COVID-19 Interstate by Sachin Mehta, age 11

New York, NY– “When is the next exit?” My family and I went on a long journey through the states in a car, during the deadly COVID-19 virus. Will I survive this 27 hour road trip, or not? Read on for a look into a journey through covid-infested states!

When you leave for a trip you feel like you will never see your home, but when you get to your destination you feel excited. But this trip was different. We were leaving right after a whole 12 hours of snow and that gave us a huge challenge. We were also dealing with who knows how many people out there who have COVID-19.

We left when there were four feet of snow outside at 8:00am. Once we got all the way to Virginia, we stopped for the third time and it was already 3:00pm! When we got into the rest stop we saw a sign saying “Mask Required!” We walked in and were shocked to see a young girl and her parents not wearing masks. Plus, they were touching everything! We got what we needed and got out of there before anything got to us!

We got into Tennessee around 8:00pm, but we still had to travel all the way across it to get to Nashville. The thing about leaving a snow-white state is that the roads stay wet because the cars from up in the storm area have the wet tires and make the highways wet. Since people may be sleepy by 8:00pm, they may swerve. Especially when it is wet, you can get really hurt if you crash! We entered the Nashville area around 11:50pm, and that is when I noticed since we had so much stuff it would be hard to get out of the car. We knew for the next ride that we needed to reorganize our luggage. We arrived at our destination at 12:01am the next day. When you are going on a two stop trip like this, you need to rest as much as possible. I did not get enough rest, and so the day we were leaving I was exhausted! 

Once we left Nashville, TN on our way to Houston, TX, we forgot something. Always triple check if you have everything! I forgot my water bottle, which I could not find, so we left. You never want to drive all the way back to your first destination just because you lost one thing because it delays the drive. We left and started our drive south. Long drive up ahead! At this time, Tennessee was one of the states with the most COVID-19 cases in the U.S! We had to use extra caution. Once we got out of the Nashville area we stopped at a Love’s gas station. Before Covid-19 Love’s gas station used to be the cleanest one off of Interstate 40, well pretty much the whole south! When I was younger and drove from Houston to Nashville, I stopped there, and it was cleaner than a new car. We stopped there and it was very dirty! It hurt my heart so bad because I have so many memories of going there. That is one thing to keep in mind. Never start loving a gas station because it can change any time. 

We got near Memphis at around 12:00pm, four hours after leaving Nashville. That is when I was very thirsty, but I forgot my water. We were too far away from Nashville so we had to stop at another gas station. It was a good thing we stopped not far from Memphis because people respected the COVID-19 rules. This was different from driving through Virginia because out there it was more rural and people didn’t think that they would get COVID-19 out here. We crossed the border of Tennessee and Arkansas after we passed Memphis. Throughout Arkansas we did not stop. We drove for about three hours to get to the Arkansas/Texas border. The sun was now starting to dip under the horizon. We stopped at a rest stop at the border in Texarkana, TX. When we got inside, everyone including the cashier was not wearing a face covering! I decided that I was just going to get some air. Once my brother and dad came out of the stop, we left immediately! We drove and saw the beautiful sunset. 

Wait, we forgot to keep our directions on. We took a wrong turn and headed west to Dallas, another major city in TX! After a mile or so, there was an exit and we took it and turned back the way we needed. When you are driving, always remember to keep the directions on! We drove for four hours and 40 minutes, and that is when the map said, “HOUSTON!” We were only miles and minutes away from my grandparents’ house! I was excited and looking for the Houston skyline lights. That is when we saw it! Not the Houston skyline, it was worse! Someone in a car was swerving into one lane and back to the other! Either the person driving the car was drunk or was falling asleep. Finally, they drove straight and we passed them. The scary thing was that the highway had only two lanes. We could have gotten hurt if we had taken a risk! Twenty-five minutes after the incident, we made it and were exhausted! We rested for a solid eight days in Houston and guess what? We did the whole two trips again!Wait did I make it? I survived! Remember on your drives to be careful and stay awake! You should also always bring your mask during COVID-19, even if you think you will not stop anywhere on the drive. Always plan a route and plan things to do in the car. You have everything mastered, now it is your turn!  Des voyages sûrs (safe journeys in French)!

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