I’m driving up to Cleveland, Ohio for my 40th high school reunion, which, for some ungodly reason, they decided to have in October. It’s the same weekend as one of my favorite dance events in San Francisco, so I wasn’t real happy about the date. I am however, very happy to be on the road, driving north into cooler weather, and looking forward to seeing family and a few close friends.
I drove from Houston to Memphis, Tennessee on Monday in 10 hours. The drive up Highway 59 was slowed by all the stops in small towns along the way. Since I wasn’t trying to make time, it didn’t bother me. Small towns are cool and it reminded me how we used to travel before giant interstate freeways bypassed these places. There are still lots of historical courthouses, hardware stores, banks and train stations along this route. Very rural. Lots of Dairy Queens. Lots of tire repair shops. Lots of Dollar General stores.
I wanted to make it out of town to find a place to stay for the night so I wouldn’t get caught in rush hour traffic in the morning. Since it was just me, I didn’t mind finding some swanky motel and stay for cheap. I found a pretty nice BUDGETEL for $45 a night. Free cable and internet. Good enough. I slept great.
Today, I drove up to Lexington, Kentucky to visit my mom. That was an easy 7 hour trip in crisp cool Fall air – windows open all day. I saw lots of cotton fields again, which surprises me for some reason. I always think of cotton as a Alabama and Mississippi kind of crop. And as I got into Kentucky, horse farms filled the landscape. White-washed wooden fences, Kentucky blue grass, elaborate horse stables.
I got to mom’s house around 3:00 after loosing an hour in the time zone change. We visited then agreed to head out to see some countryside. I chose a trip to the Wild Turkey Distillery – only a 30 minute ride.
We made it there 15 minutes before closing, but the kind lady served us our tastings anyway. All 5 of them! Bourbon! I had to pace myself.
Then it was back to Lexington for sushi – mom’s choice! Delicious. Plus it was fun to hang out with mom.
What I love most about road trips though, is the isolation from the business of my life. I can’t surf the net, so instead, I think; I listen to music and bible studies; I do what Patty has got me hooked on – podcasts and talk radio.
So far, I learned about the economic problems that has put us in the mess we’re in now with unsustainable debt, learned about the group Anonymous and the Wall Street Protestors, the releasing of Amanda Knox, and heard about a new singer I heard last month named Imelda May.
Road trips give me time to reflect on my life. Sort out my thoughts. See new things. Help me keep things in perspective. Hash out future plans. Pray. Make an occasional phone call to somebody different. Wonder about things. Things like:
1. Why are there so many trucks on the road? What’s in them?
2. What are people doing living in THAT town?
3. Where was I when THAT song was popular?
4. Is the country really this splintered or is it just the press making a story?
5. Can the Republicans put up a viable candidate?
6. Trying to understand this economic mess. Miracle! NPR had Terry Gross interview Michael Lewis who wrote a book about it! Coincidence? Covered almost 100 miles while that was on the radio.
8. Dance. Wine. Patty. Argentina. God. Kids. ( probably should have put ‘Patty’ on a separate line. God, too.)
9. Why won’t these 5 pounds come off and how many calories do I burn sitting here driving for 10 hours?
10. Aspiring to greatness/excellence/success in the next phase of my life.
What I do know is that I’m very happy. Free Wi-Fi at mom’s house.
End of Day 2.