I have just blown my own mind. The photos that came out of that parade in Paris, TN were amazing. I was shooting my Sony with the zoom lens attached, aperature at F11, grabbing everthing I could with no fear. I then removed the shots that didn't work, and made a photoset out of the rest.

I honestly believe I could convert these shots into a video for the Paris Chamber of Commerce.

Click the image below, if you think you are up for the photoset...

Some out of towners may not know what goes onto the standard fish plate, they're all pretty much the same: two to three pieces of breaded, deep fried (preferably local farm raised) cat fish, french fries, cole slaw, white beans and two hush puppies.

At the big tent event yesterday I told the guy I was hungry so he piled on five pieces of fish, which makes this officially the biggest plate I've had here to date.

The pot purchasing process was equally as interesting. You first present your ID to the guy at the front, who runs it through what I assume would be a state based (at least) background check. If you pass, the door to the store is unlocked and you're allowed in.

There's a whole bunch of waist high tables scattered around, with little tablets on them, from which you enter your name, the products you want, and how many, then press the buy button.

The back half of the store consists of this long counter with about six people behind, putting together orders, with big flat screens up behind them, showing customer names, which served no purpose what so ever.

When you hear you're name called (last name, first initial), you go to the person that called it out.

Then again, you have to present your id, to confirm that name and face match. They take cash only.

In this case I spent $138 on product and the combined taxes from various agencies of $30.71, was added to that. Let that sink in and you realize why states have legalized pot.

Man, rest areas like this are just amazing for meeting like minded people. I just met another traveler, and I can't remember his name because I was stoned and he's probably laughing at this because I hooked him up to my blog.

He had a sweet two year old large van that he was converting and living out of, as he did a short jaunt west. Had a great dog, was a management consultant/engineer with a company and employees under him, and was just out driven around.

I offered to get him stoned and he said he would have loved to, but had five more hours of driving in front of him.

Hopefully, I have made a new friend.

A funny thing happened when I was sitting at the back of my truck at the rest area this evening. A man and his wife drove up next to me and as they departed the man had this instant look of "I smell pot". My drink is sitting there, I'm chillin, and he walks over and says hi. His wife rolled her eyes and went off to the restroom.

You're probably wondering where this is going, but it's not what you think. The guy moved right in front of me where he could see everything inside my truck. Like a bed, some booze and water, a shotgun.

He started asking me where I'd been and I told him about the fish fry in Paris. When he started to wonder about the logistics that brought a man from Lawrenceburg to Paris, and then back home through Metropolis, IL, I realized he was an off duty cop.

It just emanated from him, He was nice, I liked him! We chatted about a whole bunch of shit. It was a great conversation. Then his wife showed up, we parted ways, and now I'm writing this post.

I'm not doing a single illegal thing. I'm parked in a rest area that promotes people getting sleep while you're road trippin. I have a bed for that purpose and it's obvious I'm spending the night. I'm having a cocktail or two because I'm a grownass man and I am allowed.

And I'm still in Illinois, and that other stuff is legal here.

Isn't life interesting...

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I arrived in Paris at 0830, found a parking spot run by the boy scouts, and had my chair out on the line in a heartbeat.

Tons of people, very long parade, and I took a lot of photos. As I sensed the parade was close to ending I boogied back to my truck to avoid the crouds heading to the fairground. No such luck.

I finally made it to the line forming for the biggest fish fry in the world, and it was long, over 200 people, and it took over an hour to get fish on my plate. This was an all you can eat event but I just had them pile it on and left without seconds.

Then I drove to Metropolis, IL and bought some supplies, and I'm now sitting in the shade at a cool rest area, on my tail gate, getting my drink on, and about to fire up some supplies.

I'll process the photos when I get home tomorrow.

Just living my life. This sure beats sitting in the big chair, watching Netflix in the dark, and crying...

btw: I did everthing I said I was going to do :-)

I'm heading to Paris, Tennessee tomorrow morning for the worlds biggest fish fry. There's also a parade so I'll get a bunch of shots with my Sony, and some video with my little cam.

I'll stuff my face with catfish, hush puppies and slaw, spend the night at an easbound rest area off I40, then come home Saturday morning.

Both images below are links...

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Would yow like to see what a trip from Seattle, WA to Miami, FL looks like?

Click Here: And then click the A buttom, and then click the route button, the circrular button at the top.

Here is Fridays trip to the worlds largest fish fry up in Paris Tennessee.

