Road Trip Adventures: Made it Through Florida and Alabama

Many of the trips I take with my dad begin with us being over-ambitious. I thought I’d be able to fit all of my belongings into two suitcases. No such luck. Even after putting half of my stuff in my friend’s garage where I’m storing it while I’m in Dallas, I still have a car full of suitcases, boxes and bags. The back bumper of my car is sagging.

My dad and I thought we’d leave at 7:30 a.m. That got pushed back to 9 a.m. the night before we left. When Saturday morning rolled around, we didn’t leave until about 11 a.m. Again, we’re pretty ambitious, or just not very good at following schedules.

We’re driving through Mobile, Ala., as I write this. Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long,” which is a new version of “Sweet Home Alabama,” is blaring in the background. Mobile looks smaller than I thought it would. From a few miles away, we could see three tall buildings and lots of water. The buildings were welcoming beacons because all day we’ve passed countless rows of trees with very few billboards or other visual distractions to break up the monotony. I thought Florida would never end, so when I saw signs saying we were only a few miles from Pensacola, Fla., and headed toward Mobile, I let out a little hallelujah.

So far we’ve spent $117 on gas and driven 566.1 miles. We’ve flipped through countless radio stations after getting tired of the road trip mix my dad made.

“Can I turn off the country, dad?”

“Let me just hear this one song.”

We’ve also seen our share of sports cars.

“Woah, look at that mustang. Oh, and it’s got a pony package!”

“Pony package?”

“Yeah, pony packages are so cool. Let me explain ….”

“Ah, okay. Well, now I definitely know what a pony package is …”

At one point it rained so hard my dad couldn’t even see the car driving in front of him, let alone a sports car from a quarter mile away. We stopped for dinner at Ruby Tuesday’s while the storms calmed a bit. Our goal tonight is to make it to New Orleans. We had originally hoped to get to the Crescent City by 8 p.m., but I’ll stop being ambitious and guess that we’ll get there by 10:30 p.m. A few hours behind schedule, but still on track.

Published by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

Mallary is a mom of two young kiddos -- Madelyn and Tucker. Mallary absolutely loves being a mom and often writes about the need to find harmony when juggling motherhood and work. Mallary is the Assistant Director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin, where she manages the Center's various programs related to distance learning, freedom of expression, and digital journalism. Previously, she was Executive Director of Images & Voices of Hope and Managing Editor of The Poynter Institute’s media news site, Mallary grew up outside of Boston and graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island. In 2015, she received a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University. She now lives in beautiful Austin, Texas, with her kids, husband Troy and cat Clara. She's working on a memoir, slowly but surely. You can reach her at

3 thoughts on “Road Trip Adventures: Made it Through Florida and Alabama

  1. Mallary!
    I caught your blog through various sources and just wanted to say hello since you passed through my neck of the woods. I moved to Pensacola for flight training with the US Navy earlier this year, and have been flying just north of Mobile, AL for the past several weeks. Thought your bit about driving through the area couldn’t be closer to the truth – it’s country, mustangs, pickups and rain down here! But we are blessed with otherwise gorgeous weather and lower gas prices. Hope the move went well!
    BBrown, PC ’07

  2. Hey, thanks for reading my blog, Brendan! I’m glad you came across it. It’s funny to see where everyone has ended up after college. I didn’t know we were practically neighbors in Florida! I’ll have to let you know when I make the trip back to Florida at the end of October.

  3. Hi from Mallary’s dad. That is neat to hear from a pilot, especially a PC graduate. Driving through the Pensacola area brought back childhood memories for me, as we passed the planes of the Blue Angels planes displayed in art form along the highway. My older brother and I use to build model airplanes when we were kids. I must have built at least a half a dozen of the Blue Angels’ planes. I was also fortunate enough to see them fly when I lived inVirginia.

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