Ryan's Road Trip Blog #5: Finale

By Ryan Freeman

Read Part 4

It’s a bit hard to make the last days of the trip interesting, as it all happened quite fast. I woke up in Nevada to large trucks revving their engines at around 10 or so. I was running out of money, fast, so I told myself I wasn’t going to be spending on anything extravagent -- just water and gas, soylent would be enough to get me back home. That day, I drove through the white sands of Utah, the 80 MPH speed limits and realistically 90 MPH traffic flow allowing me to put distance between me and my previous parking lot hotel at a quite stunning pace. 

I then hit Wyoming, a place I quite often forget exists, and had my whole expectations of the state demolished. I don’t know why it’s what I assumed, but I had seen Wyoming as almost Maine-like, but flatter. Densely forested? Fuck no. It was bare plains the whole way through. I dropped off my second to last CD of my project at a rest stop here, played a little bit of Pokemon Go because driving through the scenic views of nothing was killing me. I eventually went to sleep at another Wal-Mart in Rawlins, WY, and slept quite well. 

I woke up in Rawlins, as one would expect considering I fell asleep there, and had a crazy idea. What if I just drove all the way home from here? I checked Google Maps, 27 hour drive. It felt realistic, as weird as that sounds. I decided I would drive until the night came, then update my expectations from there. 

Driving through the midwest was a little fun the first time, just for the novelty of it. The flatness was new to me. This time, however, the flatness was growing old. What at first was new and interesting, grew to be fairly miserable and boring, seeing the same scenery everywhere -- large farm fields, wind farms, billboards. I don’t want to be “that guy” and drive through, then talk badly about people’s homeland, but when you’re setting out for over a day of driving, you kind of hope it will be interesting. 

There’s a certain level of comfort, for me at least, in not knowing what state you’re in. At some point at around midnight, I pulled into a rest stop not knowing where I was in the slightest. I turned off my GPS because I knew I was just heading the same way for some 200 odd miles and I stopped seeing familiar places on the signs. I used the bathroom, bought a water, accidentally bought a Monster (damn, my caffeine dependency), and made some small talk with the cleaning lady. I asked if I was still in Iowa, she laughed and said yes, then told me she wasn’t surprised that I didn’t know because everything kind of looks the same. I got back into my car and decided that I was going to make it home. 

Driving at night is one of my favorite things because for the most part, it’s just me and the road and very little traffic. During this trip, I didn’t get much time to drive at night, considering I wanted to see the sights and sleeping during the day proves difficult in sunlight. I drove through most of Illinois and Indiana during the night. It was peaceful. However, driving through Cleveland in the morning was less than peaceful and more on the side of headache than anything. 

The drive through the northeast wasn’t new to me, but the weight of being nearly penniless was weighing on me. I knew I was only get a couple more chances to put gas in and one of those was going to have to be an overdraft. I started driving less fast and more economically friendly. New York was rainy and miserable, but I got to see quite possibly the most beautiful sunset I’d ever personally witnessed when I was near Boston. Once I managed to get back on I-95, I really considered the trip over, as I had made this drive countless times over the past year. I eventually arrived home at around 9PM, about 2 weeks and 3 hours after I left

Postscript

Music: The most common sense form of entertainment while driving is music, duh. If you’re a music person in general, this shouldn’t be a problem for you in the slightest -- just gather your favorite albums, maybe make some custom playlists, spice up your Pandora stations, etc. If you’re less musically inclined though, this may be even simpler -- just turn on the radio and find a station you like.
    
Albums: 

  • Wildflower by the Avalanches
  • Midnight Menu by TOKiMONSTA
  • Positive Songs for Negative People by Frank Turner
  • Tourist History by Two Door Cinema Club
  • Worlds by Porter Robinson / Adventure by Madeon

        Playlists:
            “Pandora” - Indie? Maybe. It’s vibes.
            “Bangers” - Bass focused hip hop.
            “Hella Rad” - Pop Punk and Pop Punk adjacent things.
            “Road Trip” - A focused compilation for travelling. All genres.
            “Favorites” - A friend of mine saves all her favorite music on this.
        Radio stations: 
            I know I’m being way too specific but in some area in South Carolina there’s a super awesome hip hop station that I can’t remember the name or number of, but I know it played Gucci and Dolph and all that good shit. So find them if you’re in the area.

Podcasts / Spoken Word: Podcasts are kind of a weird thing to get into initially but once you find a good one, two, or ten they slowly take over your life. Audiobooks are like that as well. Welcome To Night Vale introduced me to podcasts as a whole, while TED Radio from NPR got me into the more thinkpiece type of thing. 

Podcasts: 
    Comedy - Last Podcast on the Left, The Roundtable of Gentlemen
Fiction - Alice Isn’t Dead, Welcome to Night Vale, The Black Tapes
Political - The Gist, Abe Lincoln’s Top Hat, Politically Re-Active
Creepy? - Lore, Last Podcast on the Left, The Black Tapes
Misc - This American Life, Radiolab, Reply All, Note to Self, Millennial
        Audiobooks - 
            How To Ruin Everything by George Watsky - disclaimer, I only listened to one audiobook the whole time. It was this one. It was good. 

* Fun fact, as a delivery driver, I can now present myself as a “professional driver” -- which sounds a hell of a lot more impressive than “pizza delivery boy.”