Part 1: Florida to Arkansas
In typical fashion, my plan for driving cross-country was, and I quote, "Well, I'll be in Tallahassee and then we'll just drive this way *diagonal motion* to get to Boise. And I like Denver, so we'll stop there too." My Dad sat me down and helped me plan a route, apparently "we'll just go like this" isn't a satisfactory plan of action.
The first stop after Orlando was Tallahassee to see my lovely sister-from-the-same-mister. During this particular time, I-10 was under construction and a lane was closed. This business of having only one lane open was a theme for the trip, and I think we found one in every state we had the pleasure of driving through.
Next stop, somewhere in Arkansas. With the time frame we'd given ourselves, the goal was to drive as far as possible, preferably near Little Rock. We sauntered through the mountainous Florida Panhandle and I entered new territory: Alabama. It's an interesting state, a combination of Southern hospitality and "GTFO." Highlights include:
The confusion regarding a certain road we took from Birmingham to Memphis. Said road was marked on all maps as state road 70-whatever, but the signage in Alabama proclaimed Interstate 22. Not being sure of what this was, we did some sleuthing to discover that the road is not currently an interstate but will be once it meets certain guidelines (Wikipedia). This doesn't matter in Alabama where you are on I-22, dammit. In Mississippi, signs along the road lamented, "Future home of the I-22 Corridor," but didn't seem to challenge the federal government.
Did I mention the I-22 signs in Alabama were also massive?
The towns of Guin, Gu-Win, Twin, Glen Allen, and Brilliant. In case you were wondering, Guin and Gu-Win are right next to each other and pronounced the same way.
We stopped at Corky's BBQ in Memphis for dry rub Memphis BBQ. It. Was. Amazing. Seriously, those ribs are one of the best things I've eaten, period. We got them to-go, parked at a gas station, rolled down the windows, and began to chow down.
Suddenly, cicada. This beast came flying in, caused a ruckus, and then ended up near the bottom of my door. I opened the door to shoo it out and, satisfied once I couldn't hear anything, shut the door and rolled up the windows, ready to enjoy my ribs in peace. My mom said she thought it was still in the car, but we couldn't hear anything and the topic was left at that.
The following morning we walked out to the car to see a large cicada dying in my seat. Not only was my mom right (as she often is), but I was worried I had suffocated the cicada by sitting on it. The cicada episode is one of the highlights of the trip, but I promise it only goes uphill from here.
Dinner is served.
The cicada that spent its final days near an Arkansas parking lot. RIP