As the saying goes, “All good things must come to and end.” This is the last day of The Road Trip.
We woke up bright and early headed up towards Brentwood, TN, to meet up with my brother and his wife for breakfast at The Cracker Barrel. As we ate, we talked about the trip…the highlights, the not so good parts, and about the drive back to Detroit. “I’ve made it there in about 8 hours before, but plan for 8.5.” Hmm. Ok. We finished breakfast and as we pulled out of the parking lot, lo and behold…Krispy Kreme. Might as well, right? Right.
We headed north, settling into a brisk pace as I tagged along behind some “eager drivers.” This helped make the time pass, but only for so long. Construction. Nothing major, but enough to bring us back to reality. As we puttered along this one open lane of construction, we looked towards the on-coming traffic who were approaching the same construction zone. There was one “disabled” car sitting in the middle of the one open lane and behind them…for at least five…miles…was the backup of semi trucks and other irritated motorists. Just sitting there, parked. No way to really get a tow truck in to save this car, so I have no idea how that problem was solved. Let’s just say that we’ve been VERY lucky on this trip with regards to weather, rush hours and traffic in general. Sure, we’ve gotten hammered by rain storms, but every time we’ve stopped to sight see or get snacks, we’ve been dry. I count that as a blessing!
And then, it starts to rain. No biggie, right? We’re in Ohio. During rush hour traffic. And I have to pee. “Next exit, we’re stopping!” I said to Brian. Well, it took maybe an hour to reach that next stop. Whew. Jump in the car and we’re off. The rain cleared up. Then came back. We pulled over and grabbed a quick bite for dinner and then drove off into more rain. I counted three separate rain storms going home. I was getting tired, but we were eager to get home. Welcome to Pure Michigan! the sign tells us. Almost home. I can taste it now. Or was that dinner? As we approach Detroit we are greeted by the state flower, Orange Cones. Yes, the I-75 North exit is closed, so we can take a detour to 94 East. Except, we missed that exit and thus begins the random driving to get ourselves back on course.
We pretty much failed the record-setting pace of my brother’s 8 hour dash and rolled into my parking space in a butt breaking 9.5 hours. The odometer was reset to zero at the start of our trip from this very spot and when we checked it tonight it read: 7,031.6 miles. In 21 days of driving. Given our planned, off-the-beaten-path excursions, my estimate was 6,000 miles. Clearly I came up short.
Lots of people have been asking me what I thought was the best part of the trip, and that’s a tough question to answer. The best part of the trip was the fact that my best friend, Brian, was able to go. Without him, I don’t know if this trip would have been possible. He was an excellent navigator and booker of hotel rooms. His companionship made the long hours in the car tolerable, even if he did snore on more than one occasion. ;) I think seeing all the sights and the history of our great country really made the whole trip amazing. I really liked Dallas for the JFK stuff. I liked California for the weather and Mulholland Drive. San Francisco was great, except the driving up the hills part. And walking up and down the hills part. Sleeping in a wigwam was fun! And meeting all the people from all walks of life, gave me a better perspective of what we as Americans are all about. We are all pretty much the same. Except some of us like to live in the desert where it’s 112 degrees.
Route 66: The Mother Road. Go drive it. You won’t regret it.