Spontaneously Charging Across the Country

Well, I did it again — drove all day. I’d have stopped if anything caught my attention (besides an empty gas tank or a full bladder), but all those hundreds of miles looked alike with only small variations. (The most exciting parts were seeing a group of javelina by the side of the road and crossing the Pecos River.) I’d been afraid of such a drive, it seemed way too much stress on me and my car, but I had no other choice.

And now it’s done. I spent the night in Alice, forty miles west of Corpus Christi. Today, if everything goes okay (and if I don’t get it into my head to do another of those drive-all-day marathons), I will get the oil changed in my car and check out Padre Island.

Friends in Texas have been sending me information of great places to check out between here and Austin (a friend and I have a hotel reservation in Austin for March 6), I’m sure there will be something in the area to capture my interest.

Sometimes I think I’ve lost the reason for taking this trip — it never was supposed to be about insanely charging across country — but it is supposed to be about being more spontaneous, and that is what I have been doing — spontaneously charging across the country.

I suppose I should have made more of an effort to stick to my few plans, such as spending a couple of nights at Big Bend to see the stars, but I still remember how uneasy the campground made me feel. And I have to listen to my instincts even if they come from nothing but exhaustion.

Luckily, that Austin date in March will slow me down. I have almost a week before I have to be there, and getting there early gains me nothing.

So let’s see if today I do a better job of finding adventure.


(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)