At 5:45 a.m. and with the temperatures holding steady below zero, my husband and I packed up our little black SUV and headed southeast for 13 and a half hours.
There is nothing like the excitement of driving in the early morning hours and watching the sun rise over the plains of the midwest. The cold even made for some great steam shots!
Growing up, I would take a very similar early morning drive with my Dad. I grew up in a divorced family and with my Dad living in Iowa, we took this drive before the sun came up many times on the way back and forth between homes. We survived on rest stop, vending machine French vanilla coffee. Sunrise and sugar. . .a great combo!
Being the first week of February in the midwest, we didn’t see the temperature rise above zero until we were at least halfway through the Iowa flatlands. Good thing we had a full tank of gas and plenty of snacks, no need to stop for hours!
Throughout the drive, every state welcomed us with their version of a perfectly sunny day. This is what I prefer for long, cross-country road trips. The sun keeps me awake, stimulated and downright smiley. . .solid, uplifting energy not even three cups of coffee can touch.
Right after lunchtime (jerky, Nut Thins and tangerines) we made it to the other side of the Mississippi in St. Louis, MO right after lunchtime. Hi Arch!
After making our way across southern Illinois and northern Kentucky, and saying goodnight to the sun, we made it to Tennessee.
After hour after hour of rural landscape, we came upon this sight. . .
As a songwriter/musician, Nashville is practically my husband’s second home. So he had our long-weekend planned with things to do to familiarize this Nashville newbie.
We ended up staying with friends in East Nashville for two nights and in Franklin with another group of friends for a night. So grateful for the welcoming and openness of others — something I can take for granted, but happy to truly recognize it now.
We experienced a lot . . .
- Breakfast at Sky Blue
- Dinner at Watanabe (get the green goddess roll!)
- Breakfast at Noshville
- Cocktail hour at Patterson House (go early if you don’t want to wait!)
- Seriously awesome live music at the famous Robert’s Western World on the downtown strip
- Walked/ran the Nashville greenway (even though it was snowing that day! apparently we brought the winter with us!)
- Watched the Superbowl with Nashvillians (is that correct?!) at our friends’ home in East
- We even did the touristy thing and shopped for some boots. . .although, they were buy one pair and get TWO free. . .at about $400/pair, we had to leave boot-less
Truly, I saw this road trip as a chance to shake things up. To say “yes” more, instead of worrying about all the “why I shouldn’t do this…” mind chatter. I also find that road trips, to anywhere and for any amount of time, are very inspiring to me. I need a change of scenery and new pace of life from time to time. It puts life in a new perspective that all writers need to fuel their creativity. I am grateful for the flexibility in my life to have the ability to experience these changes often.
Lastly, it was a great chance for me to experience the life my husband lives once every two months or so. We even captured a great pic of us enjoying life. It never escapes me how cool it is that we are here and present in this very moment. Don’t let life pass you without noticing how great it is to be here right now.