Day 1 (Written on Day 2—be thankful for the perspective a decent night’s sleep has given)
Whoever Dickens was writing about (that was Dickens, right? I’m slightly Dickens illiterate, which I blame on my college professors, who taught me no Dickens. Lots of Edith Wharton, though, and since I like her better, I’m fine with that—but I digress…lots) Let’s start over. Whoever Dickens was writing about had nothing on our first day of the Great Alaskan Adventure. There were highs…there were lows…But we made it though and we’re convinced it’s going to get easier as we get into a routine.
We left Forsyth at 5:13 in the morning. Note the fact that it is not an even number and you’ll know that we were a little later than we’d meant to be. Thirteen minutes (hmmm…a sign? Kidding…) late shouldn’t be a big deal, but I think it set the scene for day one.
The Georgia part of our drive was like the drive always is when you’re in your home state. You feel like you’ve been driving for hours, but in reality you’ve barely left. Which is part of the reason I took a nap in Georgia, in the bed in the back of the camper, which is apparently against the camper’s owner’s manual “rules”, but they’re really more like guidelines anyway, right?
Fast forward to Alabama. We saw some incredible tornado damage outside of Birmingham. I took a couple pictures, but the scenes I captured through the window really didn’t do it justice. It was just…incredible. Awesome, but not in a good way. We learned, or were reminded, really, that though we fondly refer to Alabama as “that trailer park west of Georgia”, it is a gorgeous state. At one point, desperate to express my feelings, I jotted down notes in my phone, since my computer was dead. “Alabama is pretty, especially when viewed through the panorama of a camper’s side window. And I feel like I’m on a train and I’m relaxed. The road noise I thought I would lose my sanity to this morning now serves as a comforting, even relaxing backdrop.”
Annnnd just for the record, Alabama has better roads than Mississippi. If you try to talk to me anytime in the next six months and I say “what?” eight times because I can’t hear you, blame the Mississippi road system. Forget all that pretty stuff about road noise being a “relaxing backdrop.” In Mississippi, it was just noise. They’re just patching up the patched spots at this point, as far as I can tell. If you live in Mississippi and have the chance to vote for better roads, specifically interstates? Please do it. I beg of you. Mississippi did have something going for it, though. Beautiful daisies all through the median and on the side of the road. They looked so carefree and happy. I adore daisies. They’re pretty much my favorite flower ever.
And then Tennessee. Which we were only in for…I don’t know, an hour an a half? Yeah, go ahead. Look at a map. I’ll wait.
That’s right. There’s no possible way the brief drive through Memphis should take an hour and a half, right?
Tell you what. Since we’re supposed to be relaxing and I can feel my blood pressure elevating as we speak, let’s not talk about Memphis anymore. In fact, let’s not ever talk about Memphis again ever. (If you live in Memphis…I’m sorry. No, really, you have my sympathies).
Arkansas was the same old state we moved away from nine years ago. I’ve never loved the drive from Memphis (ah! It was an accident. Really, no more talk of that word.) to Little Rock and while I’d like to tell you that yesterday my resolution to savor my surroundings and enjoy the beauty of the individual states made me relish this drive…it didn’t. Still boring.
We got to drive into Conway! I cannot believe how much that town has grown in the last decade. The only bad thing I could see about the growth is that my favorite custard place, the place I look forward to from hundreds of miles out, is now a Mexican restaurant. That was the bad news. The good news was that by the time we got there, I was really too tired to care much, as was everyone else.
We only drove another hour out of Conway to Lake Dardanelle State Park. The lake was gorgeous and it was fun to be camping even though we’re on a cartrip. I’m trying to convince myself to enjoy the journey and not just the destination (although I’m SUPER excited about Alaska), so we’ll see how that goes.
Last night we had four adults and one baby (toddler, I guess) in one 24 foot camper. It doesn’t sound cramped until you realize that two of the adults were in the bed over the cab, one of the adults was sharing the bed in the back with a very sleepy, very grumpy baby who did not want to sleep in that awful, evil, terrible contraption known as the “pack and play.” And one adult on the floor in a pile of cushions. You couldn’t have walked from one end of the camper to the other if you’d wanted to. Well, I guess you could have but you would have stepped on my hubby, and honestly I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have been a fan.
So today (day 2—more to come on that later) we’ve resolved to slow down a little on our pace, set reasonable expectations, like trying for 400 miles today instead of the 650+ from yesterday. We’re going to stop on occasion (food! Hurray!). And we’re going to enjoy the scenery.
Wish me luck on that last one. I’ve driven through Oklahoma and Kansas before…