by Terri Coop
Road. Trip. Two of the best words in the English language.
I’ve always been a road-tripper. During my stint in corporate America, my boss asked me to fill in for a couple of weeks during his vacation. I was in Chicago; he was in New Jersey. He told me to book a flight and my response was, “I’d rather drive.” I took a vacation day on Friday and was at his desk on Monday.
However, my best trips were of the random variety. During law school, in Tulsa Oklahoma, I developed a fascination with Route 66. Surrounded by history, the road called me. My first trip on 66 was an excuse to visit a friend in Los Angeles. My second trip had a different motivation.
Sitting in class, taking my last final, I suddenly wanted an omelet. Not just any omelet, I wanted a Spanish omelet. And it just so happened that the best Spanish omelet I had ever tasted was served at the Silver Moon Café in Santa Rosa New Mexico. The fact that it was 500 miles away did not deter me. I was hungry.
I got up early the next morning and took off.
Even as hungry as I was, I couldn’t make the trip in one jump, so I stopped at the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas. No, I didn’t try to eat the 72-ounce steak in one hour to get a freebie, but the sirloin tips were well worth the stop. I needed a break anyway, because I’d seen a tornado about an hour earlier. Well off across the plains, it was a sight. A scary sight. One that spawned the worst hail storm I’ve ever driven through. I was ready for lunch.
However, I was undaunted, I still wanted an omelet. Hey, you know what they say about omelets and breaking eggs. No tornado was going to stop me. Refreshed, I hit the road.
I got to Santa Rosa just in time to check into the little dumpy hotel next door. Greeted by the sleepy clerk, I had only two questions:
“What time does the café open?”
The next morning the nice Mexican lady called me “chica” as she served up my omelet. I explained that I had driven from Tulsa the day before to have breakfast here and her response is forever etched in my heart and mind, even ten years later:
“Um, okay . . .”
It’s hard to explain to the uninitiated the power of the road trip.
Terri Coop is a lawyer by day and writer by night. She lives and works in a Civil War era pile of bricks with a leaky roof and past-due property tax bill and loves every minute of it. She still hates tornadoes and loves omelets and also has a hankering to go on a road trip.