I'm going to share with you honestly because I can't think of how else to do it.
This was a hard trip. There were definitely some fun experiences, too, but it stressed me in ways I hadn't anticipated. Here's the story.
I left Philly and of course had Wagon Wheel playing in my head. In fact, every town you pass in this country reminds you of a song - Tucumcari. Santa Fe. Amarillo, Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona. I could make a pretty good mix-tape of US road songs :) But it's fun to have them be triggered by road signs.
The challenges: on my first night - rain, and lots of it. I left on the Saturday after T-day to try to avoid post-T-day traffic, but also a winter storm that was about to hit the East Coast. I succeeded, but Sat. night did get hit by some intense rain. I pulled into a Motel 6 ($70, btw!) and spent an evening under threadbare covers with a family with kids next door that were loud. I had a lovely video chat with Alex and Stephanie which got me laughing, but after a long night with little sleep I got up the next morning and considered skipping the trip altogether and turning around. I was not a happy camper.
But interestingly, the car turned to the left and off I went to my first visit - Leslie Grauer (a Habonim friend who I hadn't seen in years). She lives in Roanoke and she and her husband welcomed me and fed me a delicious brunch. I got on the road again and drove to Nashville, TN. to visit my Burner friend Kim Lane and her husband Nick.
Scene from first night on the road - Motel 6