The Great American Road Trip
”Then one day, when you least expect it, the great adventure finds you.” – Ewan Mcgregor.
Life is an adventure, buckle up and go for the ride! After nearly 4 years on the east coast, I will be making my journey back home to Los Angeles. As I travel across the country with one of my best friends, two dudes in a standard size SUV, I will be documenting the adventure and telling stories along the way.
Read the recap of The Great American Road Trip:
Day 6 & 7
Date: August 21, 2017 (exact date of the drive is 8/19 & 8/20)
Time: 10:00 AM
The End of The Trip
“I suddenly realized I was in California. Warm, palmy air - air you can kiss - and palms" Jack Kerouac.
The final two days of the trip were spent in Phoenix, where we were able to meet up with old college friends.
It was the perfect ending to the trip, we treated ourselves to the pool of the hotel and two nights out on the town.
Then on Sunday morning, we set out on the final leg of the trip - onwards to California!
Before the final two hours of driving, we made a pit stop at Trevor's Mom's house in Coachella Valley. It was a much-needed stop to relax, shoot some guns in the desert, and to eat our healthiest meal of the trip.
We finally made it to Los Angeles around 10 PM, greeted by the skyline of DTLA.
We made it!
A memorable trip and one that everyone should do.
I hope you enjoyed our journey and adventure across the country. After settling into Los Angeles and doing some reflection, I wrote a blog post to share the things that not only I learned but what I believe everyone can learn by road tripping across the country.
You can read the post here.
Date: August 18, 2017 (exact date of the drive is 8/17)
Time: 8:45 AM
The Two Americas
Texas, the Lone Star State.
We spent the entire day driving and making our way through the biggest state in the union. When they say everything is bigger in Texas, take it literally. I'm also going to assume that Texas has the highest concentration of large and oversized pickup trucks.
The night before the drive we arrived in Austin around 10:30 PM and still had a bit of time to grab a beer and check out the downtown/6th street area. As we walk down to the area, we happen to turn on a street that is filled with junkies.
It was eerie, weird, and very off-putting.
It was like the walking dead, each person had this glare on their face like they weren't even aware of their own existence.
Now knowing to walk on the other side of the street on our way back, we close-in on 6th Street. The night is pretty dead but you can tell that this place gets pretty wild and fun for events like SXSW.
Austin was extremely cool and unlike any other part of Texas. It is its own oasis, filled with progressive liberals, outsiders, junkies, rednecks, hippies, and a good mix of bros.
In a way, it also reminded me of Flagstaff in terms of demographics. I will definitely have to make my way back to Austin in the future and not just for a few hours.
Before the drive, we had amazing breakfast tacos - famous in Austin. Then we were recommended to check out the graffiti wall near the capital.
The graffiti wall is up there with on the list of the coolest things that I've seen on this trip. The wall is also open to the public to tag, but be sure to bring your own spray can.
The drive from Austin to El Paso was probably the longest & most grueling of the trip. However, we came into the drive already knowing and expecting that.
It served as a good time for reflection, especially regarding the recent build-up in racial tensions & conflict within the country.
Traveling and driving while these incidents occur, in a way, disconnects you. Like the yin and yang of life, that same disconnection causes you to have a different reaction to the events.
What I mean, is that the action of traveling makes it feel like you aren't connected to society.
But at every stop in Dixie Land, as soon as we step out of the car, reality does hit. You can feel the tension.
Even if the eyes aren't directly staring at you. On the surface, a young black male and young white male traveling through the south - causes a reaction.
But it is there.
It's also eye opening.
I now have a different perspective of our country thanks to this drive. I wouldn't call it being empathetic but you gain a clearer understanding of why people believe the things that they do.
You want to fault them for it, but they probably are thinking the same for you.
There are two Americas.
I'm not really sure that either one can live without the other. It's almost like a brother relationship. Often times both sides hate and want to kill each other, but they are also dependent on one another for their existence.
This quote from artist, Halsey, fits perfect to end this post:
"In my bubble of Los Angeles, I’m surrounded by a lot of good people with a lot of good intentions. But as I learned in this past election, my bubble is just a small fraction of how this country operates.
AirBnB in El Paso
Dinner in El Paso
Day 3 & Day 4
Date: August 16th, 2017
Poboys and Donald Trump
As we enter Texas there's a huge Trump sign on the side of the highway. Immediately, a car passes by with a Hillary for Prison bumper sticker.
This is Trump country, welcome to Texas.
This is Day 4 of The Great American Roadtrip.
In this post, I will be combining both Days 3 and 4 since we weren't on the road yesterday. We spent yesterday exploring and enjoying what New Orleans had to offer.
There's nothing like having fantastic friends. I would like to thank the homie Mike and especially his dad, 'Papa Pico', for letting us stay at his house during our stay in New Orleans.
If you can't tell so far, we like to eat and this trip has been heavily food driven. While in New Orleans, we spent the day eating poboys, beignets, jambalaya, and gumbo. Also being New Orleans, it rained most of the day but we were still able to explore the French Quarter. During the night, we cruised Bourbon Street...going up on a Tuesday.
We are currently on our way to Houston for a pit stop at my sisters before the final stretch of the day to Austin (with an eta arrival of around 9/10 PM).
When we arrive we will be greeted with homemade red beans & rice with hot water corn bread. Love ya sis (PS you made the blog!).
You do a lot of thinking on the road. For someone who already stays in their mind, I've done a lot of reflection on the road.
