Driving across the country is a marathon, a test of will with the optimal outcome of surviving the excursion with some sanity to spare and actually enjoy the vacation initially sought. The goal: travel thirty hours from the far southwestern corner of Colorado to central Pennsylvania, swapping between two drivers without spending money to stay at a motel that neither driver really possesses. A night stay is at least eight hours of drive time lost anyway, eight hours further away from actually beginning my vacation. The trip is foreboding and the real hope is to recover as fast as possible so the actual vacation is salvageable. I might even enjoy the change of scenery. That change is perhaps enough to distract me on the looming of the, just as long , drive home.
This is not my first time to attempt at this feat. In 2007, the same thirty hour drive commenced with me feeling more like a walking comatose patient than a vibrant full of life and ideas young adult, embarking on my first real vacation. The next year my boyfriend, Tyson, and I gained our senses and flew out. Last year we didn’t even leave our home through some great teamwork of enticing his mom to visit us in Colorado. This year, it’s our turn to travel.
Words I now regret came out of my mouth that I wish I could have swallowed back down to the deepest cavern of ill-thoughts where they somehow escaped, “How about we drive to see your mom again, and we can see the colors?”
He was hooked. Flying east was no longer an option. Apparently the first road trip’s damaging effects lingered with an idea of 1500 miles of unending pavement actually be enjoyable. I still wish today that our previous trip of “freshening up” at a rest stop with moisture toilettes from a gas station and stuffing another dry turkey sandwich down my parched lips could all be erased. Both visions are embedded and perhaps were the culprits that blocked my sane thoughts to surface and remind me of how horrendous a road trip can be. I am unsure which is worse—being responsible for the upcoming road trip or the grueling experience of hazy vision, cramped fingers, bright headlights, and the entombing sensation of being locked up in one area for far too long with someone I determine I hate after the first fifteen hours.
The bizarre fact is I love to drive. Flying is a last option. Having no control and the horrible urge to sleep but unable to rest makes most flights a trip I prefer not to put my body through. I feel the effects of jet-lag when crossing over one time zone. If only a road trip east was that short, I might not dread the drive. Somehow thirty hours of straight driving zaps the enjoyment and any other feeling in my body. At least the first few hours will be filled with tremendous Rocky Mountain color—the hard reality of the road is likely to occur somewhere during the long, flat stretch of Kansas.