I woke up this morning in my own bed with nowhere to go. I’m glad to be home. I went to the gym today and sweat for the first time since South Carolina, and it felt good. I have a fantasy football draft today and I’ll have time to get back to Fifty Shades Darker. The road is incredibly exciting, but you can’t live on the road, or at least I couldn’t. I felt extra alive out there. Each day was an adventure and a mystery. The road is an easy place to get to. I don’t even own a car.
Enough people having been reading the blog that I won’t be shocked if I start getting phone calls to advertise fireworks and adult superstores. Seriously though, the blog kept me going at points out there because I knew people at home and elsewhere were curious. Without people checking in and reading, it wouldn’t have been so awesome, so thanks for thinking of me.
I am over my near death experience, and like I said at the time, I was quickly over it, I had to be. Roads and trucks are the backbone of America. A lot of things need to get to a lot of places and that’s how they get there. I have a new respect for truck drivers. It is a hard life. There were rest stops with Denny’s that offered showers. I could hear announcements like –Shower #3 is now available. I could never live like that, but somebody has to in order for life to be the way it is.
I was nervous starting off because I was going to far away places and I was alone, but I found my groove and enjoyed it so much that I was sad when it came to an end. I took the trip without expectations. I certainly didn’t go on the road to find myself, or to change myself in any fundamental way. I like myself too much. But maybe it did change me and it’s too soon to tell, who knows. I went out there just for the hell of it, to see new places and meet different people. I accomplished that.
I touched every state along and east of the Mississippi River. I went to highlands and lowlands. I crossed rivers, deltas, and valleys. I drove through the Green Mountains, passed the Great Lakes, rode along the bluffs of the Mississippi, sat in traffic in the biggest city in the East and the biggest city in the Midwest, saw enough cornfields in the Heartland to last me a lifetime, took backroads through the Deep South, made my way through the Appalachian Mountains along the Shenandoah River, and navigated busy roads in the Northeast. This country is big and beautiful, and it is also great. I had the freedom to go wherever I wanted, every place I went I felt safe, and everyone I met treated me kindly and with respect.
I won’t soon forget the kindness of Dale, who gave me a cup of coffee and a Motel 6 coupon or the visit to Long Island to see Lucey and Collins, and I hope I never forget the pride and dedication of the woman at The Dawg House. When I was waiting for my Chicago-style dog I was thinking that the service was slow, but the more I thought about it as time went by, the more I understood. Those hot dogs are her life. She loves creating the perfect meal for weary travelers. Every dog is meticulously prepared and she won’t compromise the preparation or her integrity to save a couple of minutes. She wants every one of her hot dogs to have it’s day, to be the best. She doesn’t care who’s watching or waiting, she takes the time to do it right. That thought comforts me and gives me hope. Right now, as I stare out the windows of an old mill building over the canal, I think back to Zac Brown in Georgia – life is good today.
Miles driven: 4062
States visited: 31
Money spent on gas: $450.44
Cheapest gas: $3.29 South Carolina
Most expensive gas: $4.30 Chicago, IL
Money spent on tolls: $80.75
Highest elevation: about 3000 ft in North Carolina
Lowest elevation: -2 ft Lincoln Tunnel
State I was in the shortest time: Florida
State that I can picture in my mind most easily: Iowa
Total number cups of coffee: 20
# of showers on the road: 3
# of miles driven without a seatbelt: 0
Near-death experiences: 1, Indiana
Best Motel 6: Atlanta Airport North
Number of emergencies requiring this last minute purchase: 1
Worst traffic: 1) New York City 2) Chicago
Worst overall state for traffic: Connecticut
Worst morning show: Baltimore
Best morning show: Rick and Bubba, Mississippi
Best state playlist: New Jersey
Worst state playlist: Delaware
Sleeper state playlist: Minnesota
City that I wish I had spent more time in: Memphis