Thursday, August 30, 2012

When Real Life Seems Like a Dream

from Mobile, Alabama to Pensacola, Floride, USAfrom Mobile, Alabama to Pensacola, Floride, USA (Photo credit: Nouhailler)

         It was a trip that dreams are made of or at least the content of that day seemed dreamlike in many ways.  We were a third of a way into our vacation.  Having spent a few days in Houston, my wife and I were next heading toward Orlando, Florida for a quick two day visit.  We decided to allow two days to get there with a overnight stop in Tallahassee, Florida and then two days to return to Houston.

         Leaving at precisely 6 AM on Saturday morning everything was starting out according to plan.  I had anticipated a detour getting out of Houston, but either I had heard wrongly that part of the highway would be closed or we left early enough to avoid it.  The departure from the city was smooth and uneventful.

          Outside of the city limits we found a McDonald's and pulled through the drive-through for a breakfast on the run.  It was still dark which was fine with me.  I expected another hot and humid day, not so bad in the air-conditioned car, but uncomfortable during the stops when we'd have to go outside.  As we continued on, my wife eventually dozed while I drove and listened to the radio.

          As predicted by the weather forecast, I could see we'd be hitting intermittent rain storms  and stretches of partly cloudy dog day summer. The morning was fair and fine as we hit Louisiana.  I had been craving boudin--a type of rice and meat sausage popular in this part of the country--since having decided to make this trip.  My plan was to stop somewhere around Lafayette and get a link of the spicy concoction to satisfy my craving.  Since it was still relatively early I debated doing this, but my wife encouraged me to pull off the highway to get my boudin so I wouldn't be talking about it anymore.

          We exited at Breaux Bridge and found a small boudin market that was open at that time of morning.  We weren't the only customers.  I bought myself a link, but my wife wasn't interested in even trying it.  Instead she opted for a small bag of cracklin's since this was something that she had tried before and liked.  My wife is not a very adventurous eater.  Sitting in the car, she enjoyed her cracklin's and I savored my boudin before heading back to highway I-10.

         The stretch of I-10 between Lafayette and Baton Rouge includes the 18 mile Atchafalya Skyway Bridge which transverses a vast network of swamp lands and rivers.  It's a scenic and mysterious looking landscape worthy of a dream setting.  If traveling early in the morning doesn't make you feel like you're driving in a dream, then this Skyway bridge area can certainly settle itself into your subconscious memory.  It's a place I'm sure I have already visited in past dreams and will be revisiting in some incarnation in future dreams.

         Traffic was heavy on this Saturday and became more congested as the day wore on.  The hours were passed in conversation with my wife or listening to the radio or the music CD's I had brought with me.  I was never bored.  There was always something to look at, talk about, or listen to.  It was road tripping at its best except for all the traffic.  And as we got into Mississippi the traffic got a whole lot worse.  I don't know where all the people were going, but there were a lot of them going east like we were and coming in the opposite lanes heading westward.

         Then about twenty miles west of Mobile, Alabama traffic began slowing to a crawl.  We maintained this snail's pace until the crawl became a stop and go.  In a period of about forty minutes we covered less than ten miles.  There was obviously some sort of problem ahead that had slowed traffic.  Now in view of downtown Mobile, I decided it was time to get off the highway.  Just guessing my way on the surface streets would be better than this traffic.

         I made my way over to the right lane.  When I saw signs indicating that there was a tunnel ahead I deduced that there must have been some sort of accident or problem at the tunnel.  The next exit I came to was the hazardous cargo route which I knew would circumvent the tunnel and take me back to the I-10.  I would not be driving blindly as long as I stayed on this detour.

        In the end I was glad that I had exited.  This route took me along the shores of Mobile Bay.  The sights were similar to dreams that I have had.  The bay waters lapped eerily close to the highway.  This would not be a place where I would want to be if it were storming since even now water splashed onto the highway, but on this day it all looked fascinating.  Large weathered wood seafood restaurants and other businesses on stilts stood by the waters edge.  I decided that one day I'd like to come back and eat in one of these restaurants.  There was little traffic and it was not long before we were back on a much less congested I-10.