I've created a new mapping program that gives you great flyovers of your chosen destinations, step by step directions on how to get there, and map modes galore. It's a port from the routing features of an older program, which has been my goto tool for planning out road trips. Now I have this one.

Check it out: RouteQue

I also posted this on Facebook for the hell of it, and FB appends it's tracking code on every link you include in your post.

So, I wrote a little bit of javascript that detects if there is garbage at the end of the url. The only thing that should be there is nothing, or a route key in the form of ?r=.....

Here's what it does:

•  Get any parameters at the end

•  If any exist

•  If its not my route key parameter

•  If the browser can do it (most can)

•  Reload the program with no garbage

Here's the code:

const parameters = window.location.search;

if (parameters) {

  if (parameters.substring(2,1) !== 'r') {

    if (history.pushState) {

      history.pushState({}, null, 'http://www.routeque.com/');

    }

  }

}

I backed off the drinking yesterday, trying to get a grip on myself, and went to bed at 1900. The house was creaking throughout the night, strange sounds I had never heard before, but I managed to sleep fairly well and had some good dreams.

I was laying on my right side in the early morning, in that half awake, half asleep state, when Piper's sweet little meow came into my left ear, clear as a bell, like she was right here.

I rolled over and looked at my clock and it was 0400. This is the time she came into my room every morning. Over the years she got used to my 0400 habit and her internal clock was set to it. She wouldn't let me slide past it.

My sister sent me a very kind email recently about her dog Nana, that she had to put down. She said Nana was still with her all the time. I'm a believer, what I heard this morning was real.

Met a nice guy named Dalton this morning, retired trucker, married to his high school sweetheart, 5 kids, 14 grand kids, and drives a 20 year old, 800 pound Kawasaki.

He said before gas went up he could strap his camping gear to the back and ride all day for ten bucks, travel cheap. He's also a smoker, wished he had rolled one up for the trip today. Me too.

It's a beautiful day here in Tennessee. Still got a roach left from Carls visit last night, a little booze left in the bottle, and contemplating a trip to Illinois in the next few days.

I need to take the simple gifts life offers and embrace them, because that's all I got.

Grief decimates motivation. Out the door, down the creek, and gone. Blindly putting one foot in front of the other, while you walk the path of life, is like eating butter to lose weight.

You end up doing things that are bad for you because you just don't give a shit, and that's a terrible place to be in. Motivation gives you reason for being, a goal, an idea of who and where you really want to be. Without it your just floating on the creek.

It's also really hard to get motivated, when you're unmotivated to do it. I don't have an answer or a solution to this, just observing...

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Daniel supplied the ice this year for the New Prospect volunteer fire department semi-annual fund raising catfish fry, and he, his wife and I went. I drove Daniels vehicle.

The meals were free because of the ice, but I donated the $15 cost as a donation, and after we finished I bought another one to go for Annie at the smoke shop, just because Daniel promised her one this morning when he bought his chew.

I meant to take a picture of the food before I dug in, but I was starved, oh well. This is my second trip out here and it was delicious, again.

OMG. The switch was way off, wrong one! Daniel got down there and determined he could bypass the whole switch because he's an electrical genuis, and then he did. Everything works! Taking the part back tommorrow.

B & W Auto Parts just called and my switch had arrived from Indiana. This is normally a $35 part, but they charged $46.95 plus $14.95 shipping, for a $67.93 total. Sheesh... Now I need to find somebody to do the swap.

I'm really bummed. I should be rolling into Pensacola right now, with Gulfport and Biloxi under my belt. Fuck that little switch. I told Daniel last night I was going to drive up to Illinois today to cop a little recreational, but I still don't have the switch replaced, and it's too risky.

Well, maybe I should fire up the desktop and create another website that nobody uses. Or maybe I should dig up Piper and see if the vet can undo everything.

I guess the only sensible thing to do is to go buy a bottle, and drown this bullshit from my old tormented brain...

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Always respect speed limits and drive like there is a cop on your tail, because sometimes they are and you don't know it.

I was driving through a small Mississippi town yesterday in a 35 zone and checked out the vehicle behind me, looked like a regular pickup.

We were in a double yellow and I was surprised to see him move into the other lane and slowly pass me, at which point his light bar came on and I realized he was a cop. He was responding to a wreck I encountered down the road.

So he was probably running my plate, wondering what an old Tennessee boy was doing in his town. I haven't had a traffic ticket in over thirty years and I plan on extending that streak.

btw, here's a shot of the neutral safety switch that blew my road trip out of the water yesterday. It sits behind the clutch and when it gets pushed, it allows the truck to start.

