(photo courtesy Leon Hammack)
2275 miles in 49 hours!
That’s right, you read it correctly! 2275 miles in 49 hours in a 2002 Suzuki Vitara, and we lived to talk about it!
It wasn’t originally planned to be a world wind rush through the Southern States, but it turned out to be exactly that. It was originally planned to be a three day trip, but even that plan was going to be ambitious.
After a rather long day at the Daytona 500, approximately 2 hours of delays while the grounds crew tried two different times to patch a large hole in the middle of turn 1 and 2, we ( my brother Jimmy and I) rushed to our awaiting car to begin the drive back to the West Coast. By the time that we climbed into our homeward transportation, it was 7:55 pm Sunday evening.
Our plan was to drive about 240 miles to around , Gainesville FL and call it an evening. But we were still feeling good when we approached Gainesville, so onward we went! We blew by Gainesville and Tallahassee like animal with the lower part of its anatomy on fire!! I gazed at my watch and noticed that it was almost midnight. Thinking back on the day, we got up that morning at 4 am in order to be guaranteed a primo parking spot on International Blvd. ( across the street from Daytona International Speedway). Nevertheless, two hours later (now 2 am) we both ran out of steam! We found a rest area, pulled the car into one of the parking lanes, grabbed our blankets that we bought the previous day that might keep us warm at the race track, reclined out seats, and commenced to try to grab “a few ZZZZZZ’s.”
Quite to my amazement, the sleep was short lived! In about 2 hours we were awakened by the sound of rain hitting the front windshield. We quickly gathered up our senses,”fired” up the Suzuki, and got back on the interstate heading West! It was now 4 am and we have a lot of real estate lying ahead of us!
Interstate 10 is a long lonely stretch of road to tackle, but we were up for the challenge. The rain posed a small problem, as rain always does, but lasted only for about 4 hours. Not to be deterred, we were off and on a mission!
The cities clicked off like miles on an odometer, Pensacola, Mobile, Pascagoula, Moss Point (more on these two cities later), Biloxi, New Orleans, Ponchatrain, Baton Rouge, Houston, and San Antonio. Finally at 10pm Monday night we decided to “shut it down” in Fort Stockton, TX and found a Holiday Inn Select for our sleeping needs. As a side note, upon waking up from my fantastic, but short, night of sleep in the Holiday Inn, I felt much much smarter than I did before I went to sleep! (Reference old Holiday Inn commercials!)
6am Tuesday morning, the wake up call comes! “Man was that a short night sleep”, I kept thinking as I was in the shower !!! It is time to get cleaned up, get checked out, hit Mickey D’s for some quick “body fuel”, and get doing a little Steppenwolf! For those of you too young to understand that reference, Steppenwolf was a 60’s band that sang “Born to be Wild”!! As in:
“Get your motor runnin’,
head out on the highway.
Lookin’ for adventure,
and what ever comes our way.”
So off we go on our way to Yuma, AZ. From Ft. Stockton westward the view is the same, desert, scrub brush, barren land, and cowboys! About 250 miles later we passed through a town that sparked another song in my head, an old Martin David Robinson tune, better known as Marty Robbins, the classic was from the 60’s as well. It goes something like this:
“Out in the west Texas town of El Paso
I fell in love with a Mexican girl.
Nighttime would find me at Rosa’s contina;
Music would play and Felina would whirl.
Blacker than night were the eyes of Felina,
Wicked and evil while casting a spell.
My love was deep for this Mexican maiden;
I was in love but in vain, I could tell.”
However the song was short lived just like everything else that day, cause we pulling a Hank Snow, “I’m moving on!”!
To sum up the 2275 mile trek in 49 hours it would go like this:
Scenically fast, conversationally great, and the company was the best! Additionally, overseeing the safety of his two boys, I know, was our dad, Archie Wilson Hammack!!
What an adventure we had!!
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!