I’ve been gone for far too long. The week before I moved was a mad house of packing, cleaning and prepping for the 2000 mile trek down to Texas. Having been living in an upstairs apartment, the last day in Oregon was spent running up and down stairs before a painstaking game of Tetris commenced as I tried to fit as many of my belongings in my car as humanely possible. We managed to cram the poor thing to the brim, leaving just enough room for travel bags and food. It didn’t make for the most comfortable of rides.
My friend Stephanie, the trooper, worked a 12 hour night shift at her job and was packed and ready to make the journey with me after she got off. Another game of Tetris ensued while we tried to cram her travel supplies in the very limited space left. Somehow we accomplished just that and had the cooler (obviously most important) within easy reach for the journey. And just like that, we were on our way.
The first day was pretty miserable. Neither of us had slept very well (or at all in her case) and it made for a very sluggish day of driving. California passed pretty quickly, but by the time we entered Nevada, things really, really slowed down. We stopped a lot the first day, consuming copious amounts of fast food and candy while also learning how to pump our own gas. (Shut up! We both grew up in Oregon!) At every stop, it was really tempting to just call it a day, but we were stuck on a time schedule. Instead of wimping out, we put in the full 12 hours we had planned on and ended up in Boulder City, Nevada. Let me tell you, after 12 hours of driving and eating crappy food, you sleep like the dead.
We woke the next morning feeling far more refreshed and ready for the day then we had prior. Our goal for day two was to put in another 12 hours of driving and make our stop in Amarillio, Texas. The hotel offered a pretty awesome sit down breakfast, which was far more appealing than the fast food and chocolate we’d been scarfing down the day prior. Recharged and ready to go, we hit the road again.
Traveling through Arizona and New Mexico is like being an ant and trying to squeeze your way through molasses. It’s not to say it doesn’t have moments of beauty, but when you have 12 hours of driving to accomplish, you can’t really stop to appreciate it. It was the same landscape for hours and hours and hours and as we got closer to our destination, we started toying with a rather crazy and stupid idea.
Our original intent was to stop in Amarillo, leaving 5 hours of driving the next day to reach our destination. 12 hours is a long day of driving and neither of us was entirely happy about repeating the day prior, but somewhere along the way, I got the crazy notion that we should just do the rest of the drive. Just get it over with. Rip off the band aid. I mean, come on, what was another 5 hours? If we could just make it to our destination, we could sleep in the next morning. We could save money and not spend it on another hotel. We could be DONE!
And like the good friend she is, Stephanie agreed. She adopted my crazy notion and commenced a 17 hour day of driving through desert landscapes that would have put to sleep a weaker soul. We sang songs at the top of our lungs for the duration of the trip, entirely sure that our vocal chords would give out at some point. They did not. By the time we reached Amarillo, there was a moment of weakness. We thought about giving up. But to think of being stuck in the car again the next day… we just couldn’t.
By 3 o’clock in the morning, we were both getting a little cranky. To be so close to our destination, and yet so far, was maddening. We just wanted to be done driving, to be able to stretch out and not have the constant hum and vibration of the car to deal with. We wanted sleep and food that didn’t come out of a package. And finally, at almost 5 o’clock, we reached our destination.
After being welcomed by my father who woke up early just to greet us and unpacking some of the stuff from the car, we had probably the best sleep ever, the kind of sleep normally achieved by copious amounts of cough medicine and pure and utter exhaustion. It was glorious.
And the next day, in some twisted Texan greeting, Denton unleashed golf ball sized hail upon my car. All in all, I ended up with about 10 dents on the top of my car, a car that I’ve had now for only about three months. Sigh… At least I blend in. Let’s not mind the Oregon plates. I’m now one of you. On the bright side, there weren’t any dents on the side or hood of my car and considering my rather short stature, I can’t see them anyways. But seriously Denton!?! Now I know where the name comes from…
So now that I’m here, my life has turned into unpacking boxes and finding a place for all of my things. I’m quite happy to say I’ve found a job which is helpful when it comes to paying bills. After I get settled and have a somewhat normal routine to my week, I’ll be getting back to writing book two, something I’ve really missed while my computer has been stuffed away.
All in all, I feel content. Moving, especially away from friends and family, is never easy. I miss everyone and the full weight of that won’t sink in until I’ve been here a while, but I think I made the right choice. Denton is a great city and even if it doesn’t end up being my permanent home, I foresee many great adventures here. It’ll take some getting used to. The Oregonian in me shies away from the heat and crazy weather, but I’ll manage. The important thing is that for the first time in a while, I’m excited for the future.