Road Trip to a New Life Part VI – Arrival

–from my new digs in Manor, TX–

How has this road trip been? Let me count the ways: five days of travel, two motels, 1741.0 miles, 82 gallons of gas, four nights, two subway sandwiches, six blog posts, one sturdy van, zero thefts, 97 photos of varying quality, two explorations of major cities, hours of listening to music and radio, one and a half bags of wint-o-green life savers, a hundred more things I didn’t tabulate, and one great one-way trip.

From the green Appalachian Mountains through Virginia and into east Tennessee to the lower rolling hills of central Tennessee and northern Alabama to the flatter and straighter journey of freshly-mowed medians from Alabama into Mississippi to the long low bridges over bayous in Louisiana to the undulating prairie ranches in Texas, with large urban interchanges scattered throughout that interrupt the long stretches of two-lane-to-a-side interstates… I took few stops and they were usually brief to avoid being on the road forever, which meant a lot of what I saw was just pavement and gas stations. But the scenery all along was wonderful.

I’ve given my green van a hard time because it’s not the old red van I had when I was little (and totaled in high school – not my fault). But at the end of the trip I felt like it was time to fully embrace this car out of respect for all it has done for me in the six years I have been driving it. Disliking it purely because it is not the older van has been petty, childish treatment of a respectable machine. We’re really in it together now, van.

Today, the drive was the most spectacular so far. The bayous were very cool to see in real life for miles and miles in a way one can’t describe, and as I eventually got further into Texas it started getting stormy and poured rain so hard that I had the windshield wipers on high for a long stretch there. One particularly cool moment happened when I was crossing a high bridge over a river in Texas and saw right in front of me a skyline of oil refineries amidst the trees backdropped by a dark gray-blue sky that was all suddenly rent by a bolt of lightning.

Other notable tidbits: one gas station I stopped at had a real live tiger in a cage; upon instruction from a friend I stopped at an awesome little local supermarket called “The Best Stop Supermarket” and got a boudin and some cracklins; I decided I like zydeco music; and I found a radio station in the US in french.

With all of that, here I am at the end of the journey. I’m living in a big one-story house with four other people aged ranging from 18-25. The living room is already full of musical instruments that aren’t mine, so it will only get fuller. I have no furniture of my own, which means I will be sleeping on the floor for the time being, but my room is huge. The car is only partly unloaded and nothing is unpacked – tasks I have plenty of time for.

Now the real journey begins. To the family and friends who have followed along, I won’t be putting down my life in nearly as much detail from now on. But I will try to put up some stories when interesting things happen, in addition to the blogging I’ve been up to already.

Mainly, I came to Austin (or, um, Manor?) to play music 8 hours a day, 6 days a week at least. The trip was fun, but now it will be time to work.

So let’s get crackin.

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