I believe everyone should take a cross country road trip.
It is an opportunity to experience the different cultures - in our own backyard. It is an opportunity to meet different people, who contribute to the experience along the way. It is an opportunity to get out of your element and to live the nomadic lifestyle. It is an opportunity to add perspective, to really see how the rest of the country is.
For me personally, it is already becoming the best decision on my way back to Los Angeles.
When in NOLA
Date: August 15th, 2017 (exact date of the drive is 8/14)
Time: 11:11 AM (a bit late)
The Ultimate Freedom
Being on the open road is the ultimate freedom. There are no constraints, the self-guided route holds the same feeling as the act of free will. It is a feeling of freedom to go down any path, to stop at any stop, and to make as many detours or pit-stops as you'd like (or time will allow for).
It's an amazing feeling, one that isn't too prevalent in our society.
The trip so far is still a bit surreal - the moments of "holy crap, we're in x state right now" seems to never disappear.
On Day 2 - we left Nashville for Memphis, with the final destination for the day being New Orleans.
10 hrs of driving.
The experience, priceless.
The night before in Nashville, we went honky tonkin. A first experience and memorable one.
Yelp has been our go-to food connoisseur during this entire trip. It also hasn't let us down yet.
The morning of Day 2, we had a good ole southern brunch from a place called "Biscuit Love". I now understand why they named it that, each bite filled your mouth with love - if love was also endless flavor.
Fried Chicken, Gravy, Biscuit Sandwiches
On the drive from Nashville to Memphis, we drove through the most rain that I've seen fall at one time. At moments kind of scary - but at the same time added to the adventure of the road trip.
As we cross through the frontier, the surrounding scenery is just pure picturesque. The land of the south is breathtaking, beautiful, and also has a lot of history to it.
In Memphis, we get more BBQ - probably our 3rd time around so far. No shame in our game.
The restaurant was recommended and called Corky's BBQ. Yelp said it was known for its rib, so of course, that is what we ordered. By far, some of the best BBQ ribs that I've had in my life. Coupled with sweet tea, satisfied wasn't a good enough word.
While in Memphis, we make stops at the Lorraine Motel and Graceland. The Lorraine Motel was an amazing sight to see - unfortunately, due to time, we weren't able to see much of the neighboring Civil Rights Museum.
LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT GRACELAND.
Just weird. I felt like I was stuck in time, surrounded by middle-old aged white people who smell like cigarettes and look like Elvis.
The final stretch to New Orleans was a straight shot through Mississippi. Due to the fact that it was Mississippi, we didn't stop once. We weren't taking any chances.
We made it into New Orleans around 12:30 AM.
Got a good nights rest and now we're ready for another day of good food, city exploring, and bayou living.
BBQ for Lunch
Date: August 13, 2017
Time: 8:24 PM
Road Trips are made for detours
It's not a road trip without a few detours. Suprisingly, after a night out in D.C. we were able to make it on the road on time in accordance to our pre planned schedule.
After a few cold brews for fuel, we hit the road en route to Nashville, TV. We're both running on high energy, excited for the epic journey ahead.
Only about an hour and half into the drive, we take our first detour of the trip. We kept seeing this huge billboard, something about caverns. Intrigued, but also not knowing what the hell a cavern is, like the millineials that we are - we google it.
After a quick search, the decision is a solid yes from both of us "tryna go see some caverns??"...we both reply "yup".
However, as we continue to drive through Virginia, I begin to reflect on yesterday's events in Charlottesville. As it was last night when we went to the Lincoln Memorial and recognized the scripted words on the wall. Words from Lincoln that speak about peace, justice, and equality. It's a shame, 300 years later, the battle continues for true equality & justice in America.
We actually end up passing a sign that says Charlottesville - instant decision is that we need to stay as far away as possible.
The cavern detour turns out to be one of the coolest nature things I've ever seen. The cavern is pure magic, something that the movies try to replicate. We end up 260 feet below the surface, looking at geological creations that are over a million years old. By far, one of the most spectacular moments. To think, it's only day 1, who knows what else America has to offer.
Onward on the road again.
We're closing in on Nashville. Had a fantastic lunch at, Three Little Pigs BBQ, where another cold brew was needed to fight off the itis.
As we make the drive, we continue to ask ourselves" whether or not it's okay to pull over here?"
Three Little Pigs BBQ
Date: August 12, 2017
Time: 5:44 PM
I'm sitting in my empty studio with nothing but an air mattress, small chair, and two pillows. I guess this is goodbye, it has been a good run.
I am grateful for my stay in this town. I gotta say, in one year, I learned a lot about myself. Thank you, Washington D.C.
But now, Los Angeles awaits!
I woke up this morning to a phone call from Trevor, my good friend who's joining me on The Great American Roadtrip. After I slept through multiple alarms and two text messages, he informs me that he landed in D.C. A good friend is one who is down to just drop everything for the enjoyment of life experiences. That's Trevor.
It has been a long day.
We've picked up the rental SUV, drove to Virginia to sell my mattress, then went on a little adventure in Old Historic Alexandria. Speaking of Alexandria, everyone looks the exact same - it's bizarre.
The SUV is packed, the air mattress is blown up, and now it's time to take a nap.
We hit the road tomorrow, bright & early.
Fried Chicken & Waffles
Location: Somewhere in Arlington Virginia
Road Trip Ready
P.S. The mattress didn't fit :(
Historic Arlington Virginia