It doesn’t revolve around you

The feeling isn’t anything but overwhelming.

I’ve been thinking about everything all at once. In a day and a half Elliott and I drove across the entire country. In 31 hours, we saw the Pacific for the last time this summer and crossed from California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and into Kentucky.

If you read our plans, we had planned on stopping in Flagstaff to spend the night. We got to Flagstaff and I asked Elliott if he wanted to stop. He said no. “Let’s just go on to Lexington” We did.

Living out of a car for that long wasn’t as much of a challenge as we thought it to be. We didn’t’ stop for more than 15 minutes, and most stops averaged about 5 minutes.  So all of our trash built up because Elliott and I really could care less about cleanliness. Our last good meal was the morning we left. The LaBelles and all the members of 237 Pomo went out to eat together for breakfast and Elliott and I were on the 101 by 11 AM. That was the only meal we would have that day since our only attempt at food would be to stop at a Dairy Queen which was so full of Western-rednecks that you couldn’t turn without hitting a shoeless kid in the face with your hip bone or backing into a bra-less mother who was chasing five kids around the Route 66 bumper sticker caddy. We opted to buy snacks (since this DQ was combined with a gas station/general store) and keep going. I had no idea the Snickers bar and bag of chips would be my last for the day.

Somewhere around this part of the trip marks the beginning of a horrible stomach ache for me. I wasn’t feeling so great after only eating beef jerkey and the junk from the first stop. The next morning’s McDonalds catered to my hunger but came along with a bit of a side effect. Symptoms included more nausea and constant word vomitting which mostly pieced together as complaining. Elliott diagnosed it as the whines and I treated it with biting my tongue for as much as possible, at least until someone new called. Then a new symptom came about when I began regurgitating the situation to my new listener.

Martha gave her estimate of how long it would take for us to hit I-40. Looking at a map it didn’t seem like it could possibly take that long. But it did. I shouldn’t have been surprised when she was right. She was always right. But after hitting I-40 we saw a sign that said Wilmington, North Carolina, 2500 miles. We weren’t heading to Wilmington, but it was a bit of a realization of how far we were about to drive because from Ventura to Lexington is about 2200 miles.

Every time I go anywhere I have a tendency to push the limits, or at least that’s what my parents keep telling me. If driving across the country in a day and half doesn’t emphasize that I’m not sure what I would have to tell you to get me to believe it. I didn’t tell my mom what we had done until I was about an hour away from Louisville.

The entire time I had sent vague text messages like, “Slept in New Mexico last night. We’re past Amarillo right now.” Now, I did sleep in New Mexico at about 85-87 mph and we had made it through Amarillo. Heck we were in Oklahoma when I sent that text. But she called me and we chatted a bit. She asked where I was, and I gave another bland answer, something like, “Um, well we’re actually past St. Louis.” This was way farther than we should have been. In reality if we had gone by the planned route we would have been at the end of I-40 in Oklahoma, or about 5 hours from St. Louis when we would stop that night. After a bit more interrogation I told mom what was going on. To my surprise she was more excited that she was going to see me than she was mad. I guess love conquers anger sometimes.

Now I don’t have much to show you as far pictures on the way back. The only pictures I shot were somewhere in Arizona. Elliott was on the phone with intern Britney and I had been watching this beautiful sunset for about 10 minutes in the mirrors. As we topped the hill (yeah they have hills in Arizona!) the road took a beautiful light and reflected the sun and the scene coming through my shaky sideview mirror was amazing. I knew this was my last chance to take the picture I had been debating on, and honestly the best spot I had found. I was riding in the left lane and knew I had a car riding my tail but slammed on the brakes and went into the median. Rocks bounced around and tired skidded to a stop as I was already reaching for my camera and Elliott kept talking as if nothing was going on.

I only shot about 17-20 frames of this, but love two of the pictures. They’re simple yes, but the clouds were amazing. This was the sunset I wish we had gotten in Ventura. We never saw it, but I’ll take this one as a bit of a replacement.

This isn’t a great picture. I just like it because it means something to me. If you remember from earlier in the trip when I was beating myself up over my bad pictures, I was saying that the harder you work for a picture the more it means to you. Well I didn’t work too hard for this but it’s a memory to me.

The same sun that set behind us would be rising in a few hours in front. Elliott traded off with me a few hours after I shot this photo and he drove through the night. I took back over somewhere in Texas only to watch another beautiful sun peaking over the horizon. For two hours it was a spectacular view. If you ever get the chance to drive across the country I beg of you to plan your trip so that you can drive through the night just once. It’s a very powerful feeling to see the sun go down and know you’ve been pushing on the whole time it was lighting the rest of the world when it gets back around to you. I can’t think of a bigger way to realize the world doesn’t revolve around you. But when I was driving and seeing it peek back up over Texas at 5 AM, I felt like it was rising for me.


4 Responses to “It doesn’t revolve around you”

  1. Now what?

  2. lenscapremoved Says:


  3. I’m game.

  4. […] actually representative of how he sees things, not just how he happened to take a photo. With Dave LaBelle leaving the Kernel, Jim Winn is exactly what we need. Someone who can help us grow with our multimedia, […]

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