If you know me, you know I am quite driving-averse. Like, a lot. I surprised my own self this morning. I had checked tire pressure, had gotten new windshield wiper blades, filled the windshield washer fluid up to the top and charged a fancy new jumper set in case my battery dies (I even remembered to put it in my car last night). At 7:30 this morning, I hit the road—filled up on gas, went through the car wash and then got on I-85.
About 20 miles northeast of Montgomery, traffic stopped. Just stopped. And my iMap guide started flashing a portion of the interstate up ahead in red. It also indicated I could expect a delay of 1 ½ hours. Sure enough. We crawled along, until finally, I came to a place where one of those 18 wheel rigs had somehow crashed into an embankment and the whole front was basically smooshed into the container it was pulling. I prayed for the driver and his/her family. Soon after, I got to the exit I needed to take to get on a gorgeous back road that would carry me to Phenix City, Alabama, and Columbus, Georgia. On my way home, I plan to do some photography along that stretch. From there, I headed east on a state road to Macon (also in Georgia). The best part of this leg was seeing acre after acre of solar panels harvesting sunlight. We are so extraordinarily resistant to anything like that in Alabama that I am thrilled when I see it in other places.
About 30 miles from Macon I got on I-75 N and then took a turn to the east again, to get on I-16. I’d been on I-16 for a mile when again. Traffic slows to barely a crawl. At one point it comes to a standstill while an ambulance zooms by. We are stopped for several minutes and when I look across at the driver in the van in the lane to the left of me, he’s leaning against his window, sound asleep. When traffic started moving again, folks behind him began to honk like crazy. When I lost sight of him, the van was still not moving and I wondered if he was alright. I thought about these crazy, stressed out, selves of ours that get into cars and drive. How do we live to tell the tales?
Then I drove straight east for another 220 miles. It was interstate driving which means it was pretty boring but there wasn’t much traffic, the rain had ended and I was listening to a nice book on Audible. The road also brought me closer and closer a true nemesis: I-95. There are simply no words. None. Not after navigating that interstate in South East Florida for almost 20 year.
I got on 95 just a few miles away from Savannah, GA and headed up north, pleasantly surprised by how light the traffic was though I did see several speed demons with FL license plates weaving across lanes at ungodly speeds… A few miles from the border with South Carolina, third verse, the same as the first, a little bit longer and a little bit worse. Traffic slows down to a crawl. Even slower than the other two times. Now I’m beginning to run low on gas so some anxiety hops in to take a seat with me. It ended up being a 16-mile backup caused by another accident. Finally, finally, I got off on the right exit and made a beeline for the first available gas station and then drove for another 32 miles. I was on roads that carried me past estuaries and rivers in the low country where Pat Conroy grew up, and where the movie Prince of Tides was filmed. Finally, I got here.
I am meeting up with my wonderful, crazy cousins for the next two days and driving home on Thursday. I’ll see them a good chunk of each day and I will also have time to myself. But this picture:
This is why I came. This is why I didn’t mind at all, driving for almost 11 hours to get Hilton Head, SC. After I got settled in my Airbnb, I walked a couple of blocks to the beach and just listened to the surf. I bet Jesus is around here somewhere too, hoping that after all that praying, all that worshipping, all that music and all those flowers he had to pay attention to for the last week, he may get to have a bit of solitude, standing on the shore, looking out at the sea.
Happy Easter Season and good night!