A note of warning, before I jump into the third part of our month long road-trip: Because our trip was so extensive, eventful and wonderful at the same time, I decided to split my blog into several installments. This first part recapitulated our initial car-troubles whereas the second part told the wonderful story about excessive amounts of food.
2015 has been a great year, A and I accomplished a lot of things, many of which we didn’t know we were capable off. But with all these accomplishments comes a sense of tiredness. Highs never come without treacherous lows. So yes, A and I were ready to welcome the new year. Early on New Year’s Eve day (what do you call that day? Just Dec 31st?) we left New Orleans early in the morning, thinking we would head south to soak up some heat and sun before heading back up North and ultimately travel all the way north back to Norway. But the sun never came and neither did the heat and where there is no sun or heat and you mix A and J in the equation there is a lot of steady unhappiness, just saying.
Despite frosty temps, both A and I were looking forward to a day in the car, as we usually didn’t stuff our faces in the car because, let’s face it, whatever you get alongside the road (and I am not referring to road kill) is just not anything worth stopping for. PLUS Santa Clause was awesome this year and provided us with many many many car snacks (some of which we still have because Santa Clause was VERY generous!).
Google maps said that the fastest route will still take approximately 8 hours form New Orleans to Austin. And life is a (never ending) highway in Texas. Wide highways with lots of lanes and with unnecessarily high speed limits, tons and tons of cars and even more gas stations. It’s not just the crazy number of gas stations but also the size of gas stations you can only find in Texas. I mean, seriously, 256 gas pumps in one gas station? Is there EVER a need for that many gas pumps? The answer is NO! There is NO way that all of Texas runs out of gas simultaneously, so that every vehicle-driver would then have to go to this particular gas station in the middle of nowhere, therefore justifying 256 gas pumps! It’s unbelievably crazy! As you might have learned by now (through social media) the Norwegians have a saying, called “helt Texas” (i.e. ridiculously crazy) and coincidentally (or not so much), if anything has ever been helt Texas it is Texas.
But then again, what do I know? At this gas station I found out that one of our headlights was completely gone. I suspected it ever since North Carolina, but didn’t want to make a big deal of it, especially because we mostly drove during the day. But on a three lane highway in Texas, I made a very big deal out of it! Every now and then it would jump on when we hit a bump hard enough, but for the most part, visibility was limited to the right hand side. This becomes even scarier when you drive 80 miles per hour on a highway and your entire vehicle is vibrating (not the good kind that puts you to sleep but the kind that wakes you up in an airplane 20 seconds before you crash).
Clearly our Pontiac was not made to drive that fast, ever, anywhere. Add darkness and Texans who think 80 mph is not quick enough and increase their speed to whatever they believe they should be driving and then add two stupid grown ups who think they are invincible chasing each other between cars. Only by chance did we end up in the middle of the three lanes as these two bozos, one on the left and one on the right hand side passed us while they must have hit at least 110 mph! All the while I don’t remember whether our vehicle was shaking because of the state our vehicle was in to begin with or me shaking of fear. And I get it. You probably were young and are having a good time but let me tell you, putting your life and others in danger, just because you like driving fast is HELT TEXAS!
But we made it to the Driskill (our hotel in Austin) in one piece. And being in Texas and given that everything is bigger in Texas, we figured, for the first time in our almost 7 years of relationship we should try to sleep in a kingsize bed. When in Texas, do as the Texans do? And boy, there is no better place to get lost than in a kingsize bed. If there ever was a need to export a particular product to Norway, kingsize beds it is! Why is this not a standard thing in any household all over the world? Kingsize beds should be a human right in my book, but then I guess there are more pressing issues too?
After about 45 minutes of me jumping from one side of the bed to the other, A got too hungry to tolerate my excitement any longer. Smart as A is, he had made reservations for our New Year’s Eve dinner, weeks in advance. However, he did not anticipate New Year’s Eve traffic or that he would be too tired to drive 8+ hours from New Orleans to Texas and then another 30 minutes (plus traffic) to the restaurant and back. So we ended up having dinner at the bar, talking about the past 365 days and how far we have come (figuratively and quite literally). No matter how much things change for us, and how many opportunities life presents itself with, one thing, will probably never change and that is the face I make when desert arrives:
After dinner we went back to the Driskill and wrote our New Year’s list where we reminisce about the past year and dream about the year yet to come. We talk about all the things we have accomplished, personally and professionally and we talk about all the things we look forward to doing. It is quite a neat tradition that we started when we first moved to Oslo and both A and I look quite forward to making these lists every year. Naturally with every year the lists get longer and longer and it fills my heart with warmth knowing that both A and I put so much effort into the lives we have built for ourselves. It’s not easy. It never is and just like Texas, life is really a highway with ups and downs, sometimes with long stretches without a bathroom break and sometimes presenting the most wonderful views. Sometimes we look back with discontent and sometimes we look back with fondness. But see, when we make these lists, the one thing that I can say with absolute certainty is that I am helt Texas about A! There is no one else I’d rather be on the highway with, even stranded in the middle of nowhere, with no phone service.