It was an interesting mix of people to spend a week with, especially all in one house together trying to cook, eat, bathe, etc all the same time. Some of those couples are still together, some aren't. One of our friends brought his girlfriend-at-the-time with him who was in culinary school. While she made some fabulous dishes during the trip, we all chuckled at her penchant for carrying this ridiculous set of knives with her everywhere she went. I wonder what ever happened to her and her knives.
The plan was for all of us to meet down in Florida, which meant we weren't all traveling together. It made it much easier to just all figure ourselves out than to try to organize travel arrangements with twelve adults who all think their plan is better. Go work your plan, dude, but I'm not coming with you. My husband, one of his college roommates, and I all drove down together. Don't worry- we didn't kill each other, and he and his wife (someone he had yet to meet back then) are friends of ours to this day.
As we were driving south, sure enough there was a huge accident on I-95, which I'm sure was simply due to the fact that the sun rose that morning. We were left with two choices- sit in traffic or detour. We chose to detour, and it was one of the most memorable parts of that trip for me. We pulled out the map- yes, a real, honest-to-goodness paper map- and charted our route that would take us parallel to I-95 but just a couple of miles away. Where we ended up was small town Georgia.
Small town, and I mean SMALL town, Georgia, complete with little old ladies sitting on their front porches in rocking chairs and peach stands on the corner. The small, square lawns were perfect, the kids playing in the street with old balls and small dogs filled out car with the sounds of laughter. It was one of the most intricately beautiful places I had ever been, and we never would have found any of that had we stayed on the interstate.
As we drove down their streets we were waved at by the smiling people walking down the sidewalk. We weren't some random car of strangers who got wary looks of suspicion. We were welcomed with warm faces and bright greetings. Even from the interior of our car we felt that this was a place of beauty, and again, we never would have been blessed by that experience had we not been brave enough to find another route to our destination.
Don't be afraid to get off of the beaten path and explore. There are some really amazing things out there, and if all you ever see is the wide open highway then you are missing out. A couple of miles east or west of the "easiest" route might hold something breathtaking.
I've never been so grateful for a traffic jam.
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