Cross Country Trip: 8 States 2 Days

So I'm sitting in my bed chillin' on a Thursday night (April 7th) and I get a phone call from my friend saying, “Hey, I might have to drive to grad school tomorrow. Could you come with me?” My initial reaction is, “Yeah right. We aren’t going.” Like, who prepares themselves TO MOVE across the country within 24 hours?! Then Friday comes and she’s out getting her oil changed, packing her car, and saying her good-byes. I’m STILL not convinced that we are leaving; like something IS bound to go wrong. By 6:00 pm Friday night we were officially driving from Maryland to Arizona. Total driving time: 1 day 10 hours. The first night starts off great! It's so good catching up with my friend. Singing old tunes, and still planning out how we'll be traveling. (i.e. hotels, food, gas, etc). We planned to travel to Knoxville, TN the first night. It was a 9 hour drive. On the way, we consumed 3 Red Bulls each. DO NOT try that. Please take my advice and never drink multiple Red Bulls in such a short time span. We drove down the state line of Virginia. (Did y'all know that Virginia and Tennessee shared their state line?! Because I didn’t.) That took us a solid 6 hours.

Driving around 12:00 am in the depths of Virginia was NOT cool. We only stopped at gas stations when we got to a half tank. Every time we got to a gas station there were about 3 pick-up trucks with white men in them.

**Let me just address this now; WHAT IS IT WITH WHITE PEOPLE AND PICK-UP TRUCKS?! Like do y'all need it for your jobs? Is it like the Ferrari of white culture? Are y'all moving furniture all day? Someone please explain!**

Anyway, since we had some time to plan these gas stops we basically had it down to a science. She would pull to the closest pump next to the cashier, jump out, put the nozzle in the tank, get back in and lock the doors. Simultaneously, I would run into the station, pick up more Red Bulls (seriously), and run back to the car. I promise you, there is nothing more frightening than being in the middle of nowhere at 12:00 with spotty cell service, surrounded by white men in pick-up trucks. By the time we got to Knoxville, we were obviously super tired. We got to the room and were settled in bed by 3:30 am. WE DID NOT SLEEP UNTIL 4:30 because we were so jittery because of the Red Bulls. Mind you we had to be up Saturday morning by 9 to get back on the road…WE WOKE UP AT 7:30 am. Why? I still don’t know.

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Saturday we planned to drive to Oklahoma City, OK. It took us about 12 hours to get there. I couldn’t really remember much about the drive because I was sleep deprived and hazy from all of the Red Bulls. However, I do recall driving through Arkansas and some parts of Oklahoma and it hit me. Native American Reservations. Next to these reservations, there are casinos and a bunch of disgusting signs letting you know that you were passing a reservation. I was so confused by the numerous casinos in their communities. Apparently, (don’t quote me) in the struggle to get land OWED to Native Americans, America will give them some land but in return build a casino in the surrounding area. Native Americans have a history of alcohol and gambling abuse (AGAIN, DON’T QUOTE ME). So in order to get their money back for the land, Americans put casinos in their communities. Now I’m not sure if it’s true or not. Does it sound like something America would do? Yes. I digress.

We arrived at a hotel in OKC (Oklahoma City) and we slept better that night. Total hours of sleep that night: 6. We got up at 5:30 am and checked out, but to our surprise someone apparently tried to kill a guest at the hotel. The employee said “Yea, I thought you may have heard all of the commotion. The cops came and everything. They were right by your window.” My friend and I just looked at each other and kept moving because…we didn’t even have the mental capacity for that.

The drive on Sunday was the BEST day of traveling for me. We traveled from Oklahoma to Texas then New Mexico and finally to Arizona. The views were crazy! At different elevation levels, it could be snowing one minute and 60°F the next. I saw so many mountains…red mountains, purple mountains, mountains with snow, mountains covered in grass, etc. It was so breathtaking. I wish I could have captured it, but in the moment I felt like it was just too beautiful and the photos did it no justice. It’s just one of those things you’d have to see for yourself. I promise you if it was that time of the month I would have cried. #girltings

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So trip recap: It took us 1 day 10 hours of driving time. We traveled through Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. I would have loved to really stop through each state and maybe have some authentic food, but we were on a mission. If I ever have the opportunity to do this again, I would definitely take like a week and a half just to experience as much as possible. This has been one of the most eye opening experiences of my life. I definitely suggest that y'all do it at least once in your life.

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