Road Trippin’

Interstate 84 heading toward Portland, OR

I sat down to write a post about a recent road trip that I took to Portland, OR. At some point in the fifth or sixth paragraph I realized that it just wasn’t that interesting so I scrapped it and started over with more pictures. The abridged version: a good friend and former coworker invited me on a Thursday night to accompany him and his vehicle to their new home in Portland, OR the following night. My initial, knee-jerk internal reaction was something to the effect of “that sounds nuts”, but within 24 hours we were on the road and the rest is history. (OK. You can look at the photos and skip the rest of the content now. Thanks)

West Austin sunset

For those who don’t know me, I can be a bit whimsical at times. I was miserable that Friday morning. I awoke to a lump in my stomach – undoubtedly a souvenir of the festivities from the night before – longing for nothing more than to crawl back into bed and sleep for another night. Before long I found myself at work hours earlier than what’s typical greeted by a confused manager who is no doubt used to being alone for some time in the mornings and a handful of other early birds. The decision to take the trip wasn’t a sudden one. It built up gradually over the course of several hours staring at a computer screen with the promise of having an opportunity to repeat the previous night’s mistakes if I attended a team function that evening. By noon I was shopping for return flights from Portland to Austin. Shortly after noon I had a ticket and was ready to duck out of the office early to hopefully nap before disembarking.

The windmill dotted plains of southeastern Wyoming

The drive out of Texas was filled with conversation about everything from work to technology to religion to politics. There wasn’t any particular aim other than to keep each other awake on that first long stretch of TX 71. At some point after the sun had set and a silent stillness overtook the surrounding hills and pastures I looked around observing the moonlit surroundings. It’s odd to consider that this sort of an undertaking would not have been possible only a century or so earlier. The idea of traveling by moonlight on horseback or via train crossed my mind briefly as I drifted off to sleep.

One last stop before Utah

The trip went on for some 36 hours as we exchanged roles taking the wheel and passed out in the passenger seat. It’s been too long since I set out on a trip of this sort and I’ve certainly never traveled the southwest or northwest US on the open road. The southeast US is a different story but we’ll save that for another time.

Sunset at the end of the first full day on the road

The sort of conversation that comes up when you’re trapped in a metal cage with a person for prolonged periods of time, even if they’re someone that you have great respect for, can be interesting to say the least. Being technology nerds we got into the thick of some work related issues, not so much disagreeing as saying the exact same thing from differing perspectives. The root of the whole conversation was to keep the driver awake and as it turns out starting a healthy argument is great for keeping a person from falling asleep.

Conclusion

Though I’ve been on plenty of solo road trips and I’ve had some opportunity to share the adventure there’s something particularly fascinating about hitting the trail with someone with whom you haven’t otherwise spent a great deal of time. It goes without saying that you’ll learn more about each other from the experience but it’s also great to be completely outside of one’s comfort zone from time to time. Would I hop in a vehicle with a friend or two tomorrow and do this drive again? Ask me tomorrow.