My trip to Pittsburg, then to Texas was somewhat delayed by that annoying Nor’Easter. I launched at 3am only to find I couldn’t even see road, let alone the end of the hood of my car. I was creeping along at 20 miles an hour being passed by assholes who appeared in a rush for an early demise.
I called it before I made it to I-295. No way I was going to risk attempting highway speed in those conditions. It wasn’t so much I was concerned about me, it was the rest of the assholes out there driving two thousand pound bombs.
I sat and seethed for most of the day, thinking about how far down the road I should be.
The wind roared until the late afternoon, and I certainly wasn’t to leave only to arrive in Pittsburg in the middle of the night. So off to the next day. 3AM the next morning was an order of magnitude better. I don’t think I saw another car until I crossed into New Hampshire.
Down I-95, then I-495, then I-91. It becomes a blur. I absolutely wanted to stay as far away from New York City as I could. I found myself in traffic. Crossing the “Hamilton Fish” bridge. Not the Washington. Not even the Tappan Zee. The freaking Hamilton Fish bridge.
Traffic wise, the entire trip was fucking miserable. There are entirely too many people in this country. Every city I went through I felt the urge to just pull over and stab myself in the eye with a pencil. Driving is now a lost art.
I managed to make it to my shipmate’s house. We went out, caught up. He has a great life. Wonderful family. Beautiful wife. Actually, she is so sweet! I was expecting to sleep on the couch, but in the family room she put down a mattress and made it up and even put my pillow at the head of the bed. I had dragged my suitcase into there and while finding a change of clothes had thrown my pillow on the couch. Because any world traveler knows. Always take your pillow.
I launched the next day. Misery ensued again. Total fog. By the time I made it to the interstate I just locked onto the ass end of a semi and held on. I was listening to Cormac McCarthy’s “Blood Meridien.” Haunting. And not for the faint of heart.
Ohio is a shit stain. I went through all three of the C’s, and each was worse than the previous. The highways were like driving on corrugated aluminum.
Jumped onto I-40 in Nashville. That town has gotten way too big. Got stuck behind an accident for three hours. Stared at the sun as it was going down as I arrived in Memphis.
I spent the night in Arkansas, in a little truck stop motel. As I checked in I was struck. Pretty little girl, in a truck stop. Across from dozens of big rigs – the only ones springing for a night were needing a shower. I remember thinking “This isn’t NYC or LA, and I guess that is a good thing.” Shower. Bed.
Five hours later I was back on the road. I left before my alarm went off. I had a few moments of guilt thinking of the people in the next room listening to the alarm. By then I was a hundred miles down the road. The receipt was in my backpack in the back seat. And no one there would ever see me again.
By now the story of Blood Meridien was coming to endgame. The primary characters movement started to blur. One moment he was in south Texas, the next he was wintering in the Rockies.
Around 8am I received a text from my sister, wondering where I was. Next stop, just east of Texarkana I texted back telling her, my father and my son I had crossed into Texas and had about 6 hours to go.
Dallas, Austin, New Brausnfels. A week home, and the tension has almost come out of my shoulders.
I had a fun couple of days in Texas. My grandson is going to be a brute. The last night we spent throwing the football around, and he has a crazy strong arm. He also has two imposing grandfathers.
The time I spent there I will leave to a different entry. Suffice to say, my grandson’s other grandparents are incredible. Smart, sweet, kind. Everything you could wish for someone who spends so much time with the offspring of your offspring.
I hugged him before I got back in the car. He was sweaty. Throwing a football. I said “I gotta go.” He said “I love you.”
The next time down, I will just stay there. His other grandfather, Ed, told me they have an extra room. My son can just pick me up at the airport in San Antonio. I didn’t drive the entire time I was there except back and forth the hotel. Maybe next spring. I’m getting a bit long in the tooth for 20 hour driving days.