St. Augustine Family Photographer | Danielle Brooks Photography
St. Augustine Family Photographer and Family Portrait Photography Studio. Specializing in Family Photography, Senior Portraits, and Head Shot Photography.


St. Augustine photographer specializing in families, children, and seniors.

Brooks Transcontinental Adventure Pt. 1 | America's Photographer

Are you ready for one awesome story? Because I'm ready to tell it! For those who don't know, my husband, Rich, and I just drove across the country in 3 days. That's right. Literally coast-to-coast. Jacksonville, Florida, to Los Angeles, California. Our final stats for the trip were 2700+ miles and just over 40 hours driving. I've always wanted to drive across the country, and now I can say I have. Let me tell you the back story.

Rich and I were on our way to California for his sister, Dayna's wedding. She wasn't getting married until Friday and we were going to fly out the previous Saturday to have a mini getaway. Our original plan was to fly into San Diego and go to the zoo and hop the border to Tijuana for the day. But of course our plans were massively changed. We woke up Saturday to find out our flight to Nashville was cancelled. We tried calling the airline, but there was a massive wait time (over 4 hours) So we decided to go to the airport to see if we could get on another flight out to get west. It turns out our plane was coming from Chicago and it was snowed in. Thanks Snowmageddon. So literally nothing, I MEAN NOTHING was flying west. We tired other airlines. Nothing. We tried checking other airports online-Orlando, Tampa, Miami, Atlanta. Nothing. We finally spoke to a representative that said we wouldn't be able to fly out until MAYBE Wednesday because they were so backed up. MAYBE WEDNESDAY! At this point Rich and I sat on a bench by the airport doors. I started crying. Yep, I  had a melt down in the airport. I could not get to California, and there is nothing sadder than that.

After I got it together, Rich looked at me and said, "We could always drive there." And he started laughing. I looked at him and said, "Don't suggest it unless you're serious." And he said, "I'll do it if you want to." Naturally I responded, "Let's do this." So we literally got all our stuff gathered up and walked downstairs to compare car rental prices. One car. One way. Coast-to-coast. We settled on Enterprise because the lady gave Rich a discount for his birthday. Did I mention it was Rich's 27th birthday? (It turned out to be one of the best birthday's ever.) And thus our adventure began.


This was definitely one of those moments where God just genuinely surprises you. Ephesians 3:20 says that God can do immeasurably more than you can ask or imagine. We just wanted to see San Diego and Tijuana- God allowed us to see the whole country from coast-to-coast. Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, and California. Immeasurably more. We are so blessed.

We called our parents from the car to let them know our plan. We were so excited. We kept asking each other, are we really doing this?! It just didn't seem real. We had no plan. No reservations. And no maps. All we knew was that I-10 ran the whole country. We now officially hate I-10. We have gone farther on that road than all others. Once in the car on the fated I-10, I googled towns we would drive through. We saw that New Orleans was only 6+ hours away and we both have talked about going there for Mardi Gras. So after we finally got in touch with the airline, we got our points refunded for our flights and hotel stay in San Diego. Which was a huge blessing because it saved us a lot of money on hotels. I went online and found the Maison Dupuy. It is located right in the heart of the French Quarter. It's such a pleasant hotel and we had a great stay. But before we got there, we had to drive through allllll of Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi.

Driving into Louisiana, we drove through the cold front that was making its way across the country. It was pretty cool. We were in 64 degree weather and after we drove through the rain it was 44 degrees. Crazy!

Once in New Orleans, we checked into our hotel and went to check out the city. We found a couple of cool shops and Rich was able to get some new rib rub for his ribs on Rib Sunday. The lady at that store recommended a place called Mr. B's Bistro for some great food. So we headed over to Mr. B's and we were NOT disappointed. I ordered the Gumbo and Rich got the BBQ Shrimp. The shrimp were not BBQ, but way better. There is no way to describe the deliciousness of this food. You just had to be there. I talked to the waitress and told her it was Rich's birthday and how we were driving across the country. She offered us some free dessert! We got the Pecan Pie. It came al la mode and was just as delicious as the main course. After Mr. B's we walked around Bourbon Street. It was an experience. We were there on a Saturday night and it was pretty crazy. We both determined we would not want to be there for Mardi Gras. It would just be too crazy for us. The streets are very similar to St. Augustine with the cobblestone, but twice as narrow. And with millions of people there for Mardi Gras, it would be a little scary. Nevertheless, we had a great time there and went back to the hotel to plan our next move.

We decided that we wanted to end up in Vegas, but in order to get there we needed to do almost 30 hours of driving in 2 days. We had tickets to the Kings game in Los Angeles Tuesday night and we didn't want to miss it because we were 10 rows off the ice. So, Sunday, day 2 of driving we decided we were going to be ambitious and get through Louisiana and ALL of Texas. I think part of our driving force was that most people said it was too big of a goal, but we proved them wrong and made it all the way across Texas. We spent the night right by the border in El Paso.

A huge shout out to my girl Emily. She sent me this website called Super cool. You can put in your start and stop points and you can filter what you want to see along the way. Obviously we wanted to see State Parks and quirky finds. And quirky did we find. You can read more about Texas and our quirky finds in Part Two of the Brooks Transcontinental Adventure!

What about you all? Have you done something this crazy before?! Please share with me in the comments!