I stopped at the scenic turnout.
Since my dad’s mom lives in Bellevue, Nebraska, and my mom’s parents live in College Station, Texas, I have been traveling back and forth my entire life. The drive is easy: get on I35, take in North or South until it ends, continue onto a highway for an hour until you reach your destination. It takes about 14 hours on a good day, so stops are short, infrequent, and based on how much gas we have left. My brother and I used to watch movies, sleep, and complain the entire drive in the backseat, but now we drive ourselves. Since we have such different schedules, we come at different times by ourselves. I enjoy driving by myself. I listen to the weird music I love and I sing so loudly and so terribly that my voice is hoarse for next couple of days. I only stop when I want to or when I need gas. My brother can’t passenger seat drive and yell at me for going too slow.
I hate driving through the city. The worst are Forth Worth and Oklahoma City. There’s usually an accident or construction that slows traffic to a crawl or stops it completely. I get so frustrated. Traffic is one of those things that I can’t handle. When I say I don’t like to drive in College Station because of the traffic, my friends from big cities always laugh at me and tell me I’m insane. But Papillion sees the most traffic when the high schools get out at 3:20. I’d much rather drive for two hours on the open interstate in Kansas then 20 minutes in traffic in a city. I don’t know if that makes me a country girl or just a normal person, but I cannot deal with traffic.
Anyways, I was driving at 80mph through the roads of Oklahoma when I started passing the stone walls. I don’t know what they are actually called but basically the interstate is flanked by these huge walls of granite or something. I think they are so gorgeous. We always used to pass these huge signs that say Scenic Turnout and I’ve always wanted to go look at them. I’ve imagined the huge stone walls stretching for miles, looking something like the Grand Canyon. I’ve imagined it so much that it’s on my bucket list. This time, which is one of the last times I may ever make this drive to Nebraska, I decided to stop.
As I slowed down and merged into the right lane to prepare for my exit, I felt so excited. I was finally going to do something that I’d always wanted to do and no one was there to stop me. My heart was racing and My mind replayed the images I had made up so many years ago. I the road gently curved away from the interstate, but I could already see where it rejoined the traffic less than a half mile down. I pulled my car into the grassy field and got out to stretch my legs and take a good look at the Scenic Turnout.
It was nothing like I imagined. The view from my bedroom at the Sand Hills house was more scenic. It was lush and green but I couldn’t get a picture without power lines in the way. It was a pretty big disappointment. I had just built up this picture in my head of what a Scenic Turnout should look like and it didn’t meet any of my expectations. It was basically a uninhabited hill, which are a dime a dozen in Nebraska. I took a few pics to document my bucket list experience and then went on my way.
Since I still had like a billion hours of driving left, I had plenty of time to compare my Scenic Turnout to life. I’ve always pictured my life and so far most of it has gone to plan. I had an amazing group of friends to get into trouble with in high school, but I still graduated with high distinction. I got into my dream university, pledged my top sorority, and made friends that make my heart feel too full of love. I decided on majoring in biochemistry on a whim and it turned out to be a perfect fit. But I also lost a lot of great friends, didn’t get picked to make the graduation speech, broke my arm too many times to play volleyball, had a shitty roommate freshman year, made a C in engineering calculus III this semester, and I haven’t found the love of my life. Life doesn’t always turnout the way you want. Some things aren’t going to live up to your expectations. Nothing is perfect and nothing matches the picture you make up in your head.
Sometimes you are going to be disappointed. I’m not going to find some hidden greatness in my Scenic Turnout. It was worthless and added an extra ten minutes to an unbearably long drive home. I did get to cross it off my bucket list, and I love to cross things off lists, but it was just let down. Anyways, it’s better than never stopping at all, and I learned a pretty important lesson that I’m sure I will be able to apply to many future experiences.
I learned that sometimes things don’t turnout the way you expect but you just say oh well, get in the car, and drive on.
i swear the view was better from the highway // at least everything is green and alive