Two thousand and two miles and seven states in twenty-nine hours. My sister and I drove that distance in a small Hyundai Sonata from Tennessee to California. We celebrated as we passed state lines, posed in front of state signs, and nearly killed each other in the last eight hours before we made it to California.
My sister and I agreed to help our cousin by driving her car back to California from where she lived in Tennessee. She and her newborn baby were to take a flight back home as we tried not to crash her car while moving at top speeds across the country. However, after we began to see historical signs and interesting billboards, we decided to make a couple of stops along the way.
In Memphis, Tennessee we saw the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed and visited the Civil Rights museum there.
In Little Rock, Arkansas we visited Little Rock Central High School where nine African American students were initially prevented from entering it in 1957 by Orval Faubus, the Governor of Arkansas, and the Arkansas National Guard.
In Oklahoma, my sister and I experienced blatant racism from nearly every white person that we interacted with while we were there. We ended up speeding out of the state and thanking God when we made it to Texas.
In New Mexico, we continued driving on the original historical Route 66 stopping to buy authentic Native American crafts from the local tribe.
We sat in complete wonder as we drove into the brilliant sunset filled with colors of red, oranges, purples, and blues in the state of in Arizona.
By the time we made it back to California and woke up the next day still exhausted, our internal clocks were entirely off. Driving back into time through different time zones on the weekend of Daylight savings was a trip in itself. I had always wanted to drive across the country from east to west since I had already done so from south to north and back. I can now cross it off my list of things to do before I die, and I’m so glad that I was able to do so.