Through Texas in a Single Day

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January 6th 2018
Published: January 7th 2018
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I'm taking the final two days of the trip in a single entry, since there wasn't much to write about on our final day of the trip. I had never driven completely through Texas in a single day, and I hadn't particularly thought about it as an accomplishment before I started this trip. But now I've done it, and I feel like I deserve a medal for it. Seriously, though, it's just over 600 miles, the way we went. That's not so much as going along I-10 through Texas (which is 880 miles), but it IS through the bulk of Texas. Anyway, Friday was a pretty decent day. We had driven through most of Arizona and all of New Mexico on Thursday, for a grand total of 8 hours driving, and it had been nearly intolerable towards the end. That was not the case today, despite driving over 11 hours. Maybe the good night's sleep and the lack of flat, straight roads for miles upon miles helped.

Once we hit Texas, I felt much better. It just felt like New Mexico's roads were laid out on a grid, with no personality. It might be helpful in many regards, but it's pretty boring, which is bad when you're driving long distances. Or first stop of the day was Texas Tech. The way we came into Lubbock, where the university is located, was the best way to get things taken care of in an easy fashion. The stadium dominates the entrance from the north, so I got that taken care of painlessly. It's pretty nice. And then it was the bookstore for a pennant. It was down the same road, about a mile. I also managed to get some sweet tea here, for the first time in a while. And then dad took the wheel for the drive to Fort Worth, 6 hours away.

I don't know what it was, but I was just not feeling like dad was up for the job this day. It was fine on the "back roads" for the first half of the drive, but once we got to the interstate (I-20), it was a different story. But I let it go until we got just outside of Fort Worth. We had to stop for gasoline, at which point I took over.

I'm familiar with Fort Worth. I graduated from TCU, which is located here. So it wasn't too bad for me. And at this point, we had returned to a drive that was all too familiar to me, having driving from Georgia to Fort Worth and back several times. Our first stop was the bookstore on campus, since I wasn't sure when they closed, and I wanted to get some swag. I don't get to come out here too much, so I wanted to stock up. I got that urge taken care of, and then we went to the Whataburger across the street. We got to use more of our coupons from the Texas Bowl last week, plus the food is always good. And then we took a short pilgrimage to Amon G. Carter Stadium on the campus of TCU. I like that it's always open (except on game days), so we got to visit the Horned Frog out front and then walk inside. It was still painted up for the Armed Forces Bowl from a couple of weeks ago. But TCU purple still dominated the landscape. Dad like the stadium.

And then we were off to Louisiana for the night. It was almost 5 hours to West Monroe, where our hotel was located. And it was Friday night, so I anticipated a little traffic getting out of Dallas. It wasn't too bad. I can't imagine it would've been any better in Atlanta; in fact, I imagine it would've been much worse. The only incident for the rest of the night was a horrific accident in Louisiana, but thanks to Google maps, we avoided it like a pro.

Saturday was the 12th day of the trip, and our final one. We got out of West Monroe around 9:30 and ended up in Tifton around 7:45. It was a 9.5-hour drive, but it wasn't all that bad. I took the first shift, all interstate and all the way to Meridian, MS. We stopped for lunch there--McDonald's, the first time on the trip. Blah. Ran into some 'Bama fans who were making fun of FSU. I didn't realize they were 'Bama fans while they were making fun, but when I laughed at their joking, their first response to me was "Roll Tide." I was wearing my UGA hoodie. The normal reaction, I feel, should've been something along the lines of "Yeah, we're glad you can appreciate our humor and agree with us," not "Oh, wait, F you." Because that's what happened. Among 'Bama fans, "Roll tide" is a bonding phrase because of mutual fanhood; when yelled at someone who is NOT a 'Bama fan, the expression is equivalent to "F you." If you think otherwise, you are mistaken. And we weren't even IN Alabama. I had expected that at any stop we made in Alabama. Not in Mississippi, though. Nevertheless, I was classy. I simply shook my head at them, even when the guy pointed out to everyone in their group, in case they had missed seeing my hoodie, that I was a Georgia fan. And that elicited a few more "Roll Tide"'s from them. I guess it's all they have to live for.

Dad took over for the drive to Georgia, and it wasn't too bad. We got off the interstate not long after Meridian, so maybe that's why I drove as far as I did. We drove through Selma (my first time, as far as I know), and dad even mentioned the famous bridge there. I had known it was "famous," but I hadn't remembered why. Dad was a bit disparaging about the bridge, though not explicitly so. And we did drive over it.

It had started to get dusky as we crossed the bridge from Alabama into Georgia, and I knew dad's eyes weren't going to last much longer for driving. He kept up the charade until Dawson, about 30 minutes or so inside Georgia. Then we stopped for a bathroom break, and I took over driving for the home stretch. And now we are back. It was 5140 miles from here to the Rose Bowl and back. I'll have to check but it may be the longest road trip I've ever taken. Not in terms of time, however, since I've been on 14- and 17-day road trips before. But mileage-wise, it may be. Nevertheless, one of the unintended benefits of road trips, especially long ones, is that I appreciate being home again, even if only for a short time. I am glad to be back, though I still have a 3-hour drive awaiting me before I can say I'm "home" again in Athens, GA. Tomorrow!

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