The work days were long… the schedule was full and the tedious toiling of everyday life began to weigh on my soul. The mornings and evenings in standstill, stop-and-go, 9-to-5, kill-me-now traffic. When taking a step back and looking upon it, it is actually quite eery. Tail lights like red glowing eyes of cattle being herded to the cubicle farm for their daily work load. The routine of the rat race has become so engrained in us that it is now ritualistic in nature. It was time to break away from it… Time to get going… To hit the ol’ dusty trail and open up the clutch on a wide open road.

Those of you out there who drive a clutch know how dull and exhausting it is to be stuck in rush-hour traffic. For me, there is a certain amount of time I can go before it begins to weigh me down and I know it is time to take a road trip. Sometimes I like to plan where I am going and other times I like to just get in the car, put my foot on the gas and go whatever direction the wind blows. This time, I planned a trip to visit my good college friend who was living near the Outer Banks, NC. On the way there I was driving through Charlotte, NC and made it a point to stop there and visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame before heading off towards my planned destination.

Well, as the saying goes, “When you make plans God is known to laugh.”

The first part of the trip was smooth sailing and the clutch was in 6th gear for the majority of the time. Right as I hit Charlotte, NC the smooth sailing turned into chaotic swerving when a car accident caused a sea of traffic. “Greaaaat…” I thought to myself. All I could think about was how this was going to delay my plans and get me off schedule. The mentality of the rat race was packed in the car, along for the ride, it was etched into my mind like the VIN number on my car.

After about an hour of traffic I was at the point of the accident as  Charlotte towing services were pulling off with the wreckage. The chaos calmed and the road opened back up and I was off on my way again. Following that bout of traffic I was feeling a little uneasy in a time which was suppose to be relaxing. Then it hit me… Charlotte was also known for it’s craft beer, my second love, and it was home to the recent gold winner Hop Drop ‘N Roll by NoDa Brewing. So, I stopped by NoDa for a pint before heading to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

As I took a sip of my delicious, frosty hopped filled beverage a grin crept across my face. Before the condensation from my glass could even hit the  bar table I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to see a buddy of mine that I grew up with who I have not seen in years. He was a good friend and over the years for some reason or another we lost touch. I told him where I was heading and that I was just traveling through Charlotte. He being a Charlotte native offered to show me around the City of Charlotte and I gladly accepted.

After consuming a pint of 7.2% Hop Drop ‘N Roll I needed to get some food in my belly. My friend took me to a nice little eclectic, artsy restaurant called Cabo Fish Taco where I had the most amazing fish tacos I have yet to have. With a full, satisfied belly we made our way to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. I have always been fascinated with how NASCAR came from the supping up of cars in-order to run moonshine. It is a sport born out of rebelliousness and speed and this is why I am drawn to it.

Afterwards my friend took me to some really cool spots around the city that I would not have been able to experience if I was not traveling with a local. We caught up on lost times, reminisced about the past and shared some laughs. All those years where space distanced us seemed to fade away as if no time had passed at all. I find that is the truest kind of friendships. People move and life gets busy and true friends can come together after times of being apart and not miss a beat. The beat, like the atmosphere was on point and as my friend and I exchanged contact info and parted ways I was reminded that the best moments in life come often unplanned. With my foot on the petal I left with the lovely city of Charlotte in my rear-view mirror. Calm. Cool. Cruisin’…