For those you who had doubts that I could successfully migrate my ass from one side of the country to another, worry no more. I have made it from point a to point b relatively unscathed with the exception of one poorly timed gas stop in Dalton, Illinois. For a little white girl to be in the projects outside of Chicago, it’s safe to say I fit in about as well in Dalton as I did in High School.
Where I grew up, spotting a Black person was about equivalent to a game of “Where’s Waldo.” We arrived in Dalton with the gas tank dangerously close to empty and my bladder dangerously close to full. We descended upon the restroom which was blocked by a gaggle of Black men drinking beer out of paper bags. One man greeted me, and I returned the sentiment. Another, who looked suspiciously like a a Black Huckleberry Finn spoke up: “I done bet my friend you wouldn’t talk to us.” My response? “I’m a nice person.” Really? I’m a nice person? Rightfully so, they just laughed at me and I shuffled to the toilet where I proceeded to take one of those uncomfortably long pees that was a steady stream for about two minutes straight. I digress.
In case you’re curious, our trip looked a little something like this:
We started in Salt Lake City and proceeded to drive 20 hours straight to Minneapolis, MN. We arrived around 4:30 am to a sign made by our friends and a bottle of champagne waiting to be opened in anticipation of our arrival.
After debating whether or not to classify the glass of champagne as a “night cap” or “morning cap” I simply drank it and retired to my quarters with my feline friend. Did I mention I was traveling with a cat? As one would imagine, cats just adore cars and my cat seemed to enjoy being confined to a small section of my car (packed to the brim doesn’t even do the situation justice) for stretches of time ranging anywhere from 9-20 hours. I attempted to make it less painless by not keeping her in a pet carrier and letting her roam the car freely, which earned her the road trip nickname: “Free-Range Pussy.” After Minneapolis we drove to Cleveland “Rock City” Ohio. This took us roughly 13 hours. The next, and last leg took us through the never ending abyss of Pennsylvania (the second most annoying state only topped by Nebraska), and finally to Connecticut.
I cannot reflect back on this trip without giving the most enthusiastic and wholehearted mental high-five to my co-pilot. If you didn’t notice in the picture of us earlier in this post (in which we sported matching airbrushed hats); we meant business. The airbrushed hats were souvenirs obtained from our time in Minneapolis when we visited the Mall of America. I’m pretty sure the twenty something girl who worked the booth really appreciated the fact that I articulated she could have “artistic freedom” in creating our hats.
Being in a car with someone for three days, could be a terrible thing. I know this – I originally drove out west with my father. By the end of day 3 of that trip, I had already mentally considered tucking and rolling out of the car once I hit the Utah state line. However, thanks to Sarah Meeks I loved every minute of the approximately 2520 minutes it took us to make our way. I salute you Sarah Meeks, and wave my airbrushed hair in your general direction.