Musings, Nits, and Praises: Road Trip Day I, Part I: Night Driving and Wildlife

Musings, Nits, and Praises

A farrago of all things deemed blog-worthy by a music-loving, poetry-writing, humor-seeking English teacher


Road Trip Day I, Part I: Night Driving and Wildlife

I don't possess an inordinate amount of physical endurance. No, you'll never hear of me running a marathon or scaling Everest. Heck, I don't even squeeze out extra reps when I exercise. But one thing I can do is drive, drive, and drive. In fact, my stamina behind the wheel is a thing of legend. My most impressive automotive exploit was my 25-hour, non-stop (except for gas and snacks) journey from Hagerstown, Maryland, to Austin, Texas, in 2002. I haven't tried to replicate the feat, nor will I, but I'm still capable of treks normal drivers wouldn't attempt. So, the overnight drive from Austin to El Paso then to White Sands in the morning and ending in Albuquerque presented me with only a modest challenge. (Note: Janet wasn't nearly as convinced as I was of the ease of the trip.)

Janet, Baxter (our basset hound), and I left for El Paso a little after 8:00. I didn't see any advantage to driving during the day because we would've had to pay for an extra night's lodging. Plus, there's nothing to see in west Texas anyway. Nothing. Kansas is a land of wonder by comparison.

The only problem with night driving is you're more apt to encounter animals with an apparent death wish. Sure, you can flatten some poor creature in broad daylight, too, but at night you barely have a chance to react before the dreadful crunch, thud, or crash--depending on the size of the animal. Between Johnson City and El Paso there were enough animals by the road for a large petting zoo: a cow, a cat, ten deer, and at least two dozen jack rabbits. Miraculously, I managed not to hit any of them, although there were enough jack rabbit carcasses on the road I was half afraid Leonard Smalls was around.

Oh, and then there was the pig--the law enforcement variety that is. Somewhere in the abyss between Fredericksburg and Ft. Stockton, a cop pulled me over for going 75 (the night limit is 65). Even more miraculous than me not sending any animals to the wildlife hereafter was that the cop only gave me a warning. A warning! I suspect he may have just been bored because he spent more time shooting the breeze with me about my trip than admonishing me to drive the speed limit. Nonetheless, I heeded his warning, and after one bag of pretzels, one bottle of chocolate milk, two waters, two bathroom stops, and nine and a half CD's, we reached El Paso unticketed and unscathed at 6:00 A.M.

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