So this summer, I moved from Mississippi to Washington, and along the way, spent about three weeks roadtripping, camping, hiking, visiting national parks, and exploring the wonderful earth God has given us. Looking back at all the pictures, it is amazing to see the vastness and uniqueness of the Earth around us. I was lucky enough to be able to take my time on the road trip, as well as to have a good friend, Melissa, join me for the first half, and my dad join me for the second half. As Chris McCandless (Into the Wild) wrote, "Happiness only real when shared." It's true - to be able to see the awesome splendors of the Earth is one thing, but to be able to experience it with others is something else. Sci (my car) also treated me well the entire trip, despite being taken on many dirt and rocky roads. He was very happy to finally make it to our final destination and be empty, as I had been homeless and essentially living out of him since November of last year [not truly homeless - I lived in a hotel for three and a half months, stayed with some wonderful friends, and spent a lot of nights camping]. Needless to say, Sci needed a good cleaning when we got to Washington.
So below is a map (thanks Google), of my roadtrip. Not the shortest route by any means, but SO worth it.
I have about 5,000 pictures from the roadtrip, so get ready!
Day 1: Columbus, Mississippi - Monroe, Louisiana
I had one last good breakfast in Columbus with Rebecca, and then parted for the last time. Not gonna lie, it was hard leaving. I already miss Columbus. I was truly blessed to have met so many amazing people when I was there. Drove to Jackson, Mississippi, where I stopped for lunch and had to call Melissa up and make sure she was still going to meet me in Dallas the following day. She didn't portray much confidence that she was still going to be there, and I started to seriously dread the possibility of having to roadtrip by myself. Luckily, it ended up working out. I continued the drive through the afternoon and arrived in Monroe, Louisiana around 3 in the afternoon. [By the way, I was totally clueless that this is where Duck Dynasty is filmed/originated and didn't realize this until a friend messaged me on facebook asking if that's why I was there. I guess that's what I get for not watching much television.] I had heard about the Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Monroe, so I stopped there and explored for a couple hours until Katie, who I was supposed to stay with that night, got off work.
I met Katie through Couchsurfing (you should check it out if you haven't heard of it - it's a great way to meet people and to find a free place to sleep for a night). So I met up with Katie and she ended up being an awesome host. We went out to dinner at a local pub since it was $5 burger night, and spent much of the rest of the night hanging out, talking, drinking her and her husband's awesome homemade beer, and playing with their awesome malamute. Katie and her husband are really into birding, which was cool for me since I've never really been exposed to and don't know anything about it. They also create super creative labels for their beer that involve birds, most of which, I'll admit, had to be explained to me, since I know nothing about birds.
Overall, a good first day for the roadtrip. I had planned on doing a lot of driving the first few days, and then slowing down once I got to some of the more exciting destinations.
Day 2: Monroe, Louisiana - Dallas, Texas - Abilene, Texas
Day 2 was so uneventful, that it happened to be the one day on the entire roadtrip I did not take any pictures. Thus, it doesn't deserve it's own blog. I woke up relatively early and started the drive to the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, where I was supposed to pick Melissa up. I got into Dallas a little bit early, so I stopped at REI and picked up some necessities - a sleeping mat, fuel for the camp stove, and a rain jacket. From there, I headed to the airport and frustratingly tried to figure out which terminal I was supposed to pick Melissa up from, all the while, nearly running out of gas. Luckily, my car apparently holds more fuel than I thought it did. Once she was on board though, the real fun was about to start, but not before we got some In-N-Out in Dallas. We drove to Abilene, which was our planned destination, although we had no idea where we were actually going to stay/camp. First though, we looked for a grocery store for some food. Melissa used her awesome iPhone to navigate us to what the phone thought was a grocery store, but in reality, was a clothing market. Eventually, we settled for a Wal-Mart, got us some groceries, and then headed out to a campground. Ironically, the campground we had heard of and were trying to find was not all that easy to find either. Needless to say, navigation was starting off rough. Eventually, we found a spot to camp though. It was isolated from other people (pretty sure we were the only ones there), and free, so we couldn't complain, but it was hot (Texas, go figure), probably the ugliest campground of the whole trip, and we soon found out that the little steaks we bought at WalMart didn't cook so good on our tiny camp stove.
Stay tuned for Day 3... pictures will get more exciting, trust me.