tennessee 96, in order to visit friends Russ and Pat. The last time we visited them, about a year ago, we stayed on their property, but all agreed that in the current weather, we'd be better off on the pavement. They suggested we meet here at this Wal-Mart, and we agreed. We did have a wonderful dinner last night with them at nearby Olive Garden, a new addition to this neighborhood since our last visit. (Thanks, guys!)

What we had not remembered was that we also stayed here a year ago, a few days after our visit with them, while we waited for our mail. We arrived yesterday in the early afternoon, and were not expecting Russ and Pat until 7pm, so we started walking around to several of the surrounding businesses to get some errands done. The eerie feeling of déjà vu escalated slowly until we finally hit a landmark that made us realize we'd been here before. (After a while, many suburban Wal-Marts start to look the same, often with the same core group of chain stores nearby.) As usual, I had to refer back to the blog to remember when and why we had been here.

Yesterday was the first real rain we've driven through in a while, and, it turns out, both wiper blades began to fail. On one, the clip that retains the rubber blade in the holder came off, and I was able to jury-rig it with a binder clip to get us someplace where we could change it. On the other one, the rubber is just disintegrating. No problem -- I've always gotten suitable replacements at Wal-Mart, a 28" Anco model. However, Anco has changed their design and they no longer fit. Looks like I will be taking the Dremel tool to a Rain-X model, also carried by Wal-Mart, to see if I can make it fit. Wal-Mart (well, this one, at least) no longer seems to carry just the refills, which is really all we need.

We're a little bit at loose ends right now, as we don't have a clear route planned out from here. Also, I have a conference call at 1pm, and we might well end up right here in the Wal-Mart parking lot until it's over.

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