I drug myself out of bed at 4am to begin the drive across Texas with my dad and sister. Its a long drive, 13+ hours depending on the route we choose and traffic. I have made this journey with my family countless times since we moved away from Texas 15 years ago. I'm used to the long drive now and I've even learned to love it. I think this is where my fondness for road trips began. You get to see parts of the country though car windows that you would never experience on a plane. Although I love flying equally as much, but for completely different reasons.
While it was still dark out we packed up the car, made a stop for coffee and donuts and headed east into the blindingly beautiful sunrise. My favorite part of these trips are the gas stations and roadside stops along the way. Each one has its own personality. They each provide their own selection of sunglasses, snacks, and locally themed merchandise: thimbles, license plates, postcards, etc. The people you see here are all on their way to or from somewhere. Whether it be local or long distance, they are living their lives and making their way to a destination.
This time we decided to go a different way than usual. Mix it up a little. We ate at different restaurants, stopped in different towns, and navigated our way through two-lane back roads instead of sticking to the interstate. We single handedly murdered hundreds of beautiful butterflies with the grill of our truck as we drove through miles and miles of farmland and cotton fields.
We pulled into our destination at about 8:30pm and even though we took a different route to get there, our arrival was the same as always. Night air, thick with humidity and the smell of salt water from the Gulf of Mexico. Refinery lights glowing orange on the horizon. Familiar road signs marking the turn off for the beach and the bayous we were driving past. Until we came to a stop in the driveway of a little pink house.