        A few hours later we arrived at the Tallahassee Fairfield Inn where I had made room reservations.  We were a little ahead of schedule.   The mugginess of the air was oppressive and we were happy to get to our home for the night.  Once in the room I thought back upon the day.  Looking back it all seemed like a dream. We had seen so much and experienced so much and yet we had only gone from there to here where we were now.  Very much like a dream.   Often life can be like that.  We feel like we've done so much that we can't even remember everything that has happened.  Thoughts and images are stored away to be retrieved later at some unexpected time.  That's when real life seems like a dream.  

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  1. Sometimes I blink hard and take a deep breath to make sure I'm awake, as every day here in my new home seems like a dream.

  2. Thought I had followed your blog before. No matter, I did it today.
    I love thinking and writing about dreams. Your words described this trip in such detail that I saw myself there. I've never been there since I've grown up in Northern California. I have parts of this state I haven't explored yet and I'm working on 6 decades here.

    Best roadtrips are the meandering ones, like you described. My husband and I did this in 1971, on our honeymoon, from the UK to Holland and then down to the Riviera, along to Zagreb, back to Spain and back one summer. Got lost every day. And it was Heaven.

  3. Dreaming and driving, I've done that. Especially on long road trips alone. You notice you're coming into some little town and wonder were the last 50 miles or so have gone. YIKES!

    I do understand that's not exactly what you were talking about here. Driving through places that are spooky dreamscapes can be fun. I often let my imagination run wild and end up scaring my self to death.

  4. I wonder if any of the sites you saw will appear in a real dream.

  5. I sometimes experience the opposite. Some of my dreams are so realistic, I perceive feelings relating to the context of the dreams which are so clear and real that, upon waking up, it takes me a minute or two to realize it didn't actually happen.

  6. Em-- Yes, amazing or unique circumstances can seem to surpass reality.

    Sharon -- I love to meander, but usually I'm am so intent on getting somewhere my meandering is limited. I've been in the L.A. area for 21 years now and there is still so much around here I haven't seen.

    Faraway -- I know what you're saying. It's scary when you've been driving and totally lose track of part of that time. I think in those cases I am alert but my mind is also thinking of other things that surpass the memories of what I've actually seen. I also can relate to being in dreamlike places that haunt me later.

    Sherry -- I wonder the same thing and I do believe they show up in some fashion later in dreams, though perhaps not readily identified with the memories.

    Jay -- I too have had those realistic dreams, very frequently in fact. I've sometimes even have gotten out of bed to look for something I've dreamed about and then eventually realize I've been dreaming. Dreams can be amazingly real sometimes.


  7. Weather you dream about it or won't forget that day. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Sounds like an amazing trip. I always find sunny quiet days feel like a dream :)

  9. I have some vivid crazy dreams and they do find their way into my writing at times.

    I'm from the south so I've see a lot of what you describe. I haven't lived there since the early 70's though - don't know if I can handle all that humidity now, but most of my family is still there.

    I have tossed around moving back, but I would miss the mountains, however, not the winters, which I hate. There's too much family drama too, if you get anywhere close, so time will tell.

    Anyway, loved your story, very descriptive, fun read.


  10. Traveling does have a dream-like quality, particularly if you come upon a location that brings on a feeling of deja vu. I have had it happen on many occasions.

    Loved hearing about your travels Lee!

  11. How lovely, and slightly scary (to me) to have water spilling up on the highway! I can picture this drive of yours and can totally see how it would seem you drove through a dream-scape..trippy! :-

  12. Hi again. I nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I don't know if you do those kind of things, but I find you very inspiring. I think the award is well-deserved. If you'd like to see it, it's at Mama Diaries.

  13. You tell a good dream story, Lee. As a child, I had those realistic dream stories, and sleepwalking, which I learned to suppress.


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