Road Trip Adventures: Made it Through Florida and Alabama

by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

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.