This election cycle is insane. Just nuts.
Mike and I really felt the need to vote. Mike love/hates politics. He ran for a low level office years ago and, in general, it’s something that he pays a lot of attention to. I don’t think that either of us have missed a primary or presidential election since we have been able to vote.
We are both still registered in Florida, in our respective counties, so we wanted to get absentee ballots sent out here to Texas. Well, this turned out to be a bigger deal than anticipated. I guess, sometime around when they reduced the amount of early voting polling places would be my bet, they changed the absentee ballot process. There have been a lot of issues coming up about people voting by mail in Florida.
So we request them anyway, maybe they’ll send the ballot out and we’ll get lucky. Neither of us received an email confirmation or denial of our request so we just waited. And waited. And waited. And….nothing.
So we decided to drive alllll the way back to Florida over the last weekend of October to vote in person during early voting. We are super American y’all. If we weren’t registered in a swing state I doubt we would have gone through the trouble of driving 2,230 miles round trip.
We didn’t want to board Finn (and he loves my mom’s house) and we didn’t want to take the bus because we had a very limited amount of time and we are a lot slower in the bus. So we packed up the Fit and left Texas on Thursday afternoon after Mike got out of class. We arrived in Florida on Friday evening, hung out with my mom, and passed out pretty early. Saturday morning we went out to vote (along with my sister) and hung out with family some more. Sunday we had breakfast with my dad and sister and started the drive back to Texas. Monday night we arrived back at our beautiful bus, thoroughly exhausted, and in a fair amount of pain from sitting in a car for 4 out 5 days. But our civic duty was done.
We took the usual I-20 to I-49 to I-10 to I-75 route to get into Florida but on the way back we decided that we really needed to shake it up. I-49 is terrible to drive on. There is nothing out there. So we, rather spontaneously, decided to take a slightly longer route and take I-75 up to Atlanta and pick up I-20 there and take that all the way into Texas.
We saw a restaurant on fire in north Georgia when we tried to stop an get gas. We drove through northern Alabama which is gorgeous this time of year. We saw the gas line explosion in Shelby, Alabama as we drove through. We saw this truly massive plume of smoke rise up and get bigger and later we saw on the news that that had actually been an explosion. We knew it was something unusual and probably bad we were far enough away that we couldn’t see what was causing all the smoke. Northern Mississippi is also lovely this time of year. We got to drive through a few new cities like Birmingham and Jackson. It was different and not nearly as tedious and monotonous. We listened to every available podcast of RadioLab. It was nice.
And then we got to Louisiana. Oh my god Louisiana. It feels like it will never end. Ever. Northern Louisiana is an interesting place. There’s really nothing out there except farmland but it looks like the landscapes from Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? came to life. It had this really interesting sepia washed look. Even the sky seemed muted.
That route added on an extra hour and half of driving time but I think it was worth it. The only downside is that we missed the BEST gas station in existence. The Busy Bee in Live Oak, FL. I love that place. It’s clean, the bathrooms are amazing, they have a huge selection of snacks and food, and it’s FILLED with bee puns/play on words. Like “Bee-r Hive” for the beer cooler, “Bee flashy, not trashy”on the trash cans, “Clean potties…they’re our beeswax” at the bathrooms, anywhere you can put a bee it’s there. The first time we ever stopped there it was late and I walked in to fancy-hotel-level nice bathrooms, Aruarian Dance by Nujabes was playing (it’s one of my favorite songs, I once tormented a group of middle school kids during a painting program I did at the library by making them listen to a homework edit for an hour), and bees are everywhere. It was the weirdest but best gas station experience.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned this but I love bees. Like- I’ve worked with beekeepers, started a 4H beekeeping club, will be a beekeeper when we have some property, might go back to school for entomology- kind of love. I love bees. A lot. They are such cool little creatures and they play a huge role in their environments. Don’t even get me started on bumblebees. I can’t control myself. I love how bees smell (like dirt and honey but fresh). I love how they sound. I just love them.
Anyway, that was that.
But guess what came in the mail yesterday? My absentee ballot.