I was deep in middle Mississippi, an hour out of Jackson, truck was running amazing, when I pulled over to work on my GPS.

I turned the engine off and when I was done, I went to crank my truck up, and she wouldn't start. Nothing, it was like when my starter went out two months ago, which I replaced. After several attempts, it finally started.

I called my boy Riley, who knows everything and he said it was probably the little switch at the bottom of the clutch that has to activate before the starter will crank. So I googled local part stores and asked if they had that part. They did not, and had no idea where to find one. My trip was fucked, I couldn't continue on with a vehicle that may or may not start. So I turned around.

On the way back I called my local parts store and they found one in Indiana, and could get it to Lawrenceburg in three to five days. I said go for it.

Now I'm home, bummed, but I still got to see some great country.

My plans are to drive to Jackson, MS tomorrow, through the middle of the state, downward. I want to see Mississippi in it's raw form.

My vehicle GPS want's to take me down through Alabama and then over to Jackson, so I will need to fake it out. If I head due west on 64 to the town of Crump, TN first, it should work.

I'll hang in the capitol city of Jackson for the day, been seeing some disturbing videos about corrupting infrastructure, extreme poverty, and gang violence, but what the hell. At the end of the day I'm heading to a rest area off I-59 for the evening.

Next up is Gulf Shores, down at the coastline, east of New Orleans, west of Biloxi. I'll drive the coast all the way to Biloxi and have breakfast and beach time along the way. Spend the day there and then drive to a rest area up on I-10.

After that, Pensacola, FL and quality time with Shelby.

Like all of you, I have regrets about things I have done in my life, but I'm much older than most of you, so I have more of them.

Some regrets were deal breakers, where I hurt people emotionally, and some were just bad decisions.

Often I think I would love to track down all of the people I have wronged and try to make some form of amends with them, but I'm finally realizing that logistically it's improbable, and would just be a bad idea.

Life is what it is, for the good and the bad, we need to accept that and move forward on down the road. Connect with the things that turn us on, and live our remaining days to the fullest.

Also, in a recent (since deleted) post, I launched a couple of trial balloons about flights next month to visit family in Idaho and Washington. I got no feedback on that, so the idea is on hold. Road trip down through Mississippi tomorrow.

Just thinking about Piper's last days, and I think I'm coming to grips with my decision to put her down. I could have extended her life with extensive examinations to determine her problems, followed by invasive surgery to try and fix everything. She would have suffered greatly.

Instead she died in my arms while I blubbered I love you's and tears over her beautiful face. She was loved deeply from the moment she came into my life, until the moment she left. I guess you can't ask for more than that from life.

Now that I have my video camera back (thank god), I decided to do a test. Shoot some footage of Pipers resting spot in hi-res, import it into Filmora installed on my little laptop, slow it down, and then crank it down to 1920/1080. Then see if I can export a decent video for upload to YouTube.

It worked great, and my mobile solutions are working out quite nicely. Every process was performed from the little laptop.

If the video fails to load, click Here.

I don't know if anyone has noticed, but I haven't posted videos here for quite some time. Back on Feb 10, 58 days ago, I lost my sweet little DJI Pocket 2 camera with the gimbal.

I searched the house high and low, searched my truck several times, nothing... I finally made the assumption that it had fallen into the garbage can in my office, and was gone forever.

Today I was dumping the water out my truck cooler, and looking for my little red plastic drinking straw under the passenger seat and I saw something dark up against the seat frame. Yes, I'm sure they heard me a block away as I screamed out Oh my fucking god!

I found my camera and it's still got a 93% charge on her. It's an amazing thing to think you've lost something forever, and then have it re-appear in your life.

I've taken this thing to the Caribbean twice and across the country. To think I had lost it around the house was disheartening.

I went to water Piper's plant when I got home today and noticed this new marker in the corner. I assumed Daniel placed it there, I know he loved her, but he just told me he didn't!

Who in the world would have driven here and placed that sweet little thing by my baby's grave? Steph? Molly?

Update: Mystery solved, Steph placed it there when I was on the road.

Back home, cut my trip short, not sure why. Really missing Piper, the loneliness is oppressive.

I did have a couple of interesting run-ins with middle aged black ladies on this trip, both at gas stations. The first one, I was standing behind a young Mexican guy buying some stuff, wearing a hoodie and not speaking or interacting with the lady behind the counter, so I assumed he didn't speak English. When he scooted out the door I said to the woman fresh from Texas, and that really cracked her up!

