I mentioned our trip to Fort Worth in the post below. It was a long, long journey from South Carolina to Texas. In S.C. we lived in a small apartment above a high garage for seven months, sans air conditioning and central heat. It was January when we first moved in, right after our honeymoon, and we discovered our only source of heat was an oil stove in the living room. Needless to say, it wasn’t enough. It didn’t really reach our bedroom, and we would’ve frozen to death if someone hadn’t given us an electric blanket as a wedding present. Our only closet was in a spare room we kept closed to help heat the rest of the apartment, and we had to run into that frigid space every morning to grab our clothes for the day.
We had a pleasant spring, with a small fan or two keeping us comfortable, but the summer was sultry. The owner of the apartment used to sell ice cream out of a large, tall truck, so the garage was extra high; and since heat rises, you can imagine how hot the apartment got during the day. A couple of friends visited us one evening when the temperature reached 90 degrees, leaving as quickly as possible. Late afternoons and evenings were the worst, and one day we came home from work and Rick had us go straight to a restaurant to eat, mostly to get away from the heat. (We later noticed the next occupants had a window air conditioning unit.)
We started our trip to Texas in the middle of August, late in the day, after packing a small trailer with our furniture and possessions, hoping to get some hours behind us. We had no idea where to stop, and we finally came upon a motel near a little Georgia town. While gathering our luggage, we noticed a large garbage-type truck making a strange noise as it barreled down the Interstate in the dark. For some reason we joked that he was looking for us. (From time to time we’ve noticed similar trucks, and we always say it’s still hunting for us.)
But that wasn’t the most surprising thing we ran across at our motel. It had a back door. I’d never seen one in a motel, and Rick didn’t tell me it didn’t lock until the next day. We had a little roach problem that night, but we were so tired, we slept anyway. The next morning we decided to see where the back door went, so we opened it to find several chickens and a rooster milling about. Not exactly comforting.
We started on our way again, soon entering Alabama. Concerned about pulling a trailer through Birmingham, Rick took a detour–through the country. We were there for quite awhile. At one point we were so weary, we stopped at a school so we could rest and make sure the car didn’t run hot. We eventually reached Meridien, Mississippi and decided to spend the night. That’s when we realized we were in a different time zone–we had an extra hour. Every little bit helps.
The next day we reached Louisiana, and some of the flattest land we’ve ever seen. There were crops on either side of the highway, but no houses in sight for the longest time. We started thinking it would be flat throughout the whole state, but it changed, of course. At one point we drove right by a black rock mountain. It stood in a business section of the town we were in, with the sun setting just behind it.
When we finally reached Texas, we still had a long way to go. One of the first things we noticed was how brown the grass was. (We later learned that it was green during the spring, but by the time summer came, the heat and dryness turned it brown.) When we reached Fort Worth and our duplex, we discovered we didn’t have gas or a phone. After driving all over the city trying to take care of it, we learned we could’ve made a phone call for the one we turned on. (We didn’t have the other for the whole weekend.) And thus began our three-year stint in Texas. Things we liked: Mexican food, mimosa trees, and driving by Colonial Golf Club.