Every year when it comes time for me to take off on my annual Road Trip I start to wonder if it will be the last. It's gone on for ten years now, this quest to see a game in all 32 NFL stadiums without getting on a plane. It's just something that kind of started by accident, but now that it's started, I can't bring myself to stop it. You see, I have this problem with finishing everything that I start. I'm the kind of person who can't make New Year's resolutions for fear that I won't be able to break them.
So what's the point? It's not as if I'm going to be able to stand before the judgment seat and say, "Look, Lord! See all my ticket stubs?" That scenerio is something that played out in my mind a few times as I headed south on Thursday and wondered if this would be the final RT. But on the way back I realized something. There are two things that accompany the RT that are indespensable. One is the great opportunity that it gives me to meet new people and see old friends that I would probably have never otherwise met or seen. The other is the opportunity to see fresh reminders of the glory of God (no, I wasn't holding a mirror as I drove through the Appalachians yesterday), which is something that I can never do without.
So then it hits me that the stadium quest has really become penultimate. I may finish it, but it's not necessary. I'm not the kind of person who is going to spend his vacation lying on a beach for two weeks, so until something else comes up, my vacation of choice is always going to be the RT and whatever else comes along with it. But the great thing about it is that the best things about the RTs have nothing to do with the game itself. The game is simply an excuse to drive across the country, but the things I'll remember most about RT X will be seeing my good buddy Allan get married on Saturday, catching up with an old friend for the first time in over two and a half years, hanging with Spaz and snapping pictures, and having my breath taken away while driving through the Appalachians for the first time.
This year's RT took me to Carolina to see the Panthers play the Cowboys. This was occasioned by the fact that my buddy Allan got married on Saturday in Atlanta, which is about five hours from Charlotte. I drove down to Atlanta for the wedding and then met up with Spaz, who flew in from California, and headed to Charlotte for the game. The rest of the story can pretty much be summed up in pictures (and there are lots), so this blog may be in danger of becoming a photo blog for the next couple of weeks.