Mama’s On The Road
Wednesday morning I hit the road at 5:00 am heading eastbound from California. The goal was to get to Dallas asap only stopping to get gas, get coffee, eat, pee, and sleep.
I love taking my time and enjoying the drive, but I have driven back and forth from Texas to California a billion times this century, so I’m pretty good on sight seeing in that part of the country.
Road Trip Necessities:
- Delicious snacks. (My snack packs consisted of trail mix, peanut butter pretzels, and salted caramels from Trader Joe’s)
- Cell phone with google maps and gas buddy app (Gas Buddy is genius! It tells you the nearest gas stations and how much gas is there. Certain exits and tiny towns price gouge when it comes to gas since most people don’t pay attention, but not me. I drove the Prius so I would have to be one dumb, lazy bitch to run out of gas. I also prefer certain gas stations. When you’re on the road, 99 out of 100 times, Love’s will have a nice clean bathroom and delicious snacks to refuel.)
- Camera (most likely just your cell phone).
- Car (unless you are hitching a ride)
- Superb road trip playlists (or XM radio)
- Audiobooks downloaded to your phone (I just downloaded Joel McHale’s new book.)
I made great time, blowing past LA traffic (there are still way too many cars on the road on the 101 at 5 am, and Californians still need to learn that the far left lane is a passing lane aka the fast lane, but I’ll take it over the LA rush hour that seems to last from 6 am to 11 pm.
I saw the sun rise over Mt, Baldy, hit Arizona shortly after, and stopped for gas and food just east of Albuquerque. One western bacon cheeseburger later and I was back on I-40 east.
By the time I hit Tucumcari, New Mexico, I was pretty exhausted, so I stopped to try to sleep for a couple of hours. Unless I’ve got plenty of time to spare, and I’m lying around in a robe ordering room service at a fancy hotel, I have trouble sleeping. I get antsy. The road kept calling my name.
I decided to keep on truckin’ the two extra hours to Amarillo. A Motel 6 would do. Even if I just laid on top of the sheets (stop thinking about what you would find with a black light and whether or not there are bed bugs) and passed out for a few hours, that would be enough to tie me over until I make it to Big D.
For $50 a night, I didn’t expect much, but when I finally pulled into the Motel 6 parking lot, I couldn’t do it. Just thinking about the bed and toilet paper that feels like wiping your ass with a burlap sack made me start itching.
I’ll just sleep in the truck stop parking lot for a couple of hours. Then I’ll get my second wind and another cup of coffee to get me through.
Fifteen minutes later I was tossing and turning trying to get comfortable in the car. Moreso than my awkward attempted sleeping position, my mission to get to Dallas kept me from sleeping a wink. Amarillo to Dallas is only another 5-6 hours. I’ve got this.
I topped off my gas tank and found myself back on Interstate 40 exiting onto the 287. Big D, here I come.
Those last few hours were painful. Even Joel McHale’s book wasn’t doing it for me. Obsessively channel surfing the XM radio stations while singing and dancing helped keep me awake.
The last hour is the easy part. At that point, I had already driven 17ish hours, and I was on the home stretch running on pure adrenaline. I actually prefer driving at night since there are fewer people on the road.
Like Californians, New Mexicans also don’t seem to understand the concept of the left lane being the passing lane. Zonis (is that what you call Arizona natives?) and Texans correctly utilize the passing lane, so thank you for that.
Fueled by sugar and insanity, I pulled up to my ma’s place just before 5:00 am CST, so the trip took 22 hours even with all the stops. Actual road time was about 20 hours. I probably wasted 2 hours between the stop in ABQ, the Motel 6 attempt, and trying to sleep at that truck stop.
Thank you to Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch for the Good Vibrations at 3:00 am on that two lane highway. The last two hours were pretty brutal, but bad 90s music may have literally saved my life.