Monday, July 31

Days 3, 4, 5 and 6

[Editor's note: I finally ... FINALLY ... have internet access on the road again. I've been a good little blogger though, and have journaled every day of our road trip. Day, 3, 4, 5 and 6, immediately following.]

Day 3: Hilton Head Island, S.C.

There’s no internet access at this hotel, so I’m journaling this for whenever I am able to get on line again. A full day of driving brings us to this lovely little island resort, full of families, and golfers. Brian wanted to get some golf in on this trip, so we’ve made a detour to Hilton Head.
I love it when I can look back at the day and count how many states we’ve driven through. We started off in Virginia, and motored straight through North Carolina and into the southern tip of South Carolina. One thing that we’ve noticed that we are super impressed with is the cleanliness … no, straight up, niceness … of the rest areas along the 95 South. They’re air conditioned, complete with cov ered picnic areas, and complemented by refreshment stands and the like at every one. They make it not as scary to pee in a new state.
At any rate, we’re comfortably ensconced in a Days Inn, and await our day tomorrow.

Day 4: Crestview, Fla.

Today, we changed highways. Huzzah!! But first:
I got Brian to the golf course around 6:45 a.m., returned, and fell asleep in bed for another 2.5 hours. It was a treat, really, to not have to get up before 9:30 a.m. Ollie and I had a relaxing morning, and by 11:30 a.m., were checking out of the hotel to go and pick up Brian so we could start our driving day.
It was a short hop to get into Georgia, which is famous, not only for peaches, but for pecans, apparently. We finally sucumed into our Dairy Queen craving, and I have a beautiful spot on my white skirt in a delicate shade of pink. I love me a good strawberry Blizzard.
I stopped, illegally and frighteningly, to get a picture of the “Welcome to Florida” sign, only to find a small sign below that sign saying that there would be a better photo opportunity at the welcome center a mere one mile down the road.
I’ve got a total of seven bug bites along the lower portion of my legs. I think I got a majority of them walking Oliver through the brush last night, but I swear that half of them are thanks to the clean rest areas’ dog walking areas. I’ve got some calamine lotion in my bag, and have applied it, but I think the lotion may be a bit too old to be too effective. I’m still feeling a bit itchy.
We are officially driving west on the 10 now. I love it that we’ve changed highways. It was pretty anti-climactic, really, but it was a major step in our trip. You know, our directions were, “drive south to Jacksonville and then turn right.” We’ve made our right turn today, and can see the end of our journey.
Tonight, Oliver is an official guest at the Super 8 in Crestview, Fla. He cost us an extra $5 for the night, but just the fact that we don’t have to worry about his barking is well worth it. It’s nice to not have to sneak him in, or to worry about his barking.
Tomorrow, we hope to make it all the way to Houston. It’ll be a long day, that’s for sure.

Day 5: Houston, Texas

Well, we’ve made it to Houston, and in no short amount of time. We logged 9.5 hours in the car today, taking off from Crestview at 10 a.m., and making it to our destination at 7:30 p.m. Seriously, by the last hour, as I was driving, all I could see in my rearview mirror was Oliver and his excess energy. He couldn’t lay still anymore. Bless his heart.
Anyway, as for states we drove in today, let’s count Florida (duh), Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. Alabama and Mississippi: beautiful rest areas. Louisiana didn’t have any, it should be noted. I got a picture of every “Welcome” sign except Texas’s, but the logic there, apparently, is that it’s okay, because I’ve already driven through Texas once before.
In a move that I am not sure I needed at all, we drove straight through New Orleans on the 10. I really just didn’t want to see the destruction. I’d seen it on the news, and that was, for some reason, good enough for me. Not so for Brian, who wanted to see it in person. I’m still not sure if I’m better off having seen it all, but alas, it did make a tremendous impression on me. I love New Orleans. I think, when I visited there at 17, I fell in love; and then on a trip at 21, my adoration was complete. I wasn’t interested in seeing the area so decimated. I knew it would be ugly, but I wasn’t prepared for how … broken … everything still was. Complete buildings with no windows, skeletons of themselves, really. Streets lined with FEMA trailers. Apartment buildings were closed down, and no work being done on them at all. We stopped at a gas station, only to find that the building was nothing but concrete walls. There was traffic on the highway, of course, but I never once saw a person walking along any of the streets we drove by. I have no idea when, or even if, a city can come back from such devastation.
Having left New Orleans, it was s straight shot through to Houston. I’ve got to tell you – it’s been a while since I’ve been so tired on a day’s trip. Tonight, we stay at Jon and Emily’s old apartment.

Day 6: Houston, (cont’d…)
There is salvation, and it is called a day out of the car. We spent the day playing around in Houston today, taking a much-needed break from the road. Tomorrow, of course, we’ll be paying the piper, but for now, it’s all good.
We had a yummy breakfast; checked out Jon’s dad’s dental practice; cruised through the Nordstrom (and sadly, left empty-handed); and lunched on some yummy hamburgers and a delicious strawberry shake.
Oliver did perfectly well in the apartment on his own for much of the day, and I think, also got some well-deserved time out of the backseat. Jon and Emily had a softball game this afternoon, so B and I chilled out at the apartment, where I took a two-hour nap, Brian played video games, and Ollie rested.
Tomorrow, we spend our first full day in one state. Crazy, huh? We’re looking at another nine-hour driving day, and will go from Houston to El Paso. I think we’ll make it to Sierra Vista, Ariz. on Tuesday.
Here’s hoping that I’ll have some internet access tomorrow night.

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