Tuesday morning.  I just spent the last hour walking around a Walmart parking lot hugged by palm trees, stretching towards the Florida sun, talking to my long lost friend Scott in excited short bursts of love speech.  Scott and played in a band, Gunk, together through my college years.  The fact that band never rose higher than where we got to is nothing short of criminal.  Great songs, great bands, great singer.  There is still definitely unfinished business there.  (Secret side project?  Stay tuned kids.) 

Monday was divided into two chunks, Savannah, and looking for a place to sleep in central Florida.  Savannah, GA is one of my all time favorite places to stop on this drive.  It's just a beautiful sleepy city by the water... no one seems in a rush; Spanish moss hangs from angular trees, inviting your inner child to climb higher than your mother would want you to.  We walked around the city, sipping local beer out of plastic cups we stole from a nearby coffee shop.  When my head got dizzy from too much indulgence, I took a midday nap on the side of a road while the city went by out the window at its dulled down pace.  Sam and Andy excitedly talked about chasing their collective buzz down by the water.  I pretended to understand the plan, but after I realized it did not need to involve me, and I could sleep, I checked out.   

And I woke for the second time.  I had one of those moments where not only did I not know my whereabouts, I did not even know who I was.  Then it came back... your name is Chad, these are your list of failures and accomplishments, you are currently 33, the year is 2017, and your current plan is to drive a van across the country to see whether you can actually make this lifestyle work or not.  Cool.  Let's go. 

So at 7 pm, we had the days second round of coffee, and made a plan to drive down the coast and try to wake up by the ocean.  Sam proposed the romantic idea of finding a patch of sand to park by so we could smell the salted air while we rested.  So we made a plan to drive to Daytona beach, and maybe find something just past it that would not be heavily patrolled by policeman and whatever other special local authority that's primary objective is to stop people from enjoying the outdoors beyond the posted laws written up by the a group of people in a room that probably have never even been to this beach.  'Merica.   

What we pictured was something out of a Kerouac novel: three young men living in a way that would make our elders scared for our generation; what we received was billboard after billboard offering "Midnight Shot Specialzzz" and "XXX Dancing".  It was then that we decided if Daytona Beach was a person, it would be Donald Trump.  Daytona Beach.  SAD!! Such a nasty beach.   

After driving down the flattest road ever imagined, we eventually found the Walmart we would call home for the evening.  Enjoying midnight snacks of cold pizza and slightly bruised apples, we tried out best to imagine comforters, down pillows, and our loved ones back home while we faded into dreams under the canopy of distant highway sounds.  

Chad GosselinComment