The first three days have been as blurry as weeds on the side of the highway.
We’ve already visited two museums, a wildlife refuge, two Native American memorials, and an art museum. We’ve driven four-lanes and two-lanes and one-lane over nearly a thousand miles. We spent a night in a century-old cabin, tooled around in a four-wheeler named Wilma, slept in a haunted hotel with 20-foot ceilings, ate lamb fries, and dissuaded (barely) a stray dog from joining us on our journey.
And it’s Day 4.
Each morning I’ve written in my journal, capturing my thoughts and impressions from the day before. If I didn’t do that, I don’t know how I would process everything we’ve seen, nor how I’d remember it all when it comes time to sit down and write. It’s an unfiltered and necessary capture so that I can recapture and share this journey. Up to this point I’ve had little opportunity, beyond brief updates on social media and live videos from the road, to share those experiences. We’ve had such early starts, up at 5am and out the door by 7 or 8, and by the time I’ve finished putting pen to paper and downloaded the photos and videos to my computer it’s time to depart for our next destination.
What we’re seeing, what we’re doing is so incredible and I want everything to be perfect. I’ve actually had dreams about what I’m going to write. But I’ve realized it’s not going to be perfect. Nothing is, especially a road trip.
We had a bit of a snafu last night when we arrived in McAlester, Oklahoma, and found out my contact had been fired a week ago. The hotel that had been booked but not secured was not in our budget, so I pulled out Priceline, searched their express deals to get the lay of the land, and then placed a bid. We ended up at an Econo Lodge a quarter mile from the hotel where we thought we’d be staying. It’s an affordable motel, with a microwave, refrigerator, free breakfast, clean linens, free (if spotty) wifi, and the intermittent sounds of semis.
In a way, I’m glad this happened. Roadside motels are part of the American road trip vernacular. I knew we’d stay at one of these efficient waystaytions at least once.
This also opened up our morning. Would I have liked to see what she had planned for us, especially since it’s not something we can do on our own? Absolutely. But now we’ve had the time to regroup before departing on our next leg, which is as unplanned as I’m ever likely to get.
We’re making our way towards Albuquerque and will camp along the way. I’ve scouted out potential campgrounds and day hikes, but that’s it. After a few days of structure and schedules it will be refreshing to just go where the road takes us.
That’s one of my favorite parts of this journey. It’s partly planned and partly unscheduled. It’s a mix of attractions and interests and accommodations and dining. It’s a melting pot of what this country, or at least this part of the country, offers.
Road trips are like weddings. SOMETHING is going to go wrong. You can’t fret; the only thing you can do is find an alternate solution, be flexible, and remember to enjoy the journey!
Those journal entries I mentioned are fueling the book that will result from this trip. I’ll keep posting here, and if you want to follow along as we travel, be sure to follow on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. If our journey intrigues you and you’d like to pre-order your copy of “Two Lane Gems, Vol. 1” (and help out when we run into any future snafus, because you know we will!) you can do so here.