Buckle up and hold on for the ride, because I didn’t even know driving 7 hours and only stopping once was something this girl is capable of. The drive from NE Ohio to Houston, Texas was WILD. To be completely honest, I was pretty sure that my 2004 Volkswagen Jetta would die on the way. Spoiler alert: we made it!
But like.. how?
Well, none of it would have been possible without the help of a phenomenal family friend. He drove the rest of the time, which… 20 hours minus 7 is a whopping 13 hours. He started in Ohio, and drove all the way to Jackson, Tennessee. Tennessee was probably the most boring part of the drive in my opinion. It felt like we were in Tennessee for EVER. Leo and I shared the Chips Ahoy cookies in the backseat next to him in Tennessee, and probably ate a few too many, but that’s okay.
I drove from Jackson to Marshall, Texas. I drove through Memphis, and all the way through Arkansas. The sunset was gorgeous. Driving through Little Rock was an interesting experience. Lots of bends, lots of cars, and lots of lights all at once. Gas prices started going down the farther south we got though, which is something I’m super thankful for. Also, why does Arkansas smash city names with the word “Arkansas”? Like… Is Arkadelphia really necessary? Even auto-correct wants to change that to Philadelphia. Also, why not “Philansas”?
Driving into Texas was crazy. By this time, it was dark. I had my first experience driving on a road with a speed limit of 75 miles per hour. Legally going that fast is pretty cool. I’ve been told there’s a road somewhere in this state (which is unnecessarily large, by the way) where the speed limit is 85. I may have to go find that road.
We made it to Marshall, Texas where we stopped at a Whataburger. I will admit, that was a phenomenal hamburger. Especially at 1 o’clock in the morning (two o’clock to my body, yay central time!). After eating, my friend drove the rest of the way.
We got to the place I’ll be staying right around 5 o’clock in the morning and met my host. Leo was extremely excited to stretch his paws after such a long drive. The bed was super comfortable. I finally fell asleep around 6 o’clock in the morning.
Somehow, I woke up at noon. I took a shower, organized a bit, and met the family. They’re wonderful people, and I’m so excited. The house is gorgeous. My room is so nice. The daughter is a year older than I am, and she’s super cool. We’ll call her “M”. M and I got Chick Fil A today, after she showed me around the area. There’s a Chick Fil A right across from NASA, and I think self control may be the biggest thing I learn during this internship. I also saw a real palm tree for the first time today!
Orientation for the internship is on Monday, and I’m so excited. I’m also nervous, though. It’s going to be crazy. I don’t think it’s truly sank in that I’m in Texas, and I’m about to work for NASA.
I’ve jokingly told a few people now that if the Space Force Academy becomes a thing, I’ll be one of the first females to graduate (super relevant, I know). But you know what, you never know where life takes you. Leave your options open.
I just hope next time I leave my options open and go where life leads me, the bugs are a tad smaller. When they say everything is bigger in Texas, they mean it.
So, how do you survive a long drive with a lion?
- Lots of Chips Ahoy Chewy cookies
- 1 cold Gatorade for every 2 hours of driving
- A cool family friend (knowing lots about cars and playing cool music is a bonus)
- The ability to admit when you’re tired
- The ability to sleep in the passenger seat of your own car (yes, it’s super weird)
- Lots and lots of adrenaline. Arkansas was boring, but once we got into Texas…
- Clean your windshield every chance you get at gas stations. Dead things leave streaks if you use the wipers.
- There’s no shame in going the speed limit, even if cars in Kentucky decide they want to attempt to take off next to you.
- Don’t merge too close in front of drivers from Arkansas. They need at least two semi truck-lengths to feel secure.
- Have fun!
So, there you go. Enjoy your next road trip. Or don’t, that’s all up to you.
I’ll be back to ramble to you from NASA’s Johnson Space Center next time, right here on my blog! Hopefully maybe my nerves will settle down. That would be cool.
Until then, don’t be afraid to try new things!