I live here now.
That’s what I keep thinking as I walk around and see all the places I love. I live here now. It’s true, but it’s also crazy.
Let’s talk about my 3 day adventure getting here.
I left dark and early Friday morning.
I meant to live at 6am, but the goodbyes were a little more emotional than I had factored in, so by the time I was merging onto I-70, it was 6:30. The sun came up just as I was driving into Kansas City. KC will always be my hometown, and I will always think it’s gorgeous.
Here I am after the sun came up. Dig my galmorous travel look:
Eventually I made it to St Louis, and Google maps tried to take the wrong way. Here’s thing about following Map’s advice; if you don’t care how you get there, it’s great. But I didn’t like it’s number one pick for how to get me to my cousin’s house near Nashville. He had given me the best way to get there, but since it wasn’t the shortest distance Google thought it was third best. So when Maps crashed (three times) and I restarted, it defaulted back to the way I didn’t want to go. I knew it was wrong after I went over a giant bridge and entered Illinois. I got a little panicked at first, but since I had written down the highway numbers I wanted, I decided to just head back into St Louis and find 55 South on my own. It was easy and when I stopped for gas a couple hours later, Google realized the way I was going and acted right the rest of the way.
I drove South to the bottom of Missouri, and then East all the way across it. And then East across Tennessee. It pretty, but there were a lot of trucks. A lot. And none of them really believed in following at a safe distance. Imagine a line of 5 or 6 semis going 70 down the highway with about 10 feet between them. They were also going more or less the exact same speed so there was a lot of weaving back and forth between the two lanes of the highway. And a lot of being trapped between a big line of vehicles driving under the speed limit. But the sun was out and sometimes the scenery was gorgeous so it wasn’t so bad.
My camera was running out of battery, and I was mostly using it for video, so at this point you'll have to just trust me that there were lovely sites to see. The best part was a giant murmuration of birds! Tennessee seemed gorgeous, I can't even imagine how great it would look if there were actually leaves on the trees.
And I travelled along the music highway! I think that's what it was called - the road to Nashville. When I saw the signed I pulled out my "Old Country" cd and imagined Hank Williams driving along the road. I was listening to Loretta Lynn when I passed the billboard for her house. Very cool.
It was a long day though. It was about 6pm when I finally pulled into my cousin’s driveway. I hadn’t seen my cousin Chris in years, and I had only met his wife Dawn once. They have 6 incredible daughters, and I had never met any of them. There was a lot of hugging and a lot of chatting. Chris made us dinner and before I knew it, it was way past my bedtime. I slept great that night (thank you girls for giving up your bedroom for me!)
Why didn't I take a bunch of pictures at my cousin's house? I have no idea but I did not take one single photo. I wish I had!
After a tasty breakfast the next morning I had the best time getting to know the girls better and falling in love with all of them. There were stories and an incomplete game of Win, Lose or Draw, and best of all time snuggling their baby bunnies! Way before I was ready it was time for me to leave, and I headed out on the relatively short drive to Atlanta.
Best part? Mountains, a waterfall and some crazy little castle just outside of town.
I think there were even more trucks on that drive. And after all the worrying I had done over Atlanta traffic, I hit about none of it. I saw it. Coming out of Atlanta there were miles of cars creeping along, but heading in at the end of the day, even at peak rush hour, there was about nothing. My friend Mat called right as I was getting close and talking me through the best way to get to his apartment. We ordered some Indian food to be delivered and caught up. I haven’t known him as long as I’ve known my cousin of course, but we’ve been friends for about 20 years so it was good to see him.
We looked through his movies and he had both of the most recent Planet of the Apes movies, which I had been trying to watch for about the last month, so he started Rise of the… and we watched. I loved it. So much that we started Dawn of the… next, but I ended up falling asleep before it was over. It’s weird how tired driving makes you. It was 8:30 there (which seemed like 7:30 to me) and I swear it seemed like 10:30 to me.
And then it was today. We woke up around 5. It was raining pretty seriously so I skipped the breakfast Mat had offered to make me and got on the road. It was dark and my windshield wipers were on high for at least the first couple hours. Even after the sun was up, the rain kept on until quite a way into Florida.
I had planned to stop at the Welcome Center and take a picture with the Florida sign, but this is how it looked outside as I passed, so I skipped it.
Eventually I drove out of the rain, and before I knew it my car was saying it was 80 degrees outside! So much nicer than back home. Eventually I decided to turn on the AC -- and it did not work.
I bought the car I’m driving here, a 2005 Pontiac Vibe, at the end of December. I tried to check the AC, but it’s hard to do when it’s barely over freezing. It seemed like it worked, but when it was sunny and 80 it was clear it does not. Luckily it’s January and I doubt it will be getting much hotter than that for a while, but either way, I’m going to worry about that another day.
When it was finally time to exit the highway, in just a few minutes I was driving under the Welcome to Disney World sign! It was seriously unreal. I was driving on Disney World roads and about to live and work here for the next few months.
Photo note: These were all taken with my Nikon Coolpix s6000 or my cell phone (Samsung Galaxy S4)