The Mundling Zone

Thoughts, rants, and raves from the desk of Michelle Mundling

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Roadtrippin': Day One

Ive waited 31 years for this.

I dont think its hit me yet that Im finally embarking on this long-distance drive. I had planned on making this trip for so long that it didnt hit me until the week of the trip, and then I felt like I was caught off guard. Reminds me of the time when I lived in Atlanta in the 90s and we kept hearing, The Olympics are coming! Were like, Yeah, yeah in another six years five years four years It wasnt until two weeks before the Olympics were due to start that it finally hit us, Oh my God!!! The Olympics are coming!

In an unrelated bit of family trivia, it was also 31 years from the time my Uncle Luther disappeared without a trace in February 1965 to February 1996 when a good friend of his called us to let us know that he was alive but ailing in Waco, Texas. But I digress

It was a cool, overcast morning when I left the house. I had no idea where I was going to make my first stop, but I was going to drive as long as I could before I felt the need to stop for the night. Im running on three hours of sleep, but Im so keyed up right now that I dont think I could go to sleep if I tried.

The longest I ever spent driving someplace was six hours, and that was in my 1984 Mercury Lynx that had no cruise control. I would not attempt this cross-country drive if my truck did not have this luxurious must-have feature. In fact, my truck has been a blessing to me. The seat is comfortable and supports my back. Even if you were to make frequent stops on a road trip, the seats in your vehicle can make or break your enjoyment during the trip.

My sleep deprivation was already taking a toll on me when I got to the city of Albany, Georgia. I misread the signs and took the business route of US 82 (the long way) rather than the bypass. I lost 30 minutes of driving time in stop and go traffic. I was upset with myself. I wondered if I needed to make a stop and take a nap, but I decided to keep going.

I never thought Id get out of Georgia. It took me five hours to get to Columbus from Waycross. In addition, the City of Columbus had some kind of celebration going on and the police department was having to direct traffic. Instead of taking 10 minutes to drive through the city, it took 35 minutes. I never thought Id be so glad to see the sign that said, Alabama State Line. I made much better time once I got to Alabama. One thing I will say about US routes in that state is that theyre almost like the interstate roads as far as being at least four-laned and having speed limits higher than the standard speed limit of 55 MPH.

After dark, the full moon came out. There was not much traffic on the interstate, so I was able to enjoy the whitish-blue glow cast upon the trees and the road. It was really nice. I love full-moon nights.

By the time I got to Meridian, Mississippi, my body was letting me know that it was time to pull over and get a room. Honestly, I was still hyped up and could have driven another two or three hours. However, I had been awake 21 hours and only had three hours of sleep the night before. The body was willing, but even I knew that my sleep deprivation made me a few clowns short of a circus. I needed to get off the road.

I stopped at a couple of hotels before I found one with a vacancy. However, it only had vacancies on the second floor. This is not a good thing when you have a pinched nerve in your back and an injured knee. I decided to take only what I absolutely needed and would just take extra medication for the pain. No matter what I did, I still had to make two trips. What added insult to injury is that the hotel offered free high speed Internet service, but I got a room with a damaged CAT5 port. I could not get service to my computer. What did I learn from this experience? Pick a town and make your reservation if you need a specific room to accommodate you.


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