The second encounter was this morning as I pulled up for coffee. I parked right next to a white van and a lady approached me in the dark and asked for gas money because her van was completely stuck. I gave her a twenty and sure enough she was in line in front of me with a gas can in her hand, so I knew it wasn't a hustle. She gave me a big smile and we fist-bumped. Made my morning.

I was having breakfast this morning at a little barbeque place, when I saw this three week old baby up on a shelf being tended to by my waitress. She was the grandmother and the daughter was working somewhere.

Riley's wife Jessica saw this post and being a mother to a new baby, expressed outrage. She thought CPS should have been called! I calmed her down by saying that, shortly after, the baby was brought down and placed in the arms of a coworker at a table. I didn't have any real sense of danger of the baby falling off, it was sound asleep, but I understand. Only in the South...

Actually, she was telling me that her dad started this joint fifty years ago and it was the first job for many in the family. Might as well grow up on a shelf...

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Heart broken, road trippin, bar hoppin, free white and seventy five, just east of Chattanooga. Give a fuck, busted...

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Daniel brought his dog Sasha over last night. She lives at his wifes house because his landlord doesn't allow pets. Very sweet dog!

Ya know, I live in regret about how I've handled attacks on my character. Our first response when we are attacked is to defend. Our minds go crazy and we react.

I did that a couple of years ago with Stephs family, and I live with the consequences. The family I had hoped to grow with is gone, and the woman I loved was hurt beyond repair.

Our brains are a pretty fucked up entity sometimes. There is a fight or flight thing that kicks in when we are attacked. What we need to do is take a big breath, wait five minutes, and think about a measured response.

I didn't do that, and now I live with the results...

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When you get to my age you wonder about death. I've outlived all of my immediate family, most died in their sixties and early seventies, and I wonder how my death would impact the few people close to me?

I have a Will sitting in the drawer next to my icebox, along with the key to my lock box. Basically, Daniel gets my chairs and table, Shelby gets my computers and Riley gets my truck and lock box. I now have a bike in the mix, whatever, everything else is up in the air...

God, what would happen if I died? I hope Riley could make it out here, and Shelby could make it up here, but they both have busy lives!

Death fucks everything up. But, you have to accept it. So, I hope everything goes well as I make the transition.

Having all the time in the world isn’t much use if you experience it all on your own.

Memento mori is a latin phrase meaning remember that you must die. In other words, live every day to the fullest, as if it was your last.

I love taking pictures of unrepairable vehicles and presenting them to my master autobody tech son Riley, and say Fix This!

So here you go, from Iron City, TN:

Death is happening all around me lately. My kitty is gone, my barbers wife died, the hitch-hiker I picked up just lost his dad, the teeth inside my head have died, and now my little Asus notebook, that I have carried around on all my latest adventures, and blogged with, has bricked. Hopefully I'm not next.

But from death, springs life! The flowering plant I placed over Piper is growing well, and I just bought a new laptop at Walmart for $547 out the door.

It's an Acer Aspire 5 with 8GB memory, 256GB storage, Intel I-5 processor, running Windows 11. I spent the afternoon setting it up and now I have all my bloging tools on it.

This laptop will be an extension of my desktop when I'm on the road, with no compromises. I can process photos from my Sony and my phone, edit videos with Filmora, even write code with Visual Studio Code. The display is amazing, YouTube videos rock in full screen, and the sound is good.

In fact, I have created this post entirely from my new laptop.

A funny thing happened at the dentist yesterday. The lady going through my medical forms said I notice you checked the alcohol/drug abuse box? and I said yea, I drink, and if a joint comes my way, I smoke it. She laughed and said well, ok then.

So what was I doing at the dentist? Wiping out my $1000 dental insurance benefit for the year by getting the last four teeth in my head removed. I was brushing them yesterday morning and they hurt, so I said screw it, they're gone. I managed to get an afternoon appointment at Beck Dental Care up in Columbia. They were terrific, lovely ladies, cool young dentist. They put the nitrous on my nose, numbed me up, and went to town.

So now what, insurance is gone, guess I'll just learn to do without. I'm ok with that, teeth are a pain in the ass anyway...

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Daniel brought over one of his weapons last night, a semi-automatic with a laser sight. I think he said he a had a couple of these, and the ammo was badass also, some kind of armor piercing shit. Coming down our little deadend street, with ill-intent, would be misguided...

btw: In case you hadn't figured it out, you can tap any image here to bring it up full-sized. Tap again to restore the page.