Here in the Tennessee Valley, the pace was steady at gas stations and convenience stores as people purchased their Mega Millions tickets.  Nearly everybody was dreaming what they would do with that much cash.

"Well, I'm pretty much a religious player," said Levi Whatley. "I buy it in hopes of becoming a millionaire!"

He was joined by untold millions in 43 states, DC, and the U.S. Virgin Islands on Tuesday as the Mega Millions jackpot soared to who-knows-what once the receipts are finally counted on Wednesday.

The kitty has rolled over 20-times without a winner since October 1st.  Now there is so much hype, and at $636 million, the total so staggering, even some rookies out to play. "My step daughter, she hit," said Angela Freeman. "Her and her husband hit one year for $10,000. I said, 'I might as well try my luck!'...This is my fist time."

It's made for a busy day all over. Especially at the Raceway on Amnicola Highway. "We have had a bunch of people come in spending from $1 to, I think my customer spent about $75, today, just on the Mega Millions because it's so big," said Clerk Lianna Oliver. "And traffic has been really heavy."

With the odds of winning the big one 1 in 259-million, why do so many do it?

For the financially or emotionally needy, experts say, it may be a psychological compensation plan.  Or, a move to quell anticipated regret for not playing.

But, at only a dollar a try, you may just want to see if your lucky numbers have any juice.

"Some people bring their slips in," Oliver explained, "but more than, I'd say 2/3 of them are just letting the computer randomly pick their numbers. They think they have a better chance."

No matter the motivation, should lotto lightning strike, how would one spend that much money? "I haven't even thought that far," Oliver laughed, "`cause I know I'm not that lucky."

"I'm still praying about that," Freeman added. "God's gonna be in control of that, though."

"I'd probably just take my wife for a fresh cup of coffee," joked Whatley, "in Brazil!"

"I just pray that I'm the lucky guy this time," he continued, "but if not, that somebody's dreams come true. It's a great deal."

Even if you did not hit all of the numbers, there are 9 levels of prizes in Mega Millions, so do check again.

If no matches are made, Friday's estimated jackpot will start at $950 million.