Aprill's new adventure: Enduring the 14-state roadtrip
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Editor's Note: Just as Aprill Brandon moved, so is her column. After this week it will move to the Your Life section and print every other Sunday, beginning Feb. 27.
I've done a lot of crazy things in my life. For instance, I've jump off a mountain and gone parasailing in New Zealand. I followed a guy I had just begun dating down to South Texas in the name of love. I openly admitted to reading the "Twilight" series while standing in line at a Harry Potter movie premiere. And I'm not above eating four questionable-looking chili dogs from an even more questionable-looking roadside stand.
So taking a cross-country roadtrip from Victoria to Boston where my husband, "Kissy-Face McGee," had just gotten a job was small potatoes. It didn't even bother us that it was the middle of winter.
Or that it was one of the worst winters on record.
With a giant storm that stretched from New England to Texas about to hit.
A giant storm that was also one of the worst on record.
In a car the size of a cereal box.
With our highly neurotic and possibly evil genius dog Buffy in back.
OK, yeah, this was by far the craziest thing I've ever done (and that's including the time I ate a spoonful of wasabi on a dare three years ago...the doctors say I should regain feeling in my mouth again any day now). But it was also a great adventure. And I've never been one to back down from an adventure.
And that's the thing about road trips. No matter how well you plan, nothing is going to go the way you think it is (when Murphy made his law, he was on a road trip from Duluth to Roanoke...true story). Weather is unpredictable. Traffic jams happen when you least expect them (generally right around the same time your gas light comes on). And you suddenly realize your husband has a bladder the size of a baby grasshopper.
But that's all part of the fun, right? It's the journey, not the destination (or at least that's what we tell ourselves in an effort to curb the desire of wanting to ram that '94 Dodge with the IDIOT driver who is going 47 mph down the HIGHWAY in the left FREAKING lane during RUSH hour).
Not to mention, there is truly no better way to see this great country of ours than by driving across it. I mean, sure, airplanes have Sky magazine and movies, but you can't get off at Exit 32-B to see the world's largest tin foil sculpture of Captain Jean Luc Picard in a plane.
Our journey began on a brisk morning in Texas (motto: "Our Bugs Can Eat Your State's Pets") last Tuesday. In an effort to avoid the storm, we took the most southern route we could, taking us through Louisiana ("Drive-thru margaritas...Nuff said") and as evening fell, into Mississippi ("Stumping spelling bee contestants since 1817").
The next day, it was onto Alabama (where a 62-mile argument commenced over whether we actually were in Alabama or Arkansas...out of respect for the losing party, I won't mention who ended up being wrong, however I would like to remind everyone that it's an easy mistake that anyone could make and having a working knowledge of geography is highly overrated).
From Alabama ("allegedly"), it was on to Tennessee ("Not Just an Obscure Song From the '90's") and then through Virginia ("Our Forefathers Can Beat Up Your Forefathers"). After a brief pitstop in order to clean up a small mess (hey kids, never try to demonstrate the "Time Warp" dance while sitting in a car with a giant Diet Coke between your legs), we hit West Virginia ("The Pothole State") and then Maryland ("The Other Pothole State").
By the time we hit Pennsylvania ("Virtue Liberty and Indigestion"), we felt we had become road trip pros, ready to tackle any obstacle that came our way. And that feeling lasted for a whopping 45 minutes until we started driving through New Jersey ("Reluctant Home of the Fist Pump") and then the most terrifying state of all, New York ("We're So Cool We Don't Even Need a Motto").
Thanks to our GPS, we had to drive straight through the heart of New York City. Now, I'm not one prone to exaggeration, but I'm pretty sure the reason most New Yorkers never leave the island is because if they survive driving there, they never want to have to drive there again. It was like a demolition derby, only with fewer rules and more wrecks.
Luckily we survived and even crossed the state line into Connecticut ("No, You're Thinking of Vermont...Again") with the full intention of returning to explore the city, only next time arriving by train and/or armored tank. From there it was just a short jaunt through Rhode Island ("Don't Blink or You'll Miss...") and then into our new home state of Massachusetts ("Come For the Snow, Stay for the Skyscraper-Sized Icicles"). And before you knew it, we saw the skyline of Boston.
We were home.
The only question now is, what the heck do we do next?
Aprill Brandon is a columnist for the Advocate. She's still pretty sure it was Arkansas no matter what the stupid map said.