Welcome to a recap of one of the dumbest (and by far, one of the greatest) things I’ve ever done: Driving from Oklahoma City to Washington D.C. in two days. Alone. In an effort to be present and conscious, I took pictures along the way instead of choosing to chug along and not enjoy the road trip. I’m glad I did.
There are lots of pics here, and you’ll have to click on ’em to see the full-sized versions. Oh, and keep in mind that lots of these are dashboard pics with me going 80mph. Okay, the technical stuff’s out of the way.
I’ll remember this road trip forever. Here’s my story:
I can’t believe I’m doing this.
It’s crazy! I should turn around. Really, I should turn around because doing this doesn’t make sense. Well I’ve already hugged my mama and told her goodbye, so I can’t turn around. Not now. I have to do this. “Remember, you need to have Oklahoma in your rear view mirror,” I tell myself.
Crossing through Arkansas.
I’m cool! Gotta grab a postcard for my mom. Too bad the Arkansas welcome center lobby isn’t open yet. I’m making good time, so I don’t mind waiting. I’m excited; I can do this! Looking forward to Memphis.
Downtown smells like chilli though. Wow, the Mississippi river! Cool! And the riverboat gives the scenery a nice touch. The architecture is pretty and kinda reminds me of New Orleans. After walking around, I notice downtown smells like a mix of chilli and sewage. Yuck!
I like the statues of B.B. King and The King.
There at the entrance of the Memphis welcome center. It’s nice that the center is in downtown Memphis. I’m taking this as my long driving break and decide to walk around downtown. I ask the white-haired lady at the front desk for postcards, but they had none. (At this point, I’m on a mission to send my mom a postcard from every state I pass through, with a postmark from each state, so I’ve got to find postcards and Post Offices.) I don’t have the heart to tell the lady at the welcome center “No” when she suggests something, so I end up with three Tennessee travel and coupon magazines. On top of that, she has me walking through downtown to a Walgreen’s to buy postcards. Gotta get a postcard, though, so I do it. And, walk a few more blocks to a Post Office drop.
I spend about an hour walking around and taking pictures. I almost get hit by a trolley/lite rail car. The conductor honks at me to get out of the way. To do that, I jog out into the street. Then, I almost get hit by a regular car!
Overall, I like it here in Memphis, and decide I should come back for a proper (and ratchet!) visit.
I’m ready for Nashville!
I want to see Dollywood!* 2Chainz’ song “Spend It” has me going! Ratchet music keeps me company, courtesy of Shade45. Of course, it’s a must that I record myself singing, “I’m righ’roun’ and I’m gettin’ it. I’m righ’roun’ and I’m gettin’ it. It’s mine, I spennit. It’s mine, I spennit!…SIMILAAAAC!” and send it to some of my friends.
ZOMG! This drive from Memphis to Nashville is taking forever.
I’d thought it would be two and a half hours, but it was four and half! Bad surprise there. But, listening to Kelis’ Wanderland CD has me live. The song “Young, Fresh and New” describes my situation perfectly. In it, she sings “run away from home.” That’s how I feel now, like I’m running away from home. My hype is waning. I hadn’t expected it to take four and a half hours to get to Nashville.
I’m tired. And still thinking, “Krishia, what in the world are you doing?! This is crazy.” I remind myself this is THE roadtrip I’ve wanted to take for the last couple of years. And, also, that this is a leap of faith. A giant one. One that rivals the step of any decorated long jumper. I keep quoting Shira** in my mind. In one of her YouTube video series, she says, “You’re not meant to create the miracles. That’s not up to you to create the miracles; it’s just up to you to believe in the miracles and do enough work towards the miracles [so] that they do come true for you.”
That works for me.
Over it. No pictures. It’s dark. I’m ready to be in Knoxville. Just getting gas on what is probably the wrong side of town. Oh well. All I know is that they had better give me correct change. All money is green; now give me gas. And stop watching me through the windows.
Finally, I’m on the way to Knoxville. I’ve sat behind my steering wheel for about 12 hours so far. I call my sister. Talking to her about nothing instantly perks me up. I’m driving through winding roads, with lots of semis and other cars. It’s kind of in the mountain-like area with unstable rocks jutting out, and fences to keep them in. There’s even a warning sign to look out for falling rocks! Gah-lee! There are several accidents on this stretch between Nashville and Knoxville, and I understand why. I’m glad I’m driving in the dark, because seeing mountains looking down on me would make me nervous and imagine stray boulders.
My eyelids feel like sandpaper.
Made it into Knoxville, and I’ve had three peanut butter and honey sandwiches today, one at each stop. I said I wasn’t spending extra money, but I’m getting real food when I stop.
I made it all this way without GPS, yet this is where I get lost. I take the wrong exit to the hospital, the one where my sister’s friend works, I ran an obvious red light, and left turned out in front of a car that had the right of way. I have got to get off the road. Now. Kanye’s College Dropout CD helps me through my directional blunders. Made it! Plus, I eat real food for free! Yay!
Uh oh, my sister’s BFF tells me about signs of flurries in the DC area. I find this info out on the way to my host’s house (to which she graciously hands me her keys and says, “make yourself at home.” Gotta love that). Precipitation means I’ll take the alternate route I decided on in case of questionable weather, and not drive through the Appalachian mountains on I-81 as planned.
Since I’m losing focus, I accidentally cut a car off on the highway while taking a super sharp right turn for an exit just before making it to my host’s apartment. Thank you Jesus that I didn’t flip my car, Stella. And, I’ve really gotta get off the road and into a bed.
I’m here. In my host’s apartment complex. Okay, why can’t I find this effing apt building?! The numbers on each of the buildings are tiny, its dark, and it’s raining a bit. It takes 20 minutes of my sleep time to find the correct apartment building.
Finally inside! Shower, then bed.
*I now know Dollywood is near Knoxville. I thought it was in Nashville during my trip.
**I talk about Shira a lot; I’ve watched her YouTube videos for years now. She’s totally my homegirl in my head.