2,250 miles. Fitting that it was a round number as the rental car odometer read a perfect 8,000 miles on it when I picked it up. Over the course of the next 5 days I put those 2,250 miles on it between Prescott, AZ and Austin, TX. Growing up I despised the Lone Star state. My only experiences were on cross country drives with my parents and back then, as now, I was obsessed with progress. When you’re driving in the same state for close to 20 hours, it’s easy to feel like you’re not getting anywhere. As a child, forced to listen to my Mom’s Alabama and Oak Ridge Boys cassettes, I could not wait to get to my destination. The sooner the better as far as I was concerned. Now that I’m older it has become just as much about the journey as it has the destination.
A few years ago I drove to Austin to take part in the Staple comic show, a fun, intimate convention that focuses on the arts. I really started to appreciate the beauty, and sense of adventure west Texas offered. A good friend of mine, Rob Osborne, an artist and designer lives there and I knew I wanted to go for a visit so I again did a comic show in Austin, though not the great Staple event. Wrapping the visit into a working weekend was my way to justify bailing on family obligations and enjoy a guilt free trip. Along the way, I was also visiting with friends from high school, one who I had not seen in over 20 years.
My road trip companion Jeff and I drove through the night, as I like to do, and we entered Texas at sunrise. I’m always pleasantly surprised to witness the mountains and deserts of Arizona and New Mexico turn into the grass lands of Texas. Driving along highway 290 we passed through a couple small towns that I knew someday I’d have to take my wife too. Old towns and historic bars are one of my absolute favorite things.
As soon as we got into town I picked up some Lone Star and we headed to meet our childhood friend, and photographer, Alfred. As it is almost every time seeing someone I met in Okinawa, even a person I haven’t seen since 1994, the connection and the friendship was immediately there again. We caught up and talked art, cars and mutual friends over a couple more Lone Stars at The Crow Bar.
Seeing old friends and traveling is my greatest passion right now and I hope to do more of it in the future. I’ll write about it here if I feel the need. I ended that weekend in Austin the same way I started it, with old friends and a Lone Star at the Whip In. A bar/grocery/restaurant that I fell in love with, and will be returning to in just a couple weeks as I drive through Austin again on another trip that I’m indescribably excited for.