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Texas Road Trip – Part 2

December 29, 2009

… continued from last entry

Departure day:  After months of managing vendor, staff, and customer relations, struggling to organize production runs and project cars, and commanding endless spreadsheets; we are eager to escape the office to embark on this road trip adventure and look forward to the sights along the way… 

Fall Trees

Autumn Colours in the Cascade Mountains

Dawn breaks over the cool autumn morning and our neighborhood has yet to come to life.  With the essentials stowed, I roll open the garage door and enjoy a brief moment of morning serenity that I am rarely awake early enough to enjoy.  Then, with a twist of the key, the air is filled with the beautifully tuned exhaust note of a turbo charged V6 motor and our expedition to southern Texas has begun.

Driving through the Cascade Mountains in Washington State, we take in the foliage in full fall regalia.  The rolling wheat fields in Northern Oregon and Idaho mark a dramatic change in scenery and make for an excellent photo opportunity.  As each mile passes beneath our wheels the daily pressures seemed to melt away and by the time the sun sets in the side view mirror our hearts are light with the freedom of the open road.

sunsetIt was about this time we come to find some errors in our initial calculations… Crossing into Idaho and into the Mountain time-zone, we realize we’d be losing two hours of driving time due to the time changes.  Coupled with lots of major road construction (thanks to the Obama economic Stimulus Plan) we are definitely behind schedule.

We seem to be keeping an average of 70 mph but it just isn’t going to be enough so a decision is made to take turns driving straight through the night.  Sadly this meant we would miss the beauty of Utah (I guess now I have excuse to go back!) but luckily, one my favorite parts of a road trip is the drive through the night. 

Three a.m. and the roads are empty, the asphalt curves ahead of us like a black satin ribbon, and the moon darts mischievously through the sky like a nymph.  The world ceases to exist outside the beam of your headlights and there’s nothing but you, your car, and the open highway… and music; I gotta have great music! 

My driving music playlist is an eclectic mix of artists and genres including Lynyrd Skynyrd, U2, Cheryl Crow, ACDC, Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, etc.  These are all songs designed to keep your hands tapping on the steering wheel and to give you something to croon along with while your co-pilot is snoozing in the passenger seat.  The hardest part of the night time drive is keeping a speed under 100mph as the temptation in this car is just too great to resist.

sunrise

Sunrise in New Mexico

As the dawn breaks over the hoodoos of New Mexico, we are now at the half way point.  I am in awe of the great plains that surround us and vibrant red layers of the sedimentary rock formations.  The magnitude of open and untouched land with no sign of human occupation short of the road we travel is astounding; I can close my eyes and imagine prehistoric creatures roaming in the distance. 

route 66

Historic Route 66

Our bodies are getting tired after 24 hours in less than plush racing bucket seats, but frequent snack and stretch breaks keep our energy up.  Despite the hectic pace we are keeping there is something calming about knowing where you are going and having nothing else to do but enjoy the ride.  When we have the chance to take a short jaunt down the historic Route 66 we do so eagerly, and the fun twisty two lane highway is all it is promised to be.

Several hours later, we see the star shaped sentries marking the Texas border and our tired minds rejoice with the hope that we have almost made it to our destination.  We chat amicably, sing along to some favorite tunes, and take turns dozing.  Several more hours later, we begin to appreciate just how darned BIG Texas is as we realize we still have a few hundred miles to go.  The lone star state’s landscape eases from cactus filled desert to the lush ranchland of the south Texas plains, the sun sets on another day behind the wheel, and we finally approach the town of Goliad.

As we check in to our hotel, weary but happy, I reflect on the magnitude of the journey we have just completed. 2465 miles, across seven states, in 42 hours.  Greater yet, is the 180 degree shift in attitude from the cranky stressed out person that left the office two days ago to the peaceful demeanor that has sunk into my pores.  After the event we will leave the car in Houston and fly home, but I am already looking forward to the chance to repeat this road trip next year and let the serenity of the road do its magic once again.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Kim permalink*
    January 4, 2010 1:09 am

    Funny what some people find stressfull (42 hours in a car) turns a true auto enthusiast into a zen state! Great job Sis – thanks for sharing!!
    xo
    k

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