Road trips-they’re the ‘Visa’ of everyday life. Meaning, they can ‘Take you where you want to go.’ When I started this endeavor 3 and a half weeks ago, I had only planned on driving to Pennsylvania and back; I hadn’t intended for it to turn into the adventure that it exploded into, but that’s life, isn’t it? You create one plan, and then it molds itself into something beyond your imagination. Before you get your hopes up-no, this explosion of imagination does not entail employment. It was not a ‘soul searching’ extravaganza, nor did I ‘find myself’. Instead, it allowed me to reconnect with people who truly enhance my life, the kind of people who love you unconditionally, flaws and all. It’s those kinds of people who would travel endless miles for you, so I simply returned the favor with this 17 state, 4,715 mile trip. (No, you read that correctly-that’s almost 5,000 miles. I honestly contemplated driving an additional 285 miles just to hit 5,000, but my numb butt said, ‘Nooooooooooo!’)
My last post was after I had just left the Big Apple; after that concrete jungle, I wound my way down to Washington D.C. to do a little much-needed sightseeing. It rained the entire day I wandered the nation’s capital (the only weather I actually encountered, if you don’t count 4+ days of 35-60 mph winds), but I wouldn’t have been so in love with that day had the sun been out. The light mist reminded me of London, and so I rallied my inner Brit and scoffed at the scores of people scurrying about with umbrellas. I bundled up in hat and scarf, and roamed around sights I hadn’t seen since high school. I couldn’t stop smiling the entire time; the combination of being in a metropolis, the weather reminding me of my favorite place, and just basking in tourist activities made me feel better than I’ve felt in a long time. Which was the perfect mood to set me on my way to my beloved Texas.
It had almost been 2 years since I was last in the Lone Star State, and since I’m not doing anything other than writing cover letters for jobs I know I’ll never get, I figured it was high time to change that. I was nervous that Cutler wouldn’t remember me, and that Mason would be loads more intelligent than I am. (Background in case you’ve forgotten/don’t listen to my stories and are trying to fake your way through this post: I used to nanny Cutler after he was released from the hospital following his courageous battle with leukemia. Mason is his older brother, and is honestly the sweetest boy of any age that I’ve ever met. Except for when he told me I’d ‘gotten a lot bigger’ since the last time I was in Texas; I’m going to continue telling myself that he meant my age had gotten bigger. Especially as I’m snacking on popcorn while I’m writing…) Only one of my fears came true, as Cutler greeted me by yelling my name, giving me a giant hug, and tearfully telling me he didn’t want me to leave every night I put him to bed. Mason, on the other hand, gave me a lecture on prehistoric dinosaurs and the ancestry of the alligator; NOT crocodiles, because that’s where a lot of people get it wrong, apparently. Note to self: the next time I’m around my favorite boys, I need to bone up on…well, probably pretty much everything, because that kid is wicked smaaat. Though genealogy shows that my Texan family are some versions of cousins (First cousins once removed? Second cousins? Who came up with this crazy system?! I need a chart!), they are honestly my second set of immediate family. Aaron jokes that I’m his illegitimate child from a mistake he made when he was 16, but he’s not that far off; I know that no matter the circumstance, they would always move heaven and earth for me if I needed them to. So the least I could do was drive the 1,550 miles from NYC to Texas for a long-overdue and most cherished reunion 😉
People told me before/during/after I started this travel bonanza that I was bonkers. I simply pointed out to them that I’ve always been crazy, so I’m confused why they’re just now figuring this out? I got to see parts of this country I’ve never seen before: from the lazily winding roads of beautiful Arkansas to a cabin view in Winter Park, Colorado, this giant expanse of a country is beautiful in so many different ways. I can’t provide photographic proof of all this beauty, because for the first time in my life I didn’t take a single photo with Bertha. She sat dutifully in my trunk, but I was so continually caught up in the moment that I never took her out! I did take a couple of snapshots on my trusty iPhone, so you’re not totally deprived of visuals.
Because I’m technologically impaired, I can’t figure out a way of creating one, single map of my trip. And so, thanks to Google, I give you two maps of the ‘escapade’. Map #1 spans the Rawlins-to-NYC-to-D.C.-to-the Dallas ‘burbs trek, and Map #2 is the Dallas ‘burbs-to-Colorado-to baby town Cheyenne-to-Rawlins again. What’s the one BIG takeaway from this experience, you ask? Well, I would have to say that it was finally deciding that the extraordinary TV show ‘Supernatural’ is officially fake. While I loved almost every second of this drive, I couldn’t go more than 8 hours of driving (an average of 480 miles) without my eyeballs threatening to fall out of my skull. Also, as my diet consisted purely of drive-thru fast food, my body has announced that it is going to adopt vegetarianism for an undetermined amount of time. This is when you should find your jaws on the floor: I honestly have the worst eating habits of anyone I’ve ever met, and LOVE fast food burgers/burritos almost more than anything on the planet. But a solid 3 weeks of eating only that has left me wondering-how DOES Dean Winchester eat only bacon cheeseburgers and pie?! Today is day 3 of my newfangled diet, and I think my mother has been waiting for this day. Yesterday I was sitting in the office (AKA-the upstairs of my parents’ house. But that doesn’t sound as fancy as ‘the office’, or ‘the study’, or ‘the floating compartment that I attach to the house when I feel like it’.), and found a book entitled, ‘What’s the green stuff, Flo?’ nestled in the desk. ‘Fun recipes for fruits and veggies’, it promises. Should you actually take cooking advice from a picture book and a fictional character named Flo?? I’m thinking ‘no’.
So that’s my long overdue, not entirely concise or chronological report on my latest adventure. I hope it’s lulled you into a state of boredom that will allow you to relax for the rest of the weekend. Until next time, my minions…