Saturday, September 23, 2006

Fully Loaded, We Got Snacks and Supplies...

One of my all time favorite past times is taking road trips. In college, my friends and I would routinely set out on ambitious road trips to such destinations as Vegas or the moon; we generally made it as far as the 24-hour grocery store. Some day I will drive to Vegas, just to say that I finally did it, but in the mean time I am no slouch as a "road warrior." Shocking my whole family, I opted to go to school in Vermont, an 8 hour drive from my central Pennsylvania home. It took some adjusting, but got by alright. I managed to come home on long weekends, as long as I had a couple of days between 8 hour drives. I can hear you mumbling "That's not that far..." I admit, I was young and cocky. I thought that 16 hours over 4 days was pretty good. Well, life is not static, and change is constant. Between my freshman and sophomore years of college, my family moved from PA to sunny North Carolina. It was my turn to be shocked. I didn't mind having an 8 hour trek, partially because it was my choice and partially because it was, well, only 8 hours. Now the trip was 16 hours one way. Ah, but I was young and impetuous. I felt like the kid on top of the high dive trying decide if it was worse to retreat and, in clouds of humiliation and embarrassment, crawl back down the ladder or to simply embrace the imminent death. I just had to take the plunge. So on the day I was driving home for the first time, I got up at 3:30am, got on the road by 4am. and was pulling in the drive way at 8pm on the dot. It was sort of a coming of age thing for me, probably not as profound as the situations in, say, the Bildungsroman, but it's up there. After that first epic drive, I could do anything. For one Thanksgiving, I did 32 hours of driving in 4 days maybe? 5? The point is not a lot. My unswavering companion through all of this was Toby, my beloved light blue '97 Mercury Sable. We did everything together and were really there for each other. Yes, we had our spats (The only time he ever ran out gas, we didn't talk for days, but I eventually apologized and it never happened again), but the good times far out-weigh the bad. I bought him at the end of 2001 and put close to 80,000 miles on him before we had to part ways this past Summer. It was a tough time for both of us, but I think we both knew it was for the best. And if it hadn't happened now, I may never have met Vincent, my shiny new silver '07 Nissan Versa. We have a good time together and (no offense to Toby), Vincent gets much better mileage, which is a good thing in this day and age. Now, I am unstoppable. I love driving, especially long distances, and this penchant has come in handy in my post-graduation life. I imagine most people experience the sudden disconnectedness of leaving college permanently; you go from having everyone of your friends contained in a tidy one-mile radius. Then May Commencement happens and BAM! you're lucky if you have a friend within a couple hundred miles. Lucky for moi, I have no problem whatsoever jumping in the car, driving 6 hours, hanging out, crashing on a couch for a couple of hours, and then driving back. I thrive on those kinds of weekends. Add that kind of drive (no pun intended) with the fact that I actually got a "real" job out of college (with a paycheck and paid vacation and everything), and there's simply no stopping me. Now I have friends all over the country, Oregon, Illinois, Washington, Tennessee, Maryland, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Ohio, South Carolina, California, all of New England.... It's only a matter of time before the big one, the transcontinental road trip. One of these days. Besides, I still have to make it to Vegas.

3 comments:

librarian pirate said...

you know, Brandon and I once road tripped to Vegas. We were on our way to see his grandmother and my cousins in Arizona and we decided to swing by there. 'Twas great fun!

So when's the road trip to Illinois again?

jo! said...

One of these days, my friend. I have to come in my swanky new car and check out your swanky new place. I miss you! Will you please update your blog, for crying out loud! It's driving me crazy!!!

gem said...

I want to send this to my daughter who you know is going to school in Southern Vermont.

You should enable links, jo, on your settings, so I can pick up the page (electronically) and send it to her. Check your settings and enable links!

Bangin' post, girlfriend.