The first two days of driving were our longest of the entire trip. We wanted to get South and West as quickly as possible so we were prepared to just power through to Austin. As soon as we got on the road, we realized that all our music was in the cloud so we had to go 14 hours without. We listened to a lot of podcasts, talked on and off and cried randomly (that was just me).
Driving through Tennessee, though it is a freaking long state, was beautiful with mountains and hills and green trees. We also drove through a post-storm sunset in Nashville and for the hour or so beyond in the mountains.
After a long day that went by pretty quickly, we arrived in Memphis where we stayed in a hotel by the airport. We slept about six hours and got back on the road to keep traveling. In the morning, we drove through downtown Memphis, along the Mississippi River and stopped at a market to pick up breakfast and lunch before leaving town. Then we crossed the mighty Mississippi feeling like we were leaving the East Coast so abruptly.
We entered Arkansas, the so-called Natural State and both our first new state on the trip. We pretty much powered through, seeing Little Rock from the car, seeing signs for Bill Clinton's childhood home and stopping only for food and coffee. I started driving toward the end of Arkansas and reached a coffee high right around the time we reached Texarkana and entered Texas. At this point, we were at the height of our very important discussion about what hashtag to use for our road trip. Using a shared hashtag was another thing that friends encouraged us to do but everything that I or my friends suggested was too lame for Josh. On my coffee high, I came up with: #bestcoastbassetts, #carrieandjoshforeverwest, #settledinafinerlocation (in reference to RHCP Californication, which I learned actually says "Settled in a final location") and then we thought we could move to Texas instead so we could use #carrieandjoshtexasforever. We settled on #bassettsroadtriphashtag, the most obvious one after two days of on and off discussion.
We drove and drove, trees turned to open spaces, we saw Dallas from afar, and then a little before 6pm, we arrived in Round Rock, a suburb of Austin. We would be spending the next two nights with Brian, one of Josh's best friends from college, his wife Amy and their three month old twin girls. When we got there, Amy was home with the girls who we got to meet, hold and marvel at. It is really weird and cool when your friends have babies and it is fun to meet them.
After Brian got home, we all hung out some and then the three of us drove into Austin for dinner and a drink. We ate tacos at "Art of Taco" which were fine but not the best. Brian asked how we were feeling about everything and we acknowledged how surreal it all felt. Then we went to Banger's Sausage House and Beer Garden for a beer. We sat at picnic tables drinking our beers with sweat dripping down my legs at 10:30pm (it's hot in Austin) and laughing about old college memories.
When we got home and crawled into bed, I was so relieved to be staying in one place the following day. We had traveled over 1,500 miles in two days and were ready for the first day of fun on our trip.