For the next two weeks, I will be on the road…and then return home briefly before hitting the road again (but that adventure will be the subject of another blog). Of course, this means that I am now learning some lessons, some of which I hope to remember for future travels:
1) If you have a choice, don’t travel the day after you get power back after a storm knocks it out for over 24 hours. I have no idea what home will look like when we return, but I suspect that it probably looks like the tornado did damage inside as well as outside.
2) Make a list of what you want to take on the trip. This is extremely important if you don’t want to leave anything behind. Trust me on this one. I should have done this—but didn’t (and it’s especially important to do it if you are travelling right after the trauma of losing electricity).
3) When you see the exit sign for Williamsport, MD, and realize that you left something at home…well, it’s not the same as Williamsport, PA, and it’s too late to turn around. So some of the chips will be waiting for us when we return to Mansfield—and for the next two weeks, I will be wearing the very stylish red medical alert bracelet, because apparently the case with the other bracelets chose not to come along on the trip.
4) Dash alert lights are good things, especially when you’re driving on US 15 South and it comes on. You know all the car doors are closed…and that means that the trunk has opened up on the highway. Fortunately, nothing fell out (there are benefits to packing the trunk full), although we were reminded of how lucky we were when we saw clothes strewn along the highway while driving in Tennessee.
It also is kind of fun driving along and seeing exits for “familiar” places, even if they aren’t the places that are most familiar. We drove past exits for Philadelphia (Tennessee and Mississippi), Cuba (along the Alabama/Mississippi border), New England (Georgia), Mansfield (Louisiana), and, of course, Williamsport (Maryland). But I think our favorite is still the exit for Hungry Mother State Park in Virginia.
And we have reached our “home away from home” for the next 10 days, sweltering in the heat and humidity of Houston. So far, the adventure has included a stop in Nacogdoches, where I strolled around the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University, taking photos and dropping off a package for a former prof. While there, I also had a pleasant visit with Allen Richman, a former history prof who retired after 43 years of teaching and who is one of many positive role models I have had as a college professor. Tomorrow we will be traveling to the George Bush Presidential Library in College Station, and next week I’ll be meeting with James Kirby Martin, my former advisor/dissertation supervisor from the University of Houston. Other excitement will include watching my eldest niece’s volleyball game, seeing the Houston Astros play the St. Louis Cardinals, and apparently a fair share of shopping and sightseeing.