The goal was nine hours on the first day. New York to Columbus, Ohio is a stretch I’d done before. Most of it is through Pennsylvania, which is a long state but thankfully it was sunny and not sleeting like the last time I made that drive. There were tears in my eyes as I pulled away from the apartment, the snow banks, and the now familiar sight of the Hudson River. A new adventure is welcome, but the Hudson Valley did feel like home.
The GPS said it was 90 miles from home to Scranton, PA, where I would pick up my next highway. That was the first leg and the stretch on which I measured all other legs. From home to Scranton was doable, and so if I could do that, I could do the rest. I put on the audio book I had downloaded the night before and settled in.
Pennsylvania was hilly and gray, just as I remembered it. There were sprawling farms and cattle and horses. I listened to my book and my favorite radio show and stopped twice for gas and sustenance. I passed the exit to Pittsburgh and kept driving.
I met my mom in Columbus at a hotel off the highway. She flew up to drive the rest of the way with me because she’s a saint. We unloaded the essentials and the cat before finding the nearest place that would serve us food and wine.
We started the next day before the sun came up. Mom was going to drive the first stretch. We loaded up the cat and tried to make the rest of the luggage fit as best we could and set off. The next goal was Cincinnati.
We watched the sun rise over Ohio and slowly burn off the lingering fog. Ohio was cold, below freezing when we left. We joined the morning rush hour commute into Cincinnati and looked around at what sights we could see from the highway. The Bengals stadium passed by on the left, billboards for interesting looking museums on the right. Next stop, Kentucky.
We switched drivers in Kentucky, just after crossing the border. Suddenly, we were in the South. A fellow traveler wanted to know if we knew what the cause of traffic was heading North. We didn’t know, but he thanked us anyway. The man who made my Subway sandwich told me about his mother, and how this was his first week on the job.
We got back in the car and drove some more. Kentucky was beautiful and as I drove I tried to remember what I knew about it. There wasn’t much. We drove through Louisville, saw the Louisville Slugger stadium, and kept on.
Around the time we drove through Nashville, TN neither of us could get over how calm Tyson was. I had created as close to a cat nirvana as I could in a moving vehicle, and he settled in between us and slept. He wasn’t happy about being in the car, but he resigned himself to his fate and none of it kept him from snoring.
We switched again right after Memphis, Tennessee, just across the Arkansas border. There was traffic in Arkansas because of pothole repair, a necessary action but an inconvenience after being in the car for 10 hours. It rained in Arkansas and the land was flat and waterlogged. Aside from the flooding, the terrain was beginning to look familiar.
Arkansas felt like a lifetime. We drove through to Little Rock and stopped for gas before getting on I-30, the highway I know. I felt a little thrill; this means we were close! The thrill was short lived; I saw on the GPS that this was the longest leg of the trip: 285 miles to go. That was a lot of from-home-to-Scranton’s.
The rain and traffic slowed us down a little, and at this point we were all talked out. Spent, we kept driving.
It was dark when we passed the Welcome to Texas sign. This was the seventh and final state I would go through. Mom pulled up to the house 4 hours later, after 16 hours in the car in one day, and 9 hours in the car the day before. Dad had wine poured and food hot, but I barely had enough energy to sit down and eat. I got the cat situated and ate dinner and fell into bed.
All of this is to say that after 7 states and 25 hours in the car, Tyson, K and I have moved to Texas! We start a new job on Monday, but that’s about all we know. I’m excited to start a new adventure, excited to be back in the state in which I grew up, and more than excited to be able to see and catch up with all of my people. A week ago we were in New York with no plans to move, and today we’re in Texas.
Things move pretty quickly around here.