I’ve driven back and forth from Texas to Michigan many times since I first moved south in 2008 – in every season, in every kind of weather. There’s nothing especially lovely about the drive itself; the scenery isn’t remarkable, the cities you drive through are by and large nothing to write home about. And yet, there’s something exciting about a road trip, no matter where you’re going; but I’m hoping that after this trip, my road days are done.
For Spring Break, my son and I flew north to Michigan and then roadtripped our way back south to Houston. It was my four-year-old’s first real roadtrip. Arthur’s done six hours around different parts of Texas, hours around England and Italy; but never a drive this long.
We got a late start – never a good thing when you have road to cover. The reason for the road trip in the first place was to move my boyfriend from Flint to Houston, and the moving company was not in as much of a hurry as we were. We didn’t get on the road until about 7pm, which meant we weren’t going to arrive at the hotel in St. Louis, MO until the wee hours of the next morning. Arthur did us a favor by falling asleep a few hours into the drive, but the inclement weather we encountered through southern Michigan and Indiana was relentless, as if that last little bit of the midwest didn’t want to let us go.
Eventually, the weather cleared up, but the night only got darker and seemingly longer. We were yawning and bleary-eyed, staring at the GPS as if that would make the miles pass faster. We finally arrived in St. Louis, road weary and desperate for sleep.
We were asleep within moments, and the alarm was waking us up seemingly minutes later. But, we had eight more hours until our next stop and needed to get back on the road. We waved goodbye to the famous St. Louis Arch, and turned the car south once again.
In the light of day, the driving seemed easier, the roads more welcoming. The weather gradually grew warmer the farther south we drove, but Arthur’s questions from the back seat also grew more frequent. “Is this the hotel?” “Mama, are we done yet?” “Mama, can I sit with you?” and forms of those same questions over and over until I regretted taking a car back to Texas and longed instead for the easy flight home.
The last leg of our journey would take us through a little historic town called Jefferson, TX where we found French Quarter-style architecture and cute little boutiques and bistros lining the streets of the downtown. Jefferson is said to be haunted, and you could easily imagine why a spirit would stick around in such a charming little place. We arrived around 8pm and ordered take-out from one of the town’s cutest restaurants. Our bed & breakfast had cookies, water, wine and a big cast-iron claw-foot tub in which to soak away the road. It was the perfect way to close out the majority of the road trip, to freshen up for the remaining short drive home, and in the morning, to share a delicious and friendly breakfast with our host and the other B&B guests.
Three hours later, we were home – pulling into the garage, unpacking the car, putting away the road adventure that would start our new life together. Yes, I’ve driven from Michigan to Texas and back many times … but here’s hoping it’s all direct flights from here on out.