Pipe, thanks for the book suggestion. The library did indeed have a copy of that Steinbeck novel. I am currently reading The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. As soon as I finish that in a day or two, I will delve into your suggestion.
I am operating on only three hours of sleep. Last night was very cold and uncomfortable and very unseasonable for this time of year. My summer sleeping bag is rated at a comfort level of forty degrees. Those ratings are not very accurate on those cheaper sleeping bags. It got down into the upper thirties last night and I almost froze my ass off. I would wake up chilled and with icy feet and would have to crank the car and run the heater to get warmed up. I will know next time to always bring my winter weight sleeping bag for emergencies. You never know what Mother Nature will throw at you.
In a small conservative southern town, people are very suspicious and wary of anything out of the normal. I have learned to blend in as much as possible. Luckily, my car looks like what any self respecting soccer mom would drive. It really blends in other than looking new. I look like I have money and it doesn’t draw the attention of the locals or police. I am realizing that this is key to car living. You want to look like you belong there.
I parked overnight at a local twenty four hour grocery store. I figured it would not look out of the normal to be parked all night by such an establishment. There was one thing that I didn’t take into account. That was noise as I am a very light sleeper. Throughout the night the sound of car doors shutting and people talking would jar me awake. Note to self: Find a quieter sleeping spot tonight. I finally gave up on sleeping around 3 am and put on some warm clothes, turned on the radio, and waited for daybreak as I read a book to the map light in my car.
Around 6 am, I drove over to the Waffle House for breakfast. They have a cheap and filling breakfast with free coffee refills to boot. I ate a large ham and cheese omelet, some hash browns, and some toast. I sat for a long time reading a newspaper, people watching, and drinking ample cups of coffee. I didn’t want to overstay my welcome and I made sure to tip the waitress very well for all the refills she poured.
Next I headed down to the local truck stop for a shower. They give you a ticket with a numerical code that unlocks the shower door. They also give you a towel and one of those hotel sized bars of soap. Inside is a small room with a shower, toilet, and sink. There is also a disposable paper mat on the floor. I showered, shaved, brushed my teeth, and got myself looking presentable. The hot shower was much needed after my very chilly existence last night. I felt like a new man with a good meal in my belly and that feeling of clean. (A little tip from my truck driving days: Always use a cheap pair of flip flops in these showers. You are likely to get athletes feet or other interesting foot maladies without them.)
More later if I get the chance. I am now off to take a nap as I can barely stay awake. I am going to drive out to the lake and hit one of the seldom used parks out there and catch some shuteye.