I-10 West—all the way home.
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The 958.9-mile drive wasn’t nearly as painful as I thought it would be, despite two yowling cats in the back. Dinner and breakfast amongst friends I’ve missed in Pensacola, several Alexander McCall Smith books on tape, traditional driving food of a DQ Blizzard, some nice sunsets and some Ace of Base adds up to a decent road trip. Signs by which I mark my progress: Welcome To state signs, of course, and: Jacksonville, Lake City, Tallahassee, Pensacola, Mobile, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Beaumont, Houston, Katy.
I had Chris’ three guns in my car (Excessive? Of course. We’re from Texas). Not sure what the rules are there, but when Chris gets pulled over he informs the cop he has a gun in the car and they ask him to step outside the vehicle with his info and licenses or whatev. Having in fact no concealed hand gun license (and I was transporting one of those and two rifles), somewhere in Mississippi zipping along around 100 mph I had the thought, “So what would I do if I got pulled over?” Not being able to think of anything, I decided I just shouldn’t get pulled over.
So then in Louisiana I was glad to see I was only going 80 when this round cop appeared radaring passing cars. I wasn’t even passing anyone—good for me! But he frowns and starts yelling and waving his arms around and tells me to get over NOW! Not very dignified. I briefly wondered if I could pretend I hadn’t seen him despite our eye contact. No. I pulled over. I turned off “44 Scotland Street.” Pounce yowled. Mouse mewed. The guy got in his car and drove the 100 feet to where I was (round). The rifle continued to lay on top of everything in the backseat. I did not have to further decide what to do because coppy asked me to bring my license to the back of the car. “Is there a reason you were going so fast?” he asked. I would not consider that fast, I considered telling him. Instead I said, “I’ve been on the road for seven hours. My husband is at SERE school and we’re moving to Atsugi, Japan, so I’m driving our two yowling cats to Houston by myself, where we’ll fly out.”
Chris always tells me to casually inform cops of his military status. I have done this before and it got me a ticket. Chris never gets tickets. This is unjust. He does get parking tickets because he apparently does not have enough military identifiers on his car. That, or parking cops resent his more active status.
Anywho, the cops says, “Japan? Is your husband a Marine?” “No, Navy helicopter pilot.” “Ok,” he says, writing on his (hall monitor) clipboard while I look gloomily at all the cars I spent all morning passing snickering at me on the side of the road. He continued briefly, “I’m gonna need you to slow it down for me. Have a nice day.” “Thank you,” I said, wondering how he’d make me pay a ticket from Japan anyway. Still. This is what I was putting up with, so I consider myself lucky to have avoided a meltdown:
Around sunset I stopped in Rayne, Louisiana for a break and some dinner. I would have spent an hour or so exploring if I hadn’t had the brats—er, cats—with me. I want to know more about the Frog Capital Festival or whatever, and how a town that seemed charmingly devoid of money (in a non-grimy way) had such well-kept lawns. Lawns Chris would envy. I am intrigued.