Observations on a Long Drive Through the Country

My family and I spent eight days driving around the US. Well, okay, not eight days entirely in the car. An eight-day vacation in which we drive over a thousand miles to visit my writing partner and friend Sarah’s family in Blacksburg for a few days and then drove over a thousand miles to get home again the next week. We took the opportunity to see a lot of the country we hadn’t been in before and stop in several major southern cities.

But over eight days, we drove about 2,500 miles and experienced (in a variety of ways) the following states: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and Alabama, and some of them twice in different places. We actually stayed overnight in New Orleans, Atlanta, and Birmingham during our travels, each time arriving in the afternoon early enough to do some interesting stuff (if a little touristy sometimes).

Since my husband wanted to do all the driving, having so much time in the passenger seat of the car let me get a lot of mental work done on a short story I’m currently revising and a novel that’s in rewrites — which was awesome, by the way! — but it also gave me time to make a lot of observations about my immediate environment. So here are some of them, presented as objectively as possible, in no particular order beyond when the observations were made. (I kept a running list as we drove.)

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