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Robots ate my road trip, day three


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    Robots Journey Made Possible By... my little friends, the AC chargers. Nine there.

    - Photo: David Brancaccio

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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.

    - Photo: David Brancaccio

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    John Moe at Marketplace Tech Report asked if I was lonely on this journey. I shot this last night near the Tennessee-Arkansas border. Seem lonely to YOU?

    - Photo: David Brancaccio

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.

About the author

David Brancaccio is the host of Marketplace Morning Report. Follow David on Twitter @DavidBrancaccio

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