Nobody told me it gets cold in Texas. Once I finally find my camping space and click the home button on my phone to illuminate the surroundings, the screen reads “4:00” in the godforsaken morning. The wind whips at my tent, biting my fingers as I assemble it. It’s only the third day of a 21-day drive across the country, and I’m already experiencing zombie-like exhaustion. Daylong stints in a Porsche sport seat saddle, combined with late nights, early mornings and a severe coffee deficit, are making this experience hell on earth.
Why am I doing this? I have to be in Atlanta for my little sister’s graduation, and I decided weeks ago, from the comfort of my living room sofa in Reno, that a simple six-hour flight was out of the question. In this moment, I hate the me who made that decision.
On the other hand, we’ve all been there, sitting alone in a three-seat row with fingers crossed. Boarding is nearly complete, and the door to the bridge has closed. A mother with an infant in her arms and a toddler wiping his runny nose on his sleeve in tow are heading your way. You’re stuck for six hours shooting across the country in a pressurized metal tube full of germs. No, that too, is hell. I trade one hell for a distinctly different hell.
Better to be out experiencing the world from behind the wheel of my 40-year-old, 160,000-mile, air-cooled Porsche 912E. The gray walls of an airport are no match for the vast open roads of America’s interstate system. People often joke about how the middle of the country is “flyover” because there’s nothing worth seeing, but they couldn’t be more wrong. The sensation of watching the terrain change before your eyes — there’s just nothing like it.