Odd Gas Station animals

Solo Road Trip: North Carolina Did Not Disappoint

I’m on a solo road trip to Columbia, South Carolina for my sister’s bridal shower. It took me so much time to figure out my schedule that my brain exploded and I accidentally decided “a five-hour drive isn’t bad.” I obviously did not taking into account that I had to  do all the driving because no one has invented the mechanical highway car pull lane. (like a train track but for cars driving long distances. also something I totally made up but we need.)

Bathroom selfie
I take selfies seriously. Can’t you see it in my face?

Virginia got very rainy so all I got was a picture of my future RV.

We should definitely bring our car on our RV road trip, Scott. (I leave him messages here to see if he reads it. Heh.)

But North Carolina did not disappoint. Not only did I find historic Halifax:

Historic Halifax
Doesn’t that look inviting? And old?

The gas station across from Historic Halifax included a hippopotamus escaping the floor.

Hippo in gas station
The hippopotamus is not actually see-through. I’m just that bad with a camera.

And a touch of the Smithsonian Museum

Odd Gas Station animals
There wasn’t a plaque so I have no idea what’s going on here.

And a billboard with a giant X over man evolving from apes next to a large white hand reaching for the Earth under “GOD CREATED THE WORLD.” (I don’t have a photo because I needed my photo-hand to lift my jaw off the ground.)

South Carolina tried to kill me with rain. I almost pulled off the road, everyone had their hazards on, and I saw A CAR IN A TREE. I didn’t take photos of my imminent death.

When I (finally) got to my hotel, I ordered way too much Chinese food because there was a minimum for delivery, and I couldn’t do math post-drive. I then realized I forgot my glasses so I looked high as my contacts tried to murder my eyeballs

Me and Chinese Food
The Chinese food order probably made more sense to the delivery guy once he saw my dying eyes.

Like any good road trip, I planned to stay up all night and sleep in all morning, but I’m too tired. Plus, the rest of my road trip (also known as going home) is tomorrow night.

PS. I’m currently watching a reality show where someone said, “I’m going Sasquatch hunting.” And he just made a Big Foot noise. (It’s a WHOOP! sound.) I don’t miss cable at all.

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Mazda 5

These Moments Count, Too

Mazda 5My son is always asking to drive these crazy routes to wherever we’re going.

Take a left here Mama! (but we need to go right)

I want to go down Three Chopt Rd! (that’s nowhere near the store)

Let’s find out where Short Pump Rd goes! (his nickname for Pump Rd)

Sometimes I indulge him, but most of the time I remind him how much longer it would take to get where we are going. This is the kid who would race a baby across a parking lot and celebrate winning. I figure the speedy way is always going to be his favorite. But he never accepts my explanation with joy.

Finally, I ask: Why do you always want to take the long way?

E: I like being with you, Mama. It’s relaxing being in the car with you.

Once the welling of tears and swelling of my heart stopped, I think about our car rides. How we talk about our days and roll down our windows while singing off-key to the radio (well, just me — that kid has a beautiful voice). How I’ve begun introduced him to my favorite pop songs of the 80s and 90s and my parents’ favorite pop songs of the 60s and 70s. How much laughter we have and how many tears I’ve dried while steering one-handed.

And I wonder how I could have mistaken getting home for getting a few more minutes of Jack and Diane. I remember driving around my hometown and just following roads to their end because I never had. I knew which streets had crazy bumps and which ones had pretty trees and which ones were the best for feeling like you were the only one in the world.

I remember even younger than that singing the Star Spangled Banner to myself in the back of my parents’ car. Seeing my first harvest moon from my window. Leaning my head against the cool glass and watching the world — waving to strangers and making faces with my sister and getting truckers to honk their horns.

So if you see a car driving in circles in your neighborhood, know that we’re just enjoying each other’s company for a little bit longer. Maybe our song hasn’t quite ended yet. Or a road name caught our eye. Or we are debating whether the sky would be better off purple. Or maybe we are both quietly wondering whether life is these moments in the car or begins when we arrive at our destination.

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