We had a slow start this morning and it took a while to get our groove on. Dani was supposed to pick me up at the hotel in Gainesville by 6:00 a.m., but didn’t arrive until around 7:30. She knocked on the door and came in with red, swollen eyes and tears pouring down her cheeks. We didn’t take into account that saying goodbye to Michael, her boyfriend, was going to be so difficult. Her emotional state was worse when she saw the scrapbook with the messages from her family and friends.
When tears were dried, we had to lug my suitcase out to the car. When she opened the hatch, there was no room to fit my meager luggage. That resulted in a minor re-pack of all of her belongings, including her aloe and small rose plants given to her by a friend (see photo).
Finally packed and ready to go, we recorded the mileage on her car. She has a 1999 Honda CRV named Hector that has 177,000+ miles (see photo). We will record the end-of-trip mileage and celebrate Hector’s reliability.
Our major problem with starting our journey was the fact that Dani had not yet decided on our route. She was torn between the northern Midwest and plains states or going south through the desert and canyon states and then up the Pacific Highway into San Francisco and through the sequoias. We decided to just get on I-75 north and start our ride and take a left onto I-10 toward Tallahassee until she made up her mind.
“Let’s go to the Grand Canyon,” she said.
“Umm, okay,” I said. So we found a Starbucks, for the Wi-Fi–the coffee was a nice side bonus–mapped it out and finally got on the road for real. With a destination in mind, it made us happy. Thus, we sang.
Every Floridian knows that I-10 is the longest, most boring ride ever. We were ecstatic to make it to the Alabama state line. It felt like we were there for about a minute and then crossed over into Mississippi, and, finally, into Louisiana. We are spending the night in West Monroe, made famous by the Duck Dynasty guys. Since they will be closed tomorrow, we’ll stop by and take some pictures anyway. Thought we would attend their church, but services start too late and will delay our trip.
We passed the time fluctuating between talking, listening to music, reading, and Dani doing homework. It was a day of agreeable companionship, safe travels (thank you, Jesus, for the travel graces), junk road food, and slap-happy giggling over silly stuff. You’ll have to ask me about boiled peanuts and the correct way to say Oregon.
Tomorrow will be even better. We are organized and streamlined now, ’cause we be groovin’!