Robert’s not-so-excellent adventure: the final chapter

(Editor’s note: This is the last of three parts. Read part one and part two.)

Here’s the quandary: I was born in Memphis. I went to college at the University of Mississippi, just 70 miles southeast of Memphis. After graduating from Ole Miss, my wife and I worked in Memphis for three years before moving to Denver. I have a good idea how to get around Memphis.

All of my familiarity escaped me that night!

I wandered around Memphis for almost an hour seeing places I remembered from living there almost 30 years ago. Since I was not in Memphis on a nostalgic homecoming tour, I decided my best bet to finally leave Memphis was to take I-55 north to another state highway that would lead me to Highway 51 and hopefully, Paducah.

It was now about 10:30pm. I crossed the Mississippi River on I-55 into Arkansas. This was my second state of the night. I wandered around Arkansas, entered Missouri for my third state of the evening, and crossed back over the Mississippi River and into Tennessee. I finally arrived at long last in Paducah around 2:00am. Kentucky was now my fourth state of the night. I was past tired.

As I arrived in Paducah I kept seeing signs for the Museum of the American Quilter’s Society. I thought it was very nice that Quilters had their own Museum and Society. Before this long evening I had no idea either existed. The problem for me was the Quilter’s Society had picked this weekend to hold their annual convention in-you guessed it-Paducah, KY.

I pulled into a Holiday Inn Select and went to the front desk and asked for a room. The guy behind the counter looked at me like I was the stupidest person in Paducah. My guess is the guy behind the counter was 100% accurate. He was really very nice and he informed me there was not a vacant hotel room within 35 miles of Paducah. The quilters had the whole region covered, so to speak! (Quilting humor at 2:00am was really not very funny at this point.)

The guy behind the counter did say he heard of a small and not very nice hotel across the Ohio River in Illinois that might have one room. At this point I decided I would head toward this hotel. If there was a room, and if it was not too bad, I would stay there and drive the remaining 2 hours to Evansville in the morning.

I drove across the Ohio River into Illinois, my fifth state of the night, to find a dumpy hotel with a No Vacancy sign in the door. I actually saw this as my first break of the evening. If there had been a room I just might have taken it and I probably would have not been able to sleep because this place looked amazingly bad.

I drove back into Kentucky and decided to just keep heading North to Evansville. I arrived in Indiana, my sixth state of the evening, and did make it to Evansville, arriving at my hotel at 4:30am. I checked in and asked for an 8:30am wake up call.

After my quick nap, I met my partner in the lobby. He was well-rested, ready to play and very amused at my travel ordeal, I suspect mostly because I happen to be in the travel business.

We did play the tournament. I did not play well, and we did not win. In between counting strokes higher and higher, I had a chance to determine that if I had to drive back to Denver, I would only have to drive through five states, including Colorado.

Thanks for reading about my adventure in traveling by Murphy’s Law. The only thing that makes these travel experiences worthwhile is sharing a laugh about them later…sometimes much later.

My bet is you have a travel adventure that is similar. Please let us know your best/worst travel story and the best/worst story will win a Garmin…but I may ask to borrow it if I ever have to head to Indiana again.
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