I officially drove coast to coast! Or gulf to coast, but let’s not get hung up on technicalities.
So what did I learn driving across America?
1.) The States are beautiful. I’ve read many accounts of road trips where people say that their main realization is that America is BIG. Even Rachael said it to me. But I honestly didn’t feel that way. If anything, driving took this huge, mysterious mass of land that I’d fly over made it into a real, comprehensible distance. I drove across the map, and it didn’t take that long. It certainly was no Oregon Trail. The main thing that conveyed a sense of distance to me was the change in geography. I went from tropical beaches in Florida, through swamps and bayou in Louisiana, to fields in Texas, plains in New Mexico, desert and mountains and red rock canyons in Arizona, finally to rolling hills and the Pacific Ocean in California. That was beautiful.
2.) I like driving. When I was little, I couldn’t understand why anyone would ever go on a road trip for pleasure. I hated when my family would drive to Tahoe, and that was only 4 hours. But I loved driving across the country. It was exciting! I was always anticipating where we would go next, and tired from where we had just been, so I didn’t mind hours in the car. I didn’t get bored- when I was driving I was happy to watch the landscape change, and there aren’t many opportunities better than driving through the desert to see just how fast your car can go. (To avoid indictment I don’t think I’ll answer that question ha.) When I was in the passengers seat, I had a great time just being with the other person- talking with Rachael about everything from boys, ballet, and school, to syphilis in african-american males, religion, and our opinions on abortion; eating Twizzlers with my dad and listening to Bob Dylan. The only part I didn’t like was when I thought we were gonna run out of gas and die in the desert. Which brings me to
3.)Always have a half tank of gas. You think there will always be gas stations, but sometimes there won’t. For 80 miles of anxious, nail-biting hell. http://alilake.com/near-death-in-the-desert-and-bats-in-carlsbad-caverns/
4.)NEVER STAY IN A SUPER 8. This is of the utmost importance. Unless you like bed bugs or strange men knocking on your door at night, do not go here. Never, ever.
5.)In fact, don’t even bother with hotels. In New Orleans and San Antonio we used Airbnb, and it was the best. In New Orleans we stayed with these funky hipsters who let us use their rickety bikes to jostle and jolt down Esplanade at night into the French Quarter. It’s one of my favorite memories. In San Antonio we stayed in the dream house I never knew I even dreamed of. It was this huge, two-story spacious Craftsman that we got to ourselves because our hosts were on vacation. We just hung out with their dog, cat, and chickens and played house. Rich people house. Staying in homes instead of hotels made visiting these cities more personal. We were with locals who took the time to make lists of their favorite restaurants, bars, places to see, and things to do. Plus they checked in on us and were so friendly. Our San Antonio hosts even emailed us a list of their favorite things to do in New Orleans because I had mentioned we were going there first. It was great, and we felt totally safe in their homes. After your stay, your hosts rate you and you rate them in return through the Airbnb website, so that other users and hosts have references for future bookings. I’ll definitely be using Airbnb again. https://www.airbnb.com/
Check out where we stayed-
Hipsters with cool art and a strange bathroom in New Orleans:
Rachael hated these, but I thought they were awesome.
Strange poo art hanging over their toilet. I guess it’s like a Rorschach inkblot test, because we were talking about it over beignets (appropriate timing for sure) and Rachael thought it was a uterus, but I thought it was a heart.
Jesus is watching you.
I really want a blue desk now.
7.) This is the best song for driving across the South:
Whenever I hear this I’ll always think of driving with Rachael through the New Mexico night, windows down, hands in the wind, blasting this song and belting it out into the desert air.
8.) Sometimes it’s a small world, sometimes it’s a big world. Appreciate the old and the new. <3