Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Day Sixteen -- Kentucky, Tennessee and primates

Monday night at the Super 8 Motel in Nicholasville, KY, was the worst night so far on the road. Worse even than the night surrounded by the girls' soccer team at the Day's Inn in Spearfish, SD. The walls were thin. The guy next door apparently had a broken arm or something because the door kept slamming. And slamming. Even after 1AM. Apparently there was a circus troop in the room upstairs and they continued to perform -- maybe with trained elephants -- until after 2AM.

Most of the motels I have stayed in have been surprisingly quiet. And I've been having especially good luck with the Super 8s. This one was a disappointment. Anyway, on to the fun stuff.

I arrived back at PRC shortly after 9AM. I resumed my job of popping corn until I had filled up the large bin. The pop corn, mixed with assorted cereals and dry snack food, is scattered in holding areas as a form of browse. A treat for the chimps to search for. Gives them something to do.

I also got to help prepare lunch for the chimps (and dinner for the monkeys). It was decided to fix a carb meal: pasta or rice. Michelle, the newest PRC staff member, encouraged me to be creative. We surveyed the pantry and decided on shell pasta, green beans, peanuts and barbecue sauce. Not something I would choose to eat, but I watched it served to the chimps and no one spit it out. In fact, they seemed to enjoy it.

The chimp outdoor area is right next to where I was working, so I could go out and watch them -- and they watched me, the stranger. I didn't have time to learn to identify everyone, but I did take a liking to Cory, a handsome young male.

I ate a quick lunch and then took a nap in my car, parked near the chimp outdoor structure. With the lack of sleep and afternoon driving, I knew I would need to get refreshed before hitting the road.

April took me on a tour to see the various monkeys housed at PRC. I'd done a similar tour when I visited six years ago, but it's still remarkable how many different species there are, including some that I have seen only in books: vervets, Sulawesi macaques, Barbary macaques, snow monkeys, pig-tailed macaques, black & white colobus to name just some of them. I especially like the spider monkeys. But how anyone can think these wild animals would make appropriate pets...? April spends a lot of time explaining the facts of monkey pet life to people who contact her. She says that everyone who begs her to take their pet monkey off their hands says "I wish someone had told me before I got this monkey."

By 2:30PM it was time to hit the road. I would gain an hour because Nashville is a bit west and I would be crossing back into the Central Time Zone, but I wanted to make sure I had enough time in case I needed to rest or if I ran into any traffic problems. April gave me directions for a scenic shortcut to the Bluegrass Parkway. It was a pretty drive on smooth but narrow roads past horse pastures.

The scenery on the highway was thickly wooded rolling hills. The parkway was bordered by interesting rock formations. I figured there must be plenty of early fossils in there (but according to this website, it is apparently not a productive area for fossil hunters).

For some reason, north-south interstates seem to attract the most aggressive drivers, so when I reached I-65 I looked for a way to get to Hendersonville on the back roads -- and avoid the traffic through Nashville. I remembered that 31-E went right through Hendersonville, so I found a place to exit the interstate. It took a bit longer than I thought, but I managed to arrive at S&R's house shortly after 6PM. (Which was really 7PM according to my weary body.)

No blogging last night. Didn't even pull the computer out of the case. Just eating and gabbing.

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