home again home again, jiggidy jig

my journey has come to an end. i am now back home in jacksonville, florida. i'm very glad and very tired. it's been a long trip, the second half of which seemed to take forever. here's the recap. (it should have been in two parts, one on wed. and the second on thurs., but i didn't have any internet access at my two final pit stops. so it's now one, fairly long entry...but i think you should read it. it'd be a confidence booster for me if you did. so why not help a brother out?)

part one:
i left el paso, tx around 9am on wednesday morning. now i know i said earlier that the 75 mph speed limit in arizona was the greatest invention ever. well, i was wrong. the greatest invention ever?

that's right. 80 miles an hour. how i love you texas.

forty-five minutes outside of el paso, i noticed something about 200 yards off the interstate. this old bus:

i also noticed a dirt road that would allow me to drive out there. i wanted to take some photos of the bus, so i got off the interstate at the next exit, turned around and headed onto what was most likely private property. which was most likely inhabited by a crazy loner mole-man who had an affinity for junk. i took my chances and grabbed some great shots of the bus (to be shown later). as i was leaving, i noticed another dirt road that would take me back to the nearest exit without having to head west on i-10. again i took my chances...

then i came upon this patch...

i knew i could possibly get stuck as the sand looked pretty deep, and very fine (just like my future girlfriend), but for the third time in ten minutes, i took my chances. and i got stuck. the incline on the opposite side was steeper than i thought it was, and my tires quickly dug into mother earth. i threw the truck in reverse, and then back into low...no good. i tried again. still no good. i began to freak out. i was in the middle of nowhere texas, my truck was stuck and at any time mole-man was likely to spring up from out of nowhere and man-nap me, keeping me prisoner in his hovel. i took a breath and prayed. i asked God to get me the hell out of there. after another four or five minutes of throwing the truck into reverse and then into gear, i finally made it up the hill. i was thankful not only that God got me out, but also for having spent four years in south carolina learning how to drive a truck off road with my college buddies. i never though i'd see the day where redneck knowledge would help save my life. i vowed not to take any more dirt roads for the remainder of the trip.

it was a beautiful drive and a beautiful day. and for those who've never met, i'd like to introduce you to texas. texas, everyone. everyone, texas.

needless to say, texas is almost as flat as my 7th grade girlfriend. but the weather was perfect and i was content. towards the middle of the state i began to notice some interesting rock formations...

i found these natural formations incredible. impossible even. i was further amazed when i realized that there was always just enough space between them for four lanes of interstate. it sure is lucky they're there. otherwise i'm not sure where they would have built the road.

eight or so hours into my day i came upon san antonio. it was getting dark, and i forgot to take a photo of the skyline...but i did manage to grab this shot...

it's an exit sign for the alamo. i was simply doing what i had been told to do since second grade and remember the alamo. or at least, i tried.

then it was onto houston. it's a good thing i went through at night, otherwise i would have stopped and spent the next two days exploring the budweiser brewery. after crossing all 880 miles of texas, and driving about 25 miles into louisiana, i stopped for the night in the quaint town of sulphur. and by quaint i mean craphole. i made my second vow for the day; i will never again stop in sulphur.

part two:
the next morning i left sulphur and it's namesake stink behind ready for my fourth and final day of travel. turns out louisiana isn't just swampy in the movies, but in real life as well. for a stretch of about 15 miles the interstate is elevated over the bayou. it was slow and crowded driving, but the scenery was really something.

fifteen miles or more of this...

the bayou...

the rest of the state is swamp and trees...

a couple of hours later i found myself in new orleans. on the eastern side of the city signs of katrina's destruction were everywhere. it really caught me off guard. i wish i had the camera ready when i drove by an entire neighborhood in ruins, however, all i managed was a shot of the skyline. my bad.

after that it was onto and through mobile, alabama. real exciting.

an hour east of mobile put me across the state line and into florida. pensacola greeted me with open arms and a beautiful sunset over the water...

the only problem was that i was supposed to be somewhere in that direction. i accidentally exited off i-10 onto i-110. (quick note: i-110, i hate you. when the sun glares off your exit sign, you look like i-10. please stop being a jerk and causing copious amounts of unnecessary trouble. thanks.) so i spent an extra 45 minutes driving through the city, over a bridge, only to have to turn around and come back, finally making my way onto i-10 once more.

i began to get reaally tired, and wouldn't find myself in jacksonville until after midnight. i decided to stop in tallahassee, and stay the night with a buddy. i was back on the road this morning with just under three hours to my final destination. and around one o'clock this afternoon....i was back in jacksonville. it was beautiful...even more so than my previously mentioned 7th grade girlfriend.

it was over and done. my truck and i had done it. it felt great...and i really had to pee.

here's the truck that drove from oregon to florida...

and here's the guy who drove the truck...

sadly the castro beard was heavily trimmed this afternoon for a job interview.

final total:
3108 miles
50 hours
8 states
1 dead bird
and a trip to remember

and now dear reader, if i may indulge for just one minute more of your time, i'd like to present the roadies, the america's favorite cross-country road trip awards.

The Roadies! (da-da-da-daaaaaaaa)

The "Ridiculous" Award goes to......Texas! Texas, you are ridiculously and unecessarily large. you proved you're more of a man than i am.

