The Memphis Route

a quiet November morning in downtown Memphis
a quiet November morning in downtown Memphis

It has been a little over a year since we have had to make the long trek to Florida from Oklahoma. As co-drivers, Matt and I have been the ones who get to determine our route through the country’s Deep South while Elle is only subjected to the 18-22 hour drive, depending on which way we’ve chosen to go. She is usually pretty good about the ride as long as the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel includes a hotel pool and morning donuts.

Our family has traveled through Little Rock, New Orleans, Dallas, Memphis, Atlanta, Mobile, and Jackson (and more!) in our adventurous attempts to determine the best way to move between Jacksonville and Oklahoma City. Conclusion: there is no best way. If we could pave our own private interstate from one city to the next, it would include Little Rock, Memphis, New Orleans, Vicksburg, Jackson, and Mobile. One favorite pass-through followed by another. The New Orleans route is 22 grueling hours. The Memphis route, while still grueling, is only 18 hours.

We are taking the Memphis route this time.

My husband and I recently discussed why we had never taken the Memphis route after our first long-haul drive. Not surprisingly, it was because I couldn’t handle the change in elevation. After we’d left the flatlands of Jacksonville in the early morning hours (with me at the wheel), I started to get carsick by lunchtime outside of Atlanta (you know, with all those hills…how embarrassing). By the time I’d made it close to the Alabama border, I had to be taken out of my misery, thrown into the passenger seat, and given a Dramamine. I remember very little until the next morning when I woke up in chilly Memphis.

So, Memphis – I plan to meet you good and proper this time.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be traveling through some really cool cities on our way to my parents’ house in Jacksonville, Florida. We haven’t decided which route to take home, though. Either way, I get to cross the Mississippi River twice in July. This, the river crossings, is strangely a thing for me. I get a kick out of it every time. Matt and I will also be visiting someplace new together. One of the things we have the hardest time deciding is where to go for trips. He has been practically everywhere and I like for us to see things for the first time at the same time. It’s not a prerequisite, just a request, and this trip gives us an opportunity to spend a few nights on a small island off the south Georgia coast where neither of us has ever stepped foot. Hooray!

The kid? Psssh, she’s not coming with us to the island. My parents insisted on taking her somewhere for their own vacation. Her best friend was invited and the girls have no idea where they’re going. My husband and I know the plan, but we can’t even tell you. It’s very possible she’ll read about it here.

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