Emmanuel, the promised King
The baby who made angels sing
Son of Man who walked with us
Healing, breathing in our dust
The author of all history
The answer to all mysteries
The Lamb of God who rolled away
The stone in front of every grave
Alive! Alive! Look what Mercy’s overcome
Death has lost and Love has won
Alive! I am His because He is alive.
Recently, Natalie Grant came to my church for a concert. She sang, Alive, a song on the CD, The Story, and I stood at the back of the church, singing with her. I know every song on that CD because I must have listened and sang along with it at least 20 times on my road trip this summer.
I listened to it when in the mountains or country when I couldn’t pick up a radio station, and I listened to it when I needed to calm my nerves when the traffic was heavy or the mountains steep. I had forgotten to bring extra CD’s in my car except what I already had, which was The Story. I tried to listen to books on CD, but I can’t sing with them at the top of my lungs, which I like to do when I drive.
My road trip was like taking on a challenge and overcoming it. Last summer, Cameron decided he wasn’t coming home, so my summer was free, open and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d out before me. What would I do with my time? I know it sounds strange, but without Cam needing me over the summer, I felt lost and somewhat out of control. I needed something to do and a plan. I decided to drive to Vermont. It was a place that caught my imagination and once the idea caught hold. . . I held on.
I searched the Internet for places to see and sent off for all types of travel brochures from different states that I would travel through on the way. I set the date for July which gave me something to look forward to in the middle of summer. Cameron was going to New York City to visit a friend, so we arranged to meet in Buffalo, New York, so we could see Niagara Falls and spend some time together on vacation.
I had a garage sale to raise extra money for my trip. I took care of tire maintenance, changed the oil, and had a front wheel alignment to get the car ready for the trip. I’m not usually one for details, but I tried to think of everything I needed to do before time to leave. After all this was a new adventure for me.
With the date set, I used Google Maps to plan a route. I didn’t really want to hit any large cities, and I managed to skirt around most of them. Before Cam’s transplant, I didn’t even drive in Dallas, but God took care of that for me and helped me overcome my fear of merging traffic on interstates. With the route set, I investigated hotels and Inns decided which ones were the best on price and cleanliness. Then I booked hotels and planned my itinerary for a sixteen day trip. Before long, it was time to pack and off I drove on my adventure.
My first stop was Nashville. It was a long first day of driving. I had left later than I had planned because I couldn’t find my debit card and after looking everywhere, I had to go to the bank to have them put it on ‘hold.’ So, I left Longview with $90 and a credit card. Looking back, I should have taken more cash. I left Texas on Thursday and had to meet Cam in New York on Tuesday.
With a braver face than spirit, I set off. I kept telling myself that I could accomplish this trip. In fact, I told almost everyone I knew that I was taking this road trip to keep myself on track and to hold myself to the accountability of going. Sometimes that’s what it takes!
The only place that I had traveled to in the past by myself was Broken Bow, Denton, Dallas, and Little Rock. Once I went tent camping three days by myself at Beaver’s Bend. . . boring! I never wanted to go camping alone again. I wound up sitting on the hood of the car talking to John on the phone every evening.
I left Longview, Texas about noon. It was almost a 600 mile trip the first day. It was important to me to get as far as I could. My first stop was to be Nashville, Tennessee. I looked forward to seeing the downtown area and take in some country music. Oh my goodness! Almost nine hours in the car was excruciating on the behind and the shoulders! As I drove through North Little Rock, I thought of my friend, Richard. I even shouted, “Hello Richard!” Silly, I know, but besides singing, it was great to hear a voice even if it was my own. I stopped a few times to get out and walk, grab a snack, and eat a quick dinner. If I wasn’t so timed crunched, I would have found somewhere to stop in Memphis for Bar-B-Que, but time was against me, so that idea flew out the window. Luckily the long days allowed me to see the beautiful scenery.
Tennessee was a beautiful state. The roads were well marked and when the interstate had road construction, the State Troopers were always on sight. The scenery was lovely. I thought the silos on the side of Interstate 40 were unlike any that I’d seen around East Texas. So shiny! Yes, I did take pictures from my car while driving. Yes, Cameron, I know that is a bad thing to do! I was traveling way to fast to be able to stop and I wanted to catch all the images I could!
I picked up a map of Nashville from the front desk and tried to figure how far I was from the area that I wanted to explore tomorrow. I was pretty close to downtown, so tomorrow seemed pretty doable. That night I lay in bed, partly in apprehension and partly in awe of myself. I had started the trip. I had finished day one and I was on my way! God had been with me and helped me get safely to my destination. I arrived in Nashville about 10:00 P.M. Happy that it was evening and the traffic wasn’t too bad because it was my first major city to navigate. The exits were fairly easy to merge through and that boosted my confidence. I was way too tired to explore, so I checked into the Club-Hotel Nashville Inn and Suites. It was larger than the picture indicated and I had a hard time finding the entrance. I had survived my first day of travel by myself. I had driven so long my butt hurt from sitting too long and I had navigated hundreds of miles. Tomorrow would be my first day of real adventure.
Exhausted, I slept. I’m sure I dreamed with a smile on my face. Tomorrow the exploring would begin!