Monday, June 6, 2011

5 Years Ago

I was sorting pictures (I cull those, too, periodically) and came upon these pics of a road trip my cousin Mel and I took back in late September '06. I got home from Japan on Sept 10th, and 3 weeks later I found myself visiting my mom in Brownwood. I was up late, on the phone with Mel, and she mentioned she was going to be road tripping from Ventura, CA, to SLC, UT, and then back down to Dallas. She was moving home, as was her brother, who lived in Utah and needed to be picked up along the way. I asked her when she was leaving. She said "day after tomorrow". I was severely depressed due to culture shock upon returning home, missing Japan and regretting not staying longer, wanting an adventure, unemployed, and I had five grand in the bank thanks to my end of contract bonus. So of course I said "I'm coming with you". The next day I drove 3 hours back up to Dallas, packed a bag, and got a ride to the airport. I bought my ticket at the counter, to use a mere 2 hours  later to fly out to California. It cost a not so mere $300 one way. Whatever. I needed out of there, fast.
A few blocks from Mel's house
Mel picked me up from the airport, we hung out with her friends and got dinner, and then we set out very late that night.
This is probably about what our vision was actually like upon hitting Sin City
 I may have thought I was obliterated on the Colorado-Texas road trip, but we were insane tired between Ventura and Las Vegas. We rolled in at around 2 a.m., and just for the sake of doing it we hit up a casino. We played a slot machine, drank some free orange juice, used their bathroom, and hit the road again.
 We were in a bad way a few hours later at the gas station...
 I really didn't want to get back in that car.
 We drove through the night until we hit the top corner of Arizona, when the sun started to come up.
 This was an entire sky, stereotypical "Arizona has the best sunrise, ever" kind of experience. We watched it until it faded away, and somehow dragged ourselves into Utah. Directly after crossing the state line, we pulled Mel's tiny Ford Focus off to the side of the road, snapped back the seats, and promptly slept  for 6 hours, with the car periodically rocking back and forth as 18 wheelers zoomed past. Still, it was safer than driving.
 I'd never been to Utah before, and since I was seriously dating a Mormon at the time I spent a lot of time on temple grounds. It was a few blocks from Jen's house (Mel's sister, remember Thanksgiving?). We were in SLC for about a week, and I went there almost every single day. I prayed a lot. I didn't hear anything that sounded anything like "Be a Mormon". We all know how that ended.
 We spent a lot of time hanging with Jen, just being stupid, all the girls together again. This was taken across the street from a bar we frequented. I'm supposed to be lamenting the impending birth of the child that will launch me into mommy van status (pure jokes, I love mommies and babies and mommies who drive their babies in mommy vans). The fact that it said "Kid Hauler" had to be ribbed on.
 And then it was time to leave. We packed up and headed south through the fall leaves.

Southern Utah, somewhere near Moab. I would go back there 3 years later with Bobby :)

 Colorado- I'd come back here with Bobby, too :)

Driving up to Four Corners Monument

 We're nerds.
 Big time.
 A bit of New Mexico, another state I'd return to and explore more with Bobby.
Finally we were back home in Texas. I think I ate my weight in those trashy chicken sandwiches at Burger King (no, not the "fancy" ones, I'm talking the craptastical creepsauce long oval shaped "chicken" sandwiches they have which are way cheaper than the other chicken sandwiches and have nothing but lettuce and mayo on top of a fried patty. Gross). I know both Mel and I were at insane transition periods in our life, and it was really awesome to be with someone who truly understood what it was like to pick up and leave everything, go out on your own, change in ways  you never thought possible... and then come  home and try and fit back into your old life. I can't believe it's been 5 years ago.

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