I’ve written about the metaphorical road trip of life, but it’s rare that I actually get to go on real road trips myself. Most of my friends live out of driving distance these days, at least they live out of a distance that’s financially and ecologically responsible to drive when it’s just me going.
And I miss road trips. Just sitting in the car on my own, listening to music I never have a chance to really appreciate in the hustle and bustle of my everyday life, there’s a special kind of peace about that. And then there’s the exploration factor. That whole not-knowing exactly what you’ll encounter or where the trip will take you. You can’t replicate that experience.
So I decided that I would work a road trip into my list of summer challenges. It’s #5 – now marked off.
Summer 2014 Challenges
10. Get together with my teacher friends 2 or more times. Be girly if possible.
three (one left!) classic-faves of mine.
8. Go dancing. Just once. You’re not too old.
7. Have the tough conversations that I’ve been putting off. If not now, when?
6. Visit at least one college friend.
5. Take at least one road trip to somewhere new – just to drive it!
4. Read an new book start-to-finish AND watch the movie adaptation in the same day.
3. Powder room mini-renovations (it’s complex but not difficult).
2. Paint the tile on the floor of my guest room to make it truly magical.
1. Do something for myself every single Friday (that’s 3 of them) while I’m teaching summer school.
Unfortunately, the summer has flown by so fast that I found myself looking at a week left (officially) of the summer before I head into training on Friday of next week. And trust me, I’m not going to get to all of the challenges. I was determined, however, to make the road trip happen.
So yesterday, I set out on a day adventure to Archer City.
Before I started taking photos, I stopped for lunch in Irving at this remarkable little place (very popular with the business set) called Bread Zeppelin. Delish. Chopped salads stuffed into hollowed out french bread that you eat while listening to classic rock? Awesome.
Then it was time to make the long, country road drive. If you’ve never been on a road trip out toward the Texas panhandle, this is what you see:
cows (so many cows),
and wind farms.
There’s not a whole lot else out there. Finally, I arrived at my destination: Archer City, Texas. Approximately 2 and a half hours from Mesquite, the teensy, less than 2000 population pin on the map is the original hometown of Lonesome Dove author Larry McMurtry and a necessary destination for any bibliophile. Why? Because once upon a time, 1971, to be exact, Mr. McMurtry started a bookstore dedicated to collecting the most beautiful, offbeat, and rare books he could find. It began in DC but then was moved to Archer City, where there were once 4 shops that have now, as the owner/author gets on in years, consolidated into one main building but still labeled the iconic Booked Up.
And that building is fantastically glorious to any true book-lover.
While the books are somewhat divided into their specific categories (fiction, Texana, literary criticism, etc), there’s not much in the way of organization. To me, that’s the true beauty of this place, because it forces you to browse/scour all the shelves to see what strange treasures their shelves hold. And there are some gems.
While those books stayed in their places, awaiting someone who may truly appreciate their unique topics, I did find a couple that I just had to have. First, a slim volume by Harold Nicolson entitled Some People, and accompanied by etchings courtesy of Philippe Julian.
Then what I determined to be the Southern version of Pride and Prejudice, a rather interesting-looking book called We Three: Papa’s Ladies published through the Texas-based Naylor Publishing by one Ms. Margaret Young Wallace and signed to Ann Edwards by the authoress.
And then, just a half-hour before closing (the shop is only open for four hours Thursday – Saturday afternoons) and almost 2 hours after I arrived, I headed back to Dallas. This time, through a sky of gorgeous rumbling storm clouds.
One photo I didn’t get was the road runner that sped across the highway in front of my car. It’s more impressive if you know that the speed limit out there is 75 and the little guy darted across close enough for me to see the patterns in his feathers.
Ultimately, I wound up back at home with my hounds, which is always the sweet end to any journey. Just ask my little bears.