Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Do Not Read This if You are My Mom

When I told people I was planning to drive to Dallas alone, they all thought I was crazy.

(Duh. I'm seeing a psychiatrist...)

So many people asked how long it was going to take and where I'd be stopping along the way.

It takes about 20 hours to drive from Orange County, California to Dallas, and since I used to drive back and forth to Utah like it was nothing, I knew I could handle that much time in the car.

On the subject of where I'd be stopping, however, I was intentionally vague. "Gonna try to get to Albuquerque," I said.

Honestly, I didn't know what time I was actually going to get on the road or how far I'd feel like stopping or what time I'd get to Albuquerque on the first night, or if I even would. So I didn't make any hotel reservations, even though it's possible I might have let a few people believe that I did...

I hit the road at about 1:30 after taking care of some important things like getting my oil changed and meeting with my therapist. It was a good time to leave because there wasn't much traffic, but I was also 11 hours from Albuquerque. Twelve if you counted crossing into the Mountain Time Zone and thirteen if you counted stopping for gas, which I was probably going to have to do at least once.

The interstate was beautifully clear by the time I started heading east. No traffic to speak of. Which was good because I was used to driving north and dealing with Vegas traffic, which sucks every day of the week.

The road across the southwest is beautiful. I love the desert. Well, more specifically, I love to look at the desert. But it's full of things that terrify me, so I'm more of a look but don't touch kind of girl. Because, snakes.

Now when I said I was vague about where I'd be stopping, I was being vague with you, dear readers, too. Because I had pretty much already mapped out where I'd be stopping and just didn't want anyone to know because they would have surely freaked out and told me I was crazy.

(Again, seeing a psychiatrist...)

But the truth is, when I'm on a road trip with a specific destination and a specific time to be there, I just want to go. I don't want to take my time and laze my way across four states. I want to get there with plenty of time to relax and rest and get where I need to be.

So I knew before I ever left that there would be no hotel stops along the way.

Okay, before you freak out, NO. I did NOT drive for 20 hours straight because that would be insane. And we've established that I'm crazy, but I am not insane.

But, really, in my own mind, I just couldn't justify the expense of staying in a hotel for the five or six hours (tops) that I'd be sleeping before continuing on my way.

Not when there are plenty of places to stop that are free.

Now, before you COMPLETELY freak out, let me just remind you that I am safe and sound and totally fine and back home in my warm house and using my roommate's computer after the fact. So I totally lived. And nothing scary even happened. So calm down.

I'd been driving about 10 hours when I started to feel the first signs of drowsiness. And I know how dangerous it is to drive while drowsy. I had every intention of making it to Dallas and did not feel like getting into an accident on the way there, so when I started to feel tired, I stopped. At a rest stop. Because they are for resting.

It was 50 miles west of Albuquerque, so a little earlier than I'd planed, but still pretty good. There were cars in the parking lot and a few big rigs and it was well lit. I listened to my spidey senses and everything felt fine, so I pulled up right in front of the main building, under a big, bright lamp, reclined my seat and slept for a solid two hours.

It was bliss.

I probably would have slept longer, but when I woke up, it was -243 degrees because Albuquerque is apparently in the mountains. Of Antarctica.

But those two hours had me feeling rejuvenated and ready to continue, which I did for 2 or 3 more hours until it was time to stop again. And then I carried on all the way to Dallas.

I did the same thing on the way home.

And I totally lived.

Plus, I saved like a hundred bucks and didn't end up with lice or bed bugs or creepy phone calls in the middle of the night.

So everything turned out fine.

Just like I knew it would.

But just like everyone would have tried to convince me that it wouldn't.

Which is why I didn't tell.

Because I'm crazy, but I'm not stupid.

You are awesome. And if you share this post, you'll be even awesomer!


  1. Glad you made it safely! I can relate - I'm not a stopper either. I once drove all the way up the Florida panhandle without even stopping to pee. Because we are beasts, you and I.

  2. Glad you're safe! I hate to stop as well. Although I wouldn't said you needed to stop someplace safe. Because that's my job.
    And yes, Albuquerque is in the Rocky Mountains - very cold in winter.

  3. I can't wait to hear more about your trip!

  4. I don't blame you. Now if the rest stop had been dark and deserted, I hope you would have gone to a hotel. Eek!

  5. I'm all for safety and what not, but I do think people take it too far sometimes. What you did was perfectly fine. You did it safely - stopping at a designated rest stop and stopping when you felt drowsy. I say kudos to you for taking your trip YOUR way. And yeah, way better not to say anything to anyone beforehand because everyone always feels the need to put in their two cents when you haven't asked for that.

  6. I don't think your crazy and I'm like that when I travel. I just wanna get there. Glad you had a safe trip and got to see the sights of the west... or in your case, the east!

  7. That's what rest stops are for! In 20 years of road tripping, I've never once been attacked or harassed at a rest stop. You were smart- stayed where it's well-lit, trusted your gut, and PULLED OFF TO SLEEP WHEN TIRED. On behalf of everyone else on the road, thank you for your being smart and not pushing it. And well done! :)

  8. I went on a road trip after graduating high school, and due to um...insufficient funds...I slept in grocery store and rest stop parking lots the entire week. I must say, I didn't get any great sleep, but I saved a lot of money and it makes for great stories.

  9. I have no problem with sleeping in rest stops; that is really what they are for! Great job making it all the way in one go! I can't wait to hear about your trip!

  10. Good job! My husband does the same thing when he road trips to go snowboarding and I think he's crazy! But you were smart and safe and not stupid at all.


"You know what they say. If you don't have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me."

~Clairee Belcher, Steel Magnolias

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