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Bank of the Mississippi, Memphis Tennessee. I cooked a pizza on the car engine for me and warmed a chicken nugget for Wilson the robot dog. - 

Here’s the question: Is technology now so pervasive that a person can drive coast to coast without ever dealing with a human being? There are opportunities for self-reflection in a journey like this, inspired by the sensory deprivation of Interstate 40 from Tennessee to Arkansas to Oklahoma.  At night it’s featureless and silent but for a tire that fell off a truck in the center lane west of Little Rock and a jackrabbit that just made it to safety at 11:15 p.m.

Another painful sacrifice. I stopped in Memphis to picnic on the bank of the Mississippi. One of the greatest barbecue places on earth is Rendezvous, about half mile from where I sat. But, the ground rule is: no doing business with humans. So I heated up a frozen pizza and some chicken nuggets from the self-checkout at the grocery store on the exhaust manifold of the car.

By nightfall, I had made it to mile 1585, just 44 miles short of the half-way point.

Follow David Brancaccio at @DavidBrancaccio