New Adventures, Old Friends
June 7, 2015
I’ve wanted to take a road trip across the United States for just about as long as I can remember. When I was in high school my friend Janet and I had a plan to pack up her little blue Volkswagen fastback and hit the road as soon as we graduated, heading anywhere and everywhere our imaginations and that little car of hers could take us. Janet actually took that trip, driving all the way from California to Maine where she has made her home ever since. For me, it ended up being a different choice. I stayed home to have my first son, Arron, and was off on an amazing adventure of a completely different kind.
I’ve traveled quite a bit in my time on this Earth, mostly in other countries. SouthEast Asia, China, South Africa, as well as living in both London and Germany which allowed me to travel through much of Europe during that time. But my own country, well, not so much.
In getting ready for our move to Europe last year I drove from Northern California to Austin Texas, but it was a crazy fast trip made in 4 short days with Lulu riding shotgun and the only stops along the way being for a quick pee break, dog walking, or a search for anything gluten free and remotely edible.
This year I will be turning 60 and I am finally making that trip I dreamed of so long ago and many, many times over the years since then. Five days ago after putting my husband on a plane to Germany and packing most of or belongings safely away into storage, I loaded up our Subaru Forester and Lulu and I hit the road on a beautiful post rain Sunday morning.
Lulu even got a new pair of road goggles just for the occasion.
First stop on the agenda - New Orleans. It was a little further than I wanted to drive with Lulu in one day so I chose Beaumont Texas to lay over for a night. I originally thought this was where my Grandmother was born and it would be a good opportunity to connect with my roots, but in checking with my sister I later learned that Fort Wort was actually the place of her birth. It turned out to be a good choice either way and although I may not have discovered my roots, I did discover an absolutely charming little town.
Situated on the Neches River and just 28 miles from the Louisiana border, you can definitely see and feel the influence of both states. It is also without a doubt one of the cleanest cities I have ever been in where things seem to move at a slower, more drawn out pace and southern charm simply oozes from every inch of it. It wasn’t hard to imagine the lazy summer days of years gone by, particularly because I happened to be listening to the book Ruby by Cynthia Bond as I drove which takes place in the neighboring town of Liberty and refers to Beaumont frequently. I chose this book at random having no idea that this was it’s setting so you can imagine my surprise when I started seeing road signs for the places being so vividly described as I listened. I absolutely love the serendipity in that.
This crazy road trip we’re on will last about 3 1/2 months and take us first through New Orleans and the Gulf Coast before making our way up to Atlanta and then on over to Charlotte. Ultimately we will head north, spending time in both Cape Cod and Maine for the summer and if I’m not too road weary, perhaps even Nova Scotia. The return will be via a more inland route coming down through Amish country and Tennessee as we make our way back to Austin.
But the thing I am most excited about, even more than all of the amazing places I will be seeing and experiencing along the way, is the time we will be spending friends and family in our various destinations. Moving and traveling as much as we do it is really easy to start feeling disconnected and even out and out lonely at times, and I have come to value my connections with others more than anything.
While I was in Europe I was able to reconnect with my high school friend Karen whom I hadn’t seen in about 35 years, and yesterday I spoke on the phone with our mutual friend Larry who is living nearby in Mississippi. We had not spoken in close to 40 years. That is absolutely mind boggling to me.
The remainder of this trip will allow us to spend time with so many special people to us. Friends in Atlanta, family in Charlotte including some that I have not yet met, and a revolving door of friends and family coming to play with us on the shores of Cape Cod and the beaches of Maine.
And my friend Janet? Yep, she’s still in Maine and as we will be there for the entire month of August I am finally meeting her there. Just 40 years later than we originally planned!
This trip is a dream come true for me and I hope you will follow along and share in our travels and travails as we experience the beauty, the joy, and the inevitable bumps in the road that are surely coming our way. I will be posting often and there will lots of amazing photography for sure…
I would love to hear from you with comments and any “do not miss” suggestions you may have for me.
You can see all of the galleries from our travels by clicking here:
Until next week …. and NOLA!
XOXO, me and lu