We arrived in Albuquerque, NM late last night and this morning, we spent our time ravaging green chile burritos at Frontier, a quirky college spot with homemade tortillas on the menu and rifles on the walls (we did say quirky, didn’t we?).
FINALLY. We’ve been on the road for 8 days, but today marked our official start on Route 66, the infamous 2,400 mile road that was the mother of all US highways. This is what we’ve been on a quest to see: the kitschy, quirky, only-in-America roadside icons that follow the now defunct route through 8 states and 3 time zones.
1,200 miles later, we made it to Memphis, Tennessee
The first leg of our Great American Road Trip ended in Memphis, the home of Elvis, rock n’ roll, the site where the great Martin Luther King was assassinated, and where the energy of Beale St. radiates at night.
When Calvin from The Monsoon Diaries and I first planned this road trip we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. He’s a New York City native through and through, and both of us were much more intrigued by seeing the rest of the world than exploring our own backyard, America.
Driving across the state of Tennessee today, reminded me of the crazy and at the same time, mesmerizing contradictions that this country represents.
Is there anything better than taking a spontaneous turn, only to find another unexpected surprise?
We saw a sign for “Abingdon Winery” on the way out of out of Virginia, and say no more, we promptly exited off the interstate for a mid-day wine tasting. On the way there, we found another surprise…
Back in 1994, a zit-faced pre-teen sat on the back of a Chinese tour bus on a family trip to Washington D.C.
She loathed the idea of spending her summer with old Chinese ladies peeling oranges into plastic bags. She resented the fact that everyone seemed to have a comment about her looks, height, or grades (or even worst, mistook her sullenness for obedience). And if her mom asked her to fake-smile in one more picture with a statue of a dead man, she thought that she’d scream. (Why was it a prerequisite of every man of historical worth to have bad hair anyway?)
Fast forward to Day 2 of our American road trip…
Today was one of those humbling days where I was reminded of the patchwork of deviants who questioned status quo. American history didn’t just belong to a handful of old, white men. It was built off the backs of rugged individuals searching for more: more opportunity and more freedom to choose.
It sounds simple, but not until I started traveling aboard 5 years ago, did I realize the luxuries I took for granted by merely being born in the right place, at the right time. With all the contradictions that the US represents aside, it felt great to be holding an American passport today.
Three months ago, Calvin from The Monsoon Diaries and I had an idea to do a road trip across the U.S.
Our passports have stamps from over 100 countries combined. Ink mementos from places as far-flung as North Korea and Antarctica (Calvin), and as off-the-beaten path as Mozambique and Lesotho (myself) tattoo the pages of our little books. But when it comes to the U.S., one word describes us both: clueless. The size of the U.S. alone is daunting enough, not to mention the fact that both of us are city-dwelling, Uber-reliant, public transit nuts.
In other words, how do you transverse a country half the size of Russia (no joke) with two vehicle-phobic vagabonds? No idea. But as always, our motto is to do now, question later. So we organized a 2-week road trip across 18 states, with 15 road warriors joining us for the 2,400 mile ride.
The results? One grizzly, adventure-filled, beast-of-a-trip, with 2 (minor) accidents and the most diverse crew of co-pilots you can imagine. Today we explored the our hometown of New York City, tomorrow we take on the U.S.
Hello Spring 2015!
We had our kick-off drinks for our upcoming Spring 2015 trips yesterday. New travelers and friends going on our American Road Trip, Venezuela, and the Guianas came out for a whirlwind pub crawl through NYC. SO. MUCH. FUN. Thanks to everyone who came out and see you on the road in the next few weeks!