After saving my tips for 3-4 months from my restaurant management job, I embarked on the boldest journey in my life. I promised myself I’d go on a cross country road trip to broaden my horizons. My original goal was either Boston or Montreal where I would attempt to find a job and a new life. It was imperative to get out of my comfort zone and try to take up residence elsewhere. Off into the great unknown.
Prior to 1998’s road trip I had barely escaped the great Pacific Northwest. It was time for me to meet new people, discover moi, and visit family and friends living east of the Rocky Mountains. I had second thoughts about leaving since I met a very wonderful woman in mid July of 1998. The two of us hit it off really well, spending our weekends together despite the 160 mile gap.
The relationship progressed quickly, compounding my anxiety about this journey. As my planned trip neared, my girlfriend (yes, it’s Mrs. Lessinges) sat me down and encouraged me to do my road trip, stating how proud she was that I would carry out this road trip. It’s precisely what I needed to hear.
On a quiet Sunday morning in Portland, she boarded a train headed back to Seattle and I got in my car and headed east towards Boise, Idaho. The capital city of Idaho was my first planned stop for the first leg of my road trip, finishing in Monticello, Arkansas to visit friends and attend a wedding in Memphis.
The first day of driving was rough. I was in tears listening to wonderful mix tapes Mrs. Lessinges made especially for me. It was such a bittersweet feeling. It doesn’t take long to leave the city behind once you hit the interstate heading east out of Portland. There wasn’t much to see for the seven hours drive. I arrived in Boise ahead of dusk, found a cheap motel, collapsed on the bed with a map sprawled out next to me. Day one complete!