Stemming from my first challenge in D.C, I began to rethink the route I had originally made for my road trip. I had initially planned to go down towards Nashville and New Orleans, but my car overheating in D.C and the southern heat had me thinking twice about this choice.
After my days spent in D.C I traveled down to Greensboro,NC to begin to formulate my next move. I pondered:
Should I continue to Nashville?
Should I stay near the Midwest to avoid the heat?
Somewhere between Greensboro and Nashville I stopped for the evening. Getting my sleeping bag ready and getting ready to call it a night at a rest area, my cousin who lives right outside of Atlanta contacted me. They were a mere 3 1/2 hours away and wanted desperately for me to pay his family a visit. Although I was very keen on seeing Nashville I decided to forgo the trip and go visit my family member...I'm a sucker for family.
On my way down to hotlanta, about 10 minutes from my cousins house, the little temperature needle decides to start crossing the threshold. All I think is "Not Again!" and I try to make make it to my destination ASAP! The car pulls up to my cousins house slightly overheating and I quickly turn off the engine to let it rest.
I spend a day with my cousin and his family. We have time to catch up on time that has passed since we last interacted. I get to meet his new son, and his kids get to spend time with an estranged but familiar face( also access to a comfortable couch & shower!).
The next day I depart early, with the intentions of avoiding the heat and going to the Midwest. I drive for a couple of hours and decide to stop in Memphis. As I arrive in the city the needle quickly jumps, my car is getting HOT and QUICK! I pull into a "sketchy" section of Memphis and I have no option but to wait it out. I pull out a book and sit there in the Memphis heat. It's at this very moment where this whole experience begins to turn south.
As I sit here trying to stay cool I get this complete sense of overwhelming frustration. I want to quit! I want to call it a trip and accept my loss. This trip was about freedom, I was now enslaved by the burden of a little needle indicating heat.
After some reading and time to "cool off" I get back to a place of calm. I realize that this journey is not going as expected but in the end the journey is never as expected. I assess the journey that brought me to this very spot. A failed marriage, a promise I made long ago, a life that had failed. These were never my intentions but those occurrences brought me to write on this blog, to pursue these crazy adventures and this love for travel.
I realize that this trip will be a back and fourth between my vehicle and I. I must maintain my car like I maintain myself. Much like I need rest, the vehicle will need rest if we are to make our final destination. The car becomes more intertwined with self than I could have imagined, we're both in this together.
This realization changes everything going forward.
I make a pact with the car.
'You vibe with me, I'll vibe with you. We'll get to our final final destination, I promise."
We set off under new circumstances, under a new route, but pushing forward. The trip oddly becomes more unbinding, a true road trip.
I push northward toward St.Louis on a Saturday, where I end up stuck for two days as I await the world to get back to work on Monday. Early Monday morning I contact an auto repair shop to replace a part I think will fix the problem. I arrive at the shop and start talking to the man behind the counter. I tell him
"My car keeps overheating and this is not going to work with what I'm doing at the moment"
He replies: "What exactly are you doing?"
"My car and I are in the midst of a one month cross country trip starting in Rhode Island, I've been on the road for a week."
looking surprised he say's "Your a long way from home aren't you"
smirking I say " Yea, I am"
reassuring he say's " Don't worry we'll take care of the car"
While my car is in the shop I go out to the city and do what I do best, explore. After a couple of hours spent exploring the city I head to the library downtown to connect with the world. Sometime in the early afternoon the car is done and I get a much needed bite to eat then we head back on the road.
The next few days will be unexpected, they will change this trip to an experience that I had never imagined, I will see nature at its finest, beauty at its purest....