The "What? ANOTHER Construction Zone!?" Award goes to....Louisiana! Louisiana, the amount of construction on i-10 in you is stupidly large. having road construction every 4 and a half miles is absurd, and quite frankly a little offensive.

The "I'd Marry You if it Were Legal to Marry a State" Award goes to...Arizona! Arizona, you have beautiful eyes, i mean sunsets. you treated me with love and you have exquisite curves, i mean mountains. how do you feel about vegas?

The "Awwwww, Roadkill" Award goes to....Mississippi! Mississippi, you have incredibly dumb birds that fly in front of toyota trucks going really fast. i don't appreciate you causing me to tear up slightly when i nailed that little guy. though i do appreciate the incredibly entertaining style you have of sending that bird straight up after coming in contact with my bumper, only to be hit yet again by the semi-truck behind me as it fell back toward the ground.

The "I'm Sorry I Didn't Really Get to Know You" Award goes to...New Mexico! New Mexico...you seemed nice enough. maybe we can spend some more quality time together in the future. how do you feel about vegas?

The "My Younger Brother Lives in You" Award goes to...Alabama! Alabama, my younger brother lives in you. also, that tunnel in mobile had a really great echo.

The "Crazy Driver" Award goes to...California! California, you seriously let people drive like that in l.a.?

The "Bittersweet" Award goes to...Oregon! Oregon, you're more confusing than talking to girls for the first time. some days you gave me were great, and some were terrible. i grew to love you, but we both know it would never work out between us. i will cherish the memories we have and wish you the best of luck in the future. also, you have some incredibly, incredibly delicious beer.

The "I Know I Don't Deserve It" Award goes to....Florida! Florida, i know i left you high and dry a couple of months ago. i told you i may never be coming back and i thought life would be better without you. i know i don't deserve to just come back to you after having said those things. thank you for taking me back anyway.

well friends...thanks for joining me on this great american adventure. thanks for your prayers and well wishes as i traveled across this great land. i hope you enjoyed the journey as much as i did. stay tuned for more photography from the trip coming soon!


Laura said...

first of all there is a budweiser brewery in jacksonville, i'm sure you know this.

secondly, you should have driven through colorado, i am sure it would have received you're "most beautiful state you've ever seen" award.

thirdly, florida is glad to have you back, even though you may have been a jerk as you left it so suddenly and with such resolve.

glad to have you back mac, haha that rhymed. see you soon.

p.s. wedding pictures september 26th and 27th, if you don't mind. xoxox

mac said...

i know about the brewery here in town. but it's a lot like pizza in that, i could have some at my house and yet if i met up with some friends at pizza palace, you can bet your keister i'm going to have a slice or three there as well.

i drove through colorado on the way out to oregon....and i agree, it is spectacular. oregon is a close second though.

we can talk about the wedding photos. in person. hopefully soon. and hopefully over a beer.

stefaniezimmerman said...

1. three cheers for the rednecks of the world. now that we're like, best friends from facebook, i'll teach you all of my southern missourah redneck knowledge... well, maybe we don't have time for all of that, but I'll give you the tip of the iceberg at least.

2. isn't that part of I-10 over the bayou in Louisiana the part that got destroyed during Katrina? Or am I making that up?

3. Dude. Give your poor, 7th grade girlfriend some credit. It's not easy being flat at 13. Maybe she was able to pull through later in life?

Alyssa said...

Everyone else is making lists, so I'll just succumb to peer pressure.

1) I love your pictures.
2) Man-nap made me literally laugh out loud.
3) I can't wait to meet your future girlfriend.
4) South Carolina misses you, and you better come visit her (and all the cool people that live in her).

Dave said...

Dude, I bet you're 7th grade girlfriend is super busty now. And perhaps she's deep and very fine. You should look her up.

Justin said...

Great post, Mac. I laughed, I cried, I lost 10 lbs.

mac said...

stefanie...i have no idea about that part of i-10. it didn't look new, i know that. i'm sure that not being developed at 13 is hard...i know i was ashamed when i realized that my 6th grade peers were wearing boxers, and i was still wearing tightie whities. and i think a gladiator get-together is the perfect place for me to begin my missouri redneck training.

alyssa...man-nap made me laugh as well when it popped into my brain. and i would love to come visit sometime see. we'll see what we can make happen.

dave....you're probably right...my old girlfriend is probably way outta my league these days. which means poking a little fun at her when she wasn't incredibly stunning is the only way i can feel good about letting her get away. ya haram me...which is grammatically correct i know, but i'm american, so i don't have to learn other languages.

justin...maybe i should promote this blog as a new weight loss system. or else as a roller coaster at busch gardens...

Nick said...

mac ... what a great adventure. glad to have you back in jax. i'll do the brewery tour if you're up for it. if not, there's always the loop...

...being cuban, i am jealous that i cannot grow such a splendid castro beard as you can. i can compete if it were castro mole hair...

Tim Young said...

Well done, sir. Beards are for tough guys. You, sir, fit the bill.

Anonymous said...

Mac...it's me TAKA.. I'm sure along your journey home, you thought to yourself "I don't know where I'm going, but I sure know where I've been (as evidenced by your blog). I've been hanging on the promises in the songs of yesterday, but I've made up mind, I aint wasting no more time, so here I go again....yes here I go again, here I go again on my own...all the way back to Jacksonville.

Welcome home Fidel....welcome home!

ps...I'm in Tampa now.