road trip recap: the long road to Nashville

As I mentioned in my last post, after Albuquerque, the road trip became much more about the road. Like I said, I was limited by time, and I also plotted my trip out by places I could stay safely and cheaply. Looking at the map of Route 40, I decided that Oklahoma City would be my next stop. I had an 8 hour drive ahead of me, passing through the rest of New Mexico and the very top of Texas, all along Route 40, the interstate with which I got very acquainted as the majority of my trip was spent on it. ūüėČ

Driving along Route 40!

Before I left the hostel, I got to meet the donkeys that live on the property. I love horses and their relatives, so I had fun watching them run around and play with each other. I also got to say goodbye to Ringo, the friendliest dog in New Mexico. ūüėČ

Donkeys at the Hostel!

Braying Donkeys

Ringo the Dog

Then I got on the road, saying goodbye to New Mexico. I forgot to mention this earlier, but New Mexican sunsets are absolutely gorgeous, too. It’s interesting how each region has such unique sunsets. There wasn’t too much to see on Route 40 through the rest of New Mexico. Like with my trip from Flagstaff, I was reluctant to stop too early in the journey, but I did pass through Tucumcari, New Mexico, where I finally got my shot of something proving that I passed along the historic Route 66. I hopped out of my car, thought I might find somewhere to eat lunch, but as it stood, the town was even smaller than I expected so I kept on going to Texas.

Route 66 Marker in Tucumcari, NM

I’d never been to Texas before. While Austin intrigues me, Texas really doesn’t. I was amused to hear the polite Texan accent and speech (ma’am for the first time in a while), but mainly I was happy to get through Texas as quickly as possible. (I did take a picture of the largest cross in America, though, as I passed by.) I stopped in Amarillo to get something at Dairy Queen (what? that’s not healthy road trip eats?!), and again in Shamrock to fill up my gas tank for the second time that day. 500+ miles is a lot of ground to cover.

From there, it was a straight shot to Oklahoma City. While the scenery in Texas was exceptionally flat and uninteresting, western Oklahoma was marginally better. The traffic got a bit more congested in the afterwork hours, and I was surrounded by a lot of terrible drivers. I did, however, see another surprisingly lovely sunset. As I got closer to the city, I drove past a giant display of Christmas lights, which made me smile, but unfortunately, no pictures, boo!

I had booked a room at the Days Inn Oklahoma City Moore, since it got such great reviews on TripAdvisor (see link). It was also only $40 for the night I was there, which was a bargain compared to most other hotels. The hotel is located a bit south of Route 40, and as I got closer I got freaked out because it’s in an area that seemed to have a lot of abandoned car sales lots. However, the hotel itself is super new and comfortable and the parking lot was well-lit and patrolled by security, so I knew I was all good. Plus, I had a king-sized bed, a tv to catch the end of So You Think You Can Dance’s final performance episode, and a microwave to heat up my burrito from the Chocolate Maven. Let me tell you, I was so glad that I had bought something vegetarian for dinner the day before, since there was no food anywhere near the hotel (not that it would have even been veggie-friendly) and I was beyond exhausted from the boring drive. It’s a struggle to stay alert over such a distance!

Despite my comfortable bed, I set my alarm early to get on the road to Nashville. This time I had a 10 hour drive ahead of me, and I wanted to avoid driving too much in the dark (see above comment on having trouble staying alert, especially at night!). After eating a ton of food at the complimentary breakfast bar (I was super hungry and delighted in the over-processed foods, haha), I took off. I passed through Oklahoma fairly quickly, stopping in at a tourist trap to check out moccasins and pin where I was from on a cool map that tracked all their visitors. But I was equally happy to breeze through the state of Oklahoma. I know I don’t know the state, but people just seemed awfully sad everywhere I stopped. It bummed me out.

Somehow, I managed to drive across the entire state of Arkansas without stopping. I wanted to see Little Rock, but Route 40 passes just north of the city and I still had a lot of driving to do to get to Nashville. I think all of these southern states would make for an interesting road trip at another moment. Just after crossing the bridge into Tennessee, I stopped in Memphis, which looked like a pretty cool city from my brief moments gazing out over the river. With all the music history there, I plan to return someday to see more.

Memphis, TN

Memphis, TN

By this point, I was getting tired of the road, so I wished I had actually booked the hostel in Memphis. But I kept on truckin’ and made it through the final few hours to Nashville. I have a lot to say about Nashville, so I’m going to save it for my next (and final) post. Nashville was my last sightseeing stop before meeting up with my brother in Virginia, or at least, that’s what I thought!

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