First Solo Road Trip…Well, Katy’s That Is

Katy and her sister Aly in our 2013 Honda Fit.

Katy and her sister Aly in our 2013 Honda Fit.

Leaving off from my last post about deciding to keep our daily driver (our 2013 Honda Fit), both of us weren’t be able to fly back to Florida.  First, Finn would have to be boarded and I know he could fly but it makes me so scared since he would have to go in the cargo area- he is too big to fit under a seat and so he can’t fly in the cabin with us. Also Mike does have a job here in Texas so that would have given us a hard deadline to return and as I will explain, the Honda had one big issue with no definitive solution in sight. So it was decided that I (Katy) would fly there by myself and drive back by myself.

The Honda was part of the giant airbag recall (the shell around the airbag could explode out when the airbag was deployed and basically create shrapnel flying towards the driver and passenger…cool, extra death). I got the notice in February of this year telling me to be aware that it was my driver’s side airbag but that the parts wouldn’t be available until the summer. That was…not good. So we spent 4 months driving around with something that could kill us while trying to save us. In May I called to see about getting the airbag replaced (it was now technically summer so they should have that shit). Nope. They said to try again in late summer. I called in July, this time I was told that it’s actually my passenger side airbag, that they only have the parts for driver’s side, and to try again in even later summer. Fabulous. I called again mid-August before we are getting ready to move. Still not available. We moved without the airbag being replaced but the car was stationary so, not a big deal.

When we decided to get the car, I decided that I didn’t want to make a drive halfway across the country with an explode-y airbag so I was going to get it fixed before I left Florida. I didn’t have any time constraints so I could wait it out. I called the day I arrived (a Thursday), they looked up my VIN number for the first time (I’ve been dealing with the local Honda dealership this whole time) and, yeah, it was actually my driver’s side airbag that was messed up (now I am REALLY not making the drive without it being replaced) and since it was now the “priority airbag” they do actually have the parts, and they can get me in on Monday to get it replaced. Other than a brief “oh no, we might be out of airbags” quickly followed by a “nevermind! you got the last airbag!” when I started to get angry, everything went smoothly and my lovely car is no longer extra death-y.

Tuesday morning, I stocked up on Florida essentials- Publix bakery cookies for the drive and a case of my favorite seasonal beer not available in my part of Texas (Shipyard Pumpkinhead) for when I got home to the bus- and I was ready to get on the road. For my first solo road trip. Which was scary and exciting all at the same time. I’m about to be 30, it’s a little sad that I had never driven anywhere more than a hour or two away by myself. Mike has done a load of solo road trips- he’s gone north to New York and all the way west to California among other places. I was looking forward to 2 days all to myself.

Actually, when I got to thinking about it, I think this road trip was the longest I have ever been by myself. Ever. When I lived alone I had my Schnauzer Muttley with me so I was never really alone alone. I have always had a person or a dog with me.

The drive was awesome. I listened to whatever I wanted to, when I wanted to, at whatever volume I wanted to, and sang loudly and badly. Disney songs, 60s folk, Iron and Wine, 90s pop, you name it. I checked out a few eAudiobooks from my old library and listened to those when I got tired of singing. I listened to Amy Pohler’s Yes, Please (which I enjoyed- I think that definitely needed the audio format to work, she narrated and other people popped in read some, I think it would have been a bit dull in print) and Rob Lowe’s Stories I Only Tell My Friends (which I am still working on but am loving so far, it’s funny, interesting, and he is a great reader). I even stopped and went shopping for sandals that I could wear socks with and drive comfortably in.

Tuesday night I stopped in Spanish Fort, Alabama and got a proper hotel room. I was going to stop  in Pensacola but accidentally blew through all of the exits and ended up in Alabama before realizing that I had totally missed all the Pensacola exits. I had originally planned on sleeping in a Love’s parking lot when I got too tired to drive. We did that in the bus and it was fine, I felt very safe and comfortable. But in the Honda I am very low to the ground, the windows aren’t tinted, and overall I felt too exposed to be able to sleep comfortably. This was the first time I have ever stayed in a hotel by myself. So many firsts on this little roadtrip! It was also awesome. I played cartoons on the TV to fall asleep to, slept as late as I wanted, showered multiple times (they had very nice shower stuff) and just generally enjoyed the experience.

Wednesday the rest of the drive flew by until I got to Louisiana. I hate driving in Louisiana. It just goes on and on and on and there is nothing around. I missed my exit for the connecting highway from I-10 to I-49 and ended up driving straight through New Orleans (one of my favorite cities, terrible traffic) until I got around to I-49 again which cost me about an hour. No biggie.

Otherwise, it was smooth sailing. Everything went really well. I think there were 2 big factors in it not being a terribly exhausting 2 day drive. First, ponying up the cash and staying in hotel rather than sleeping in a parking lot. I felt so much better after that night. I wasn’t grimy from not showering or not brushing my teeth. I was well-rested, relaxed, and properly fed by the very good hotel breakfast. Second, I brought a cooler with me and picked out actual healthy snacks. I only stopped for coffee along the way. I didn’t have to resort to fast food or junk food to stay awake. I packed cantaloupe, raspberries, extra sharp cheddar cheese sticks, pecans (my favorite of all nuts), goldfish, Publix cookies, fizzy water, and bottles of plain water. I ended up eating mostly cheese, pecans, and raspberries and I felt great. I stayed hydrated and had lots of energy. I didn’t get that jittery feeling that I get after eating too much sugar. I didn’t feel gross from eating fast food and junk food for 2 days straight like I have during other road trips. Mike and I had talked about the state of our eating while on the road during our trip to New Mexico and this really proved the point that we would do a lot better not eating total crap the whole time. And it’s way easier to pack a cooler full of good for you snacks than it is to get off the highway and find somewhere to eat or hope that whatever gas station you’re at has something edible.

I rolled into Texas Wednesday night, snuggled with Finn and Mike, and promptly fell asleep. It was a good drive.

Bonus Picture: This was my Muttley.



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